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Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The 2017 Motordrive Seats Lee Holland Memorial Trophy Rally


The seventh round of the MSVR Circuit Championship was at a wind-swept Anglesey race circuit on Sunday 19th March. An event organised by the Pendle District Motor and Garstang & Preston Motor Clubs, with Mike Taylor and Martin Haggett planning to consolidate their position in the championship overall and in class D1.
The circuit ran a novel and very welcome rally track day on the preceding Friday, allowing Mike to sample some new parts of the circuit that would be used on the rally and experiment with the amount of speed to carry into the specially constructed “yump”. Unlike a typical circuit track day run on a normal circuit, perhaps with some chicanes, Anglesey was set up in a stage format with splits and merges, and changed during the day, including the direction of travel. It is to be hoped that the concept spreads to other circuits, as this could be an ideal introduction to the world of single venue stage rallies, but with less expense than the real thing.
This extended test session wasn’t without its problems for Mike and Martin, an electrical problem meant a tow in from the circuit, a steering issue was resolved by a power steering pump change and some particularly exciting runs over the yump bent the damper bolts in the rear suspension. Thanks to Keith for changing the steering pump and spending Saturday morning checking the car over and replacing the bent bolts.
The weather was always going to be a feature of this event, with the wind never dropping all day. The Lotusbits pair made a steady start, finishing the first stage in eleventh place. With the wind drying the track the slick tyres went on to take advantage of this for the later morning stages.
Going into stage five, Mike changed to harder slick tyres, not expecting to wait 30 minutes at the stage start, during which the first rain started. Grip was a challenge throughout the stage, with rather more space needed to slow the car down at the first split than was available. In the excitement, a cone became stuck under the car, leading to a smell of burning plastic for the rest of the stage. All this drama meant a loss of around 30 seconds, putting the pair down to twelfth overall.
As with Donington, it was other competitors who dropped down the order or retired, broken transmissions, blown engines and a missed split being typical problems. All this and a push by Mike on the next two stages moved the team up to seventh going into the final stage. With the next crew just three seconds behind, this meant Mike had to keep the pressure on, so more crushed traffic cones, after the first run through the jump.
Mike and Martin held seventh and again collected the trophy for third in class.

In three weeks, team Lotusbits will be in Lincolnshire at Cadwell Park for the last round in the championship. Mike is still sixth overall and Martin has moved up to third. 

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