Jenkins/Brooks return to form on wet Bagger

 A month's rain had fallen in just three days in Devon and the lanes were full of shale and debris as the Carpetbagger Rally set out from Charmouth on 19 January. This is marketed as a tough rally for experts being very long and quite unrelenting and attracting the cream of both modern and historic crews, with a Welsh champion, a North-West champion and an East Midland champion, together with two Lombard winners and more than 20 crews with an outright win to their name. The historic entry included the 2007 and 2005 champions and runners-up as well as past winners of the Illuminations and the Targa Rusticana as well as two Le Jog Gold Medal winners. Half the historic entry was made up of Category 1 cars including the pre-60 VW Beetle of John & Edward Kiff. This year's route was presented on pre-marked maps, but each map was in a sealed envelope to be opened only at the start of the relevant section. The event comprised its usual three sections each of 60+ miles punctuated with just brief fuel halts.

The opening section saw the demise of two of the hardest chargers - the Amazon of the returning Wes Massam out with Mike Burrows losing both first and second gears, whilst the RS2000 of the Pedley brothers wasn't seen again - reasons unknown. Geoff Hall/Paul Bosdet had a huge moment on an unmarked hump-bridge and spent some time working on the Cooper S at petrol as a result. Current champions Andy Nixon/David Taylor had lost considerable time fixing a broken throttle cable on their Mexico whilst Dick Appleton/Rick Hands had cut due to navigator sickness. Worth Birkill had clutch problems but navigator and travelling mechanic Dave Harris soon sorted it out. Leading at first petrol was Keith Jenkins/Tony Brooks' Saab on 25.19 (shows how tough the conditions were), from Worth Birkill/Dave Harris (Mini), Geoff Hall/Paul Bosdet (Cooper S), Dave Foster/Bernard Northmore (Cooper S) and Steve Powell/Dave Sanderson (Avenger).

Shortly into the second leg Geoff Hall's Cooper S began a death-rattle and he had no choice but to switch off quickly; it's thought that the nose-down landing after the hump-bridge may have surged the oil and cavitated the big ends. A tow rope led to the trailer and a long journey back to North Lancashire. So one-third of the rally gone and three retirements; thankfully despite the conditions we lost no more of the historics and all came into second petrol, still with Keith Jenkins ahead of Worth Birkill but with Dave Foster next showing he's lost none of his ability in the lanes, just ahead of Steve Powell. Most crews had been perilously close to OTL and even the most accomplished were thinking of cutting to stay in the event.

The final leg brought more mud, washouts and standing water, and for many crews the need to cut parts of the route hence the apparently high penalties for some. But Keith Jenkins/Tony Brooks had returned to winning form just four minutes ahead of Worth Birkill/Dave Harris with the standard Hillman Avenger of Steve Powell/Dave Sanderson taking third historic. The Saab 96V4 of John Tatlow/Julie Westwood and the Kiff's VW Beetle both took class wins. John Kiff is an old hand from Motoring News days and commended the organisers on the toughest event for 35 years - I don't think many would disagree !

Historic results for the Carpetbagger Rally are:

1. Keith Jenkins/Tony Brooks    Saab 96V4     66.38

2. Worth Birkill/Dave Harris     Morris Mini   70.16

3. Steve Powell/Dave Sanderson   Avenger   104.11

4. Andy Nixon/David Taylor  Mexico    112.19

5. Dave Foster/Bernard Northmore   Cooper S   121.32

6. Dick Appleton/Rick Hands   Cooper S    190.10

7. John Tatlow/Julie Westwood   Saab 96V4   207.48

8. John Kiff/Edward Kiff     VW Beetle    318.00


Geoff Hall/Paul Bosdet    Cooper S      Ran main bearings

Wesley Massam/Mike Burrows    Amazon     Lost 1st & 2nd gears

Michael Pedley/David Pedley   RS2000    Unknown


Bold print shows Maxsport contenders

Added: 20th January 2008 [permalink]