This year the event ran over three days commencing on Thursday afternoon/evening with 5 stages, Friday with 11 stages and finally finishing Saturday after a further 5 stages totalling approximately 150 miles linked with a further 200 road miles.
It is no mean feat just to finish an event of this magnitude as it is hard on both cars and crews.
Out of the 22 Stages Stages 10. 15 and 20 were cancelled through delays and accidents.
Go to our Youtube playlist to view the in-car footage
Thursday stages commenced mid-afternoon with the first run through the apply named Marine Drive, as it runs parallel with the coast line. A good run through then took us through to the Clanna Road Stage. The nervous start on Marine Drive had dissipated somewhat and we were looking forward to this stage but as the countdown reached launch!!! it started to rain and soon became torrential resulting in bad visibility and extremely slippery conditions. The intermediate tyres coped well but on a left hand corner after a long fast strait the Impreza jack knifed coming to a momentary halt parallel with a five bar metal gate. Soon after we caught a Sunbeam Talbot which, due to rear wheel drive was also finding the going difficult, delaying our progress considerately, until he could move over and allow us to pass. Another partial spin later into the stage also lost us some time.
At the end of the Clanna Road Stage we then dropped back to Douglas for the Spectator Stage of Villa Marina. Two cars set off at the same time crossing lanes to reach the finish. We clipped a kerb on Diagram 2 and went very deep into the hairpin at Diagram 4, which certainly compromised our time somewhat.
Stage 4 King Edward Bay was short and very fast and was completed without incident.
Stage 5 Baldhoon was very slippy initially but we were getting more relaxed with the conditions and completed the stage without any major problems. This stage ended day one proceedings and we headed back to the grandstand for service, the Impreza needing only a quick spanner check in preparation for day two.
Stage 6 Little London is one of our favourite stages taking in the dreaded Druidale Section and it was where we started our clime up the leader board. Things went well and we recorded our best timed run, unfortunately the Go Pro camera through its hand in resulting in no video record.
Stage 7 Kella followed, another favourite, feeding us in to stage Tholty-y-Will both of which saw us gain places, all completed without any incident. At the start of Stage 9 Sand Quarry there was a very long wait as when we arrived the stage had not been started, the organisers had to alter the “split layout” resulting in the stage being shortened. Albeit shortened this stage nearly became our downfall, after a section of very fast 6 left and rights there was a 4 right, which was initially cautioned but when doing the recce removed ( by the driver ). After the nights rainfall it left this corner very slippery, entering the corner to fast and under breaking the car spun through 360 degrees stopping pointing in the wrong direction, although the section was quite narrow we didn’t hit anything but took a long time turning round.
As the second run through Clanna Road was cancelled stage 11 Oatlands was our next destination. This stage was the reverse running of Marine Drive and went extremely well for us albeit a number of accidents had preceded us. Once completed we went back to the Grandstand for service in preparation for the assault on the night stages c
ommencing with two in Castletown.
Stages 12 and 13 Castletown and Castle Rushen both started at the same place with Castletown being a quick blast though the town itself and Castle Rushen again passing through the town but then heading out towards Port Erin along the coast road, times were good enough to keep us climbing up the order.
Stage 14 saw a re-run of Oatlands and all proceeded well, however when we arrived at stage 15 Rhenab there was a very lengthy wait before we arrived at the start only to find a couple of minutes in, at the ford, that there had been a number of accidents and the stage was cancelled. The stage was very slippy and we were advised to drive through the stage at a slow pace and proceed to stage 14 Tholt-y-Will this being the last of Day 2. Whilst driving through we saw at least one car on its roof and numerous cars with severe front and rear damage bearing testament to the treacherous conditions.
Day 2 had been a good day for Activ8 Motorsport again consistently climbing up the order.
Stages 17, 18 and 19 were re-runs of Little London, Kella and Sand Quarry (this time full length) and we bettered our previous stage times. The re-run of the switch back in the Sand Quarry were “refined” to overcome the very heavy landing we had on stage 9 and a more methodical approach to the corner we spun on. !!!!
Disappointedly, stage 20 Marine Drive was cancelled after a competitor went off the road and all the rescue services were deployed including the coast guards.
All crews were then redirected through to Druidale for the running of Stage 21 the awesome “ The Classsic “ of all the stages this is the ONE, a truly epic run over what must be classified as one of the best tarmac special stages ever, ending in front of the famous TT Grandstand packed with hundreds of spectators. The time should have been better but for a hesitant start over the Druidale section (probably due to OAP brain fade), the poor start somewhat mitigated by the pace in the latter sections of the stage.
The whole event for Activ8 Motorsport has been epic, the Impreza performing brilliantly with no problems at all, and especially after such a frustrating start to the year with two costly engine rebuilds in as many months, making it impossible to compete until May. The problem being finally diagnosed to a faulty ECU.
Starting at number 118, after Thursdays afternoon/evening run we were 101 o/all, a very disappointing position, however after a consistent runs we moved up the leader board considerably and finished the National Rally ( this being the event entered) in 19th o/all and 45 o/all in the combined International Rally
In conclusion a big thank you to all the marshals who to a man/lady (mustn’t discriminate must we) were brilliant, to the organisers for a cracking event albeit under very difficult circumstances at times.
The biggest thank you goes out to the Activ8 Team of Phil ( It’s My Fault ) Worsley, Mick ( I‘m an Engineer) Manson, Mark ( Lord & Master ) Rodman, ace co-driver, not forgetting the rally widows Carol, Lisa, Jess and Trudy for allowing us to go out and play on the greatest rally of the year, to Nick & Jim Dixon of MND Motorsport for all their help in sorting and mapping the Impreza and finally to CG Motorsport in Leeds for their technical help and the refurbing of the Impreza clutch in double quick time.
The last time I wrote a report on Rally Isle of Man (2013) I also announced my retirement from rallying but hey, things change and I am back in harness for the foreseeable future.
Malcolm (Mr Shouty) Mawdsley 26/09/ 2017