FIRC Les Boucles Chevrotines 2018 Report

The Activ8 Motorsport Team’s 3rd rally of the year was Les Boucles Chevrotines which is part of the Belgium FIRC Rally Championship and was held over the weekend 4th to 5th August. The rally took place in the vicinity of Sivry, which is a small village near the beautiful town of Beaumont some 140 miles east of Calais.

A key team principle is ‘preparation is key’ which on this occasion was a slight challenge as Malcolm (Mal) had decided to book a long summer break to the south of France in between events! Despite this, the time available prior to the holiday was utilised well with a full spanner check taking place, followed by a clutch overhaul when Mal returned. Many thanks to CG Motorsport for the quick turnaround of the clutch. Without sorting that out taking part in this event wouldn’t have been possible.

Mick “The Hammer“ Manson was not available for the rally due to the impending birth of Elliott Manson. Instead our newest team member Mindaugus Rickus (Rick) accompanied us for the weekend’s antics. Phil was told to be on his best behaviour so Rick’s nickname is currently “Esteemed and valued colleague”….. which will no doubt change over the upcoming events!

On Friday the UK contingent of the team got set up at the service area which was in Sivry itself. Then they met up with Steve Santy, our Belgium based co-driver, at the accommodation. Soleil Levant is near Beaumont and is co-owned by Jean-Marc and Marina. What a fantastic place to stay with attentive hosts – highly recommended!

Saturday was documentation and recce day. Phil and Rick were left to give the Impreza a once over whilst Mal and Steven headed out to recce in the air-conditioned X5 as temperatures soared over 30C. Needless to say, the service crew were melting for most of the weekend!

Scrutineering and documentatiion was held in Sauting which was approximately 3 miles away from the service area and as always went without a hitch. The highlight being the journey there and back for the service crew who travelled in the air-conditioned X5! That left the team to relax over a few cold ones and exceptional food in Beaumont.

Sunday was rally day and started with a short-lived drop-in temperature before the clouds cleared.

The rally itself covered 233km which comprised 4 stages making a loop that was repeated 3 times.

  1. Rance 9.8km
  2. Montbliart 11.8km
  3. Grandriew 7.10km
  4. Sivry 10.05km

The format of the rally was different than the team was previously used to. Every 2 stages a short service stop was carried out with a regroup in parc ferme, Sautin, after each stage loop.

The event went according to plan for the team with a tyre change in the morning to a slightly harder compound (T72 instead of T92) to cope with the increasing temperatures. Again, the Impreza performed faultlessly although the auxiliary fan was enabled continuously due to an early concern about high engine temperatures.

Overall the event itself ran with only minor hitches, unfortunately due to accidents on stage. After the event we discovered that over 40 cars had retired out of 120, which is a good indicator of how tough the rally was.

Organisation of the event was faultless as the competitors had minimal queuing at the start of stages and the regroup after each loop brought everything back on schedule.

A separate post has links to the on-board camera. There were a few ‘misdemeanours’ including a high-speed spin backwards into a field (no damage thankfully).

The team finished in a credible overall mid-field position which when considering the comparative budget of our team compared to other teams placed higher, it was a welcome result for the team.

A huge thank you to the event organising team of Organisation De Ecurie Automobile Rancoise and a special thank you to Cindy Delrue, Director DE Course who did a fantastic job in keeping the event moving.

Our thanks extends to the marshals, who carried out their duties with good humour and professionalism making rallying in Belgium a true pleasure.

A big thank you to Phil and Rick for putting up with the team’s service requirements (it must have been hard work sunbathing all day!)

And last but not least, a big thank you to Steven for a truly professional job in the co-driving seat. You wouldn’t think it was only his second run out with the team. He has integrated himself exceptionally well.

Roll on the Hemicuda Rally in late October being the penultimate round of the Belgium FIRC.

ACTIV8 MOTORSPORT

 

2018 Les Boucles Chevrotines video and photos

In August 2018 Active8 Motorsport competed in Les Boucles Chevrotines which is situated around Sivry and Rance in Belgium.

The rally report is posted separately. This post includes the in-car footage and a photo gallery. All credit to those who took the excellent photos.

FIRC Rally Van Wervik 2018 Report

Activ8 Motorsport ventured out on our second outing of 2018 to Wervik in the north of Belgium, for the FIRC Rally van Wervik which took place on Friday 8th and Saturday 9th June.

The rally was organised by the Auto Club Scuderia Vervica V.Z.W and consisted of 4 legs each with three special stages; KP Geluwe (6km), KP Kruiseke (9km) and KP Wervik (10km incorporating a loop).

This was a new event to the team, which also welcomed a new co-driver Steven Santy.  Steven lives in Beselare which is around 9km from Wervik and has competed in many Belgium rallies before.

Over 160 crews started the rally with over 30 big budget teams running cars including WRC and R5s. The event was well attended by British crews as the Rally van Wervik is a round of the British Tarmac Rally Championship. With that taken into consideration Activ8 Motorsport were happy with being seeded 90th at the start.

Scrutineering, as ever was a formality with the only comments being from Mal when he realised our car was probably the quietest by far! The noise from some of the Porsches and BMWs was epic. A silencer removal ‘for purely weight saving reasons’ is now on the cards!

Over the weekend the Impreza performed brilliantly. The only hitch the team    had was between stages 4 and 6 when the clutch started slipping. This affected stage times and a message was relayed to the service crew to get ready for a repair. During second service the problem was quickly resolved using a big bar, grinder and a bit of old fashioned knowledge.

In the car Malcolm and Steven gelled immediately and worked well as a team for the whole of the event with just a couple of ‘interesting’ moments, which proved they were pushing hard. Ending the event 56th overall considering the number of top cars was a welcomed result for the team.

A common theme amongst all competitors was how hard the stages were on the cars. The stages were very fast with some extensive cutting of corners. In some situations that meant the car was almost entirely off the road whilst going at considerable speed! Activ8 Motorsport were not alone in having to manage wheel and tyre combinations to reach the end of the rally. The end result for us is 5 written off wheels and 2 unusable tyres.

Team Active8 wish to express their appreciation to the Organising Committee and all the marshals for putting on a brilliant event, especially considering the number of crews taking part.

Activ8 Motorsport would like to express their sincere thanks to Steven (excellent co-driving skills in and out of the car) and his family for all their help and hospitality throughout the weekend.

The appreciation extends to Michael and Phil, for keeping the car and crew operating efficiency during the weekend… oh and not forgetting the non-stop banter which always makes the rally’s more enjoyable.

Preparation is already under way for Activ8 Motorsport’s next event which will be the Les Boucles Chevrotines in early August. This is being held in and around Sivry Rance in south east Belgium.  We cannot wait!

Malcolm Mawdsley, June 2018

FIRC Rally van Salamandre 2018 Report

The Activ8 Motorsport Team travelled to South East Belgium over the weekend to compete in the opening round of the FIRC – Rally van Salamandre which took place on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd April.

The organisers laid on an excellent event covering an overall distance of 270km, of which 131 km were special stages. The stages contained a mixture of high speed straights combined with fast technical sections, split into 3 legs with each of the 4 stages being used three times.

  • Renlies 15.5km
  • Stree 8.80km
  • Ragnies 8.5km
  • Leval 11.5km

The service area was contained in the village of Stree with scrutineering, administration and Parc Ferme just a couple of miles up the road in the town of Beaumont.  

Following a blisteringly hot day on Saturday for the recce, Sunday started with bright sunshine and the promise of a very hot day. The weather report suggested a small chance of rain, but the conversation was all about when we might have change the tyres to the harder compound slicks.

Rallying has a it’s ways of suddenly becoming very interesting! Whilst patiently waiting for a delay in proceedings to pass, the dark clouds began to form! By the time the crew arrived at Time Control 1, the heavens opened and road surface became extremely slippery as a thunderstorm and torrential rain passed over the area. This caught a number of crews out, but fortunately Activ8 Motorsport got through the first leg unscathed. Between stages the service crew were first informed to prepare full wets tyres, followed shortly afterwards by a message to prepare intermediate tyres. The weather had changed rapidly once more, with the rain giving way to bright sunshine in a matter of minutes. Being from the UK we are not used to this kind of weather… just rain, rain and more rain!

The slicks were re-fitted at the second service halt and the service crew had an easy ride for the remainder of the rally, only carrying out the obligatory tyre pressure checks and torquing of wheel nuts.

On stage 11, the crew were first on the scene of a bad accident which was the result of a competitors car leaving the road at high speed. Accident protocol was put in place with radio crews informed. Fortunately a crew following Activ8 had a co-driver who was a doctor who waited with the injured parties until stage commanders arrived. The Activ8 crew wish the injured a speedy and full recovery.

In conclusion – a great weekend and a satisfactory finish. Activ8 Motorsport would like to extend thanks to Hainaut Motor Club for putting on a superb event along with all of the marshals and time keepers who again, made us feel so welcome.

A special mention also needs to be given to Christophe Jacob for the help and assistance leading up to the event –  greatly appreciated.

Finally, thank you to Peredur Wynn Davies for co-driving throughout the event. The team wishes you well in your future endeavours!

Activ8 Motorsport’s next event will be the Rally van Wervik on the 9th June.

Malcolm Mawdsley 26th April 2018 

Next stop Rallye Salamandre 2018

Team Activ8 Motorsport are on their way to Belgium in a couple of week’s time to compete in the Rallye Salamandre which is held in south east Belgium. The team are raring to go as it been a long break since competing in Rally Kortrijk in November 2017.

In terms of preparation the team finally arranged a track day for some shakedown testing after the first two attempts were aborted due to the snow. Third time lucky and 50-60 laps of Blyton race circuit have given the team confidence in the car with only tyre pressure adjustments needing to be carried out. Subsequently the Impreza was mapped by Nick & Jim Dixon (MND Motorsport ) at C&C Motorsport Rolling Road with only minor settings adjusted.

An oil change and new pads for the front and rear brakes on the Subaru will compete the preparations.

The LDV service barge has also been given a major service in preparation for the new season

Our remaining preparations are now focused on tyres and making sure that we have the correct choices for the weather conditions we may encounter in Belgium. Thanks to Jim, Nick and Andrew Knot from Slicks Tyres for all their invaluable help and advice.

Finally, we have new team members! Peredur Wyn Davies who  is co- driving on the Rallye Salamandre  and Steve Santy

Steve Santy

is joining us for the Rally van Wervik.

Also new to the service team is Mindaugas Rickus  (Rick) who is a professional bodywork and paint sprayer. Rick has already sprayed the car and wheels which has made the car look stunning… He will hopefully be joining us from the Rally van Wervik in June.

 

 

Activ8 Motorsport Update and Provisional Timetable 2018

Activ8 Motorsport 2018

The car has been repaired following the last outing in Kortrijk, Belgium last year. This entailed

  1. fitting new rear spoiler as we never found the one that Mal left on stage.
  2. removed the back section of exhaust, bent it back into shape and welded it all back together.
  3. re-piped the inlet/ breather system on the turbo resonator.
  4. straightened all the bodywork and had it repainted – thanks Mindaugas Rickus (Rick).

Following the excitment of Mal locking his helmet in the back of the van which led to the door looking like Jaws out of James Bond had been rather peckish – a new door has been fitted.

Mechanically we are all ready to go!

The team are now busy planning our event timetable for the year. The experience of Belgium has proven rather addictive so that will be the focus of our attention this year. The following is the preliminary timetable

  • Rally Salamandre – Belgium: 21st – 22nd April
  • Wervik Rally – Belgium: 8th – 9th June
  • Les Bouches Chevrotines – Belgium: 4th -5th August
  • Hermicuda Rally – Belgium: 20th – 21st  October
  • 6 Uren Van Kortrijk – Belgium: 24th – 25th November

The team are potentially going to do a trackday prior to April as a shakedown.

Malcolm

16/01/18 Rev.2

(Thanks to MannMotorsport for the photo below and RallyDigital for the photo a the top)

Activ8 Motorsport Tackles International Territory Kortrijk Rally 25th-26th November 2017– Belgium FIRC

Activ8 Motorsports introduction the Belgium rally scene saw the team enter the 6 Uren van Kortrijk which took place over the weekend of 25th – 26th November. The event itself contained 14 special stages, the vast majority on tarmac, running over two days. As the sun set on Saturday night the first and only stage of the evening commenced, followed by thirteen stages run over 4 sections on Sunday varying in length between 5 and 15 km. 

The atmosphere throughout the event was magic, both rally organisers and the general public welcoming the 160 competing and service crews to their town.

For this event Jim Dixon, a veteran of rallying in Belgium undertook the role of co-driver. Both Jim and his brother Nick provided invaluable assistance guiding the team throughout the event.

Go to our YouTube playlist for the available in car footage

Day 1

Phil & Mick sorted the Impreza for scrutineering whilst Jim and Malcolm went out to recce the stages. 

The team met up again for registration and scrutineering which took place in the beautiful town centre of Kortrijk which had been closed to general traffic for the weekend. All facilities were housed within two enormous marques which also housed bars and party/disco venues. The start and finish of each leg was in the same place which made for a fantastic atmosphere.

Scrutineering was a new experience for us as there appeared to be a large number of technical inspectors who all had separate jobs and different bits of paper to be signed. The car sailed through as expected and the team returned to the service area to get ready for the first leg later that evening.

One hiccup however very nearly put an end to the event altogether! Having changed into racing overalls Malcolm closed the service van doors only to find his helmet and hans safety equipment were still in there and the locking mechanism on the van door had jammed.  With only 15 minutes to go before reporting to the Start Ramp Phil, Mick, Nick and half the service crews in the service area (it seemed it anyway) descended on the service van and managed with varying tools including a grinder!!! to extricate the helmet/hans from the van. Thanks to you all.

The evenings only stage was at a venue named “Mouscron” which is a working recycling plant. Spectators throughout the two days turned out in their thousands with a crowd in excess of 5000 on Saturdays evening.

The crowds shouldn’t have been a surprise as surfaces varied between mud covered concrete and loose shale, exiting onto tarmac roads to the finish outside the confines of the recycling plant. The antics of the crews spinning and sliding over the mud covered concrete were certainly well received by the enthusiastic rally fans.

Mal and Jim took the stage cautiously as there was no point bending the car straight away. That put the team well down the leaderboard, but clearly offered much scope for improvement on the second day!

Day 2

Sunday saw Malcolm and Jim rocket up the leaderboard. Clearly the conditions varying from dry, damp and deceptively slippery suited the Subaru setup well. By leg 2, section 2 Activ8 Motorsport had climbed just inside the top 40.!

Progress had been somewhat curtailed with a high speed spin into a barbed wire fence on a deceptively slippery mud covered left hand bend ( 1.35 minutes into our in car Hoge2 http://bit.ly/2iHyw1Y) ripping the boot spoiler off in the process playing havoc with the aerodynamics of the Impreza ! (Didn’t really notice a difference at all LOL)

On stage 9 “Tombroek” we were halted for over 10 minutes following an accident due to a previous competitor spinning into a ditch, spectators and fellow competitors finally extricating the Mitsubishi to carry on. The resultant stage time unfortunately saw us drop down to 125th overall as the incident was classified as “force majeure”

Stage 10, a re-run of the Bevergem stage saw the demise of Activ8 Motorsport’s good run when on a fast 6 left bend the Impresa slid wide into a ditch at high speed doing a “wall of death” before dragging itself out onto the road to continue. Unfortunately as the car extricated its self-there was a heavy impact and Jim suffered severe back pain. Although the crew continued very slowly to complete the stage it was decided by Malcolm to call it a day as it would have been foolhardy to continue.

Unfinished business!

So overall the event turned out to be a “sweet and sour” affair for Activ8 Motorsport. It was Activ8 Motorsport’s first visit to Belgium and the FIRC, and  the first time Malcolm and Jim competed as a crew. The teams performance was highly competitive on Sunday and has definitely made the team eager to return to compete in the 2018 FIRC to complete unfinished business.

In conclusion a big thank you must go out to the Organising Team who put on a brilliant event, to all the marshals and emergency services without whom no event can run, to Nick and Jim Dixon at MND Motorsport for continuing technical help and mapping of the Impreza, to Jim for agreeing to sit in with an OAP!!! performing a sterling job in the co-driving seat, and last but not least to the servicing team of Phil & Mick without whom Activ8 Motorsport could never even get to events.
Malcolm 5/12/17

International Rally Isle of Man 14th-16th September 2017

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

 

Day 1 

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.

Day 2

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.

Day 3

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

RESULT!!!!!!!!!!!!

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