March 2014 Regularity Run

Trevor and Simon's March Regularity Run by Tom Ash

What a glorious day it turned out to be for a 12 car. A full entry, a route through some very pleasant north Kent countryside, start and finish venues not too far from home - and, the sun was shining.

We all duly assembled at the start, Nell's Cafe on the A2 south of Gravesend and then headed off south through the first control to a nice little complex of lanes around Harvel. It was after this first control and the second speed change that we encountered a problem. We incorrectly assumed that the second speed change came 5.38 miles after the first speed change. This we then gathered from the condition of the lanes was incorrect and the change should have taken place 5.38 miles from the start of the regularity. Looking at the results it appears that we were not the only ones to make this error. We ploughed on, yes the roads were still muddy despite the sunshine, to that nasty little hairpin north of Harvel with a downhill approach. The A40 denied the benefit of an efficient handbrake made the turn with John rapidly engaging forward and reverse gears to eventually get us round without stranding us on the banks either side of the road. From here we ran straight into the waiting stop watch of Harry and Linda; too late to make up the time spent toing and froing a couple of hundred yards down the road from them.

Having put that behind us we went in search of the final two controls and a well earned coffee/tea interlude at the Twig and Spoon Cafe at the Woodlands Garden Centre. Looking at the results we had reached the halfway stage only one point adrift from our nearest rivals in the 2013/14 Winter Series Championship. Although we did not know the points tally at this stage we had an idea that we still had everything to play for as we set off for the start of Regularity B.

Regularity B was a self start just South of the A20 on the road to Kemsing. We were running at 3 and we were surprised to see the two cars running at 1 and 2 returning up the road towards us. We found out why as we reached the junction with the Pilgrims Way to encounter Trevor and Simon standing in front of a road closed sign. They gave us the reroute and we set off back up the road we came down much to the consternation of those heading in the opposite direction. The first speed changes for Regularity B was at 3.8 miles from the start meaning that as we had a reroute we could not calculate our time into the first control nor the second. TC 2 was the location of the next speed change but between TC2 and TC3 there was a speed change at 16.51 miles from the start. Again because of the reroute we had no idea where this was. Thankfully the final speed change came at TC3 so at least we all had a fixed point from which to measure the distance and time. Penalties on Regularity B could therefore only be awarded for one time control and the code boards.

The route took us over some roads that would have been familiar to those who did the February Run, although most roads re-used this time were run in the opposite direction. The route took us down through Ightham, around Plaxtol, down to Hadlow before returning up to Ivy Hatch via Paxtol. A loop round Underriver and up to Seal took us to the finish at the Padwell Arms. At coffee and at the finish we all enjoyed sitting outside with our drinks and food enjoying the wonderful spring sunshine.

The final results showed that we had been dumped into second place, by only 10 points, by our rivals in the other A40, Eric and Lee. Congratulations to them and to Chris Rose and Ruby Vaughan who put in an outstanding performance to take third place. Although John and I still lead our respective sides of the Winter Series Championship I have only one more event that I can do, while Eric and Lee have two. John will be contesting the final round with Craig in the left hand seat. Can Eric and Lee take the Championship on the last round, or will the pressure get to them? It all makes for an exciting end to this year's Winter Series.

With the sun still shining, it was off home to watch England beat Wales in the Six Nations Championship....a good end to a good day.

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