Again, Puff was entered in the National B Section of this testing rally, and Freda Croasdell was with us again on this event. It would be a real test again as it included a difficult night section. We were up against it with good teams competing including the Whyte sisters, competing again in their famous Austin Standard 10 – Stanlie.
Had a slight problem in scrutineering as Paul Loveridge was not sure she should be competing. He knew we had the MSA log book, and was insistent that the fog lights were taped, even though they were disconnected.
By lunchtime we were off and heading through lanes on the first regularity to Smeatharpe Airfield for the first of 5 tests. This is a disused airfield, ideal for all the noisy cars. Unfortunately, we got the first test wrong in that we went round all the cones, instead of just round the whole outside…very costly in time! Tricky wording “go round all the cones crossing your path each time”. With an intricate pattern of tests… we carefully circled each cone.
Puff was going well, and I am beginning to learn how to drive her on tests. Great fun, especially on the loose when she slides really well.
Late in the day after the hill climb at Wiscombe Park, and as we headed to Exeter Racecourse and a welcome tea break before the tough evening session, there was a loud screetching from the engine. Fan belt ok – no obvious problems, but the noise continued. We got to Exeter with the car complaining intermittently. Although she restarted after tea, the screetching remained. Rather than do any damage, I decided to pull out of the event. The first event we have retired from. But Puff is safe, and once back at base we discover it was a clutch bearing after all.