John and I left home on 3 September. After an uneventful five-day drive and overnight on the ferry, we arrived in Newfoundland.
After a couple of days taking part in the event rally school, Saturday was a very busy day with lots of pre-rally activities. Registration, car preparation, applying sponsors’ stickers to the car, first-aid training for John, and car tech inspection, were all seen to before we were ready for the event.
With memories of 2008 in mind, the Prologue went well, giving us a solid learning experience with no incidents or regrets. Not all fared so well, with the factory Subaru team car crashing heavily into a wall, and driver Marc Lachapelle taken to hospital.
Monday started in ominous fashion – it was pouring rain and pitch black as we packed up our motel room in the early hours of the morning. By the time we squeezed into Molly II and left on our first transit stage the rain was beginning to ease. Things improved substantially, as we clean-sheeted all stages for the day, ending up tied for first place, with 11 other competitors.
I was not looking forward to the Leading Tickles stage on Day Two, as I remember it as way too fast for the Mini’s limited suspension travel. There was no telling where the Mini would land as it jumped at high speed over bumps and undulations in the road.
Previous experience with the “Tickles run” showed the difficulty in determining which side of the road to be on, in order to make good time around the curves. Thankfully, though, many trees had been cleared away by the council, and visibility was not so much of an issue this time.
The last stage of the day was Gander. It is always a lot of fun as we can use more of a racing line to get around the 90-degree street corners.
The one mechanical issue we had for the event, a faulty starter motor, began on this leg. We never knew if it would work or not, so determined to always park either on an incline or ensure there were sufficient people on hand to push-start the Mini. On one stage we enlisted about a dozen kids to push-start the car!
If you would like to read the rest of this story, order your copy of Issue 22 of The Mini Experience. <plumshop>37</plumshop> <plumshop>38</plumshop>