Photo credit – Neil Draper
To borrow a well-known footballing phrase, it was a game of two halves for 2300 Club member Nigel Worswick on the East Riding Stages.
Sunday’s closed-road event was the first outing of the year for the Blackburn driver, who was using his Fiesta S2000T in anger for the first time since last August.
Seeded at car 22 in a field packed with top crews, and just 45 competitive miles, Nigel and co-driver Steven Clark were determined to be quick out of the blocks.
But it didn’t quite work out like that, with Nigel describing the opening loop as ‘tricky’.
He explained: “We knew straightaway there was a problem with the damper settings, as the car was horrendously fidgety, kicking and jumping all over the road and flicking left and right, threatening to throw us off at any moment.
“The first two stages were very fast, bumpy and narrow, which accentuated the problem, and I really thought we could have a big off. By the time we’d got to the end of stage two, I was ready to put the car in the trailer and go home.
“But eventually we decided to try and keep going until the lunch halt and then try and fix the problem in service.
“We put the dampers back on their baseline settings, and suddenly the car was transformed, which gave us confidence to push on in the afternoon.”
And push on they did, slicing 20 seconds and 40 seconds off their morning times as it all began to gel inside the cockpit.
“The car was fantastic, and I was really buzzing by the end of the rally. My only disappointment was that, through no fault of the organisers, it was only 45 miles long and I was desperate to do another loop!
“I haven’t driven the car competitively since the Dave Read Stages last August, so I know I’m out of practice, but I also know there’s a lot more to come from me and the car. Looking back on the rally, although the afternoon stages were brilliant, I felt I’d done a good job in the morning just keeping the car on the road. Finishing 19th was very satisfying.”
And Nigel was full of praise for his co-driver. An accomplished driver in his own right, it was their first time together in the car.
“Having two drivers in the the same car could have been a problem, but Steven did a superb job on the notes. He’s a lovely guy, very clued-up and very calm inside the car, “ said Nigel.
“So calm in fact, that at the end of the hair-raising second stage, he said to me ‘that went well, I wasn’t scared at all’ which was a good job because I definitely was!”
Photo credit – Nigel Worswick Facebook