London Lisbon Torque Day Seven
There were six regularities and two tests in a long day seven, but by the close in Leon, Mini masters Dick and Harry Baines had really become the kings of this city as they extended their lead to over a minute, also scooping the best top ten performance of the day with just 45 seconds of penalties.
*Mountain battle of the Porsches as Owens and Johnson fight Sutton and Northmore for third
*Long testing day with rain, slime, cattle and dogs providing chicanes and obstacles
Nick Maris and Henry Carr were smooth and fast yet again to retain second in the Datsun 240Z, even doubling back to the finish of the last regularity of the day to check if they had missed a code board – there wasn’t one.
At the lunch halt, Tony Sutton and Bernard Northmore had snatched third, Tony skilfully easing his wide bodied Porsche 911 SC down some very tight and twisty roads, including desolate villages where their machine just scraped between the walls of houses. By the finish of the leg in Leon, Stephen Owens and Pete Johnson had grabbed the final podium place back in their 911 SWB. It is tight at the top!
Steve and Julia Robertson proved that as they kept fifth in the TR3 ahead of Graham Platts and Neil Ripley in the Austin Healey 100M. However, the nimble Alfa Romeo 1600 GT Zagato of John Evans and Tristan Judge was on the move up again, now up to seventh.
What a day for Gary and Sue Johnson in the light blue 1963 MGB now into tenth. Gary was having to keep his wits about him as the car was sliding over the rough downhill sections of the morning regularities, some roads green with lack of use, or lack of light under the tree canopy. At one point he nearly came to grief with his left rear fighting for grip – then later he did visit a ditch, but managed to get out!
The Lancia Fulvia of Neil Lawson-May and Richard Williams also visited another ditch, this following their off on Tuesday avoiding dogs, their car lightly splattered as it arrived in Leon.
Sally and Nigel Woof showed great spirit after their Alfa broke its transmission yesterday by returning in a hired 4x4 pick up truck to go marshalling!
The LaFrance of Catherine and John Harrison was spotted at the end of a regularity as it continued its trip to Leon, whilst Andy Twort was kindly marshalling at the first test as he and Claudine Bloom are just visiting the main controls as their now fragile Volvo cannot go into competition but they are determined to make it to Lisbon.
Tony Sutton and Bernard Northmore, Porsche 911 SC
Tony; “It’s been a very long day indeed, we are happy just to be here. It was pretty intense, there was a lot of narrow greasy tracks and potholes, cattle and cars. You had everything really, lots of dogs - a lot of dogs! A few geese, cows, cows all over the place. Quite a lot of cow droppings all over the place making it nice and slippery!
I think there was one particular regularity when it went downhill very, very narrow, very damp. It was probably the second or third regularity was a touch difficult for the Porsche.
“I think would have been difficult for everybody as it was so slippery. We were trying to make up time, I think at one point we were way down, but what a day, it was tremendous, although we are a bit tired now. The car has been brilliant, it's a joy to motor along these roads, but at the end of the day, I'm very happy to get out of the car.”
Bernard; “We did well this morning. This morning was good, this afternoon was very tricky and I made a few mistakes. Don't we all? So I don't think I'm expecting us to have done particularly well this afternoon. It was nice being third at lunchtime, but I'm not expecting that position to survive.”
Nick Maris and Henry Carr, Datsun 240Z
Nick; “Here is what I was thinking. How many times in my life am I going to be doing with a sports car what it is intended to do? Under a gigantic blue sky, having driven through some incredibly narrow gorges, the sky now filled with wonderful clouds developing into thunder clouds. I am a very lucky man right now!”
Henry; “We've probably dropped some time, we've had problems with traffic. We met a few vehicles in the morning regs, one cost nine seconds and then we had a cattle truck coming the other way. This afternoon was another 18, so I know it’s been so close. But I know Stephen and Pete dropped time as well as us so I think it's going be even closer when the results come out.”
Nick; “It is neck and neck really, isn't it? It is if you think how many days, what are we now day six, day seven, and to be just a few seconds at apart. It's a compliment to the organisers isn’t it?”
Steve and Julia Robertson, Triumph TR3
Steve; “We enjoyed yesterday it was okay yes, there was one minor hiccup but it was okay. Some of the roads are very good, some of them very smooth. Some are a little rough. With a car like the TR you're bouncing all over the place!”
Julia; “On one of the tests we were headed towards a tyre wall sideways, but I didn't scream, I was praying. The roads were a bit slippery, one of the marshals said it's very nice here, although it's a little scary, as you could see their skid marks all the way down the road!”
Agnete Segalstad and Ole Rasmus Robak, Mercedes Benz 500 SL
Agnete; “It was difficult for us but the roads were marvellous, it was a good journey which is why it doesn’t seem so long with such nice roads. Those who think it has been a long day are not also looking at the nature at the same time like me. Did you see the eagles, did you see the storks?”
Rasmus; “Yes they were very nice roads but it was definitely a little difficult for me in terms of the navigation, we did the route and it went well but I don’t think it has been a long day, not for me, and it’s a very comfortable car. Agnete had to stop a few times to pick flowers, but at least that wasn’t on the regularities!”
Agnete; “We are looking forward to staying at the Vidalgo Palace tonight in Leon, we have stayed there twice before. It's a very nice place.”
Stephen Owens and Pete Johnson, Porsche 911 SWB
Stephen; “It’s been going really well. It was just misfiring a bit at the end of the day as they do get their moments in time with the cars getting very hot. Especially after you've been caning it around those go kart tracks. Two laps around there, flat out is a lot to ask of a car, but the car is running absolutely fine.
“It's been a very eventful day one of the most eventful days, there's been lots of different things thrown at us today. We've had everything from hairpins to cattle wagons, you name it, cows on the road. It's just been amazing. But what a day, and the tracks were so fast and flowing, it was just really good and very eventful day.
“There's been some changes towards the top of the table but I think we're still hanging on in there after quite a battle with Tony and Bernard.”