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London Lisbon Torque Day Six

In a dramatic turn of fortune, Sarah and Ken Binstead plunged out of the lead they have held since Day 1 when the exhaust system on their Austin Healey fell away from the car on rough sections of the second regularity. Harry and Dick Baines kept up their great work and took the lead in their plucky Mini Cooper S at the end of Day 6 despite overheating issues.

London Lisbon Torque Day Six
*Sarah and Ken Binstead dramatically lose the lead they have held from Day 1

*Plucky Mini Cooper S of Dick and Harry Bains moves into top position

*Dark horses Nick Maris and Henry Carr take second despite sheep hold up!

*London Lisbon crews soak up medieval and car heritage at Torre Loizaga

Sliding upwards almost unnoticed through consistent stealth, but with serious intent, are Nick Maris and Henry Carr in the Datsun 240Z, their challenge today almost thwarted by a flock of sheep blocking the road! At one point the sheep herder sitting astride her donkey did explain in Spanish that the sheep always come first! Stephen Owens and Pete Johnson hold third in their Porsche, whilst another 911 of Flying Scotsman award winner Tony Sutton and the experienced navigator Bernard Northmore, are an impressive fourth just four seconds behind Stephen and Pete.

But the star performers of the day were Julia and Steve Robertson in their TR3, recording just 27 seconds of penalties to move up to fifth place. Clearly their water pump change three days ago has proved beneficial along with Julia’s great navigation.

Yesterday’s star performers Susan and Derek Skinner were rescued by a HERO-ERA Mechanical Assistance crew as they were stranded, stopped at the side of the motorway out of Pamplona. Finally a new coil urged the Porsche 912 back into life, albeit with a few pops and bangs which Derek said will persist.

Andy Twort and Claudine Bloom had one their ‘worst day’s rallying' that Andy can remember for a long time, with their Volvo stopped after a Timing Point on the fourth regularity of the day. Andy and Claudine finally got to the night stop where the Mechanical Assistance crews, lead by Tony Jones, were ready to go into action. Andy was still smiling!

Neil Lawson-May and Richard Williams were bogged down axle deep in their Lancia Fulvia Coupe 1600 HF but were finally towed clear by friendly farmers with their huge tractor – but not before their tow strap snapped on the first attempt. They were forced into the deep by the farmer’s dogs who were not Lancia fans, but once the Fulvia was fully stuck, the dogs went to sleep – their protection work was done.

Tom Baron and Jo Pearson have been nursing their Mercedes 280L through all the regularities and Time Controls, with their stop watches turned off so they are not tempted into any competition speed as their differential is on its last legs. They intend to coax the Merc to Lisbon where their partners will be waiting as they fly in tomorrow.

The start venue for the sixth day of London Lisbon proved to be a real treat for the competitors as they became special guests at the medieval fortress of Torre Loizaga from the 14th century. 30 miles from Bilbao in the Basque mountains, the estate also houses the most complete collection of Rolls Royce cars in Europe. Other displays included Jaguars and an historic fire engine. The private fortress and stupendous car collection are rarely open for people to view but Patricio Careaga, the great nephew of the owners and custodian of the venue with his mother, warmly welcomed the London Lisbon crews.

Patricio, “Thank you to HERO-ERA for coming in, everyone is welcome. The official name is called a Torre Loizaga which would mean in english is like a tower, it is a mediaeval tower. The original owners of the tower were the Loizagas dating back to the 14th century. This used to be a defence and surveillance tower. From mediaeval times where the power in this area was not with the Kings, but the families, it was a family system, where they fought, mainly two sides against each other, so the defence towers were an important part of history.

“The car collection was started by my great uncle, Miguel de la Via, he is the founder of the collection. Also, he's the person who restored all this tower starting in the 1980s. There was only half tower in the 1980s and he restored the whole thing. At the same time, he made a shed for his small car collection. He was passionate, and expanded all the construction, he also expanded the car collection. So also, another shed, and another, then another full of cars until it was what we see today.

“I have to admit that the true passionate car man was my great uncle. But because me and my mother are, let's say managing this now, I really got into it, and I really love the thing. And well, I might plan to do a classic rally as well in the near future.”

Sarah and Ken Binstead, Austin Healey 3000

Sarah commented this morning before the start; “I’m still as nervous as ever, the nerves seem to keep building every day. So I just hope we can hold out for a few more days.

“We want to keep it steady and keep trying to do what we've been doing every day so far.”

Ken commented before the start of Day 6; .”You know we are very well aware that we're now on day six, cars are getting tired. It's going to be tough, we're now out of our comfort zone. The mountains were good for us, it was cool. Now the temperatures are rising and climbing up a bit now.

Ken commented after the exhaust issues lost them the lead; “Well, we had a bit of a feeling this morning, we both woke up and thought maybe today's not going to be our day. It didn't start well on the first reg, because coming through the roadworks, we've got really really hot. We stopped the car at the start of the regularity and it wouldn't start and we're already running late at that point due to roadworks and so we had to take an extra minute there and we thought that it didn’t bode well.

“We got through the first reg. It was clean, we were okay but things were still running quite hot. We were getting through the second regularity which was quite rough in places. I mean, even though the speeds were quite slow, you know with the ground clearance we have it's quite difficult and the rear exhaust brackets went at some point, then the next bump just took the whole lot clean off! And that was the end of that!

“Sarah is gutted obviously, but you know now it's very much a case of coming here to do what we wanted to do, which is to finish the rally, to try and enjoy it. Obviously tonight it's going to be quite painful, but we'll press on. The boys have done a fantastic job, they got us off the regularity which was great. We've got lucky within OTL once again, great. But we'll just carry on, we'll just keep plugging away, putting the times in, if nothing else, just to prove if things hadn't gone horribly wrong, then who knows what could have happened?

Dick and Harry Baines, Mini Cooper S

Harry; “We've had a good afternoon, a bit of a tricky start at lunch with an oil pressure light problem. The engine got hot last night on the way into the hotel, so we had it in bits five minutes before we left the control, but managed to get it all put back together and there is still a little issue. We'll do that with the fantastic HERO mechanics.

“Yeah, we had very good day but it was a very hard to try and keep on time but we enjoyed it very much.

“It’s a good route, I didn't have time to look much but there is really fantastic scenery, absolutely amazing. I got a got a glimpse of it every now and again when I looked up but it’s amazing, we have been over some passes, right over the top, brilliant. We managed to avoid the cows on the road as well so it's been a brilliant, fantastic day.”

Dick; We de feel sorry for the Binsteads, it is terrible for them, they were doing a great job. I mean, the same place they lost their exhaust is where the Mini grounded out, at exactly the same place! It's just a rough gravel track. And we are now leading but it is going to be tough. We have got to keep it going, we need to try and keep it up.”

Andy Twort and Claudine Bloom, Volvo Amazon 120

Andy. “It was probably technically our worst rallying day of all of our lives in as much as everything went wrong. We started with a broken main power feed, a brand new part just cracked right through. Then later we broke, or it broke a rear brake shoe. It's back together now.

“The car is back on the road, we're back on the road which is great! We got baulked by some locals, so we picked up massive penalties. We were doing well, second class this morning, but we're no longer anywhere near that position.

“We might be driving the car carefully from here on. So we'll probably go way down the results not back up again, but we are still smiling, I mean, we're here! We take the good stuff with the bad stuff,  so no problems, we'll just get back on the road tomorrow.”

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