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HERO Challenge Three gears up to start in West Sussex

As some crews struggled to get to scrutineering yesterday through bad traffic and rain, the balance of the 90 car field lined up at the premises of William Medcalf’s magnificent Vintage Bentley HQ in Hill Brow near Liphook, to sail through technical checks or not in some cases.

HERO Challenge Three gears up to start in West Sussex

Championship contenders Malcolm Dunderdale and Anita Wickens arrived early in their Renault 12 Gordini as did Alistair Leckie and Matt Outhwaite in their ‘change of wheels’ MG TC. Natsasha and John Lomas were delayed in their Riley Sprite.

Mike Tanswell arrived sans Triumph Stag after the V8 dropped a valve but announced that he will be marshalling. Chris Howell and John Briggs went no further after their Lotus Cortina failed  scrutineering checks with a lack of brake lights as sadly another unit could not be found in time and they had to pull out of the event.

Anna Wilkinson, Business Development Manager and Julian Murphy, Operations Manager, both working for Vintage Bentley, were on hand to welcome competitors and show them around their fabulous workshops after teams had scrutineered.

Julian; “It was great to welcome the HERO Challenge crews, it gave us a good Friday afternoon. It was a joy to see all those cars, some of our mechanics kept popping out from the workshop to look at some of the them, they saw a Lancia Delta, it got me excited as well, it’s an 80’s thing. It’s me and the boys from the 80s reliving our youth, one of those Lancias is probably slightly more affordable than some of the cars we’ve got here at Vintage Bentley!”

Anna; “As ever we are very busy but always find time for the HERO-ERA crews, we enjoy having them here. We are currently working hard on three projects in the workshop which have got dates coming up for delivery. William is also not with us as he is over on the east coast of the USA at a Concourse presenting with our 1936 Bentley which achieved second in class at Pebble Beach, so we are very pleased to be over on the east coast as well.”

Mike Farrall and Zak Burns

1937 Jaguar SS100

Mike Farrall and Zak Burns

Just a couple of weeks ago Mike Farrall was racing on two wheels round Goodwood in the Revival with TT rider Jenny Tinmouth as his team mate in the two part race. Now he is back on four wheels for HERO Challenge Three in his beloved Jaguar SS 100.

Mike; “We had a good time at Revival on two wheels but I’ll tell you what, I really look forward to four wheels and particularly driving this car and in the subsequent events.

I love in the old Goodwood track and how fast it is.

“We put it in some fast times for a 1930s Rudge. Jenny was with me, she’s such a good rider. A good team mate who listens and is mechanical minded so she understands the bike and you know what she’s capable of. Although she actually gave me two days free time in the garage helping me work on my new acquisition, the Escort Mexico.

“I’m going for the LeJog, I wanted to do it in the Jaguar but I’ve been told by the mechanics that I’ll wreck it and then be sick as a dog at the end!

“So we’ll go and try the Mexico first and then we can maybe make a plan to do it in the Ford.”

Manuel Bernardo de Souza Girao and Charles Edge

1964 Daimler SP250

Manuel Bernardo de Souza Girao and Charles Edge

Manuel and Charles are on their first ever HERO Challenge their first event in the UK, in fact the scrutineer spent a lot of time with the team taking them various technical aspects.

Manuel; “We passed scrutineering so we are happy you know, but we had to take our hubcaps off. I’m not sure what happens now, maybe the car is a bit unbalanced!

“This is our first UK and HERO event, we’ve been doing some events in France with a French organization so we thought we would try a traditional English wet weather rally on a weekend. This is also the first time with the Daimler, I have only had the car for three days!”

Charles; “We have done some international events in France and Italy but now we will find out about an English one. To me it’s going to be a different experience. I think there will be more tests, and be competitive but it should be very sociable none the less.”

Michael Moss and Bernard Northmore

VW GTi Mk 2

Michael Moss and Bernard Northmore

Michael; “Unfortunately James Ewing tested positive for COVID yesterday morning, which was a bit of a blow to everybody, particularly to him, as he only lives around the around the corner so he was mortified. It was so last minute I never thought we’d get another navigator at such short notice, but with the help of HERO-ERA’s Andy Pullan, he eventually got Bernard to join in a bit of a rush!”

The experienced winning navigator Bernard Northmore has made a bit of a habit of jumping into the cockpit last minute and yet still being successful so that he is known by some as ‘Super Sub.’

Bernard’s record precedes him and despite a very late call, he has turned up for duty alongside Michael.

Bernard; “Yes, everything can be reorganised and it was! Schedules can be changed, events can be altered and here we are on the HERO challenge three. I don’t think I did last year’s event, it’s certainly a few years since I’ve competed on a Challenge but I don’t think there will be many changes.”

Michael; “Last year we actually did pretty well on this event. But this one’s going to be a bit tougher, just looking around and where we’re going, then looking at some of the other cars as well. I’ve got to figure this one could be where we actually put the novelty tyres on and try them out for the RAC Rally of the Tests!”

Harry Sherrard and Maurice Hamilton

1983 Audi 80 Quattro

Harry Sherrard and Maurice Hamilton

Harry has managed to persuade top motor sport journalist and author of books as diverse as the History of the RAC Rally and the official Murry Walker biography ‘Incredible,’ Maurice Hamilton, alongside him to make his debut in regularity rallying. So how did he manage to secure such a high profile person?

Harry; “I’ve been working on him for a few years, I have to say, dropping in the odd the visit and gentle persuasion every now and then. Now luckily, given that HERO Challenge Three is relatively local and didn’t involve a drive up to the Peak District, it all sort of came together!”

Maurice Hamilton, is making his debut after lots of stage rally success including winning the Classic RAC Rally with the late great Russell Brooks in a Porsche 911. It has to be said, this isn’t  going to be easy, Maurice has had just one lesson in regularity rallying for a couple of hours this week.

Maurice; “This is a totally different world, I mean, I just thought this would be a lot easier because we’re not going flat out everywhere, but in fact, mentally I think I’m going have to work far harder than I had to with you, sitting beside you on RAC’s and Wales Rally GB, even if it meant keeping you in check! This is going to be even more difficult, being calm, orderly, thinking about everything. There’s so much to do.

“The thing is that although you’re going on a comparatively slow speed compared to what we were doing in stage rallying, it’s happening so much faster with all the different jobs to do, the calculations you have to make, the things you have to think about it’s very, very different. “

And then there are the tests, the course to be followed as fast as possible around a route on private property. The test means going as quickly as possible following a diagram.

Harry; “I have had a chat about the tests with Maurice and we looked at a few diagrams from previous HERO events.  So hopefully we’ve worked out a good communications system. I just say we’ll go for it. That’s it.”

John Evans, Andy Ballantyne

1974 Alfa Romeo GT 1600 Zagato

John Evans, Andy Ballantyne

John was last seen on the London to Lisbon in the beautiful and rare Zagato, now he is on HERO Challenge Three with Andy Ballantyne.

John; “Now we’ve had time to rebuild the rear suspension after the rigours of Portugal and yes, it’s again the last event for me of the season. So I’m looking forward to it very much.  We didn’t think we would make it, but we were the only Italian car to finish, although it was close at times, but we did it and that was fantastic.

“A few years ago I did a HERO Challenge, but certainly I’ve never done one in the south of England before. I have a very good navigator with me in Andy Ballantyne, that was a stroke of good fortune that someone else hasn’t grabbed him first.!

“I’m not sure how we are going to get on going to in the regularities. In the tests it will depend on how slippery it is really, I mean if it’s reasonably dry we should be okay on the tests and we will probably do reasonably well in the regularities, but we are looking forward to it very much.”

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