Three Legs of Mann – Legs one and two. Island battle in full swing
Crosby and Procter (Porsche) lose lead to Willan and Appleton (Volvo)
Dark wet and foggy Leg Two causes havoc with slippery, adrenaline-filled Time Control Sections
Steve Head and Graham Raeburn move into podium position in entertaining Escort
2022 Golden Roamer navigator champion, Pete Johnson is an Isle of Man resident and rally man. Sadly, his regular crew partner and driver Noel Kelly is recovering in hospital from a heart condition, but Noel generously told Pete to carry on and use his Volvo 122S so Pete drafted in his wife Jo who is an excellent navigator whilst Pete took on the driving role instead.
As a local, what did Jo think of the conditions? “If you don’t like the weather, you just drive to different parts of the island, and we’ve driven to pretty much every part of the island today, and we’ve had pretty much every sort of weather”.
Pete, “We will have to wait till we see the results, we don’t know how we have done but we’ve had a cleanish run-through, Jo has done well, it was hard. And it shows by the amount of cars that you see already in the car park, I was only expecting around six cars here, then so you know, it’s 20 cars so they’ve cut and run, it was tough.”
Jo: “We’ve been exchanging some messages, lots of support has been coming in for Noel from Team Pete and Joe rather than team Nolan Pete which we call Nope. So yes, he’ll come out tomorrow after lots of tests. He’ll soon be back and recovering, so we want a decent result for him.” In fact, Pete and Jo have moved up to sixth overall at the end of Leg Two.
The rally started from the famous TT grandstand and immediately turned into two tests right behind the stand. A mixture of regularities and tests ensued with the most glorious being the test and subsequent regularity along the Marine Drive with the Irish Sea on one side and the craggy rock face on the other. Crosby and Willan were already having at it and looking quick as they made light work of the sweeping coastal tarmac.
F1 Champion Nigel Mansell used to be a Special Constable on the Isle of Man, and he lived in a mansion high above Port Erin. Had he still lived there, he would have approved of the windy, bumpy road running past the grand gates of his former house and being used for a test on the HERO -ERA Three Legs of Mann. It was spectacular as different drivers kept the power firmly switched on as their cars squirmed around under them in the dips and kinks of the uneven tarmac. The Orangebox Mini of Andy Harrison and Henry Carr was quick as was Bill Cleyndert’s with Emily Anderson navigating before trouble set in. The Porsche of Thomas Koerner and Rolf Pellini just squatted and darted its way up the hill.
Before the mid-evening rest halt, and the final TC sections, there were some very taxing regularities to cope with as well. The fourth regularity of the leg was over some tight then flowing but narrow roads, but towards the end, it turned off into some very rough and slippy tracks, one of which was so wet there seemed to be a swimming pool in the middle of the road which some crews used part of the bank to get around.
From plantations to the complex of roads around the Jurby airfield, the second leg was the one that was going to sort out the cream who could stay the course. The toughest part is over but there is still a hard final final leg to go so will the leaders stay calm; will they keep up the speed and can they resist the challenges that could take them over the edge? Perhaps they had better ask the fairies for help tomorrow because anything can happen on the Isle of Man!