As the crews paused for lunch at The Gate Hangs High pub, King and Carr still topped the standings, now from the Robertsons, but the Lomas father-and daughter duo had dropped down the order. “The tests have gone really well, but I slipped a bit on the maps,” said Natasha. “We dropped to 31st from third by lunch,” said Dad, “but we knew we would because the maps were very hard. The tests were amazing, but I got into trouble because I handbraked on gravel and filled the car with dirt, which wasn’t the best!”
The afternoon was filled with more regularities and a return for another test at the Bill Gwynne Rally School, before the mid-afternoon return to the Kingfisher Hotel finish. The Robertsons were delighted to claim the victory, with the Chick duo demoting King and Carr to third. “We had one section of a regularity where we were being approached by other cars and there was no way through,” King explained. “We lost a lot of seconds there, but it’s all ifs and buts. Navigator Henry has been impeccable.”
“We’ve had a really good time,” said runner-up Chick Jr, whose father was celebrating his birthday. “We weren’t really looking at the standings, so we were delighted to come as high as we did, with just two seconds in it.”
James Holt and his navigator Chris Matthews claimed the Test Pilot Award for the best performances across the four tests in their BMW 325i. Sally Woof, navigator to Nigel Woof in their Volvo PV544, won the Clockwatchers Award for best performance on the regularities – on their way to an excellent fourth overall and class victory.
Chris and Fred Winter’s delightful red Hillman Imp took the Concours d’Elegance honours, while the team award went to Team Loughton – made up by John Harvey and Steven Brown’s VW Golf GTI, Brian and Andrew Yeomans’ Volvo P1800E and the plucky Lomas duo in their Riley Sprite.
“I’m very happy with today,” said Clerk of the Course Seren Whyte. “The weather has been fantastic, although unfortunately that makes the traffic slightly busier, but it was nothing too untoward. I think everyone has enjoyed the slight step up in competition since the last HERO Challenge. This was an intermediate level event and each one should be a step up. That has been achieved nicely today.
“We’ve had a good mix of tests, the Bill Gwynne Rally School on the loose and the Shenington kart circuit on asphalt, so different challenges for different cars. It’s been fun.”
HERO Challenge Three, the final round of the 2023 championship, takes place on October 7 and will be based north of Preston, on the moorland roads of Lancashire and the area of outstanding natural beauty bordering onto the Yorkshire Moors.