My first Group B Rally Car Experience

Published on 9 July 2023 at 20:56

Granddad driver -- that was the insult we used to hurl at anybody driving sedately. Well today I got to have a ride out with a Granddad driver, not any old Granddad, this one was an ex BTCC driver by the name of Malcolm Leggate - the choice of steed being his Renault 5 turbo ex group b rally car.  The event was the Lombard classic rally at Grimsthorpe Castle near Bourne in Lincolnshire. It was an early start, me and Russell had to load up the Renault and the Lancia Delta Integrale, get the cars to the castle, unload them and get them ready for the day. We had arranged to meet up with some of the other members of the Mablethorpe and District Motor club, some of whom brought their rally cars to add to the fun.

I have to say this has to be just about the best day out I have ever had, everything about it was outstanding. There were hundreds of cars there, thousands of people and the speed at which the cars that took to the course were going was breath taking - it really does redefine the word fast.

Sadly the Integrale had a problem, the left rear brake decided it wanted to lock up and no amount of persuasion would free it off, when we got it back home we found that the pressure wasn't releasing and the caliper was gripping the disc like it's life depended on it. We cracked the nipple open and a powerful jet of brake fluid shout out and the wheel then turned freely. We had thought the brakes had started binding due to a lack of free play in the mechanical linkage but that theory proved to be incorrect. We tried backing off the banjo fittings at the master cylinder end but that didn't work either. It's a weird one, we will look in to it later in the week, we just needed it off the transporter for now so another car could go on.

We were going to have a go at it while we were still at the venue but with these cars now being worth anything up to a quarter of a million quid, we thought better of it and decided it was best done properly in the workshop.

Anyway, back to the racing, Malc gave me the chance to do something that money simply can't buy, I took that and loved every second of it. He didn't spare the horses, although he did turn the rev limiter down a bit to entertain the crowd with ear shattering pops and bangs - he loves to put on a show and the crowds love him doing it. It was about then that I remembered the time that Jeremy Clarkson reminded us that most Granddads sit in chairs, wear slippers and smoke pipes while others are called George Foreman. I don't know how good a boxer Malc is but he's still one hell of a driver.

I have been up for about 16 hours now, the adrenaline is subsiding and I have just remembered that I am old. I shall therefore leave you with a link to just one of the dozens of videos I took, this is the one where Malc took me from the Castle to the other end of the course. Thanks again, Malc - top bloke, thanks to Russell, another top bloke who I think the world of and all the other members of the Mablethorpe and District Motor Club that helped make it such a fantastic day. 

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