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2010 RDC 9th Donor Card Charity Rally 7/9 Aug



7th to the 9th of August saw Dippy and crew travel to France to compete on the Rally Drivers Club 9th Annual Donor Card Charity Rally. Dippy is now in fine health after major surgery at Tipton St. John Garage in Devon.

On the Saturday morning, we met with organiser Jonothan Bowles and the other competitors on a wet and windy Calais Quay Side. We were all given a list of 17 village names which lay between Calais and Laon to be plotted onto our maps for the Saturday Scatter Rally. Some were very obvious but others did stretch the grey matter. The plan now was to decide which of the 17 places to visit in the allotted time. It was penalty-free up to 18.00 hours, then 15 minutes of penalty time at 1 mark per minute - after that OTL. Each place had a value of points so it was in our interests to try and include in our route as many 25-pointers as possible.


We managed to visit 8, which could have been 9 including 3 25’s, but low fuel near the end caused our speeds to be reduced. For evidence of visiting each village we were required to take a digital photograph of the village ‘in’ sign. We made it the control in Laon with just 2 minutes left of our allotted time phew! We were very pleased to be told that our score of 140 had given us 2nd overall - not bad with only 1275cc under the bonnet.

On Sunday morning, the rally started properly with three sections to be covered from the town centre of Laon. The first section was all regularity, with a secret check for good measure. The route passed through the villages of Presles, Martigny, Bievres, Chemizy-Ailles, Bouchonville, Ployart and Parfondru. The promised secret check came right at the end of the regularity and we were just 2 seconds early.

At 12.30 hours the second leg began with 31.7 miles of jogularity. This section was very demanding and passed through the villages of Presles, Trucy, Chamoille, Bievres, Montchalons and Parfondru. There were 61 route descriptions and average speeds of 40, 28 and 25 mph to be achieved - very taxing. A short lunch break and then it was off on section 3 - more regularity. This time the route covered 55.3 miles including the transport runs from Laon and back to base. This section was very varied, with very tight roads at first and then fast open roads, which did cause problems for the crew trying to keep to the organiser’s average speeds. The route followed was via Suzy, Brancourt, Jumencourt, Fresnes s/s Coucy and St. Nicolas Aux Bois.

Back at the cathedral in Laon, there was time for a short break before going to the awards’ presentation in the Town Hall. This was hosted very well by the Lady Mayor, who made all the competitors very welcome. The awards ceremony was a great surprise: Dippy and crew were 1st Overall - a great result considering there were some very experienced crews on the entry list. Following on from the awards, Kir and food were served and Jonothan then announced that the event had raised £1200.00 for The Help the Heroes Charity. This was boosted by the very generous donation of a magnum of Champagne from competitor and photographer Robert Grounds, which raised €145 in the raffle.

A group meal back at the Ibis Hotel in Laon brought a superb weekend to a close. Our sincere thanks go to Sue and Jonathan of Continental Car Tours for organising a fantastic event. To those who missed the rally, make a note in your diary for 2011

Hilary and Mike Stratton plus 38 year old Dippy.