Monday, 8 October 2018

Team Flying Log RBRR 2018 Post Run report

This year was my 7th Round Britain Reliability Run and the 6th that I have successfully completed. I had put a lot of work into preparing the car of the last few weeks and the 2,000 miles of very hard driving for 48 hours were completed without any major mishaps.

Having said that we had our first minor issue before the start.

Mark, Glynn and me went for a pre run Italian meal in Stevenage and noticed the exhaust was not being held up by the hanger on the tailpipe. A quick look revealed that the rubber hanger had split, no big issue as I had a spare one on board and it was replaced in a few minutes by Mark.

Mark replacing the rubber exhaust hanger.
We arrived ready for the start just after 2pm, which was shortly after the start was opened. Knowing that the organisers had advised they would be starting the cars off in order of arrival we had planned this.

A few teams pulled out at the last minute, but the starting field was 130 cars, quite an impressive sight in the grounds of Knebworth hall.
130 cars at the start in the grounds of Knebworth Hall

Leaving the start.

The field were waived away to start just after 6pm and we were onto the A1M by about 6:15 heading North to the first checkpoint - Whetherby Services with Mark at the wheel. We made excellent progress reached the checkpoint about 30 mins before it was ready to open, this included stopping off at Pontefract for fuel to avoid the heavy prices at the motorway services (£155 a litre ouch!)

Glynn took over the driving from Whetherby The next Checkpoint was a layby on the A68 right on Scottish Border, Carter Bar, again we arrived early and had to wait for the checkpoint to open. The checkpoint was what is known as a passage control with no formal stop, just a handover of the road book through the window of the car for signature by the Marshalls. Glynn continued driving up the A68 until our next refuel stop in Jedburgh where we swapped drivers to me.

I drove the next stint up to the end of the A68, around the South of Edinburgh on the Motorways then across the new Forth Bridge. We then went to the next checkpoint again a passage control at Knockhill race circuit near Perth and Kinross. Mark then took over the driving. After a quick petrol stop in Perth as we knew there would no more fuel available until Inverness we continued  up through the highlands on the A9 past Inverness, across the Cromoty Forth and to the next checkpoint, Skiach Services which we reached at around 4:40am in the dark and again had to wait for the control to open.

Glynn then took over and drove the next stage up to John O'Groats. This is a really good stretch, hugging the East Coast of the North of Scotland while the sun started to rise, dipping in and out of fishing villages with oil rigs lit up out to sea in the background. We arrived at John O'Groats at around 7:30 ready for breakfast and the most Northerly checkpoint.

Glynn at the wheel prior to reaching John O'Groats.

Parked up at John O'Groats with the Seaview Hotel, our breakfast stop and checkpoint behind.
After Breakfast we drove up to the famous John O'Groats Signpots for photos.

The Flying Log at John O'Groats

Me, Glynn and Mark at John O'Groats
After John O Groats I took over the driving. One of the best sections of the run, the route runs across the North coast of Scotland, past Douneray power station and then cuts down through the centre of the Northern Highlands. This year our route was disrupted by a road closure so we had to follow a diversion slightly further west. This wasn't a problem as it didn't add much to the distance and the scenery was stunning. Although classed as an A road our route was single track with passing places but not many cars other then the Triumphs on the run although we did get stuck behind a sight seeing coach for a while.

Driving through the single track A roads in North Scotland
Stunning Scenery

Rainbow end in an Island off the coast in Northern Scotland.

After running through the top of Scotland it was back again to a checkpoint at Skiach Services, this time in daylight.

The rough roads in Scotland together with a car loaded up with tools, spares and 3 blokes had taken it's toll on the rear exhaust box which had bottomed out frequently. However, I knew this would happen from experience and had added some large clamps around the box so that the clamps took the scraping rather than causing damage to the actual exhaust.

Clamps added on to the exhaust box to take the scraping rather than wearing away the rear box.The one of the left has nearly worn away at this point and did disappear completely later in the run!

The Flying Log at Skiach Services

Some of the rest of the Field at Skiach Checkpoint
A few of the teams took the opportunity to carry out some maintenance to fix breakages. We checked the oil, water and adjusted the throttle cable which had some slack but no major work was needed.

Crews fixing their cars at Skiach

Mark drove from Skiach onwards it was another great route with pretty scenery, along the edge of Loch Ness and the Caledonian Canal, through Fort William and Glenn Coe to the next checkpoint at Stirling Services.

From Stirling Glynn took over for the Stint back down across the border into England, motorways all the way to the next checkpoint at Tebay Services.

Tebay Services checkpoint in the Lake district

We used Tebay for a refuel of both the car and the teams. Tebay is in the Lake district so I decided to have a local Cumberland Ring Sausage for my Dinner.

I took over the drive after Tebay, a dash along motorways a duel carriageways through the North West of England to the next checkpoint, Gledrid Services near Oswestry close the the Welsh Border.

Gledrid Services Checkpoint
After Gledrid Mark took over. The next section was down through the centre of Wales and across the Brecon Beacons. Hilly twisty roads devoid of traffic in the early hours and time for a very spirited drive along with a few of the other crews. The next checkpoint was at Monmouth Services which we again reached early so had time for a well earned coffee.

Monmouth Services Checkpoint

From Monmouth Glynn took over, the route was supposed to go via some nice roads through the Wye Valley, but unfortunately the road was closed so we found a route along some dual carriageway to the Severn Bridge and back into England. Then it was down the M5 and along the A30 into the west country and the next checkpoint at a services in Okehampton in Devon. I took over from there to bring us to our most Southerly and Western checkpoint at Lands End. We were there early again and had some time to kill before breakfast in the Lands End Hotel.

The Flying Log at Lands End

Mark Glynn and me at Lands End
After Lands End Mark drove the next section to a checkpoint at Bude Castle on the North Cornish coast.

Bude CastleCheckpoint
After Bude Glynn Drove down across Cornwall into Devon to the next checkpoint at Dartmeet on Dartmoor.
Dartmeet checkpoint , Badgers Holt car park on Dartmoor.

From Dartmeet I took over for the journey back towards home. The next checkpoint was at the village hall in Pimperne where the local area of the Triumph Cub laid on Tea and a great spread of cakes. Glynn's wife Anne-Marie came to cheer us on at Pimperne, a bit of a good effort considering she had just been competing in a half Marathon in Bournemouth that morning.

Pimperne checkpoint

Pimperne checkpoint Tea and Cakes yum yum  

Mark took over the driving after Pimperne, just like heading home for him as we went up the A34 past Oxford and then North along the A40 for a bit to the next stop, Thurweston Airport near Brackley.

The team on board the Flying Log at Thurwestern Aerodrome checkpoint.
Glynn took over from Thurweston for the final section of the run back to Knebworth. We arrived safely at Knebworth in the dark without any issues. Round Britain Run Successfully completed and the car and drivers performed brilliantly. We got our roadbook signed at the finish checkpoint desks and posed for photos, then it was off to a local hotel in Stevenage for some well earned beers, a meal and of course some sleep well needed after 48 hours with only a few dozes in a bumpy car seat.

The Flying Log successfully back at Knebworth

The team at the Knebworth control finish desk

Thanks to the organisers of the run and off course our charity sponsors. As of Monday afternoon we had raised £970 for Epilepsy Support UK and I hoped to get a further £350 from my employer (Vodafone) who do a charity sponsorship match of up to £350.

Further update as of 13th October, total raised by team flying log is now over £1,400 including £350 matched funding from Vodafone which I have had approved.

The event takes place every two years so thoughts are already on the RBRR in 2020 which will be for another worthy (yet to be chosen) charity. 

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