CCHMSC member Richard Welsh guides Ian this time
Background to the event and location - Richard Welsh
Many years ago, the White Heather Rally was a good stage rally which, like so many others faded into memory.
CC have resurrected it as a test-only event for historic and targa
classes run on the vast Kirkbride aerodrome. This was built at the
start of WW2 as a place to store new aircraft before delivery to
The White Heather Hotel
the aerodrome was used as the HQ for the Air Transport Auxiliary whose
job was to deliver the aircraft. Initially staffed by retired RAF
the ATA was known to stand for Ancient and Tatty Airmen but soon many
women took on the task of flying all types of planes from Spitfires to
Lancaster bombers. The hotel still stands and made an ideal HQ for the
One thing to remember though will be that the tarmac on
these airfields was deliberately made abrasive to help slow down the
aircraft on landing and it certainly takes its toll on tyres. The ones
on the rears had three millimetres of tread when we started the
rally but were showing the wire of the carcasses by the time it was
Too much excitement on the tests lleads to this sorry state. Just as well it is going home on the trailer!
|Ian Dixon, on a mission - White Heather Rally 5 March |Story Ian Dixon (MGB/GT Car no 27) & Richard Welsh
Wigton Motor Club ran the White Heather Historic Rally on Saturday 5th
March, located entirely on Kirkbride airfield Wigton. Twentyfour tests
and only 2 miles of public road used made for a very compact but
Dixon MGB/GT in lineup at Wigton
For this event Maurice Millar was not available
to navigate so I press ganged fellow CCHMSC member Richard Welsh, my number 2 navigator, into the
silly seat. We left on Friday afternoon and stayed in B&B near the
venue and got an early start on Saturday morning. The trailer park was
close to the start and we were quickly through the noise test and
scrutineered by John Graham and Chris Leece. No problems and so to
signing on and document checks, we were car no 26, with a total entry
The format for this event was 6 tests named “ White Heather, Stampers, Kerr, Rudd,
Sport and Monks Dyke”.
Entrants were split into groups of 5, each
group had a different start test and rotated around the tests until all
tests had been completed 4 times giving a total of 24 tests for the
day, 12 before lunch and 12 after lunch. This format meant minimal
waiting at the start of every test with the day flowing and being very
unusual feature of the event location was that thanks to the large
amount of space (and sufficient marshals), all six tests would run
simultaneously so instead of the entire field starting at test one, we
were split in to groups with one group starting at each test and then
moving round. The downside for us was that due to our late entry we
started at test six which was the most complex.
So no chance
of a gentle wake up for driver and navigator as we headed towards some
cones that had been placed VERY close to a couple of old hangars. As
these were built to withstand German bombs, they weren't going to
suffer in a collision with an MGB so we had to take it easy. A problem
with the organisers' diagram caused a slight hiccup but it was the same
Our first test was Monks Dyke, based on a side road
off the air field. We started with chicanes and a stop astride into a
cattle grid, continuing onto 3 groups of 4 cones where we had to enter
center and exit left of a group of 4 cones. 90 right along the rear 2
cones, 90 right back through the center and exit between the same cones
as you entered, sounds simple but most crews got this wrong all day. We
however got it wrong the first run but then cracked it and got it
correct on the next 3 runs. To be fair to Richard two additional cones
were present on the test that were not shown on the diagram but did
make a lot of difference to the test route.
White Heather next,
a fast flowing test around 12 cones on the full width of the runway, no
buildings or obstacles of any sort, but included a 360 around 2 cones
and a very tight 360 around 1 cone and a couple of 180 around cones.
Sport test was as we have used before on the Solway rally, a quick
blast up a runway with cones as gates and chicanes, the only difference
being a water splash more resembling an Olympic swimming pool at a good
200 meters long and no way of avoiding it. The question on everyones
lips was can we take this flat out or do we tip toe through it? We
plumped for the middle option maximum revs but not flat out. It seemed
to pay off as several competitors ended up with wet feet pushing their
cars out mid puddle to the end to dry them out.
the main run way again but very slippy with little or no grip after the
only shower of the day. Rudd, similar to Kerr’s but more involved
with toing and frowning up and down the test. Finally Stampers, a fast
flowing test around cones but very close to farm machinery, buildings
and loading bays. An enjoyable test but not to everyone’s liking.
We finished the day at second in class and fourth overall, my thanks to Richard for steering me to a great result.
very well run and organized event at a spectacular location and
hopefully will become an annual event. Our only issue of the day was
only apparent when putting the car on the trailer to come home, I
caught my hand on wire sticking out of the rear tyres which had 3
mm of tread when starting the rally in the morning, a sign I must have
been trying harder on this rally !.
Ian Dixon MGBGT car no 26.
|Updated 9 March 2016|