CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Devon Life today CLICK HERE

Taking things up a gear, Adrenalin Rally, Middlesbrough

PUBLISHED: 09:17 21 March 2011 | UPDATED: 22:01 21 February 2013

Taking things up a gear, Adrenalin Rally, Middlesbrough

Taking things up a gear, Adrenalin Rally, Middlesbrough

Looking for a weekend with a bit of excitement – how about trying your hand at rally driving? Karen Bowerman headed to Middlesbrough to learn about powersliding, handbrake turns and the importance of apexes....

Taking things up a gear



Looking for a weekend with a bit of excitement how about trying your hand at rally driving? Karen Bowerman headed to Middlesbrough to learn about powersliding, handbrake turns and the importance of apexes.



The hillock came from nowhere.



OK, it had been there the previous lap but Id just driven up and down it then without much thought.



This time, having approached at speed we shot through the air. The steering wheel spun wildly. Its yellow dot the one I was supposed to keep at 12 oclock so the wheels stayed straight whipped round to six.



We hit the ground with a crash and swerved towards scrubland. I yanked the wheel back again, moving my hands from the nine and three oclock positions (thereby breaking all the rules), but somehow managing to get back on track.



Well saved! my instructor Tim Gray exclaimed, although we both knew it had been more down to luck than judgment. We careered towards the next bend



Keen for a weekend away and looking for a bit of excitement, Id booked a taster course at a newly opened rally driving school in Middlesbrough. The academys run by Tim and his business partner John Bintcliffe.


John used to drive for Audi and competed internationally with WTTC (World Touring Car Championship) leader Yvan Muller. Both he and Tim are also qualified instructors.



The day began in a small hut where having donned a pair of shiny red driving overalls, I felt I looked the part if nothing else.



I was encouraged to hear that girls (sorry guys) make better trainee rally drivers than men, largely because they listen, take instruction willingly and dont race off at the first opportunity. (Im merely repeating what was said).



Tim dug out a dummy wheel and spun it in front of him. He told me never to move my hands from nine and three oclock even if this meant my elbows were forever crossing my chest.



Then he talked a lot about apexes.



I scribbled away enthusiastically until my notepad was full of curves - with crosses denoting apexes, dotted lines various approaches and continuous lines the ideal route a driver should take when tackling a bend.

After the apexes, came the warnings: two stuck out in particular. I should never be out of control and never forget that a mistake takes at least four seconds to rectify, which in rallying is a lifetime.



Its not much fun spending your life sorting out the mistakes youve made, Tim said wryly; advice that seemed to resonate on more than the one level.



Outside the Saxo was waiting. I approached carrying my helmet under my arm like an astronaut heading into space. We clambered into a reinforced shell with roll bars and mud-splattered windows.



A familiarisation drive round a small practice track seemed to go quite well. But the moment we hit the main circuit and notched up the speed to 25 mph (which seemed a lot faster than dawdling in a traffic jam) I spun, swerved and skidded in all directions.



Tim had warned me it wasnt going to be easy because of overnight rain but gradually as the turbo boost whizzed and the waste gate churned, I felt I was beginning to get the hang of things.



Maybe I would graduate from my Saxo to the super-powered Subaru after all?



When we reached the starting post Tim suggested we paused. I think we need to work out where the apex is, he said. I was mortified.



But after another few laps I began to position the car more, shall we say mindfully, and things went a lot more smoothly. I also increased my speed to a heady 30mph.



I graduated kind of. As we headed towards the 350 bhp Subaru, I handed the keys to Tim, keen to experience what it was really like to race in a rally car.



We sped round the course, jumping, power-sliding and executing handbrake turns with ease. Ridges threw us at a slant, shingle slid round our feet, the engine revved and the clutch (literally) burned. I banged my head against the roof, held on for dear life and enjoyed the thrill of the ride.



Back in the hut I asked Tim how Id got on. He said there was no need to talk about laps and timings. But chatting to his young son whod been at the sidelines, I got the impression my best circuit had been a leisurely six minutes. Most trainees complete it in four



So, I said, handing in my overalls, I guess Im not really cut out to be a rally driver then?




Tim gave a beautifully non-committal reply.



www.epicmotorsport.com


Epic Motorsports Park, Teeside Autodrome, Dormor Way, South Bank, Middlesbrough Tel:0800 0141512


Prices 49-260 depending on the experience and what cars you want to drive.

0 comments

More from Out & About

Tue, 16:33

With breathtaking beaches, rolling countryside, stately homes and unique villages, it’s no wonder high-profile film productions flock to Devon - how well do you know the movies that have set up camp here however?

Read more
Tue, 15:17

Whether it’s on our beautiful beaches, in our magnificent moors or within our stunning stately homes, film productions are constantly setting up in Devon. Here are 16 that you might not know used the county as a filming location

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

From angry spirits to headless horses and ghoulish monks, Devon has more than a few supernatural stories to get your skin crawling. We have picked 11 haunted places in the county

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

October is the perfect time to discover the joys of Exmoor. Jennette Baxter of Visit Exmoor suggests five great ways to enjoy autumn on the moor

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Wild camping can be one of the best ways to escape the crowds for a night or two and lose yourself in the landscape - SOPHIE PAVELLE chooses her five favourite places to ‘wild-life’ camp in Devon

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

From sandy beaches and lighthouse-topped cliffs to views of the Jurassic Coast, the Devon coastline offers many perfect locations for a seaside walk. We pick 10 of the prettiest routes to take

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Take our quiz to find out how well you really know Devon

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

As the weather starts to warm up and the Devon countryside beckons, LIZZIE JANE of the National Trust in the South West offers plenty of walk ideas for you to try. Whether you want a relaxed Sunday stroll or a more strenuous hike, here are 10 walks across Devon (and beyond) to help you escape the crowds and head off the beaten track

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The South West Coast Path is celebrating 40 years by calling on people to help raise £40,000. To show their support, teams from Devon’s top tourist attractions are preparing to take to the trail. CHRISSY HARRIS finds out more

Read more
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Away from the hustle of places like Woolacombe and Ilfracombe, North Devon is peppered with tiny coves, empty beaches and wooded walks leading to secluded bays that feel a million miles away from the tourist trail. BECKY DICKINSON reveals her pick of the best kept secrets on the North Devon coast

Read more
Friday, September 14, 2018

As part of her regular series where she visits Devon’s best places for 24 hours, Lydia Tewkesbury has this time been to Sidmouth

Read more
Thursday, September 13, 2018

Ranging from rocky and windy walkways along the South West Coast Path to the sandy beaches on the picturesque coastline, the district of North Devon is one of the prettiest coastal areas in the South West of England. In no particular order, here are 10 of the prettiest villages in the district of North Devon

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

In Devon’s towns and cities there’s an awful lot you can do in just 24 hours. For her regular feature, Lydia Tewkesbury travels to see what you can do in a day in Kingsbridge

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Villages in Devon are some of the prettiest in the South West. From beautiful little hamlets on the outskirts of the moors to seaside communities, we pick 10 villages in Devon you need to visit

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy



Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search