Ralph Lane came all the way from Canada to take part in the September Surprise Autotest. It was a real Lane family occasion as Arnold set Ftd. Ralph was best novice and Andrea won the special award for improving her time on the extra test. Neil Bray, Martin Cheshire and Dave Nash won the class awards.
Arnold Lane being presented with his award by Jean Lane
We had a fine day for the penultimate autotest of the season at Upper Caldecote. A few familiar names were absent for various reasons but the distance didnt stop Ralph Lane who came all the way from Canada to drive brother Arnolds Mini. This left Andrea without a drive, until Martin Cheshire stepped in with the offer of a spin in his Polo.
Alan Davies had reverted to all forward motion for some very fast, flowing, tests. Although the day was warm and dry the early morning dew made the meadow very slippery, especially as Neil hadnt cut the grass for some time and it was pretty long. Arnold set the initial pace from the very first test, hotly pursued by Neil Bray in his familiar Mini. Neil has not been beaten at Upper Caldecote for some time, but on this occasion he couldnt keep up with the flying Arnold, and the situation was made worse by a spot of cone bashing on test five. But Neil isnt the sort of guy to give up easily, he pulled back over a second on test six, but was still over ten seconds behind at lunch.
The flying Minis were having their private battle a long way ahead of the chasing pack, which was led by Martin Cheshire after the initial shock of being beaten by Andrea in his own car on the first test! This was the first time Andrea had autotested anything other than a Mini. She was finding the longer wheel-base car a lot less manoeuvrable, and lost quite a bit of time on a couple of the later tighter tests, to be behind both Martin and Michael Leete at the break. Ralph Lane was enjoying himself in Arnolds Mini, but was finding navigating the route around the cones was not as easy as it looked and picked up a few wrong courses. Dave Nash had bought Noddy out of storage for the day and was finding more grip than Peter Manning in his Clan to lead class D into lunch.
Dave Nash bought Noddy out to play
Neil was fired up after lunch and was fastest in some of the tests in the afternoon, but it wasnt enough to pull sufficient time back, and Arnold won his first head on battle with Neil and set FTD. Martin took the honours for first "non-Mini" amongst the front wheel drives and Dave Nash kept in front of Peters Clan to take the other class award. The biggest cheer of the day was for Ralph Lane, as he was presented with the best novice award by his wife Jean, who had been marshalling all day. Another trophy to sit beside the ones he has won in Karts and on Snowmobiles, all the way across the Atlantic.
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