Durrants have recently pledged their support to Diss-based Planner, Jasmine Philpott, in her off-road car racing pursuit. Here’s the first of some occasional updates on her progress in events around the UK. This time: the Stone Enduro.
Keen not to miss out on driving this event in my own car, I decided to enter both the Warrior and the Excite car in the Stone Enduro, a comp safari hosted by Staffs and Shrops Land Rover Club. My choice meant twice the driving and half the rest. Ignoring all the ‘good luck’s and ‘you’re mad’s, I arrived at the farm mid-morning on the Saturday, dog and boyfriend in tow, ready for the challenge.
I quickly had a shock that made me regret my decision. The ‘enduro’ part of the title of this event apparently meant not only 2 days of racing, with night runs, but also what’s known as a ‘split and merge’, whereby instead of completing one lap at a time, you re-join the course and repeat it twice before crossing the finish line. They were planning to do 8 runs on each day. I already knew that meant 32 runs for me driving two cars, so to see this number double to 64 was quite alarming. Too late to back out now!
I walked the 6-mile course with my two navigators (one per car) – this is important because both of you need to know the route, and agree certain things, such as lines and speed. There are no pace notes allowed in comp safaris, so it’s always good to walk the course at least once.
We made it back from the walk in time to sign on and get both cars scrutineered, a process in which the car is checked for compliance with MSUK safety standards. Driver’s briefing was next, and I was thrilled to hear that they had removed the split and merge. Apparently, a lot of people were complaining because they hadn’t brought enough fuel for double the anticipated mileage!
I was under strict instructions not to scrape, damage or crash the Excite car, and to take it very easy, whereas the Warrior is my own car and therefore my problem if I damage it. Cars are set off in order of speed, so I went out in the Warrior in the top 10, got back, had some water and wiped the dirt from my face, then sprinted over to the Excite camp and took that car round. I was very busy, but it worked.
The two cars are like night and day – like driving a Fast-Trak and then getting into an Aston Martin. But, the principles are the same, and the Excite car is a much more relaxing drive than the Warrior. It is hard to explain to anyone the physicality of racing at top speed on such rough terrain – everything hurts, your fitness has to be excellent, and you need a day off to recover and stop aching.
Next event: Walters Arena, 8-9th October.
Find out more about Jasmine Philpott and her Dakar Rally mission