I recently returned from taking part in the 2017 Le Jog rally in the United Kingdom. Le Jog has the reputation of being the toughest classic car rally in Europe and this year it was even tougher. During 2017 Le Jog, the United Kingdom experienced the most snow and ice that they have had in the last seven years. This made a tough rally even tougher.
I was pleased to be navigating for Simon Arscott who had entered his 1962 BMC Works Austin Healey 3000 Rally Car. This actual car was driven by Paddy Hopkirk to second place in the 1962 RAC Rally. I understand that this car is the last of the 1962 BMC Works Austin Healey 3000 rally cars, as all of the other 1962 Works Austin Healey rally cars were destroyed in various accidents. After that time, BMC turned to the Minis for their Works rally cars.
Ready To Start The Le Jog At Land’s End
The weather at the start of Le Jog at Land’s End was quite cold and windy, but there was no snow that far south, however we did hear reports of lots of snow in Scotland. The day before the start of the rally Simon and I got all of our signing in activities completed. We also got our GaugePilot rally odometer calibrated. The GaugePilot has a calibration procedure that is quite easy to use and was quite accurate.
The day before the start of the rally the organizers held a rally school which was quite helpful. Shortly after the rally school, the organizers handed out the jogularity instructions, test layout book, and map book with most of the instructions for the first day. Using the information and clues provided in the jogularity book, the routes for the regularity sections need to be plotted on the provided map book. To say that this was time-consuming would be an understatement, especially for us first-timers.
Simon’s Austin Healey 3000 Rally Car Is A Spectacular Car
As can be seen from the pictures above and below, there were some sunny periods in the early stages of the rally.
Sunny Times Early In The 2017 Le Jog Rally
The Sunday overnight stop was quite short for us. We arrived at our hotel a little after 3:00AM, but we had to check into the hotel, get some sleep, eat breakfast all with a 9:16AM start time. Many cars got to the hotel after 4:00AM, so their night was very short indeed.
The other challenge for the competitors was an overnight snow fall. For those of us who live in the colder, snowy regions of North American, it is important to note that the United Kingdom has far less equipment available to deal with snow and ice. With the exception of the main transit or liaison roads, the rally roads were neither plowed, salted nor sanded. The snow lay where it fell.
Sunday Morning Snow Surprise
The other surprise/disappointment for me that I discovered late Saturday night, was that my Basic Roamer, used to plot map coordinates, was unusable. The Basic Roamer was fine on Friday. On Saturday I had tied the Basic Roamer to a necklace and placed it in my shirt pocket for easy retrieval and to prevent it from falling down into the nether regions of the car’s interior, especially at night. When I needed the Basic Roamer late Saturday night, I discovered that most of the ink/markings on the Basic Roamer had worn off, making it unusable. As a result, I had to plot a route identified by coordinates using my eyes only. Fortunately on Sunday morning, Rachel Wakefield, who was navigating for Tony Sheach, loaned me a new Basic Roamer. I am now in the process of getting another romer, but it won’t be a Basic Roamer.
On Sunday The Roads Became Quite Icy
Throughout Sunday the roads became increasingly icy. The rally route headed north into Scotland. At the same time, our engine was overfueling and had developed a uneven running sound. We had several scary moments on some steep roads in northern Wales. As we did not want to damage a very expensive and important rally car, we made the decision to withdraw from the Le Jog rally. It was the most sensible thing for us to do, so it took the disappointment out of the decision.
On the plus side, with the additional time, we enjoyed the hospitality of Adrian and Fiona Barwick, had the opportunity to spend some very enjoyable time with Paul and Sharon Woolmer and their family at Woolmer Classic Engineering Limited (a premier shop for everything Austin Healey and to see some of the wonderful cars that they are working on), and finally to spend a day in London.
The Le Jog rally is everything they say it is and more – especially for a first-timer. It is very time demanding. I took my camera, but I had no time to take any pictures. I made some mistakes and would do some things differently if I was doing it again. I feel that you have to do it once, as sort of a Le Jog “school”, in order to prepare yourself to do it. Would I do it again? You bet!
If you have any comments or questions about this post or the Le Jog rally, then please leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net