Earlier this month, Hartridge proudly sponsored Simon Vogel and Mike Walker for their 4x4 Macmillan challenge.
Hartridge was pleased to hear that they won the 2010 competition. Simon and Mike have been raising funds for the Macmillan charity for 6 years and have won the title 5 times over the years.
So far the team has raised over £2400.00 this year for Macmillan with donations still coming in. The cancer charity focuses on practical, medical & financial support as well as pushing for better cancer care.
Here are the highlights of Simon and Mike race…
FRIDAY 05 MARCH
In 2007 we left the start at Britpart, Ludlow, and went straight ahead. Then in 2008 and 2009, we turned right, so there was a good chance we’d be going left this year. And we did, but we didn’t stay on the main road for very long. We soon turned off the A49 and onto smaller back roads – a theme that would continue throughout the whole of the 2010 event.
With a record level of entries this year, the organisers had cleverly split the field into two: odd numbers going one way and even numbers another, thus helping to minimise the impact on the local community. Good result for all, and one that kept competitors on their toes, as following the wrong car could possibly lead in disaster.
We worked our way down through Clun towards Knighton and then towards Radnor forest. The Radnor stage was excellent and set the standard for the weekend ahead. This was a long forest stage, mostly on good tracks, however, the added complication of snow laying around made for interesting progress at times. One thing was certain though; all participants seemed to love it!
Once out of Radnor, we progressed towards Pen-y-bont and a short comfort break at the local services, before setting off from through Rhayadar using back and mountain roads, via Cwmystyth, Devil’s Bridge and on to the overnight halt at Aberwstwyth. All the while we were on the lookout for answers to the clues provided by the organisers.
SATURDAY 06 MARCH
Saturday saw us start in ‘reverse order’ giving the vehicles with higher numbers the chance to be first out on stage. A short road trip down the A44 and we soon turned off towards Hafren Forest – sweet indeed, as much of this stage took in the famous Sweet Lamb stage renowned for its rallying heritage.
A brief break for lunch and we then went south of Hafren for another forest stage, great scenery and fantastic offroad terrain, before the evening finish back at Aberystwyth. But not for long!
At 8pm, we’d be back out again for a night section which took us back into Devil’s Bridge and then into the forest in the dark looking for more code boards. This saw us enjoy more super 4x4 terrain, snow on the ground and a route that took us right through the middle of a wind farm. Those windmills are huge and the noise they make in an otherwise silent location is very eerie! Once the stage was complete, we headed back into Aberystwyth to camp down for the night. The lovely spring sunshine during the day had given us clear skies and dropping temperatures – it was set up for a cold one.
SUNDAY 07 MARCH
The Sunday dawn brought a frosty realisation of just how cold it had been – not that those camping or sleeping in their vehicles needed any reminders! There was only one thing to do, boots quickly on and a short dash over the road into the local McDonalds. It was warm inside, the coffee was hot and we were that hungry we were ready to eat anything from the menu. Suitably refreshed, off we went back to await the start.
From 9 am, a short road section north through Tal-y-bont towards the ancient Welsh capital of Machynlleth, before turning inland, through Aberangell and Llanymawddwy and over the narrow mountain roads to the back end of Lake Vyrnwy.
Following a brief drive around the lake, we headed back up into the mountains until we reached the next checkpoint. A right turn and a "take care" from the marshal at the start meant we knew we were in for some fun. The right turn took us up to well over 2,000 ft – giving us some fantastic views, before descending into Penllyn Forest for some more great off road terrain. We were having that much fun enjoying the scenery and terrain, we almost forgot to look for code boards. Once out of Penllyn, we pressed on to Bala for the penultimate checkpoint.
The final stage took us past Bala4x4, Llandrillo and on up to Corwen. From there was just the short climb up the Horseshoe Pass and to the final check point. Our challenge was over for another year. We took a brief stop atop the pass at the Pondarosa Café to meet up with some of the other competitors, chat and grab a quick bite before the onward journey to Warrington.
That would herald the Royal Daresbury Hotel, a hot shower, some proper food and a warm bed for the night. And a realisation that it was all over for another year. After our third win in a row (and the fifth in six years) the other teams are now gunning for us. As 2011 sees the 10th running of the Mac 4x4 Challenge and Macmillan Cancers centenary year, so the organisers have promised us something special. We await the event with even more excitement than normal....
You can still make donations to Macmillan via the charity websitewww.justgiving.com/2010MacTeam27
Last updated: 24th March 2010