FTO Christmas Rally
18 & 19 December 1999

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Updated - "RAC fiasco" - see the bottom of this page.

The Christmas rally was held in the North Yorkshire Dales and incorporated plenty of beer and curry (the night before), then a drive through some great countryside and a Brewery tour (The Black Sheep Brewery). The weather was beautifully clear and crisp (and very cold) - a typical winters day. Many thanks to Chris Hayes, Jim Colyer and Richard Batty for allowing me to use their photos on this page.

Lineup Some lunatics...
The familiar lineup above and some very cold people to the right (from left to right; Karen Bradley, Fiona, Donna, Dave Wilson and Stuart Mutch).

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From left to right; Wayne Jackson, Fiona, Dave Hughes, Lisa Gething, Annette, Richard Batty & (the real) Karen Bradley, Stuart Mutch, Donna, Chris GP and Dave Wilson. Missing from the picture is Jim Colyer and wife Thalia (who went home with a damaged car) and Chris Hayes (who snapped the picture).

We were all chuffed to see the BatmobileTM. Chris' now famous FTO with the spoilers that come with a safety warning.

Holy arty photo Batman!
The Batmobile

Treasure hunt!

The treasure hunt took us over some great North Yorkshire Dales in the cold but beautiful weather.

Blue skies and open roadsA view from in Richard Batty's car

Aarrh! The treasure map cap'ain! The now familiar map provided us with the route and points along the way where we had to keep our eyes open. At the end of the route we parked in Marsham, home of the Black Sheep Brewery and Theakstons.

A space-saver wheel in actionTwin exhaust system

The Meal (and some beer)

Group of us! Jim Colyer and his wife Thalia
Chris GP and Chris Hayes Stuart and Donna again
Chris H and Dave Hughes Chris H and Karen Bradley
Dave W and Fiona Stuart Mutch and Donna
US! David Hughes, a little worse for wear

The highlight of the day was me winning the rally :) and the low point was Jim Colyer's car being attacked by low-life scum who tried to get his stereo. They scarpered empty-handed but left a trail of damage to Jim's window and dashboard. Unfortunately his front bumper was scraped too in the hotel car park by an unknown car. He had to drive back down south before the rally started in freezing temperatures and a bin-liner stuck over the gap where the window was :(

Unfortunately I had a blowout on the motorway before the rally began and had to drive a long way with the space saver on - which was not a pleasant experience!

The damaged tyre

As you can see from the above pictures, the sidewall had completely seperated from the tread and I'm lucky that I was not going (too) fast!

UPDATED - The saga with the RAC not picking me up and taking me home led me to cancel my subscription. Upon initially calling the RAC operator after the blowout (not an easy task in itself), at first they said that they could pick me up but they rang back some time later and said they couldn't. The reason was that under the small print they state that tyre or windscreen problems had to be dealt with locally and didn't warrant a tow home (I thought I had a package that covered a tow at every eventiuality). The best they could do was drop me at a garage and wait until the following morning. I refused to be dropped at a garage for several reasons:

  1. I was at work the next day so not only would I have had to take the day off but I also find accommodation for that night (it was after 9pm by this time).
  2. I would insist that the tyre that they would fit would HAVE to match the set already on the car. I would never fit different makes of tyre to a performance car like the FTO.
  3. When I got back home, it took the tyre dealer 2 days to source the required tyre from the south of the country!

I was forced to drive 200 miles home from North Yorkshire to West Cumbria in minus 4 degree temperatures (it read that on the climate display) with ice on the roads and of course I was on a space-saver.

The small print in the RAC contract states that if I have a problem with a tyre then they will drop me at a garage within 10 miles and that garage will then fix the tyre in the morning (the RAC's job is done). Personally, I did not like/agree with the RAC's policy then and looking back now (I'm writing this part some months later) I am still bitter with them. I really feel that they let me down and so I cancelled my policy immediately. When I signed up in 1996 at Goodwood, I understood that it was a top-notch service I had joined up to - at least the salesman who 'pressured' me gave me that impression. Their policy about getting to a garage the following morning so that a tyre can be fitted is all very well if you drive a Ford Escort but for the minority of people who need speciallist or uncommon tyres you can't do this.

Visit the Links section and look for the FTO Owners Club Resource to see some more rally photos