Palmers Farm

Image by Allan Marsh

Round 5 of the Isle of Wight Car Club’s 2023 Forward only Autotest season was an unsealed surface event held at one of the locations of this year’s Island Stages rally – Palmers Farm in Wootton.

This venue had everything from wide open land with nothing to hit, stunning views over the Solent and an undulating track that evolved as the day went on, producing quicker and quicker times.

The only modifications permitted in the unmodified classes are a rear 4 point roll cage for safety, a sump guard to protect the car and strict rules with regards to tyres.

This is fantastic for those on a budget or want to use their standard road car and compete with others on a level playing field.

Class 1 is for unmodified cars under 1400cc. Rob Highmore and Darren Phillips in their Ford Ka were consistently quick and there was next to nothing separating their times. On the final run Rob took the class win over Darren by a fraction of a second.

Class 2 is for unmodified cars over 1400cc. Jacques Ridett in his shared Toyota Corolla put in a fantastic time to take this class win.

If modifying cars is your game, then you will love competing in class 3 and 4.

Class 3 is for modified cars under 1400cc and Steve Staff in his “no money Micra” is proving that modifying cars can be cheap. Today Steve competed alongside his dad Gary Staff. Steve took the class win but has plans to dip his toe into class 4 with a new car later in the year.

Class 4 is for modified cars over 1400cc and Wayne Hole in his rally Ford Focus not only took the class win but finished on the top step of the podium with the fastest time of the day.

mage by Allan MarshI

Class 5 is for extremely modified cars and specials. This award went to Martin Goddard in his ex autocross motorbike powered special. This was Martin’s first outing in his new car and he is still finding his feet, however, it won’t be long before he is challenging for a podium spot.

Thank you to our podium Sponsors Pro-Tek for their support and awards . The battle for the podium was fought until the closing runs of the day.

During run 6 the slippery grass had worn away and what was left was a rough, grippy, yet dusty path to follow, however, any competitor who dipped a wheel off this well trodden path back onto the tall grass could loose valuable time. Jon Barrett in his rally Subaru Impreza and Wayne Hole were trading places for the top step all day and as we know Wayne secured that place and Jon had to settle for second overall. 

Third place on the podium was owned for a very long time by our eventual fastest lady of the day, Cathy True in her rally prepared MINI Cooper. Cathy is also entering the Island Stages rally in September and it looked as if all top 3 places were going to be taken by 3 rally drivers in their rally cars who have entered the Island Stages rally on the very land where one of the stages are due to be held. However, this was not to be. On the final run Kevin Richardson in his class 4 Suzuki Ignis Sport put in a time 3 tenths of a second faster knocking Cathy off the podium but the next car on track was Steve Glass in his class 4 MINI Cooper S and he knocked Kevin off the podium giving him the well deserved 3rd fastest time of the day.

Drivers can drive and compete at IOWCC from the age of 14 years old as part of the Youth Championship sponsored by Jake Ellis Sunglasses. Millie Blake, Alicia Perkins, Sam Wood, Alfie Froment, Kaiden Reed and Joel Glibly are proof that the Youth Championship is a success and making motorsport a family sport. Each youth driver is developing not only their driving skills years before hitting the road, they are the future of our club. Joel Gilby has been a youth driver for many years and is now driving to such a high standard it won’t be long before he is standing on the podium, so it was no surprise that today he was our Youth champion.

Mixed in with the action on track there was some serious competition taking part in the Kart Simulator organised by Wight Karting. We would like to thank Wight Karting for their support and allowing club members to try their simulator and organise medals for the 3 fastest sim drivers of the day. It may come as no surprise that the top 3 SIM drivers were all youth drivers. 3rd place went to Sam Wood, 2nd place went to Joel Gilby and our SIM podium winner was Kaiden Reed.

Again Thank you so much to Wight Karting for their support. 

The next event is also an unsealed surface event on the 23rd of July and is planned to take place at the iconic venue of Atherfield. This flat open field is always a popular venue with competitors as its super flat open space is very forgiving and if you have ever wanted to drive your road car on grass this is the event to try.

If you would like to enter the Island Stages rally as a competitor or see the action up close as a rally marshal please head to our club website for more details.


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