Long term tests

Peugeot 205 GTI

Henry Catchpole tries his hand at rallying

My Peugeot is sitting outside the office with a number-plate gaffer-taped to the inside of the rear window. Most of the rear bumper is in the boot. Or somewhere on the North York Moors. Such is the lot of a rally car.

Luckily I have a spare bumper, and the sacrifice was undoubtedly worth it, because by some miracle I’ve now finished five out of five rallies, meaning I have all the signatures I need to get my International Stage Rally Licence. Just a medical stands between me and the Suzuki in Kielder forest…

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As well as the North Humberside Rally, co-driver Owen Brown and I have also been up to Lincolnshire twice for single-venue events at the Manby Motorplex. Owen was unfortunately reduced to ballast in the co-driver’s seat because of his carsickness, but he still thoughtfully held up the directions so I could see them, and it was good to have someone else in the car to tell me to curb my enthusiasm occasionally, or to help push if the Pug decided it would rather use human power than its starter motor’s. Nevetheless, a new Owen is currently in development…

Apart from the fact that my 205 has survived, the other thing that’s amazed me about rallying is the friendliness of everyone invoved in it. People with years of experience have emailed me to say I should get in touch if I need any advice or help. Meanwhile the service areas have sometimes felt more like one big team effort than a hotbed of competition – nowhere more so than in the 205 Challenge, which I joined for one round.

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The man who runs it, Pat Flynn – a Peter Kay double if ever there was one – was cooking bacon sandwiches in his Max and Paddy wagon, while ‘Darky’ from Welsh Rally Developments kindly changed all my 205’s Yokohamas. And all this in the snow…

Those conditions could well explain the number of cars on their roofs after just two stages. If any of them need replacing, or if anyone else wants to start their own rally adventure, then F823 DMS is now back on the market – complete with a new rear bumper.

Running Costs

Date acquiredFebruary 2008
Total mileage65,677
Costs this month£0
Mileage this month251
MPG this monthwasn’t looking!
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