Will preparation standards be a factor in French ERC round?
When Kevin Procter took part in Croft Circuit’s pre-season media launch on Tuesday it afforded the chance for some conversation with preparation expert Tony Bardy. Procter’s car was, as you would expect from anything that is allowed through the doors of Bardy’s workshop, immaculate, but to get the car back in that condition after the British ERC event at Lydden had taken a lot of hard work and effort.
Andy Scott splashes through the rain and mud at Lydden. © Henk de Winter/RallycrossWord.com
“We were three days cleaning the cars after Lydden, it’s a long time since we have had event like that,” said Bardy. “I don’t what’s in the track at Lydden but there’s something corrosive in it, it eats into the anodised finish on bolts. We have military grade connectors in the wiring and it had even got inside of them, we’ve stripped so much of the car in the last three weeks you wouldn’t believe it. I spoke to Jos Kuypers the other day and he said the same, they’d spent days cleaning the car and then started to repaint the underside.”
Bardy and Kuypers are not alone, Michael De Keersmaecker clearly enjoys racing in the rain, but admits there’s a downside. “I like the rain when it comes during a race but I don’t like the work that it makes. After Lydden… there was so much work to do on the car. But we have done it and I’m sure that we are ready no matter what happens here,” said the Belgian.
While there is no doubting that Bardy’s eye for detail and his meticulous quality control set a standard that few, if any, in the paddock can match, the Yorkshireman makes a very serious point about preparation. “There’ll be some who come unstuck this weekend because of what happened at Lydden,” he says, clearly indicating that those whose standards of cleanliness are not as high as his own, may be inviting trouble by having left dirt or corrosion to create a weakness in their car.
Louis Pasteur is credited with saying that “luck favours the prepared mind”, which translates well enough into the old motor sport adage “luck is made in the workshop”. Whichever way you want to look at it, Bardy is more or less stating the obvious fact that you will only get out of motor sport the equivalent of what you put in; in this case seeing that the reliability of the car may have been compromised as a result of running it in wet and dirty conditions at one event means you need to make the extra effort to reinstate that reliability before going to the next event.
Under the skin the two Bardy-prepared Fords of Procter and stablemate Andy Scott are white. White inside, white under the bonnet. Presented for scrutineering in France both are good as new, the only dirt that which has been picked up from the unsealed surface of the paddock at Dreux while the car moved from its truck to the scrutineering bay. If it’s true that cleanliness is next to Godliness…