20 Feb: Knockhill Stages Preview

Grant Construction Knockhill Stages, 23rd Feb …

The 2020 Marshall Construction Scottish Tarmack Rally Championship gets under way this Sunday with Border Ecosse Car Club’s Grant Construction stages Rally at Knockhill. Eight stages are planned with the first cars getting underway at 08.31 Hrs.

Last year’s winner John Marshall will lead the field off on Sunday, but in place of last year’s winning Impreza, he will be at the wheel of his new Fiesta R5. Also in  a Fiesta R5 is the number 2 seed, Alan Kirkaldy and they will be followed by the Mitsubishi Lancers of Donnie MacDonald and Scott MacBeth. Robert Marshall will run at 5 in his Impreza with Kyle Adam next up in the 2.5 litre Escort and it will be interesting to see what the rapidly improving youngster can do with RWD versus the all wheel drive tractors ahead of him.

Elsewhere in the top ten is the Fiesta R5 of Trevor Gamble and Harry Chalmers in a Subaru but running at nine is one for the old timers, Jock Threadgall in a Mitsubishi.

But perhaps the best scrap of the day will come from the 1600s with Dangerous Des Campbell seeded at 7 in the wee Peugeot and Slippery Steven Hay in the Corsa. Now that should be a duel worth watching.

So what the entry list lacks in numbers, the quality and variety is there for a day of fast and furious fun. Just remember to bring your open toed sandals, snow shoes and wellies!

Entry List

1, John Marshall/ Scott Crawford (Ford Fiesta R5) 1600, Class 5

2, Alan Kirkaldy/TBA (Ford Fiesta R5) 1600, Class 5

3, Donnie MacDonald/Andrew Falconer (Mitsubishi Evo9) 1997, Class 5

4, Scott MacBeth/Daniel Forsyth (Mitsubishi Evo9) 1998, Class 5

5, Robert Marshall/Lewis MacDougall (Subaru Impreza) 1999, Class 5

6, Kyle Adam/Steven Brown (Ford Escort Mk2) 2500, Class 4

7, Des Campbell/Craig Forsyth (Peugeot 206) 1600, Class 2

8, Trevor Gamble/David Leach (Ford Fiesta R5) 1600, Class 5

9, Jock Threadgall/Keith Atkinson (Mitsubishi Evo9) 1998, Class 5

10, Harry Chalmers/Emma Muir (Subaru Impreza) 2000, Class 5

11, Steven Hay/Francis Simpson (Vauxhall Corsa) 1598, Class 2

12, Billy Cowe/Craig Wallace (Subaru Impreza) 1994, Class 5

14, Ian Archer/Ewan Lees (Mini Cooper) 1598, Class 2

15, David McIntyre/Matthew Osinski (Vauxhall Nova) 1598, Class 2

16, James Strachan/Steven Crockett (BMW 3 series) 3, Class 4

17, Allan Matheson/Scott McQueen (Ford Escort) 1750, Class 3

18, Allan Watt/Dean Stott (Citroen Saxo) 1600, Class 2

19, Joe McKeand/Callum Shanks (Subaru Impreza) 20, Class 5

20, Colin Blake/Pauline Blake (BMW Mini) 1599, Class 2

21, Iain Miller/Gary McDonald (BMW E36 Coupe) 3000, Class 4

22, Drew Barker/Shona Hale (Vauxhall Corsa) 1600, Class 2

23, Andy Chalmers/Martin MacCabe (Subaru Impreza) 1998, Class 5

24, Carin Tait-Logan/Claire Mole (Citroen Saxo VTS) 1598, Class 2

25, Eamonn Kilmurray/Derek Cassells (Citroen C2 GT) 1360, Class1

26, Christopher Smith/Amy McCubbin (Vauxhall Nova) 1400, Class1

27, Marc McCubbin/Andrew Blackwood (Ford Focus) 2000, Class 3

28, John MacKay/Johnnie MacKay (Nissan Micra) 998, Class1

29, Stuart Waite/Lisa Demirkoc (Peugeot 206) 1587, Class 2

30, Alister Watson/Stuart McBride (Ford Escort Mk2) 2000, Class 3

31, Michael Cruickshank/Connor Gardiner (Nissan Micra) 998, Class1

32, Campbell McColm/Donald McColm (Peugeot 106) 1600, Class 2

33, Jack Lunn/Joseph David Lunn (Peugeot 106) 1600, Class 2

20 Jan: Obituary – John Cowan

… John Cowan, 1940 – 2020 …

Sadly, John Cowan passed away last week. Not a name that will be familiar to many of you but a sad loss to Scottish motor sport, particularly to rallying. He may not have been known personally to many of you, but his was a weel kent face. He was immediately recognisable in Rally HQs around the country with his lustrous black hairstyle which often looked as though he had arrived at speed on the back of a motor cycle, having forgotten to put on his helmet.

Nor does his name adorn many sporting or championship trophies. John Cowan was one of those who worked tirelessly in the background helping to create the sport that we all cherish and enjoy today.

A Civil Engineer by profession and a lifelong member of 55 Car Club by choice, he was part of the team which introduced the concept of using forest roads as rally stages with the club’s Hackle Rally being one of the first events in the UK to use a section of Forestry Commission road as a Special Stage in the early 1960s.

In fact, 55CC were already using a stretch of ‘forestry gravel road’ behind Blair Castle for their own event when the 1960 RAC Rally inserted a 1.8 mile stretch of Forestry Commission gravel road as a timed test in their route for the first time. That was in Argyll, and its success led to the introduction of  200 miles of FC roads for their event the following year in 1961.

By that time, 55CC were already incorporating more FC road tests in their own Hackle Rally as other clubs and organisers followed suit.

Throughout that period, John was involved in the marshalling and organising of a whole range of competitions within the club culminating in him becoming club President.

This expertise and meticulous attention to detail was recognised further afield and he was invited to join the Royal Scottish Automobile Club’s team for their annual Scottish Rally to help with the Perthshire route. By 1976 he was  Sector Marshal on ‘the Scottish’ with responsibility for sections of the route each day which were longer than a full National Rally these days! That role expanded over the years and in 1979 he was made Deputy Clerk of the Course for Scotland’s premier International event, a post which he held till 1998. Subsequently he served as Rally Manager and Chairman of the organising committee for a few years.

In 1995 he was awarded the ‘Pentti Airikkala Trophy’ for his efforts. Presented annually by the RSAC this award recognises the efforts and achievements of those who work behind the scenes, often thanklessly and anonymously.

Perhaps surprisingly, and unlike motor racing Clerks of the Course, those in rallying did not need to be qualified or licensed, merely appointed by the organising team, on the basis of ability and experience. As the sport grew in popularity and the rules and regulations grew in complexity, the RAC Motor Sports Association (as it then was) recognised the need to formalise this senior post within the sport.

This was a move welcomed by John who worked with the RAC MSA, then the MSA, and who became a Club Steward and MSA appointed Steward on events, passing on his advice and guidance to a new generation of organisers. Throughout that time he was also involved in ESACC, the East of Scotland Association of Car Clubs, which was eventually amalgamated with AWSMSC (Assoc. of West of Scotland Motor Sport Clubs) to form the current Scottish Association, SAMSC.

Whilst you won’t see his name recorded in newsprint columns or on many trophy plaques, it was commonplace in car club committee minutes, Association notes and MSA paperwork. One of the silent minority perhaps, but one whose influence was felt nation-wide. For sure the sport will miss him, but none more so than his wife Eileen, sons Keith and Kenneth and  daughter Nicola, and their wider family and friends. Our heartfelt condolences to them all.

15 Jan: 2020 SRC Regs Avail.

The regulations for the 2020 KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship (SRC) season have been published, with registrations also now open ahead of the upcoming season.   For over 50 years, the SRC has been Scotland’s premier rally championship and in 2020 offers over 300 competitive stage miles across seven rallies […] Read more »

15 Dec: Rallying – The Future?

Motor sport … The Future … Does it have one? … The world as we know it didn’t change the other night (12 Dec). We all got up and went to work as usual the next morning or took the weans to school (13 Dec). Even the weather didn’t offer […] Read more »

12 Dec: JCR – The Blethers

On a lighter note … Winner in 2011, David Bogie was the only previous JCR winner who contested this year’s event. At 2pm on Friday, Donnie MacDonald landed at Edinburgh Airport – and the rally in Duns started at 3pm. “I had been in Rome for the Celtic/Lazio game,” he […] Read more »

11 Dec: JCR – Class Roundup

Jim Clark Rally, 8/9 Nov. 2019 Class Roundup … With Mum Louise in London for the weekend, there was no ‘parental constraint’ on Gina Walker’s pace as she sped to victory in the 1400cc Class 1 in a borrowed Vauxhall Astra. “I’m loving it,” she said, “we were off into […] Read more »