15 May: RSAC Scottish preview

… RSAC Scottish Rally Rally, Sat 18 May …
Rd3 (of 6) – KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship …

In the two rounds of this year’s KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship so far we’ve seen Scotland (and bits of England!) at its worst and at its best, so goodness knows what we will get this coming Saturday on the RSAC Scottish Rally, so bring your wellies and sun cream.

Heading the entry list are Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton with six wins from six outings (SRC and BTRDA) so far this year and the chase is on to make it seven in a row this coming Saturday. On the other hand, David Bogie regards this as ‘home’ turf and he will undoubtedly be keen to bring ET’s winning run to an end. Last time out on the Speyside Stages it looked as though he had victory in the bag, but the Skoda broke its steering and gifted victory to Thorburn’s Focus WRC.

But if you think the rally is just about these two, forget it. Jock Armstrong’s Subaru Impreza may be outgunned by the more modern machinery, but in the unpredictable Armstrong hands, anything is possible.

Behind Armstrong are the Fiesta R5s of Garry Pearson and Donnie MacDonald. Garry will be hoping for a better result this weekend after sliding off the road on the Speyside while Donnie will be keen to get his season back on track after a non-finish on the Border and an ‘off’ on Speyside.

Getting more familiar with his new Focus WRC on each outing is Bruce McCombie but there will be another R5 kid on the block this weekend as Freddie Milne swaps his Mitsubishi for a Fiesta. He had an encouraging trial run out on the Plains Rally last weekend before brake failure sidelined him so he’ll be hoping for a more reliable run this weekend. Michael Binnie, John Wink and Iain Bainbridge complete the top ten line-up.

Iain Wilson and Chris Williams head the 2WD line-up which runs first on the road ahead of the 4WD brigade. Iain lost out on Speyside with clutch failure so he’ll be keen to make amends but will have to contend with the fervent attentions of similarly Mk2 mounted Duncan MacDonald and Paul McErlain.

We should also see a resumption of the BMW battle between Keith Robathan and Mark McCulloch. Despite his lack of familiarity with the Car, Mark wasn’t far off Keith’s pace on the Speyside.

For auld gits and nostalgias fans, there’s a whole flock of Escorts amongst the Historic entries which includes Steve Magson’s Mercedes-Benz, and that’s well worth seeing in the woods!

Speaking of auld gits Donald Peacock Snr and Niall Cowan Snr have both entered and their primary threats come from the weans, Scott Peaock Jnr and Niall Cowan Jnr. So there will be plenty of variety to see and cheer on.

The rally gets underway on Saturday morning from Moffat High Street at 09:00 Hrs when the 2WD cars lead off the 80 plus field to the first of the day’s 6 stages around Ae and Eskdalemuir. First car is expected back at the Moffat finish around 16:00 Hrs.

As is the way of things these days, spectating is limited, so don’t blame the organisers. That was all down to the actions of someone who should have known better. Hopefully these restrictions may be eased in the future but for the moment don’t do anything to antagonise the Officials and Marshals.

Special Stages 2 & 6, Castle O’er: First Cars Due 10:20 & 15:00 Hrs
Parking is available within the forest. Approach via the B723 from Lockerbie or Eskdalemuir and turn into the forest as shown on the map. Care – this is also the competitor access to the stage. Turn right again to the car park area. There is limited parking overlooking the stage for early birds. Please park sensibly to one side of the road. Exit the car park by the same route – please give way to competitors on your way out. The viewing area is beside the car park. Please do not attempt to cross the burn as this is a prohibited area for safety reasons.

Special Stage 4, Solwayprint Ae: First Car Due 12:40 Hrs
Arrive early for the best vantage point and parking space. Parking is at the Ae picnic area from where you can walk to the popular viewing area at a tight hairpin left. Follow the unclassified road from Ae Bridgend on the A701, keep straight on through the crossroads at Ae Village and then look out for the forestry signs to the Ae Valley car park on your right.
The area will be very busy. Please drive slowly and with caution, particularly through Ae Village. Do not use the unclassified road from Parkgate.

There is NO access at all to the Ae stage through Gubhill Farm. Anyone attempting access via this route will be reported to the police and the stage will be cancelled.

Please do not attempt to reach any locations other than those shown on the website.
Please park sensibly.
Do not obstruct public roads or access for emergency vehicles, residents and other members of the public.
Please take all your litter home and leave the stages as you’d like to find them next year.

On-Line maps of Spectator Venues here:

4WD Entries
1, David Bogie/John Rowan (Dumfries/Clady) Skoda Fabia R5, 1600cc, Class 11
2, Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton (Duns/Inverness) Ford Focus WRC, 2000, 11
3, Jock Armstrong/Cameron Fair (Castle Douglas/Stewarton) Subaru Impreza, 1998, 10
4, Garry Pearson/Dale Bowen (Duns/Aberdare) Ford Fiesta R5, 1600, 11
5, Donnie MacDonald/Andrew Falconer (Inverness/Inverness) Ford Fiesta R5, 1600, 11
6, Bruce McCombie/Michael Coutts (Banchory/Torphins) Ford Focus, 2000, 11
7, Freddie Milne/Patrick Walsh (Aberdeen/Aberystwyth) Ford Fiesta R5, 1600, 11
8, Michael Binnie/Claire Mole (Cornhill-on Tweed/Duns) Mitsubishi Evo9, 2000, 9
9, John Wink/Neil Shanks (Huntly/Elgin) Hyundai i20 R5, 11
10, Ian Bainbridge/Mark Fisher (Darlington/Workington) Subaru Impreza, 1998, 10
11, Scott Macbeth/Daniel Forsyth (Aberdeen/Elgin) Mitsubishi Evo 9, 1998, 10
12, Chris Collie/Gary McDonald (Castle Douglas/Aberdeen) Mitsubishi Evo8, 2000, 10
14, Thomas Gray/Harry Marchbank (Tore/Thornhill) Mitsubishi Evo9) 2000, 9
15, Alan Dickson/Martin Forrest (Glasgow/Bridge of Don) Mitsubishi Evo9, 2000, 10
16, Keith Morris/Terry Mallin (Aberdeen/Motherwell) Mitsubishi Evo6, 1999, 10
17, Ian Baumgart/Sinclair Young (Hawick/Lairg) Subaru Impreza , 1998, 9
18, John McIlwraith/Jonathan Fowler (Canonbie/Brampton) Subaru, Impreza, 1999, 9
19, Kevin Crawford/Andrew Stevenson (Alford/Elgin) Mitsubishi Evo 9, 1997, 10
20, Robert Adamson/Jane Nicol (Moscow/Edinburgh) Skoda Fabia S2000, 1998, 10
21, John Rintoul/Ross Hynd (Lower Largo/Inverbervie) Skoda Fabia, 2500,
22, Stuart Irvine/Marc Irvine (Erskine/Bishopton) Mitsubishi Evo 7, 1997, 10
23, Tom Coughtrie/Ian Fraser (Ayr/Salen) Mitsubishi Galant VR4, 2025, 5
24, Max Redpath/Callum Redpath (Duns/Duns) Subaru Impreza, 2000, 9
25, Mike Moates/Michael Moates (Ellon/??) Subaru Impreza, 1999, 9
26, Sandy Arbuthnott/Ian Arbuthnott (Elgin/Forres) Ford Focus, 2000, 9
27, William Whyte Nicoll/Ian Shiells (Brechin/Monikie) Mitsubishi Evo6, 2, 9
28, Jan Budge/Bruce Lindsay (Thatcham/Thirsk) Subaru Impreza, 1998, 9
29, Paul Collins/Robert Wood (??/??) Subaru GC8, 20, 9
30, Iain MacDonald/Derek Campbell (Moy/Edinburgh) Subaru Impreza, 2500, 9
31, Aileen Forrest/Paul Cummins (Inverurie/Wishaw) Mitsubishi Evo5, 1997, 9

2WD Entries (Running first on road)
32, Iain Wilson/Chris Williams (Dalbeattie/Millom) Ford Escort Mk2, 2100, 8
33, Duncan MacDonald/Neil Ross (Portree/Portree) Ford Escort Mk2, 2000, 7
34, Paul McErlean/Niall McKenna (Bellaghy/Draperstown) Ford Escort Mk2, 2000, 7
35, Roger Chilman/Paul Morris (Hereford/Ross on Wye) Ford Escort, 1975, 5
36, Gordon Murray/David O’Brien (Perth/Duns) Ford Escort Mk2, 2300, 8
37, Keith Robathan/Steven Brown (Aberdeen/Fort William) BMW M3, 2998, 8
38, Mark McCulloch/Michael Hendry (Dumfries/Archiestown) BMW E30, 2800, 8
39, Fraser MacNicol/Ricky Finlayson (Ullapool/Inverness) Ford Escort Mk2, 2000, 4
40, Paddy Munro/Keir Beaton (Kyle/Inverness) Ford Escort Mk2, 1800, 4
41, Steve Magson/Miles Cartwright (Pickering/??) Mercedes 190e 2.3 16v, 2299, 8
42, Barry Lindsay/Caroline Lodge (Carlisle/Brampton) Peugeot 206 Cup Car, 1587, 3
43, A Douglas Watt/Ian Parker (Furnace/Lochgilphead) Ford Escort Mk2, 2000, 4
44, Carl Tuer/Rob Tuer (Alnwick/Alnwick) Suzuki Swift Maxi 2000, 1998, 6
45, David Brown/Steve Bielby (Pickering/Kirbymisperton) Ford Escort Mk2, 1998, 5
46, Scott Sloan/David Sloan (Dumfries/Dumfries) Peugeot 208, 1600, 3
47, Dave Forrest/Jamie Forrest (Shipley/Keighley) Ford Escort, 1998, 5
48, Jude MacDonald/Michael Cruickshank (Inverness/Crieff) Skoda Fabia R2, 1598, 3
49, Jim Robertson/Mike Curry (Penpont/Thornhill) Ford Escort, 1998, 5
50, Michael Renton/Jamie MacTavish (Bonar Bridge/Leeds) Peugeot 306, 1998, 6
51, Stuart Cariss/Linda Cariss (York/York) Ford Escort Sport, 1600, 5
52, James Campbell/Kenny Foggo (Wick/Inverness) Talbot Sunbeam, 1600, 2
53, Gina Walker/Richard Simmonds (Duns/Duns) Citroen C2, 1600, 3
54, Jamie McIntyre/Gerry Bryden (Sorn/Sorn) Ford Escort Mk2, 2498, 8
55, William Pollock/Helen Brown (Cumnock/Auldgirth) Ford Escort Escort Mk1, 1998,
56, Terry Cree/Richard Shores (Thirsk/Thirsk) BMW 2002ti , 1998, 5
57, Walter Henderson/Jim Kinloch (Carnwath/Carnwath) Ford Escort, 1993, 5
58, Niall Cowan Jnr/Thomas Bruce (Dumfries/Durham) MGZR, 1398, 1
59, Scott Peacock/Robin Neil (Castle Douglas/Haugh of Urr) MG ZR, 1400, 1
60, Donald Peacock/Donnchadh Burke (Castle Douglas/Dunmanway) Peugeot 205GTI, 1600, 2
61, Mike Reed/David Shepherd (Beverley/Beverley) Ford Escort Mk2, 1993, 5
62, Paul Rawson/Andy Hutchinson (Bradford/Bishop Auckland) Ford Escort, 1600, 2
63, Alistair Brearley/Paul Barbet (Galashiels/Chester) Ford Mk2 Escort RS, 1998, 7
64, Niall Cowan Snr/Callum Shanks (Dumfries/Castle Douglas) MG ZR, 1598, 3
65, Johnnie Mackay/Richard Crozier (Newburgh/Kinross) Ford Fiesta ST, 1999, 6
66, Linzi Henderson/Craig Wallace (Carnwath/??) Ford Fiesta R2, 1000, 6
67, Fraser Smith/Duncan Daun Houston/??) Honda Civic, 1600, 3
68, Caroline Carslaw/Charley Sayer-Payne (Dunlop/Glasgow) Ford Fiesta R2, 1600, 3
69, Thomas A Heard/Iain McCutcheon (Jedburgh/Hawick) Ford Escort, 2000, 7
70, Ben Jemison/James Dixon (York/Selby) Vauxhall Chevette, 2300, 5
71, Rhuaridh Campbell/Phil Sandham (Glenshiel/Bolton Le Sands) Chrysler Sunbeam, 2000, 7
72, Ernie Lee/Patricia Milligan (Ellon/Ellon) BMW 325i, 2490, 5
73, Ian Milne/Dawn Milne (Brechin/Brechin) Ford Escort Mk2, 1998, 5
74, Chris Lawson/Richard Wardle (Ampleforth/Pickering) Vauxhall Corsa, 1600, 3
75, Nikki Addison/Rachel Matheson (Inverness/Beauly) Peugeot 106 GTI, 1600, 3
76, David Mcleod/Eamonn Boyle (Mauchline/Kilmarnock) Chrysler Sunbeam, 2000, 7
77, Alan McMorran/Albert Connelly (Castle DouglasCastle Douglas) Chrysler Avenger, 1598, 2
78, Bryan Gourlay/Scott Gourlay (Colvend/Dalbeattie) Peugeot 205 GTI, 1580, 2
81, Barry Connolly/Matt Gudgeon (Rosslea/Goole) Land Rover Wolf XD, 2500, LR
82, Keith Harvey/Danny Hedges (Redditch/Pocklington) Land Rover Wolf XD, 2500, LR
83, Wayne Thompson/Matt Duncan (Lisburn/Stafford) Land Rover Wolf XD, 2500, LR
84, Tyrone Westall/Fred Richardson (Northampton/Dulverton) Land RoverWolf XD, 2500, LR

10 May: Speyside Blethers

… McDonald & Munro Speyside Stages Rally, Sat 20 April …

With repairs to the Ford Fiesta R5 not quite finished after its Border Rally bump, Mark McCulloch contested the Speyside Stages in a BMW E30. “I actually have a half share in the car with Iain Haining,” said McCulloch, “we built it between us for a bit of fun and that’s just what it is. Iain used it on the RSAC Scottish Rally last year and I was last out in it on the Jack Frost Stages in 2017. It’s nothing fancy, just a standard 2.8 straight six with a Z3 gearbox. The Fiesta is due back next week but I won’t be doing the Scottish in it although I will definitely be doing the Galloway Hills.” McCulloch with regular co-driver Michael Hendry finished 18th overall and 4th 2WD car, just 45 seconds behind regular BMW contender Keith Robathan, and was quite chuffed with that: “The BMW gives us a chance to do crazy things, it was just a bit of fun and to get so close to Keith was a bonus.”

Although Bruce McCombie was delighted with 6th place in his Ford Focus WRC there is work to be done ahead of the next event: “Not that it slowed us down, but we have a wee puzzle to sort out,” said McCombie, “after every stage we had to change a fuse for the temperature gauge. The gauge said the temperature was rising through each stage, but it wasn’t. When we changed the fuse each time, it went back to normal, then rose again in the next test.”

Scott MacBeth lost out on a top ten finish despite fighting back after a slight off in SS3 and problems with diff pressure: “We smacked the o/s front in a ditch and stalled,” said MacBeth, but on the Stop line of Stage 8, the Mitsubishi Lancer coughed and emptied its sump on the ground!

Makes you wonder if it’s simply age or the medication, but Alan Dickson claimed to have seen a deer run across the road in front of him on Gartly: “In all the years I’ve been rallying I’ve heard about this happening to other guys, but that’s a first time for me.”

Neil Coalter wheeled out his Suzuki Ignis for an airing on the Speyside: “The Puma is still undergoing its ‘Winter rebuild’ which will continue into the Summer,” said Neil, “It’s the same engine and gearbox but we’ve got a new wiring loom which we hope will sort out all the gremlins that we suffered last year.”

Matthew Thomson’s 14th place finish was hard won as he was fast running out of vice grips. When he burst a brake pipe in his Subaru Impreza in Cooper Park, he crimped the pipe with a pair of vice grips which promptly fell off in the first forest stage. Another pair was then pressed into service. On his return to the second Gartly test he burst another pipe requiring a third pair of grips!

Making his first ever appearance on a forest rally at the Speyside Stages was Historic car racer Jamie McIntyre. Showing how seriously he is taking this new motor sporting discipline, Jamie and co-driver Damien Greenall have engaged the services of one Gerry Bryden Esq to help with paperwork and timing queries. Old hands will well remember Gerry who was a successful co-driver long before watches became digital! Jamie has acquired the Ford Escort Mk2 which Jim McRae drove on the 2005 RSAC Scottish National Rally. That was the year that all three McRaes competed in Mk2 Escorts with Alister finishing 6th, Colin 7th and Jim 8th. More used to racing the likes of a 1964 ISO Bizzarrini A3C, 1959 Lotus-Climax 15, Rejo Mk4 or a Chevrolet-powered Lister Knobbly around the Silverstone Classic or Goodwood Festival of Speed, McIntyre finished in an impressive 24th overall on his first ever foray into the forests with virgin co-driver Damien Greenall. “I plan on doing the whole Scottish Championship this year,” said McIntyre, “I’d also like to do Mull and I’ll be back at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. I just fancied a change. It’s every boy’s dream – blasting through the woods sideways.”

The terms ‘cheapskate rallying’ and ‘slave labour’ came to mind when Johnnie Mackay wheeled the Fiesta into Scutineering at Speyside, but that would be unfair. The car was looking straight, pristine and shiny unlike its appearance after the Galloway Hills last year. Apparently Darren Robertson (Alan Wallace’s co-driver) was responsible for the bodywork straightening but the Mackays had also enlisted the help of the North East College (NEScol) students. Some of the youngster had little or no knowledge about rallying but working on the car generated an interest while offering some genuine engineering experience which they could then follow at the event or on social media. Sounds like an awfy good idea, eh?

Jacob Harlington’s WW Polo was looking awfy smart at Speyside Scrooting: “It’s the first time out since I put it on its side in Gartly on this event in 2017,” said Jacob,” although we did get it back on its wheels and finish the event. We took a year out to fix it, it’s still just a standard 1400cc with bike carbs. We’ve done 8 or 9 events with the car now.” The wee car looks well and a credit to the boys.

Apparently Mike Grant and Graham Kelman were delighted with their non-finish on the Speyside. An odd admission perhaps, but a simple reason. This time their retirement was purely down to mechanical failure NOT driver error! However of more concern to those who contested the rally, Graham had an admission to make. Apparently the local cooncil had received complaints from dog walkers about the state of the puddled path at the far end of Cooper Park, so the cooncillors had decided to fill it in. Graham tried to reason with them to leave it till after the rally, but the dog walking interests prevailed and Graham wis tellt to dump and spread 40t of planings on the offending stretch. So you know who to blame but it wasn’t really his fault!

I tried to wind up young Harry Marchbank at the Speyside. He works in the family bakery business which has branches and outlets across south west Scotland – thing Greggs, but better quality! – so I asked when they were going to produce vegan ‘sausage’ rolls to keep up with their rivals. The wind-up backfired. Harry answered: “My brother made some last week!” OK, so what were they like? Although Harry is not what one would consider a diplomat, back came the considered, and very short, response: “Not for me though!” Sounds like they’re not for me either.

It’s amazing what some of you lot will get up to between rallies. Take Paul Mcerlean and Aaron Mawhinney for example. Apparently he and Aaron climbed Ben Nevis on Friday before the rally. He says he’s just turned 50 and “wants to do stuff” and he also wants to get a bit fitter. The climb to the top and back including a flask of coffee at the top took them 6 hours, but what inspired this idea: “I saw it on ‘Countryfile’ – I didn’t know there was a path all the way to the top!” Aye, gaun yersels boys.

Speaking of mid life crisis, Paul McIntosh appeared at the Speyside with a Focus ST. He last competed in a rally 31 years ago in a Mk2: “I was 50 years old on Nov 23rd last year so perhaps this is a mid life crisis,” he said, “Anyway, I’m just so pleased to have finished – now for the pub!”

And finally …

There is much talk in social circles and at political level about the amount of betting in British sport these days, and it would seem that this insidious disease is creeping into Scottish rallying. It has been reported that this nefarious practice was in evidence at the Speyside Rally, just prior to the crews entering the first stage at Cooper Park. It would further appear that this enterprise was undertaken by two of the sport’s more innocent and unlikely suspects, Keir Beaton and Nikki Addison. Information received suggests a bet was placed on who would set the quicker time round the first stage. Nikki was 6 secs quicker than Keir on the first run, but Keir was 7 seconds quicker on the second. It has been reported that much was riding on the outcome – not cash you understand, but the loser would have to clean the winner’s car. Given the implications of this highly irregular activity we must fervently hope that the championship and sporting authorities stamp down on this unwelcome practice immediately. On the other hand, I Just hope Keir behaves as the perfect gentleman when it comes to settling the outcome.

Speyside Rally – [Main Report]
Speyside Rally – [Stage Times]
Speyside Classes [1 – 6]
Speyside Classes [7 – 11]

09 May: Speyside Classes 7 – 11

… McDonald & Munro Speyside Stages Rally, Sat 20 April … Classes 7 – 11 Roundup … CLASS 7 – REAR WHEEL DRIVE CARS UP TO 2050CC WITH 16 VALVES Duncan MacDonald and Neil Ross took the class in their Escort Mk2 crossing the finish line with some relief: “There’s […] Read more »

09 May: Speyside Classes 1 – 6

… McDonald & Munro Speyside Stages Rally, Sat 20 April … Classes 1- 6 Roundup … CLASS 1 – 2WD CARS UP TO 1450CC On emerging from Stage 8, the gear lever on the Scott Peacock and Robin Neil MG ZR “fell off!” They managed to reach management service where […] Read more »

07 May: Speyside Stage Times

… McDonald & Munro Speyside Stages Rally, Sat 20 April 2019 … Top Six Fastest Stage Times SS1, Cooper Park 1 (0.6 miles – tarmac) 1, David Bogie/John Rowan (Skoda Fabia R5) 0:45 2, Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton (Ford Focus WRC) 0:46 3= Jock Armstrong/Cameron Fair (Subaru Impreza) 0:47 3= Donnie […] Read more »

07 May: Thorburn wins on Speyside

… McDonald & Munro Speyside Stages Rally, Sat 20 April … Round 3 (of 7) – KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship … After the rain, sleet, snow, hail and even more rain on the Border Counties, not to mention the freezing bluidy temperatures, sodden socks and footrot, the McDonald & […] Read more »