24 Mar: Border Blethers

… Border Blethers …

Just for your information, a total of ten crews incurred a 2 minute time penalty on the Border Counties which affected their final scores. A route amendment had been included (and signed for) in their pack when signing-on prior to the rally. This informed the crews that Stage 3 had been shortened which meant that the subsequent road section had been lengthened and that crews should mark their Time Cards accordingly. The organisers therefore had no choice but to stick to the rules as this was in a PR sensitive area, and the penalties stood.

It’s a good job Steve Bannister has ‘friends’ otherwise we might find out nothing about the enigmatic legend that is ‘Banner the Malton Missile’. He finished 1st in Class, 1st 2WD and 11th overall on a snowy, slushy, slippery, wet and muddy Border Counties Rally, while all around him his rivals floundered and flailed. What’s so remarkable about that you might ask? He only became a great grandfather two weeks before the rally! Not just a grandad, but a GREAT grandad. When challenged about the veracity of this revelation he just shook his head and smiled and confirmed that he was now the great grandfather to a wonderful wee bairn called Darcy. And there’s more. It would appear that Steve has now joined the 21st century. He has learned to text. He has now realised that if he cannot get hold of folk he wants to speak to on his mobile phone (another masterful achievement in its own right) he can send them a text. That has now made him the bane of co-driver Callum Atkinson’s life: “Not only can he text,” said Callum, “but he can send pictures!” While explaining this Callum actually coloured his narrative with a few sweary words. It would appear that Steve could now give persistent PPI and double glazing call centres a few tips about sending messages and keeping in contact!

Linzi Henderson appeared at the Border with a new left hand drive Fiesta R2 sourced from across the water and had her first run out in the car at the John Parker test day before the rally. She was a wee bit nervous at first, not because it had 200 bhp from its 1 litre turbo engine or that it was left hand drive, but just because it was new. After a few runs she was really quite chuffed with the car and the LHD didn’t faze her one bit. Her first cars were RHD Peugeots and MGs and she also drove her Dad’s LHD Subaru but as Walter explained: “She learned to drive sitting in the middle, so she can switch to Left or Right hand drive without thinking about it,” and when asked what do you mean ‘middle’?, Walter added: “She learned to drive on a tractor.” Of course she did, and that makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

Nikki Addison and Rachel Matheson were still smiling after their first ever roll although Rachel did cut her hand during the incident. In a mesmerising display of car control, when the sliding rear end of their Peugeot 106 caught the snow on the first stage, Nikki shouted to Rachel: “I’ve got this” – just before the car clipped a stone, tipped over and fell on to its roof. When it was recovered later, Nikki drove it out of the stage.

Speaking of injuries, Bellaghy day-tripper Paul McErlean wa sporting some fairly recent looking scars on his left arm. Legacy of a rallying accident? Nope. Something entirely more dangerous. He broke his arm mountain biking in Austria last July on a steep downhill section when the pedal powered machine got away from him. And to think he’s got a competition driving licence!

Mathew Calderwood was spotted clutching burgers and coffees at the Service Area and declared that he still has his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo6. He also declared that he will contest the RSAC Scottish Rally and his ‘home’ event Argyll Rally in Dunoon. He actually sounded quite sincere about his intentions. We’ll see, eh?

The double act otherwise known as Milne and Lee were in fine form ahead of the rally start. Ian’s contribution was: “I thought white stuff was what they put on birthday cakes,” (and he’s certainly seen a few of those) while Ernie declared that his biggest decision of the day was what colour of underpants to wear. And the rest of us take our rallying seriously?!

Tweak of the week? Donald Peacock’s Peugeot was spotted with wads of blue handwipe paper roll stuffed into the dash vents on the co-driver’s side to try and direct more hot air out of the driver’s side vents to keep the driver’s view clear of condensation.

And finally …

Demonstrating his spontaneous, quick and decisive nature, one Ernest Lee Esq proposed to Trish Milligan at the end of the Grizedale Stages last December. Trish has accompanied Ernie to many of the rallies he attends but that was the first time she had co-driven. Whether this was an initiative or compatability test we don’t know, but at the end of the rally where she successfully navigated him to 39th o/a and 2nd in class in the BMW the big chap proposed. Apart from the surprise that she accepted was the bigger surprise that it had only taken Ernie 30 years to summon up the resolve to do it! Gaun yersels you twa, belated congratulations to you both.

(A final note of explanation – bad weather affected the collection of tales and paucity of pics!)

Border Counties – [Main Report]
Border Counties – [Class Roundup]
Border Counties – [Fastest Times]

25 Mar: Border Counties Classes

Border Counties Rally, Saturday 16 March 20129
Round 2 (of 7) – KNC Groundworks Motorsport UK Scottish Rally Championship

Class Roundup

1 – 2WD cars up to 1450cc
Just two cars were entered in the wee class with the MG ZRs of Niall Cowan Jnr and Thomas Bruce up against Scott Peacock and Robin Neil. As ever, the rivalry was as fierce as a bog roll fight in a puppy farm. There is a theory that young Scott only uses rallying as a means to escape the drudgery of tarmacking folks’ drives. Instead of battling head to head with Niall, he was stopping to ask if other competitors were OK. His idea of competition seems to be who can slurrup their tea loudest (just don’t let your Dad enter Scott!) instead of battling for tenths of a second with Cowan. As for Niall, ask him a question and he comes back with a shrug and “ok”. And then they expect me to write something interesting about them. Who do they think I am, Enid Blyton or Jeffrey Archer?

2 – 2WD cars – 8v 1451cc to 1650cc
On a more serious note, the competition in the other small capacity class was about as fierce as a wet cloot fight in a paddling pool. Donald Peacock Snr even had to change footwear during the rally to maintain his highly competitive edge. Hindered by young Keith Riddick on the Notes, the pair piloted the Peugeot 205 to victory over the Talbot Sunbeam of Martin Crombie and David Law. However, there was indeed a most unsavoury sight to behold when Donald had to change his sodden socks and shoes – did you notice the trees wilting as he did so? At first service the only spare footwear he had that was dry was a pair of wellies. Sebastien Ogier would have been proud of him. Martin was lucky to finish as the Sunbeam was missing and spotting throughout the event simply due to the wet and dampness afflicting the carbs and electrics. Not so fortunate was James Campbell who retired hi Sunbeam with axle failure.

3 – 2WD cars – 16v 1451cc to 1650cc
There was yet another ‘close run’ fight in Class 3 where Barry Lindsay and Caroline Lodge in the Peugeot 206 romped to a 6 minute victory over Fraser Smith and Ian MacDougall in the Honda. Or as Fraser put it so succinctly: “With Barry (Lindsay) in the same class the best we can hope for is 2nd!” Indeed Barry’s pace in these conditions carried him to 18th overall and 5th 2WD car, but in all fairness, Fraser’s progress was hampered by a puncture in the first stage. And they were the only two finishers as everyone else fell off. Ryan Ingram (Honda), Caroline Carslaw (Fiesta R2) and Nikki Addision (Peugeot 106) all went off in the snow on the first test running way ahead of the main field while John Marshall put his MG in a ditch in SS2. Jude MacDonald was going well when I saw him at service despite his challenges. He was running first car on the road in a Fabia R2 that he hadn’t driven before and having just moved up from the Junior 1000 ranks, the snowy conditions added another degree of difficulty. Anyway, he disappeared somewhere in the second loop.

4 – 2WD cars – 8v 1651cc to 2050cc
Second 2WD car home was the Escort Mk2 of Paddy Munro and Keir ‘The Headmaster’ Beaton but methinks Paddy is not taking this rallying lark too seriously, he complained of “hellish dust on the stages!” He still won the class though from the Mk2 of Douglas ‘Spanish Dougie’ Watt and Ian Parker. Fraser MacNicol, John O’Kane and Colin Patterson all retired their Mk2s with engine trouble

5 – Historic Category 1, 2, 3 & 4
Given the conditions there was no real surprise about the top 2WD runner on the day, even so, driving an unsophisticated Historic Mk2 into 11th place overall displayed a tremendous feat of skill, talent and judgement. It could only be Steve Bannister with Callum Atkinson. They finished over 4 minutes clear of Dave Forrest and Charlie Carter but they had a day long issue to contend with. Dave had fitted a new gearbox to the Mk2 before the rally and it was jumping out of 4th gear. Not so good when you have to hold it in gear while coping with slippery conditions. Stuart and Linda Cariss were 3rd in their Escort saying, “this was not a day to be brave, but a day to be sensible.” Jim Stephenson and Rob Brook were 4th in class in their Sunbeam with Ian and Dawn Milne finishing 5th in their Escort after picking up a 5 minute timing penalty. Naturally I blame Ian, Dawn is much better timekeeper than hubby. David Brown retired his Escort at the end of SS4, the one with the huge puddle, so that might have had something to do with it, while Keith Davison’s Avenger was spotted parked up in the final stage. Ernie Lee didn’t make it back to Jedburgh either when he parked the BMW with great skill inadvertently in a ditch in SS3 and Ben Jamison’s Chevette had alternator failure.

6 – FWD cars – 16v 1651cc to 2050cc
The Tuer brothers had a rare old tussle for class honours with Bobby Mitchell and Shannon Turnbull, finishing the rally just 2 seconds apart. “We’ve had a fraught day,” said Carl, “for the first 3 stages we couldn’t see where we were going because of the condensation, but the last 2 were great.” Mitchell had actually been leading the class after two stages, but: “We got thrashed in SS3,” said Bobby, “there were just too many hills for our underpowered car, Carl (Tuer) took 16 seconds out of us on that one stage alone.” Third in class and first time out in her new Fiesta R2 was Linzi Henderson after what she called a steady run: “I was getting better as the day went on,” said Linzi, “I think Tom’s ass was twitching on the last one though.” with co-driver Tom Hynd adding: “There wasn’t one stage today where she wasn’t in a ditch – on my side!” Kevin Gray didn’t make it though, the Suzuki stopped at the end of SS2.

7 – RWD cars – 8v 1651cc to 2050cc
Steven and Mary Wood won Class 7 in the RWD Fiesta although Mick Plowman and Alan Ward wouldn’t have been too far behind in their Escort had it not been for a 2 min penalty. Alistair Brearley and Paul Barbet were 3rd in their Escort, but Paul McErlean and Paul McGahon lost out on a higher placing in the Escort as they too picked up a 2 min penalty which added to their earlier time loss with water on the electrics in the first 4 stages. The Sunbeam of Rhuaridh Campbell and Michael Moates were the last of the finishers reckoning that “erring on the side of caution paid off in those conditions today.” Both Duncan MacDonald and Richard Spink failed to get round in their Escorts although MacDonald had earlier “been sooked into a ditch” on the 1st stage losing 2 mins.

8 – 2WD cars over 2050cc
Iain Wilson and Chris Williams were 3rd 2WD home overall but got the class despite losing the power steering in the huge puddle in SS4. After his Knockhill mishap last month Iain was: “Keeping it straight. I was off the pace today, but safe and sensible.” That’ll be a first, eh? Gordon Murray and David O’Brien were 2nd in class in their Escort ahead of a delighted Chris Melling and Nick West: “It was my first forest rally in a RWD car,” said Chris, “and too not bad for what is pretty much a standard BMW.” Jamie McIntyre’s Escort failed to make the cut as it ended its day just beyond the puddle in SS4.

9 – 4WD not in class 10 or 11 (without a seq gearbox).
Binnie, MacBeth and Gray were the class acts of Class 9 but Ian Baumgart’s 4th place finish and 12th overall was a worthy result, the Subaru leading a whole flock of Imprezas behind the top three Lancers. Even without their 2 min penalty, Alex Pirie and Frazer Skene would have missed out on a podium 1st time on gravel with their new Impreza. Max and Calum Redpath were pleased with a finish first time out in 4WD and had a wee slice of luck in the last stage when: “I was getting too confident,” laughed Max, “just over a crest in the last stage we just avoided the ditch and got away with it.” 7th in class Mike Moates and Kenny Foggo were almost last car on the road after exhaust manifold troubles but like 8th placed Paul Collins and Robert Wood they too incurred a 2 min penalty. Final class finishers were Andy Chalmers and Martin MacCabe commenting: “That was a horrible day, there was a problem with the airflow meter and it just wouldn’t take the throttle.” John McIlwraith’s Subaru skittered off the road in SS2 and Bill Nicoll’s Lancer had a similar fate sliding into a ditch with the Lancer, but once pulled out, drove it back to service with barely mark on it – apart from a fine few samples of Kielder mud clinging to its flanks.

10 – GpA 4WD, Super 2000, R4 and Metro 6R4
Milne, Armstrong and Dickson were the points scorers here with Bainbridge losing out as he too incurred a 2 min penalty. Keith Morris and Terry Mallin were 5th in class in the Lancer ahead of the Skoda of Bob Adamson and Jane Nicol. And how the Mitsubishi Galant of Tom Coughtrie and Ian ‘Big Fraze’ Fraser made it to the finish, we’ll never know. The rear o/s wheel was at a weird angle even as the rally started and the crew were determined to see how far they would get. Remember the old negative camber Imps? Well, it was a lot worse than that, and no jokes about the weight penalty the Galant was gallantly lugging around. Kevin Downes and Richard Wardle were final class finishers although John Rintoul, Chris Collie and David Ross didn’t make it (see Main Report) and neither did championship headline sponsor Kevin Crawford, the Lancer ending up nose first in a ditch in the snow – and he is someone who should know about snow given his landscaping and groundworks experience!

11 – WRC and R5 cars
Thorburn, Pearson and Petch were the only Class 11 finishers while all five others were scattered to the winds in Kielder (see Main Report).

Border Counties – [Main Report]
Border Counties – [Top 6 Times]
Border Counties – [Blethers]

21 Mar: Border Counties Report

… Border Counties Rally, Saturday 16 March 20129 … Round 2 (of 7) – KNC Groundworks Motorsport UK Scottish Rally Championship … Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton’s victory on last weekend’s Border Counties Rally makes it three wins on the trot for the Ford Focus WRC crew, and the 2019 […] Read more »

21 Mar: Border Counties SS Times

… Border Counties Rally, Sat 16 Mar 2019 … Top Six Fastest Stage Times SS1, Hyndlee (6.66 miles) 1= Garry Pearson/Dale Bowen (Ford Fiesta R5) 6:40 1= Peter Taylor/Andrew Roughead (Ford Fiesta WRC) 6:40 3 Jock Armstrong/Cameron Fair (Subaru Impreza) 6:44 4 Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton (Ford Focus WRC) 6:45 5 […] Read more »

14 Mar: Motorsport UK Changes

… Major changes to the governance of ‘Motorsport UK’ … In one of the most significant changes to the administration of motorsport in the UK, the governing body has adopted new articles of association, which bring it in line with Sport England’s Code of Governance and best practice. Motorsport Council […] Read more »

12 Mar: Border Counties Preview

… Border Counties Rally, Sat 16th March … One of the reasons that rallying is not regarded as a ‘safe bet’ for punters must be down to its sheer unpredictability. If the bookies can’t make a pound or two out of it then they’ll simply avoid it. For instance, one […] Read more »