Report: Hardie Wins Solway Solway Coast Rally, Sunday 12 August ….

David Hardie led from start to finish to take his second successive victory on Sunday’s Solway Coast Rally. Co-driven by Bruce Harper, Hardie completed the eight stages over the military range at Dundrennan in a total time of 47m 27s – twenty-four seconds ahead of the Impreza of 2010 winner Ian Paterson, and navigator Jim Haugh. Lee Hastings and Mark Roberts, also in a Subaru, were third, a further 1m 50s behind.

In a closely fought contest, Hardie got off to a blistering start and was seven seconds up on Paterson after SS1 Netherlaw. “I was too cautious over the first couple of miles on cold tyres,” admitted Paterson. Hardie had extended his lead to twelve seconds after three stages: “We beat Ian by a second on that last one!” He was also quicker by two seconds through SS5 Silverhill 2 – the gap between the two now sixteen seconds.

However, Paterson had problems: “It’s the gearbox – it’s jumping out of first and second – and you need first and second on these stages.” The pair continued to trade times over the last three stages: Hardie was ten seconds faster on the fourth run through Netherlaw; Paterson took two seconds back on the penultimate stage, and the pair set equal times on the final test.

“We started off steadily and managed to keep in front of Ian throughout the day. The last couple of stages were a bit wet, so we just took it easy – otherwise, we could have overcooked it and put the car in a ditch,” said Hardie.

Paterson was satisfied enough with the runners-up spot: “We’ve tried hard to match David’s pace, but he was the better man today. The gearbox caused us a few problems – if we’d been sensible we’d have nursed it through the remaining stages, but we didn’t, we were trying too hard! All in all it’s been a fantastic rally, and very well organised by Solway Car Club.”

For his part, Lee Hastings – with Mark Robertson on the notes – declared his third-place as one of the “best results of my rallying career”. The “drive of the day” was that of Welshmen John and Gary Davies (“Our first time here, and the stages obviously suited us!”) who split the Subarus as the leading 2WD crew. They brought their Vauxhall Astra home in a remarkable fourth overall, just one second ahead of the Impreza of Fife-based tarmac specialists Ross Fernie and John Young.

Stranraer’s Jim Sharp, with Amy McKinnon on the notes, finished sixth in his Subaru, ten seconds ahead of that of Stuart Paterson and Colin Maxwell. “We broke a front drive-shaft – repaired it at service – but I’ve had not central diff over the last three stages,” said Paterson. Nevertheless, he equalled the time of the two front-runners on the final stage.

Colin Gemmell and Nigel Feeney in a Subaru secured eighth spot after they finished with an identical total time to that of North of England crew Steve Retchless and Iain Tullie in a Ford Escort MkII, the former having been faster through five of the eight stages.

The top ten was rounded off by Iain Haining and Mairi Riddick, who took a class win in their Vauxhall Nova. “Our result might have been better if we hadn’t spun on stage two, got stuck in a banking and then performed a three-point turn!” rued the Dumfries driver.

In the Junior Rally for drivers aged seventeen and under, Northumberland teenager Alexander Vassallo, co-driven by Howard Paterson from York, was in a class of his own at the wheel of his Citreon C1 – finishing three minutes ahead of Ryan Weston and Phil Harrison in a Toyota Aygo.

Solway Coast Rally Top Ten Finishers:
1 David Hardie (Kirkgunzeon)/Bruce Harper (Dumfries) Subaru Impreza 47m27s
2 Ian Paterson (Mouswald)/Jim Haugh (Sandhead) Subaru Impreza 47.51
3 Lee Hastings (Collin)/Mark Robertson (Torthorwald) Subaru Impreza 49.41
4 John Davies (Llandysul)/Gary Davies (Aberaeron) Vauxhall Astra 50.06
5 Ross Fernie (Glenrothes)/John Young (Burntisland) Subaru Impreza 50.07
6 Jim Sharp (Stranraer)/Amy McKinnon (Alloa) Subaru Impreza 50.09
7 Stuart Paterson (Collin)/Colin Maxwell (Kirkmahoe) Subaru Impreza 50.11
8 Colin Gemmell (Stair)/Nigel Feeney (Stair) Subaru Impreza 50.21
9 Steve Retchless (Romanby)/Iain Tullie (Cockermouth) Ford Escort Mk2 50.21
10 Iain Haining (Dumfries)/Mairi Riddick (Haugh of Urr) Vauxhall Nova 50.41

( Report and Results gratefully received from Robin Wyllie )


Full Results: