Gleaner Oil & Gas Speyside Rally, Saturday 4th August ….
Round 6 (of 8) – Scottish Rally Championship ….
Had it not been for a two and half minute penalty, Alex Pirie would have won Class 2, but he was late booking into Time Control 3.He had burst the Corsa’s sump at the Sponsors and Media event the day before which didn’t leave him much time to source a replacement and replace it. However, he made the start and set class winning times till the Penalty was added. David martin therefore took the class in his Astra on his second outing this year after the Jim Clark. Scott Macbeth was third in his Nova.
The battle for supremacy in the 1600 class was a close fought affair with Willie Stuart losing out in the Sunbeam after a puncture in Balloch, but comenting on the two ahead of him he said: “I’m still having trouble with these two youngsters, McCulloch and Haining.” As it was Blair McCulloch took victory in his Nova from the similar car of Iain Haining by just 13 seconds –that’s around a third of a second per mile! “I made a couple of mistakes in the last stages and Alex just got away from me,” said Iain. The pair had actually been tying on identical times after five stages before McCulloch made his break.
Tom Hynd was fourth in the Peugeot 205 despite a string of troubles including a brake calliper coming loose in the first two tests, a holed radiator in Ben Aigan and a sticking throttle in Gartly Moor. Hamish Campbell was fifth in his Peugeot with Jordan Black completing a hat-trick of finishes just 9 seconds behind Hamish, and 5 seconds in front of Roy MacLennan. In fact less than a minute covered the six places from fifth to tenth, with young Scott Peacock who looks hardly old enough to start shaving yet mixing it with the 205 front runners and just holding off Calum Atkinson who stayed clear of Alister McArthur in his Sunbeam. Mark McCulloch might have been in there too but the Peugeot’s engine will need more than superglue to fix it after a bit of a blow-up in SS4.
In a day of close fights right throughout the field, John Boyd and Graeme Schoneville had a rare old ding dong in the 2 litre 2WD class. Boydy had a puncture in SS4 in the Fiesta which didn’t cost him much time really whereas Schoneville was up to his usual tricks, assaulting a hedge and a gate post in the first two stages with the Honda requiring a several dose of tank tape around the front n/s corner. Later on the rear suspension broke, but that still didn’t stop Schoneville. Grant Inglis was third in his Honda and Alasdair S Graham wasn’t. The Corsa had sheared a stub axle in the first forest stage. Graeme Smith was another in driveshaft trouble, the Honda snapping a shaft in the sixth test.
Duncan MacDonald took class 5 in his MkII by over six minutes from the MkII of David Cameron who had a bad day, but finished.
The rather knackered pairing of Lachlan Cowan and Stuart Bell pushed their class winning Fiesta over the finish line in Elgin because of an electrical problem which had plagued them over the final four stages. “It won’t actually rev till it gets over 4000 rpm,” explained Lachlan, “so it won’t crawl or creep, I’m having to ride the clutch all the time till it gets above 4000.”
Sean Robson got within half a minute of the rival Fiesta, but had to be content with second place ahead of the Ford Ka of Ian Forgan which looked a bit second hand by the time it reached the finish. “It’s just the front bumper that’s gone,” said Ian, “it looks worse than it really is.” Kieron Renton finished fourth in his Fiesta but Steven Smith lost out on a good finish when the Peugeot slid wide on the last corner of the final stage and just bellied out on soft earth, costing him over 5 minutes. Craig Rutherford failed to finish when the Honda Civic broke a driveshaft in Balloch.
Top 2WD car was Keith Robathan’s Escort MkII in 11th place overall, but the fizz went out of that fight when David Wilson slid off the road in Ben Aigan. David’s MkII slipped off the road on the outside of a Long Left hander: “First I had grip, then no grip, then it gripped again and tossed me off the road,” said David, “there was absolutely no damage but the back wheels were in a rut and there were only two spectators there. We just couldn’t lift it out. One tug from the closing Land Rover and we were back on the road. It was frustrating really.” Alistair Adams was second despite a puncture from Charlie Bell both in MkIIs.
For real entertainment go no further than the grizzled members of the Ken Wood rally team and crew. It fair takes you back to shillings and pennies and whitworth spanners. Ken won his class and that was despite: “We went far too fast into the hairpin in Gartly and ended up well off the road although we managed to get pushed back on,” said Ken, “but it was all my fault, I was supposed to turn right – and I went left!” Andrew Morrisonn scored second in the family MkII.
After 5 stages, six seconds covered the top three Group N cars with the EVO9 of Malloch Nicoll holding a 4 second advantage over the Impreza Sti of John McClory and John Morrison’s EVO9 another 4 seconds adrift. A puncture in SS7 ruined Morrison’s hopes while McClory speeded up in the afternoon “it takes me a while to wake up in the mornings” to pip Nicoll by just over a minute at the finish. Fraser Wilson was fourth after repairing a split turbo pipe at first service and Roland Wessel was fifth in the BITZ Subaru.
The top seven class winners mirrored the top seven overall in Class 12 with Jimmy Christie and Martin Craik moving into the top ten. Rounding off the top ten was Brian Ross who had a good run on the rally but not a good Friday night before the rally: “Going to Scrutineering last night, the bonnet blew up and smashed the windscreen!” Stephen Bailie was 11th first time out running pump fuel in the Subaru, and apart from a slight power loss at the top end was quite happy with his money saving decision. He also broke rear driveshaft in Cooper Park. Brian Watson (EVO9) was 12th but it took a tie-break decider to separate him from Fraser Louden (EVO9) who finished on exactly the same time, both of them having a “rerr terr” in the woods.
John Rintoul enjoyed the rally but the EVO8 let him down: “The gear linkage broke half way through SS3,” said John, “the gearbox itself was fine but we were stuck in fifth. It was just the bracket on the side of the casing which had broken so it had to be welded up. It wasn’t perfect bit it did the job.” Scott Murray was a in a ditch on SS3 and bent a rear link arm then smacked a log pile in SS6 bursting the radiator. All that was needed at service was a new link arm and tin of Radweld and he finished 15th.
Alasdair Reid was 16th in the EVO8 while Mike Grant blinked in surprise – again – as he reached a rally finish! The Impreza driver is almost getting the hang f finishing rallies these days although he did have his problems: “There was rosejoint or two knocking at the back end,” he said, “I heard them first then felt them later. The rear end was moving around more and more, it was even drifting sideways on the straights.”
Dougal Brown was knocking on the door of the top ten times over the first two forest tests and that was despite no intercom on Cooper Park and used a borrowed helmet and intercom for Teindland. Then the EVO9 picked up a puncture but it was a broken gearbox that finally put him out of the running on SS5. Steven Clark didn’t even get that far, his EVO4 broke its rear diff in the third test at Teindland.
Full Results: www.flyingfinish.co.uk