07 June: Jim Clark Reivers Report

Jim Clark Reivers Rally …

Bogie beats the Bogey …

Y’know something? We don’t give Quintin Milne a lot of credit at times, but actually, underneath that exuberant exterior he’s really quite intelligent. Prior to the Reivers he was saying that he has actually calculated that a WRC car is 2 seconds a mile quicker than his EVO9. And you know what? he’s absolutely correct.

There was just nothing the Lancer and Impreza battalions could do about the pace of the Focus twins. On gravel, the Mitsubishis and Subarus can sometimes give the Fords a run for their money, but on tarmac? It’s a lost cause. That’s not to say that the blue oval boys don’t need to try, for they most certainly do. Not only do they have each other to contend with, one slip-up and the pack is upon them.

In other words, this year’s Reivers Rally was fought at a furious pace right from the start, and just when things were looking decidedly settled, the lead changed on the final stage!

SS1, Bothwell 1, 8.15 mls

Although he had his troubles yesterday on the National, Euan Thorburn was as bright eyed and eager on the Sunday morning as a kid with a big box of bangers, but in the rival camp, there was no shortage of confidence either. David Bogie had done his own private testing even though he opted not to contest Saturday’s National.

If Thorburn and Paul Beaton got off to a flying start (6m 55.4s) on the first stage, Bogie’s affair was more of a damp squib (7m 11.1s) as he and Kevin Rae dropped nearly 16 seconds on the start line. “We were using Launch Control on the start line,” said David, “and it didn’t work. It stalled, and that’s what caused the massive time loss to Euan.”

Jock Armstrong and Kirsty Riddick (7m 20.9s) may have been the best of the rest, but they were already well down on the leaders despite wringing the Subaru’s neck. Not so surprising was the pace of Rory Young/Allan Cathers (7m 22.9s) after yesterday’s heroics and Dom Buckley/Doug Redpath (7m 23.4s) in the family runabout, the yellow Subaru. But there was a surprise in sixth fastest, and yes, I’m ever so slightly biased, but it was all down to the glorious sight and sound of the DAM Metro of Andy Horne and Jim Howie (7m 26.4s) giving the spectators a huge lift in the passing. Never has so much pleasure been given to so many in such a short passage of time as the beast sped past the sunburned ranks of the faithful. Magic.

Not so magic was Mike Faulkner’s progress. The Lancer had survived a monstrous tank-slapping, hedge-mowing, off-road expedition after the cattlegrid, only to succumb to engine failure when the oil cooler was damaged. As far as Mike’s concerned these days, Elvis may well have left the building, but Lady Luck was long gone before him!

Big things were expected of Chris Collie today too, but a broken driveshaft in the first stage was only the first of three to snap during the course of the event.

SS2, Bothwell 2, 8.15 mls

On the second run through the same test, it was Bogie to the fore this time (6m 55.0s) a full 16 seconds faster than his first run, but Thorburn was slower than his own first run. Now don’t get excited, he was only half a second slower at 6m 55.4s! So that kept the gap between the leaders at 15 seconds.

There was just no way that Armstrong could get that Subaru around any quicker (7m 10.8s) and he had to settle for third quickest, 8 seconds up on Barry Groundwater/Neil Shanks (7m 18.2s) with Barry looking a lot better (?) than he did the day before when he was distinctly poorly.

Having rebuilt the Lancer’s suspension on Saturday, Quintin Milne and Martin Forrest were fourth fastest (7m 19.2s) demoting Young to fifth (7m 20.7s) and Horne (7m 21.3s) sixth.

In the Buckley camp there was concern when Junior pulled in with a broken accumulator pump at the back of the gearbox. That left him without any control over the diffs: “It’s not a huge problem,” said Dom, “but the car loses stability under braking and traction under acceleration, but I don’t think it will do any lasting damage.”

SS3, Langton 1, 1.96 mls

By this time, Thorburn’s blue touch paper was fizzing nicely as he took another second (1m 56.3s) out of Bogie (1m 57.6s) but this tricky, nadgery little test had at least allowed the pursuit to close up with Groundwater third quickest (1m 58.9s) just a second down, and ahead of Young (1m 59.9s), Milne (2m 01.6s) and Horne (2m 02.1s). As for Jock, he was only eighth quickest: “It’s two years since I was last here on tarmac, I’m still braking too early – then having to speed up again to reach the corners!”

SS4, Blackadder 1, 8.86 mls

The Bogey for the nine mile (well, very nearly) Blackadder test had been set at 7m 05s. A safe bet with the chicanes thought the organisers. Not so. Thorburn and Bogie smashed it, some 11 seconds under the target, and were therefore credited with the same time of 7m 05.0s.

Even so, Groundwater was still 19 seconds adrift (7m 24.6s) but getting quicker as the sun rose higher were Alistair and Colin Inglis 7m 25.6s, just pipping the bright red DAM of Horne (7m 25.8s) by the blink of an eye. Milne was fifth quickest (7m 29.3s) but sixth quickest and raising a few eyebrows, including those of co-driver Dave Robson, was Ross Marshall in the MkII stunning onlookers with a his 7m 31.2s. Although he was running wide rims and tyres in the 2 litre class, this is in fact a 1600cc Escort. Dave was even more impressed.

As for Jock, the Subaru appeared at the stage finish with some tattered rubber where once a shiny black round thing had clothed the alloy wheel, dropping to 21st place as a result.

SS5, Edrom E 1, 9.35 mls

There was no let up at the front with Thorburn five second quicker (7m 54.2s) than Bogie (7m 59.5s) and Armstrong back in control of his own destiny (8m 21.1s) again: “I went from 21st to 13th in one stage,” he grinned.

Inglis continued to impress (8m 21.8s) ahead of Milne (8m 23.6s) and Groundwater (8m 23.8s) but Rory Young was dropping back: “It’s overheating. I think the old girl is suffering from yesterday.” He was right and he called it a day without even trying Langton. The head gasket had failed.

SS6, Langton 2, 1.96 mls

Bogie took only his second fastest time of the day on the return to Langton (1m 56.9s) but the difference between himself and Thorburn (1m 58.3s) was only 2 seconds. He was fast running out of miles to do anything about the dominant Dunsian.

By this time Groundwater had a little more colour in his cheeks (or less grey?) third quickest again through here (1m 59.0s) just a smidgeon ahead of Milne (1m 59.2s). Horne was still there too (1m 59.8s) with Inglis beaming from ear to ear on 2m 00.1s.

SS7, Blackadder 2, 8.86 mls

And then came Blackadder, and the top two cleaned it again, both Thorburn and Bogie scoring the target time (7m 05.0s) for their efforts. But all was not well in the Thorburn camp.

“We could smell burning through the stage,” said Thorburn, “and as soon as we stopped at the Finish, flames leapt up from behind the dash.” Fortunately, the marshals were quickly on the case with extinguishers as Thorburn and Beaton leapt out. A pipe for the hydraulic gearshift had sprung a leak and the hot exhaust ignited the oily mist. It was only a ‘flash fire’ and caused minimal damage to the wiring. Even so, the pair had to revert to a manual gearshift and run the car in ‘road mode’ through the final test.

By this time, young Buckley was really getting to grips with the diff-less Subaru flinging it through the Borders lanes with the bravado that only a youngster can muster (7m 17.3s) taking a second out of Armstrong (7m 18.1s) with that man Horne (7m 19.6s) still giving chase. Inglis was next quickest (7m 19.7s) despite “taking out a hedge” with Groundwater (7m 20.6s) rounding off the top half dozen stage times.

Milne was not among them this time: “A wheel broke. It just snapped,” said Quicksilver, “Barry (Groundwater) just caught me at the finish so at least I didn’t hold him up.”

SS8, Edrom E 2, 9.35 mls

And so to the final test, would Thorburn’s crippled Ford last the distance? As the times started to roll in, the order was Bogie (7m 53.9s) from Armstrong (8m 12.5s) and Milne (8m 14.1s). Groundwater’s recuperation continued apace too (8m 14.4s) ahead of Buckley (8m 16.2s), Inglis (8m 16.5s) – and Thorburn. Fingers and toes were readied for the count. His 8m 24.6s, was 31 seconds down on the fastest Ford over the final test. He had lost out to Bogie by 10 seconds!

“It’s not the way I like to win rallies, but I’ll take it,” said Bogie, “it’s happened to me before, leading rallies, then losing out on the last stage.”

Barry Groundwater took a fighting third overall behind Thorburn, a hard earned podium finish after his Saturday woes. Alistair Inglis got progressively quicker thorough the day, finishing with a flourish to snatch fourth place from Andy Horne in the DAM. Quintin Milne recovered from his Blackadder wheel problem to take fifth while Dom Buckley rounded off the top six.

But the two most inspiring sights, and sounds, of the rally were Horne in full flight in the DAM and Steve Bannister in the Historic Escort MkII who finished 11th: “I was right on the limits of those tyres,” said Steve, “there was nothing left.” – except sheer delight for the crowds.

And after starring on the national the previous day, there was no repeat for Rory Young: “I think it’s the head gasket,” he said at the end of stage 5, while Jock Armstrong fought back valiantly to 9th place after dropping into the top 30 with a puncture early on. Peter Stephenson pushed his Impreza into the top ten times over the four closing stages till he reached the final one, and went no further. The engine gave up, and Simon Bowen didn’t get that far. He didn’t even get to the start of SS1, when the Subaru’s transmission failed on the road section.

So just when it looked as though Thorburn’s luck was on the mend, the curse of ‘the Bogie’ struck again. Thorburn won the National and Reivers last year and was on course to do it again this year until the penultimate stage when the fireworks went off. It makes you think though, who’d bet against Bogie for a record fifth Scottish title?

1, David Bogie/Kevin Rae (Ford Focus WRC) 48m 04.0s
2, Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton (Ford Focus WRC) +00:10.4
3, Barry Groundwater/Neil Shanks (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo) +02:03.9
4, Alistair Inglis/Colin Inglis (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 5) +02:22.5
5, Andy Horne/Jim Howie (Dam 4100gti) +02:32.9
6, Quintin Milne/Martin Forrest (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) +02:50.1
7, Dom Buckley/Doug Redpath (Subaru Impreza) +03:11.4
8, Donnie MacDonald/Andrew Falconer (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) +03:56.7
9, Jock Armstrong/Kirsty Riddick (Subaru Impreza) +03:57.7
10, Karl Simmons/Guy Simmons (Subaru Impreza) +04:10.0

11, Steve Bannister/Louise Sutherland (Ford Escort Mk2) +04:16.9
12, Gary Adam/Gordon Adam (Ford Escort Mk2) +04:42.6
13, Bob Grant/Peter Carstairs (Subaru Impreza) +05:01.3
14, Barry Renwick/Ken Bills (Ford Escort Mk2) +05:02.9
15, John Morrison/Susan Shanks (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) +05:08.1
16, Chris Collie/Lisa Watson (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6) +05:13.0
17, Dougal Brown/Lewis Rochford (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) +05:16.7
18, John McClory/David Hood (Subaru Impreza) +05:27.0
19, Ian Watson/Mike Dickson (Subaru Impreza N11) +06:03.3
20, Sean Will/Ross Hynd (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 5) +06:04.7
21, Carl Tuer/Rob Tuer (MG ZR Super1600) +06:10.9
22, Alasdair S Graham/Laura Stuart (Vauxhall Corsa) +06:40.5
23, Lee Hastings/Brian Findon (Subaru Impreza) +06:51.5
24, Kieran Renton/Carin Logan (Ford Fiesta R2) +06:57.3
25, Kev Dunn/James Braithwaite (Vauxhall Nova) +07:14.1
26, Iain Wilson/Keith Fremantle (Vauxhall Nova) +07:17.0
27, Robert Harkness/Mike Curry (BMW 316I) +07:30.6
28, Robbie Mitchell/Allan Dobson (Toyota Corolla) +07:44.4
29, Stuart Walker/Julie McGuire (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo) +08:05.2
30, Stuart Loudon/Johnnie Bould (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) +08:10.0