02 July: RSAC Main Report

RSAC Scottish Rally …

Good fortune is a fickle visitor to the Thorburn household these days. Forced out of the Wyedean with engine problems, then a ‘lucky’ 11th place finish on a snowy and icy Border Counties. A non-finish on the Granite due to a flattened exhaust was followed by outright victory on the Plains Rally.

Then a second successive victory on the Jim Clark National Rally set him up for the following day’s Reivers. And who would have bet against him, having won both the National and Reivers last year? Well, you’d have lost your money. A wee on-board fire scuppered his chances this time and he finished second to the seemingly unassailable Bogie.

Fast forward four weeks and he and Bogie lined up again, this time on Bogie’s home turf. So it was no wonder there were smiles all round in the Thorburn and Paul Beaton camp at the finish of the RSAC Scottish Rally: “The car was good,” said Euan, “we didn’t touch it all day.” It was their first victory in the Scottish Championship since the Speyside last year.

As for David Bogie and Kevin Rae: “A win would have been nice,” said David, “it could have gone better, but I’m happy enough with second.” Quintin Milne and Martin Forrest were also delighted with third place overall: “I knew we wouldn’t catch the World cars,” said Quintin, “but to beat Jock Armstrong is a personal best. I’ve always looked up to him and rated him highly.”

There was just one wee problem, the final stage was ‘cleanable’. Even at a 70 average and with chicanes, the top four cleaned it. Would it have changed things? Who knows? But here’s the thing, the top drivers were already of the opinion that the last stage was ‘cleanable’ before they started the rally. Having looked at the Notes and the DVD, and being aware of the nature of the Clatteringshaws roads, there was little doubt in their minds. In other words, they had to start fast and get faster.

SS1, Windy Hill 2, 6.4 mls, gravel.

Quickest out of the starting blocks were Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton (5m 52.2s) but a mere seven tenths of a second behind were David Bogie and Kevin Rae (5m 52.9s). “It was rough at the wind farm junction,” said Euan referring to the new stretch of access road being built in the Ae Forest, “the internationals will get it bad later!” As for David: “There were a couple of rough bits in there, but I’ll need to pick up the pace now.”

The two Daves, Weston and Robson were third quickest, but the Impreza WRC was already over 10 seconds off the hot pace (6m 03.8s): “I’m struggling a bit. I’m rusty – I’m old!” and less than two seconds behind them was the Lancer 9 of Quintin Milne and Martin Forrest (6m 05.6s). Jock Armstrong and Kirsty Riddick were fifth quickest (6m 09.8s) in the Impreza: “I had a straight-on at a chicane but it was OK,” said Jock. Chris Collie and Lisa Watson in the Lancer 6 matched Armstrong’s time which meant that Peter Taylor and Andrew Roughhead, reunited with their Ford Focus WRC, were sixth quickest (6m 11.4s) having opted out of the BRC with their Citroen DS3.

As for Mike Faulkner and Peter Foy, all they were hoping for today was a clean run. It didn’t happen. They thought they had left their troubles behind them at the previous day’s shakedown when a turbo failed and was replaced for the rally, but on the first stage, a wheel broke. They didn’t even make the top ten.

SS2, Ae West 2,13.75 mls, gravel, couple of rocky bits at windfarm new roads.

With so little between the top two, the 14 miler in Ae West was going to be crucial and Thorburn made the best of it (12m 18.0s) by 14 seconds from Bogie (12m 32.5s). “I had a good push in there,” said Euan, “but went too hot into both hairpins, but it was OK I didn’t actually stop.” Bogie was trying hard too: “I went too deep into a couple of junctions and had to handbrake it round,” said David. It was rough but ok.”

Behind them it was Weston again (12m 51.9s) from Milne (12m 55.2s): “I think a bent the steering rack after the jump,” said Quintin, while Weston was suffering from flashbacks. “I keep remembering bits, but don’t remember other bits, which is not a good thing,” said Dave, “but once I get my confidence up I’ll be fine.”

Armstrong was fifth quickest (12m 59.7s) from Collie (13m 09.5s) who emerged from Ae with the radiator grille clogged with loose stuff. That was down to the earlier cars now churning up the road edges, with the choice being, stick to the road, or follow the line. Collie followed. So did Andy Horne who emerged with half his front spoiler gone: “I think maybe I braked going into it, instead of accelerating through it,” said Horne, “but it punctured a rear tyre too.” That prompted John McClory to ask bystanders: “Is my front bumper still on?” For once, it was.

The Lancer of Alistair Inglis was another to puncture and Jon Burn suffered a similar fate in the Impreza while Rory Young was slowed by no boost from the turbo: “It won’t pull 5th gear at all,” said Rory, “then we had a front puncture at the wind farm junction.”

Donnie MacDonald was out of the top times having broken a driveshaft on the startline: “We did the 14 miles with the shaft rumbling around, so we’ll need to have a look at service,” said Donnie.

After scoring seventh fastest time on the opening test, Mark McCulloch suffered a setback in the second: “I went for the handbrake at the hairpin, and the lever came off in my hand,” said Mark, “We did the next 6.2 miles with no brakes at all.”

SS3, Heathhall 2, 0.71 mls, quarry with watersplash.

Heathhall is a nasty wee thing, half tar and half gravel with a watersplash, but it’s ideal for introducing spectators to the dark art of rallying, and as we all know, rally drivers like to play to the crowds. Enter the showman, Jock Armstrong. He was second quickest (57.8s), two tenths behind Thorburn (57.6s) and nearly a full second quicker than Bogie (58.7s). Behind them it was Milne (59.1s) from Mark McCulloch/Elliott Edmondson (59.1s) and Weston (59.3s).

SS4, Shaw Hill, 8.12 mls, gravel.

Bogie was now 17 seconds behind Thorburn as they headed west in to the wilds of Galloway and the 8 mile test that cuts through the heart of the old Cairn Edward Forest. 2 seconds a mile? Even for Boget that was too much.

As it was Thorburn took another four out of his rival (7m 04.8s) with Bogie (7m 08.0s) resigned to a safe runner-up position. Having won four titles in the past, he knows only too well the value of points in the bag.

Armstrong finished with a flourish third quickest (7m 17.8s) ahead of Weston (7m 20.6s): “I had a BIG moment in there,” grinned Dave, “but I got away with it.” Milne was fifth fastest (7m 23.5s) and Taylor sixth (7m 29.9s) still re-adjusting to organiser Notes as opposed to making his own, but pleased with progress.

SS5, Loch Grannoch, 11.12 mls, gravel.

That left the final test, 11 miles in Loch Grannoch, and as expected, four cars ‘cleaned’ it. Thorburn, Bogie, Armstrong and Milne were all under the Bogey time (9m 32.0s). That left the final order with Thorburn claiming victory over Bogie, but Weston lost third place.

“We were flat in top at the time, and I turned to Dave (Robson) and said ‘I smell rubber’. He said ‘it’s probably from the car in front’, but when we got to the end of the straight it swapped ends. I knew then I had a puncture!” said Dave (Weston).

That meant, technically, that Mark McCulloch set the second fastest time over the final stage: “We damaged the exhaust in Shaw Hill,” said Mark with a huge grin, “so we just ripped it off and went for it in the last one,” with an even huger grin, “we could hardly hear each other above the noise.”

Barry Groundwater and Neil Shanks (9m 44.5s) got in amongst the fastest times for the first time just edging out Peter Taylor (9m 44.7s) for third fastest, while Mike Faulkner and Peter Foy were more relieved than delighted (9m 46.4s) to be on the pace ahead of Jon Burn and Alan Stark (9m 54.0s).

Milne therefore finished third overall, but just 1.7 seconds clear of Armstrong with Barry Groundwater finishing fifth and who graphically described the pace of that last stage: “The red light on the limiter was on longer than I would have liked. Fast? That was Jim Clark rally fast! I saw 127 mph on the readout,” and added, “my pants are full!” Milne was equally impressed with his own Lancer’s readout: “I saw 145 mph in that last one, that’s a first!”

Chris Collie lost sixth place in the last stage dropping to ninth: “It was my own fault. Lisa called it. A big bump into a chicane, and I snapped a driveshaft and then punctured a tyre. You can’t afford to do that in this championship. One mistake and you drop 2 or 3 places, just like that,” added Chris. That meant Weston was sixth ahead of Faulkner and Taylor with Jon Burn rounding off the top ten.

Donnie MacDonald rounded off his lacklustre day with another puncture in the Lancer but was still remarkably upbeat: “I saw the shift light on in top gear, that was great!” And looking like he’s picked up a bit of ‘Faulkner luck’ Fraser Wilson was on course for a strong finish, when the turbo blew and set the car on fire. Fortunately, damage was confined to the underbonnet wiring and paint.

The top 2WD runner was Stewart “That last stage was worth the trip from Aberdeen on its own” Davidson in his MkII Escort with the 1600 Corsa of Alasdair S Graham just 16 seconds behind.

But there was no doubting the winner of this fourth round of the national Scottish series: “We knew that last stage could be cleaned so it was all about avoiding the rocks,” said Thorburn, “somebody had to beat him (Bogie) some time, I’m just so pleased it was me.”

RSAC Scottish Rally Final Results:
1, Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton (Ford Focus WRC) 35m 44.6s
2, David Bogie/Kevin Rae (Ford Focus WRC) 00:19.5
3, Quintin Milne/Martin Forrest (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) 01:10.8
4, Jock Armstrong/Kirsty Riddick (Subaru Impreza) 01:12.5
5, Barry Groundwater/Neil Shanks (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) 02:12.8
6, Dave Weston/Dave Robson (Subaru Impreza S11 WRC) 02:13.0
7, Mike Faulkner/Peter Foy (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) 02:13.5
8, Peter Taylor/Andrew Roughead (Ford Focus WRC) 02:17.9
9, Chris Collie/Lisa Watson (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6) 02:21.2
10, Jon Burn/Alan Stark (Subaru Impreza WRC) 02:36.1

11, Andy Horne/Jim Howie (Dam 4100gti) 03:08.2
12, Dougal Brown/Lewis Rochford (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) 03:11.3
13, Alistair Inglis/Colin Inglis (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 5) 03:12.3
14, Mark McCulloch/Elliott Edmondson (Subaru Impreza) 03:12.4
15, Donnie MacDonald/Andrew Falconer (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) 03:35.9
16, Brian Ross/Sean Donnelly (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 5) 04:13.0
17, John McClory/David Hood (Subaru Impreza) 04:16.9
18, John Morrison/Peter Carstairs (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) 04:19.2
19, Fraser MacNicol/Lorn Hughes (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6) 05:13.8
20, Brian Watson/Jane Nicol (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8) 05:17.9
21, Ian Paterson/James Haugh (Subaru Impreza) 05:19.4
22, Richard Dickson/George Myatt (Subaru Impreza) 05:33.2
23, Sean Will/Neil Buchan (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 5) 05:36.9
24, Rory Young/Allan Cathers (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 5) 05:44.3
25, Stephen Baillie/Susan Shanks (Subaru Impreza) 05:47.3
26, John Rintoul/David O’Brian (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8) 05:53.3
27, Stewart Davidson/Breagha Dobney (Ford Escort) 06:08.4
28, Alasdair S Graham/Laura Stuart (Vauxhall Corsa) 06:26.6
29, Graeme Smith/Laura Marshall (Honda Civic) 06:27.7
30, Robert Harkness/Mike Curry (BMW 316I) 06:28.


Full results at:  http://results.djames.org.uk/results/index.php?e=251