10 July: Turnbull Trophy report

Blasting Magic Turnbull Trophy Rally, 7th July …

Very few of our lot made the trip south to Albemarle for last weekend’s Blasting Magic Turnbull Trophy Rally, but for those who did – and survived – there were points to be had.

This was the sixth round (of 11) of the Blue Scottish Tarmack Championship with Ian Forgan leading (87 pts) after 5 rounds, by 9 points from Steven Hay (78) in his first full season of rally driving. So it was a pity that so few had made the trip to an event which offers 80 miles on a pretty good, but abrasive, surface. By my count no more than 19 Scottish Champ registered crews were there including 5th place Stuart Walker, 7th placed Kieran O’Kane and 9th placed Linzi Henderson.

As things turned out, Peter Taylor ran away with the win. Second time out in his re-acquired Ford Focus WRC, he spent the day using up old tyres and playing himself. And on the same day that Murray did the business in Wimbledon, Englandshire, Alistair and Colin Inglis could only manage second best! Seriously though, the EVO5 was outgunned, and given the level of pre-event opposition, even second place looked decidedly ambitious before things got underway.

Mind you, he was lucky: “I cycled round the stage and reckoned that the long left at the far side of the airfield is flat. It is, but not on the first lap of each three. The grass was almost higher than the car, and I couldn’t see, but at least I left a route for others to follow!”

Lee Hastings and Brian Findon finished sixth overall, but the Subaru finished the day with a broken windscreen, courtesy of a bale flung in the air by Jim Sharp. It wasn’t smashed but there’s a crack on the bottom right of the windscreen. Jim apologised and finished 8th overall although he had been as high as 5th after 4 stages. “We punctured a front tyre on the 6th test,” said Jim, “and that cost us 2 minutes.”

Kieran O’Kane and Jane Nichol made the top ten in the Opel Ascona, and maybe if he had spent less time going sideways and more time going forwards instead, Kieran would have been inside the top ten, not just tenth. Still it was a good result considering the beast was not running right when they arrived on Saturday afternoon. “I bought a new fuel tank with baffles in it before Crail.” he said, “I found out at Crail it had NO baffles. It was misfiring on every bleedin’ corner! We’ve fitted a swirl pot and an extra fuel pump in the boot – and it’s still misfiring, but we found a leak behind the engine last night, so we think it’s drawing air.” Whatever, it seemed to have worked.

Ian and Kathryn Forgan finished 14th overall keeping their title hopes alive, but not in the Ford Ka. After its serious dunt at Crail, Forgy managed to re-shell and re-prep the car in 12 days and had it running on Friday night before the Turnbull, but there was a problem with the throttle sensor.

“It was running fine but all I was getting was full throttle, even when it was idling,” explained Forgy, “so I thought it was just a wiring problem and would sort it out on Saturday morning.” It didn’t happen. “It turned out that many of the wires inside the fuel system wiring loom had broken away from their contacts so I re-soldered them, but there was still a problem. It would appear that many of the wires inside the loom had been stretched and broken during the roll, so it needs to be stripped and re-wired, or get a new loom.”

Fortunately, Jim Rintoul had previously made an offer to Forgy after the Crail incident that he could borrow his Fiesta. So at 11 am on Saturday morning Ian phoned Jim and asked if the offer was still open.

Naturally,’ young’ Rintoul hadn’t touched the car since Crail, not even washed it, so Forgy picked it up, put his own wheels and tyres on it and gave it a checkover before bringing it down to Albemarle. The 1.8 litre Fiesta lacked the poke of his 2 litre Ka, so 14th was an excellent result – and probably the best the Fiesta has ever had. Only kidding Jim!

Craig Gibson and Chris Lees were 17th in the Mk1 and Richard Sutherland and Alistair Anderson finished 18th in the Manta and would possibly have been higher but for a broken throttle cable on the sixth test, then the bonnet flew off in the final one. It was found by a Marshal.

Young Ross McSkimming finished in 19th place with Mark Runciman in the Nova. Steven Hay and Phil Kenny won the 1400 class in their Corsa and finished an excellent 20th overall, but they were lucky. “We noticed a wobble from the front of the car on the first stage,” said Steven, “all the bolts in a front hub were loose, probably from our bump at Crail.” Once tightened the car was fine.

Scott and Adam Russell finished 22nd overall in their Corsa despite the gear linkage breaking in the first stage. That was fixed with tie-wraps and then they lost a bit more time on the third stage, when the main power lead from the coil fell out. There was worse to come. On the penultimate test, the throttle cable broke. But they managed to poke an end through the bulkhead for co-driver Adam to pull as and when required. Unfortunately, there lacked a certain amount of synchronicity between driver demands and co-driver response. It’s a good job they’re brothers!

Nick Thorne finished 25th in the Honda with last-minute stand-in co-driver James Stewart. The new partnership took a while to get going but a puncture provided the perfect ‘bonding’ opportunity! Murray Coulthard and David Crosbie were 26th in the Nova, but had an eventful day. On the first stage, the car cut-out mid way round – but once they put some fuel in it they were fine! On the second stage they shunted a bale losing the front grille and smashing the headlamps but otherwise OK.

Kenneth McRae and Nick Young were 27th in the Peugeot 309 having fixed the clutch which broke at Crail and Keith Meins and Amanda Burney were 29st in the Proton.

Amongst the non-finishers was Stuart Walker who transmission failed in the first stage: “I think it’s the clutch rather than a driveshaft,” said Stuart. Chris McCallum went out in SS3 after clipping the front n/s corner on a rather substantial bale and bending the bottom arm. And the luckless Richard Stewart retired on the second stage: “It was misfiring on the first stage,” said Richard, “and we cut and run to service, but it was misfiring again on the second stage. Then the wiring loom went on fire!” Fortunately, for them it went out when they cut the ignition, so no serious damage done.

James Thomson didn’t get far at all when the Nova stopped on the start line of the first stage. The crank sensor failed but a temporary fix got them going only for the car to stop half way round the opening test. This time for good. Chris and Stephen Kemp retired the Peugeot in SS5 and Linzi Henderson with Cameron Fair failed to complete the first stage when the wee Peugeot 107 snapped a driveshaft. Until then, it was the funniest sight on the airfield. This wee 107 chasing bigger cars through the bends, then losing them on the straights only to catch them on the corners again, and all the time she was tooting furiously to get past. It was like watching a wee terrier chasing the postie.

Top Ten Results:
1, Peter Taylor/Andrew Roughead (Ford Focus WRC) 1hr 17mins 48secs
2, Alistair Inglis/Colin Inglis (Mitsubishi EVO 5) 1:21:31
3, Pete Gibson/Jo-Emma Hind (Mitsubishi EVO 6) 1:22:03
4, Paul Swift/Jessica Bell (Ford Escort MkII) 1:22:55
5, Christopher Singer/Katherine Singer (Citroen Saxo KIT CAR) 1:23:09
6, Lee Hastings/Brian Findon (Subaru Impreza) 1:24:27
7, Adrian Atkinson/Chris Melling (Mitsubishi EVO 6) 1:24:42
8, Jim Sharp/Caroline Lodge (Subaru Impreza) 1:25:00
9, Chris Anderson/Chris Thirling (Ford Fiesta) 1:26:18
10, Kieran O’Kane/Jane Nichol (Opel Ascona 400) 1:26:48