23 Apr: Feeney Wins at Kames

… April Kames Rally and Junior Rally, Sunday 20 April …

Nigel Feeney and Paula Swinscoe won the Kames April Rally at the weekend first time out in Nigel’s new Subaru Impreza. Colin Gemmell and Chris Hunter were leading after two stages, but a spin on the third left them constantly chasing the leader. More convincing was Alex Vassallo and Neil Colman’s victory in the Junior Rally finishing over 40 seconds clear of Dylan O’Donnell and Tom Middlemiss.

With his own self-build car still unfinished, Nigel Feeney bought Robert Swann’s Subaru Impreza and used Kames as a shakedown ahead of next month’s Jim Clark Rally. He had no high hopes prior to his arrival at Kames and after tying with Colin Gemmell on the first stage, Colin got his nose in front by a second on the next one. But a spin on the third stage dropped him 11 seconds behind Feeney: “I just got a rear wheel on the grass,” said Colin, “and had a half spin ending up facing the wrong way. Then I couldn’t get reverse gear.”

Thereafter Feeney started to build a cushion between himself and the older model Subaru to win by 18 seconds after 16 stages.

Graham Bruce failed to give the top two a run for their money when his Lancer broke a driveshaft but the star of the show was Derek Connell in his 1400cc Vauxhall Nova. He finished third overall managing to hold off Bruce by 12 seconds, but he was having a problem with overheating, and with the Granite coming up next weekend, he’s got some work to do this week.

Niall Thomson finished fifth in his Saxo: “I did the same as I did at Ingliston,” said Niall, “a big 360 at the first corner of the first stage. No excuses this time. It was damp and slippery at Ingliston but the car has new suspension and more power from the engine.”

Lindsay Taylor rounded off the top six in his Peugeot 205 and reckoned: “Old age and treachery works better than youth and enthusiasm!” Amen to that!

Now that he’s a ‘senior’ Alex Adams had a sentimental run out in his tried and trusty little Nissan Micra finishing seventh although the car was jumping out of gear by close of play. Stuart McBride was trying out his latest purchase, a 1300cc Vauxhall Nova, but only after a week of nightmares: “The fuel injection failed on Tuesday so we’ve got 4 bike carbs on it on a homemade manifold, then we had an oil leak from the sump followed by another from the manifold so we’ve had to keep an eye on it today.”

Robert Iveson rounded off the list of finishers with his Peugeot 309 – but nearly didn’t! On SS14 he slid off the road at the far end of the circuit and only just avoided the tyre barrier, losing a door mirror on the process. He then slid back on to the road in front of Stuart McBride but immediately pulled over to let him through when he saw the Nova in his other mirrors.

Jordan Black made an impressive debut with his brand new Citroen C2 equalling the stage fastest time on SS3, but a broken driveshaft ended his rally at the lunch break. And Iain Stewart posted the first retirement of the day when a driveshaft failed on the Mini the first loop of stages.

Junior Rally

There were three ‘brand new’ Juniors in the entry list for the 2014 season and all three finished their first ever event, unlike a couple of not so new Juniors who had a bump along the way!

Now in his third season of rallying, Alexander Vassallo won by three quarters of a minute, but he was lucky. When the Citroen’s gearshift cable broke on the second stage, he didn’t lose any time.

Dylan O’Donnell finished second in his Nissan Micra with Michael Robertson taking a hard fought third place ahead of Michael Robertson. Dylan reported a fairly troublefree event, unlike Michael whose Aygo exhaust was falling off. In the early part of the afternoon it was something of a spectator sport watching Michael and the boys jack up the car after each run for Michael to crawl under and try and re-attach it to the vehicle. Eventually, they gave up and pulled the rear section off. Necessity is the mother of invention, eh?

Andy Struthers finished fourth in the Micra which has benefited from an over-winter engine change and new coil pack and Brodie Balfour finished fifth with only a slight exhaust blow from the flexi-pipe on the Aygo to worry about.

Rounding off the top six was Michael Dickie who was lying second at one point until the Aygo rode up on a tyre marker on SS7 and beached itself.

First timer Harris Wilson finished seventh in his Micra ahead of another first-timer Harry Chalmers whose Micra found a new agricultural route on the fifth test bounding across the grass and back on to the track, but with no damage. Dale Kelly was ninth in the rebuilt Micra (bumped at last year’s Crail) and the wee car looked well with its Christmas present MoMo steering wheel.

Cameron Russell was tenth in his Micra on his first rally and Sandy Fairbairn rounded off the finishers after a bad start to his day. On the first stage, the Micra broke a gearbox mounting and he had to be towed in missing SS2 to get it fixed and back on the road.

Craig MacIvor was third at the half way point, but a determined effort by Robertson put MacIvor under pressure and on the 14th stage he rolled his Micra: “We went over a crest to find a lorry tyre right on the racing line,” said Craig, “I tried to go round it, but just clipped it and we went up on two wheels and over.” It was a pretty violent end to a good fight, but both he and Paul Beaton were unharmed. The tyre had obviously been dislodged by a previous competitor and Paul was quick to point out that Craig was not at fault and had simply nowhere to go at that particular moment.

Another car to end its rally in crumpled fashion was Brandon Walsh’s new Citroen C1 which rode up on a tyre marker, on to two wheels and just toppled over. It was mostly panel damage and windscreen but the cooling system was leaking so that was their day over too.

Kames Rally:
1 Nigel Feeney/Paula Swinscoe (Subaru Impreza) 24m 57s
2 Colin Gemmell/Christopher Hunter (Subaru Impreza) +18s
3 Derek Connell/Laura Marshall (Vauxhall Corsa) +55s
4 Graham Bruce/Cammy Fair (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo) +1m 07s
5 Niall Thomson/Catherine Robertson (Citroen Saxo VTR) +2m 33s
6 Lindsay Taylor/Lewis McDougall (Peugeot 205Gti) +2m 59s

Kames Junior Rally:
1 Alexander Vassallo/Neil Colman (Citroen C1) 26m 47s
2 Dylan O’Donnell/Tom Middlemiss (Nissan Micra) +46s
3 Michael Robertson/Phil Sandham (Toyota Aygo) +1m 20s
4 Andy Struthers/Andrew Falconer (Nissan Micra) +1m 56s
5 Brodie Balfour/Ian Nicoll (Toyota Aygo) +2m 03s
6 Michael Dickie/Martin Forrest (Toyota Aygo) +3m 39s