23 Mar: Bogie wins Border

… Bogie wins Border Counties Rally …

Saturday provided a day of mixed emotions and memories – old and new! It’s 18 years since we were last in the Tweed Valley forests. In fact I recognised some of the trees, or maybe I knew their parents. They are bigger now, but I’m sure some of them nodded back!

It also marked the ongoing ‘new era’ of forest rallying where spectators are being encouraged to arrive and walk in before the first cars and stay there till the last before walking out. And if things are not tickety-boo in the woods, then there is a new ‘United Estates Marshal’ in town who will decide. The MSA Safety Delegate has the final say in whether things are ready to run – or not.

And here’s another take on the old/new theme. It’s hard to think that the winners of Saturday’s Border Counties Rally were still at primary school when the Tweed Valley tests were last run! However, this unfamiliarity didn’t stop them doing what they do best, winning.

David Bogie and Kevin Rae won the second round of the ARR Craib Scottish series with a string of fastest stage times through Kielder and the Tweed Valley. Stephen Petch and Jack Morton finished second 40 seconds behind, with Peter Taylor and Andrew Roughead snatching third place from Andrew Gallacher and Jane Nicol on the final stage.

It is also worth noting that there were no serious spectator problems. It would appear that the message is getting through, although there are still a number of folk out there enquiring – is it really that serious? is the future of rallying really under threat? Some people still don’t believe that the Government could bring a halt to forest rallying. Well they can, and they might. The good news is, that on Saturday’s showing, perhaps the sport has a chance after all.

And on that note, the sun came out. It was cold in the Borders, but for most of the day, the sun shone, and everyone was happy – until the selfish eedjits in the second stage caused it to be cancelled. Welcome to the ‘new era’, if in doubt, don’t run.

SS1, Blackburn Rig, 7.21 mls
1, David Bogie/Kevin Rae, 7m 02s
2, Jock Armstrong/Paula Swinscoe, 7m 12s
3, Stephen Petch/Jack Morton, 7m 15s
4, Peter Taylor/Andrew Roughead, 7m 18s
5, Andrew Gallacher/Jane Nicol, 7m 24s
6, Mike Faulkner/Peter Foy, 7m 24s

That was all to come and it was with high hopes and happy hearts that the colourful cavalcade left Abbey Place in Jedburgh for the short trek down to the northern tip of Kielder Forest. I suppose the biggest surprise was just how dry the stages were. Behind the noise you could see the dust before the cars came into view, and setting the pace was the green and white Fiesta R5+ of David Bogie.

He was quickest by 10 seconds from Jock Armstrong in the Subaru, but all was not well under the orange bonnet. “We’ve got a misfire at low revs,” said Jock, “we’ll need to check it out at service.”

Stephen Petch was third quickest, despite a malfunctioning intercom, from Peter Taylor with Andrew Gallacher only a second adrift, but grinning from ear to ear at the stage finish: “I was nearly off in there. It just slid wide and the back end was hanging off a banking, but I kept it going and it pulled itself out.”

Already out were Quintin Milne and Chris Collie, both with blown turbos in their Mitsubishis. Sadly the anticipated duel between Steve Bannister and Matthew Robinson fizzled out in here too, when Bannister’s Mk2 punctured a tyre and he dropped 30 seconds to his rival.

SS2, Riccarton, 12.02 mls
Stopped, and cancelled

Nine cars had already started the stage when there was a sudden flush of yellow flags. Perhaps attracted by the noise some quad bikers had appeared out of the trees. Words were exchanged with the Marshals and they sped off but with no knowledge of what they were up to or where they were going, the Stage Commander and Clerk of the Course had no choice but to stop the stage. A decision supported by the MSA Safety Delegate. As I say, welcome to the ‘new era’ of rallying.

SS3, Cardrona, 4.62 mls
1, David Bogie/Kevin Rae, 4m 16s
2= Stephen Petch/Jack Morton, 4m 22s
2= Bruce McCombie/Michael Coutts, 4m 22s
4, Jock Armstrong/Paula Swinscoe, 4m 24s
5, Peter Taylor/Andrew Roughead, 4m 25s
6= Andrew Gallacher/Jane Nicol, 4m 28s
6= Shaun Sinclair/Chris Hamill, 4m 28s

Things returned to normal in Cardrona where Bogie was quickest by 6 seconds from Petch and Bruce McCombie who equalled Petch’s Fiesta R5+ time in his Mitsubishi. Only 2 seconds behind was Armstrong – heading for retirement: “We finished the stage but the engine’s not right, and I don’t want to risk it,” said Jock. Taylor was fourth quickest with Gallacher’s Fiesta only 4 seconds adrift sharing fifth fastest time with Shaun Sinclair in his Mitsubishi.

Mike Faulkner was out too. After an ‘overnighter’ repairing the car following the previous test-day ‘off’, the Mitsubishi’s transmission broke on the stage start line.

SS4, Elibank, 8.99 mls
1, David Bogie/Kevin Rae, 9m 59s
2, Stephen Petch/Jack Morton, 10m 05s
3, Andrew Gallacher/Jane Nicol, 10m 08s
4, Peter Taylor/Andrew Roughead, 10m 16s
5, Freddie Milne/Martin Forrest, 10m 20s
6, Donnie MacDonald/Andrew Falconer, 10m 21s

In the 9 mile test at Elibank, there was just one driver under 10 minutes, despite a kerfuffle at the Stage Start: “I stalled it on the start line of Elibank,” said David, “The Marshal dropped the time card and there was a bit of last minute shoving it back through the window to Kevin and I just wasn’t ready when the countdown started.” He added: “It’s surprisingly slippery out there. There is so much grass, moss and pine needles, especially under the trees, that one minute there’s grip, and the next, there’s none!”

Petch was 6 second s behind him: “I had to switch off the anti-lag on the slippy bits in Elibank. Some bits are dry and some bits slippy, it’s hard to get it to turn in and judge a braking point when you don’t know what’s there.”

Gallacher was third quickest: “Some bits are brilliant and then the next bit is all muddy and mushy and mossy. At the end of the stage, he was 8 seconds up on Taylor: “We had a half spin in there,” said Peter, “you can’t see where the grip is. It’s just so difficult to get the car to turn in and to stop it!”

Milne was fifth quickest, no not that one, this was Freddie with new front brakes and front diff, who set fifth fastest time, despite one near-miss: “It was a L5 into R6 into L4. I got the first part OK, was out of shape through the second part and well out of order on the third section, but I managed just to hook a ditch and get round – followed by a sharp intake of breath through the intercom from Martin!”

Bruce McCombie was another to heave a big sigh of relief at the stage finish: “Nearly didn’t make it, we were skittering on the edge of a drop and sliding towards a big stone, when it just dug in and turned in and we were away. That was close.” Another to have a close one was Shaun Sinclair: “That was a fifth gear ‘off’ and back on in there,” he said, “I didn’t think we’d make it.”

Mark McCulloch was lucky too: “I lost a bit of time in that last one when I hit a rock and buckled a wheel. I backed off thinking it was a puncture.”

Brian Bell also had a spin and got stuck then damaged the clutch trying to get out while John McClory summed up conditions better than anyone: “That was exciting. It’s worse than ice in there, because you expect ice to be slippy, but in here, you just can’t tell if you’re on ice or if you’ve got grip.”

SS5, Yair, 4.99 mls
1, David Bogie/Kevin Rae, 4m 57s
2, Andrew Gallacher/Jane Nicol, 4m 58s
3, Peter Taylor/Andrew Roughead, 4m 59s
4, Stephen Petch/Jack Morton, 5m 00s
5= Barry Groundwater/Neil Shanks, 5m 03s
5= Mark McCulloch/Michael Hendry, 5m 03s
7, Donnie MacDonald/Andrew Falconer, 5m 05s

There was just one second between Bogie and Gallacher in Yair followed by Taylor and Petch – each one second apart, highlighting just how close the top seeds were going into the final stage. Barry Groundwater finally woke up and joined the party setting fifth equal fastest with Mark McCulloch who had changed his buckled wheel. Donnie MacDonald rounded off the top half dozen fastest times and Scott McCombie didn’t. He just leaned on some grip that wasn’t there and the Lancer skittered into a ditch, and there it stayed.

SS6, Hyndlee, 6.66 mls
1= David Bogie/Kevin Rae, 6m 31s
1= Peter Taylor/Andrew Roughead, 6m 31s
3, Donnie MacDonald/Andrew Falconer, 6m 39s
4, Stephen Petch/Jack Morton, 6m 43s
5, Andrew Gallacher/Jane Nicol, 6m 44s
6, Mark McCulloch/Michael Hendry, 6m 48s
7, Shaun Sinclair/Chris Hamill, 6m 50s

Bogie now had a 28 second lead over Petch, but there were only 5 seconds between Gallacher and Taylor as they headed towards the first stage of the day for a second run through.

Making it five out of five, Bogie set another fastest time, with Taylor matching it in his Ford Focus. It was now down to Gallacher. He was a second slower than Petch, but crucially, 13 down on Taylor. He may have lost out on the podium but he could console himself with runner up points in the ARR Craib Scottish Championship.

Donnie MacDonald was smiling too at the finish. Fifth place overall earned the ‘Highland Flyer’ third placed Scottish points: “Brilliant. That’s my best finish in a Championship event yet,” he said. Rounding off the top six was Bruce McCombie cursing his luck: “We punctured a tyre on that last one.”

Shaun Sinclair and Barry Groundwater tied on identical overall times, with Sinclair getting seventh having been 5 seconds quicker on the opening stage. he was far from downhearted: “The target today was to beat Bazz (Barry groundwater), job done.” But it nearly wasn’t. The two of them tied on identical finish totals and it was only because Sinclair was the faster of the two on the day’s opener that he got it! Looks like Barry will need to pour some more Red Bull into his Readybrek in the mornings.

Mark McCulloch was ninth, after a day worrying about his own internal plumbing and thankful for numerous trees along the route, and Freddie Milne rounded off the top ten, beaming from ear to ear: “Not a mark on the new paintwork and I feel it’s all coming together now. Martin is very patient but I feel I’m really starting to get to grips with the Notes!”

Matthew Robinson was top 2WD runner in 12th place overall with the former Ford Ka driver Matt Smith, 15th in his 1400cc Proton Satria. “This is my first time in Kielder and the Tweed Valley,” said Smith, “and my first visit to Scotland since the 2009 Scottish!”

At the finish, Bogie revealed: “We were lucky. The crown wheel and pinion failed in that last stage. It was rattling its head off, but we’re here. I was trying not to be too hard on the car, but I could smell the oil by the finish.”

1, David Bogie/Kevin Rae (Ford Fiesta R5+) 32m 45s
2, Stephen Petch/Jack Morton (Ford Fiesta R5+) 33m 25s
3, Peter Taylor/Andrew Roughead (Ford Focus) 33m 29s
4, Andrew Gallacher/Jane Nicol (Ford Fiesta) 33m 37s
5, Donnie Macdonald/Andrew Falconer (Mitsubishi Evo9) 34m 02s
6, Bruce Mccombie/Michael Coutts (Mitsubishi Evo) 34m 19s
7, Shaun Sinclair/Chris Hamill (Mitsubishi Evo8) 34m 29s
8, Barry Groundwater/Neil Shanks (Mitsubishi Evo9) 34m 29s
9, Mark McCulloch/Michael Hendry (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9) 34m 30s
10, Freddie Milne/Martin Forrest (Mitsubishi Evo7) 34m 41s

Full results at: http://results.djames.org.uk/results/index.php?e=373


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