… News & Gossip from Ingliston …
Serious bit first …
The DCC Stages Rally at Ingliston lost two stages in the afternoon. It would appear that on the first one after lunch, some of the front running cars encountered a cyclist who had somehow found his way into the Ingliston showground site. There were mixed reports at the time ranging from “I nearly ran him over” to “he was cycling along parallel to the stage on the other side of a fence”. Whatever, the organisers had to stop and go search.
The last stage didn’t get underway, as the rally Doctor was called to attend a co-driver (Nick Young) who had taken ill and was showing worrying symptoms. With the Doctor unable to resume his place on-stage till the Edinburgh city ambulance was called, the organisers took the decision to stop the event at that point as it was almost 6pm. Fortunately, the co-driver and his driver (Erle Strachan) were found to be OK and the illness attributed to fumes from a weeping petrol line and paint fumes caused by a hot exhaust. There is one thing to add. On Sunday morning (too bluidy early in the morning!) Nick Young called me at home to pass on his apologies for falling ill and causing the last stage to be cancelled. I could make a joke about Nick being English and being a ‘health tourist immigrant’ but that wouldn’t be like me at all. It’s just good to know that both are OK.
Not so serious bits …
Iain Wilson appeared at Ingliston to shake down his new weapon. The rapid Nova has been replaced with a Subaru Impreza, the ex Richard Stewart, ex Stobart/Higgins car. He was happy enough with 25th overall first time out. “I was sick after the Knockhill Stages when a driveshaft broke in the Nova, again, ” said Iain, “and just decided to go for it. I had a test last weekend in the car. but the plan today was take it easy, and learn. I spun and stalled it on the first stage and that cost me a minute trying to get it started again!”
Is it any wonder that the auld farts get grumpy. Take Ian MacIver for instance, he’s selling his own Fiesta ST to make way for the boy, Craig’s, new machine. He turns 17 in June and currently has a couple of Nissan Micras, and with an eye on the Junior Challenge, thoughts are turning to a Suzuki Swift. Anyway, Craig got a new race suit for his Christmas last December. Perfect. Come the Snowman Rally, and the ol’ man is up for one last fling so Craig is asked to co-drive. Out come the Christmas ovies and he pulls them on only to find his hands, wrists and half his arms are poking out the sleeves, and the legs look like shorts. Either Mrs Mac is feeding the boy too much or he’s been standing in a grow bag for two months. Fortunately they got the suit changed, but these last minute hassles are enough to turn the remaining dark hairs grey at times, eh? Or maybe the moral of this story is, don’t let your offspring take up any sport until they stop growing – the cost of new kit will bankrupt you long before cars will!
Gary Douglas was a surprise entry at Ingliston as the Subaru Impreza had an engine failure testing at Crail the previous weekend. Apparently they had enough bits to build a passable example of Subaru automotive technology and have it ready for the rally. And the reason for the rush job? It was 17 year old Martyn’s first ever co-drive for the ol’ man. Sadly engine number two made a passable impression of engine number 1, and they failed to finish.
Speaking of offspring, Matt Reid went one better. He had his 17 year old, Conor, codriving the family Focus for the first time while t’other son Cammy was out with Greg Inglis in the Saxo. Sadly the Focus bashed its sump and lost its oil while young Greg and Cammy finished 23rd overall and 4th in class in the Citroen.
Craig Gibson got a maximum on the first stage at Ingliston and thought his trouble were about to start all over again. The Mk1 has been plagued by a bad misfire over recent events and was in distinct danger of becoming an insurance claim due to spontaneous combustion, or some such act of God, but he thinks he may have found the cause. It was a simple male/female plug under the bonnet which appears to have been causing the problem. As the two ends were pushed together he thinks that sometimes some of the projecting pins were being pushed back by the plastic housing instead of making contact. Simples, but infuriating.
I had to bite my tongue and look serious when Ian Paterson was explaining his woes. “It cut out in the first stage and we just had to push it to the side,” said Ian, “and I had just one fag before my lighter broke! So we had to sit there for 35 minutes watching everybody else having a good time and me wi’ nae fags! Then 35 minutes later, the car fired up and drove oot!” At least he saved money on Subaru fuel and used some to fill his lighter!
After a couple of hospital stays in recent years, Willie Nelson was back out in a rally car having built up a Subaru Impreza. It’s 15 years since Willie last drove and this was his first time in 4WD. He finished 31st, but you couldn’t have wiped the smile off his face with a Black & Decker sander.
Ross McSkimming had his first run out in the ex-Richard Sykes Citroen C2R2 Max which has replaced the Fiesta ST. He completed the first four tests but was plagued with a misfire – and had to keep stuffing the silencer with wire wool to keep the Scroots off his back! So despite his problems he was quite chuffed: “It’s faster and better to drive than the Ford.”
Looking like a couple of classic rallyists who had mistaken Ingliston for a jaunt in the country, the Ross twins turned up in a bog standard MG TF 1800: “It’s absolutely standard except for the brake pads” said Gary, while Alan chipped in with a complaint: “We wanted to take the roof off in the sunshine but the Scroot kept telling us we couldn’t.” Such spoilsports these officials, eh.
There was a bit of a kerfuffle inside the Hillman Avenger GT of Brian Fraser when he got an attack of cramp mid-stage and was threatening to pull over and stop. Co-driver Fiona Moir got all worried thinking she would have to massage his leg – and her a married woman too! Still it beats the old excuse: “I think I’ve run out of petrol, and it’s dark and lonely out here!”
Ex-Junior, Michael Robertson appeared in a VW Lupo hired for the day as his new Peugeot 106 isn’t finished. Apparently the wee car does 20 rallies a year and doesn’t cost much to run. Whatever, it sounded the business and was quite quick and Michael finished 48th and 4th in class
And finally ….
Just when you think rallying is on its last legs and won’t survive the current round of safety reviews and rule changes, you come across something that offers a glimpse of hope for the future. Looking like a bunch of hooligans that would best be avoided on a Friday night in a city centre, was a gang (group?) of youths and some oldies gathered around a duck egg blue Peugeot 106. What attracted me was the period ‘Shell’ stickers and door panels – someone had gone to a bit of trouble. Robbie Daly and Craig Service were the ringleaders and they were there on their first rally with their mates. They were having a ball. Despite two maximums on the first two stages with an electrical problem they found and fixed the cause, a loose earth strap. Others helped out too including Stuart Walker’s team who helped the boys push start it and then followed them to the startline in case they needed more help. Thereafter the duo spent the day handbraking it everywhere, even on the straights! They also managed to lose both door mirrors on chicanes. They completed the rally but were OTL by the finish, and still laughing. What an absolutely nice bunch of blokes. Having met them, and enjoyed the exuberance and enthusiasm, maybe rallying has a future after all.