28 May: Weston wins Granite

… Coltel Granite City Rally, Sat 2 May …

A Michty Fecht …

By goad that wis a duel. You couldn’t have slipped a ten bob note between Dave Weston and David Bogie throughout the duration of the Coltel Granite City Rally. At the end of the final stage, they checked their times – a dead-heat. Exactly the same total times. Usually in such occasions, the tie-breaker reverts to the first stage of an event to sort this out on the ‘furthest cleanest’ principle. Not this time. The SRs (Supplementary Regulations) clearly stated “Ties will be decided by the least penalty incurred on the FINAL Special Stage of the event.”

A faster time (by 4 secs) on the final 10 mile stage presented victory to Dave Weston and Paul Beaton. They were declared the winners of one of the closest ever rallying encounters on a British special stage rally. David Bogie and Kevin Rae had to settle for second place, but they knew they had been in a fight. Such was the pace of the leading duo that Jock Armstrong and Paula Swinscoe were well over a minute behind in third place. And you couldn’t have asked more of the Gallowegian, the Subaru was outgunned all the way, but even third place was hard fought, Mike Faulkner and Peter Foy were 24 seconds adrift in fourth place. That difference equates to less than half a second per stage mile.

SS1, John Lawrie Group AECC1, 0.50 mls
1= Jock Armstrong/Paul Swinscoe, 0 mins 40 secs
1= Donnie MacDonald/Andrew Falconer, 0m 40s
1= Steven Clark/Phil Sandham, 0m 40s
1= Brian Watson/Caroline Will, 0m 40s
5= Dave Weston/Paul Beaton, 0m 41s
5= David Bogie/Kevin Rae, 0m 41s
5= Chris Collie/Mark Fisher, 0m 41s
5= Mark McCulloch/Michael Hendry, 0m 41s
5= Barry Groundwater/Neil Shanks, 0m 41s
5= Steve Bannister/Louise Rae, 0m 41s
5= Scott McCombie/Kevin Sim, 0m 41s

SS2, Enzon Wells Technology AECC2, 0.50 mls
1= Dave Weston/Paul Beaton, 0m 39s
1= Jock Armstrong/Paul Swinscoe, 0m 39s
1= Mark McCulloch/Michael Hendry, 0m 39s
1= John Rintoul/Ross Hynd, 0m 39s
5= David Bogie/Kevin Rae, 0m 40s
5= Mike Faulkner/Peter Foy, 0m 40s
5= Donnie MacDonald/Andrew Falconer, 0m 40s
5= Barry Groundwater/Neil Shanks, 0m 40s
5= Chris Collie/Mark Fisher, 0m 40s
5= Scott McCombie/Kevin Sim, 0m 40s
5= Brian Watson/Caroline Will, 0m 40s
5= Nigel Feeney/Shona Hale, 0m 40s

The first two stages around Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre didn’t do much for the overall results, but what they did provide was a spectacle for spectators. Job done, and the punters appreciated it. There was however one who had cause for great joy and celebration, Brian Watson scored a fastest stage time first time out in his new Lancer WRC. Admittedly he had to share fastest time on the opening test with three others! He was second fastest on the second test, this time with 7 others, but he didn’t let a mere detail like that prevent him claiming bragging rights over the rest of the north east contingent.

As for Chris Collie, a tea bag and an egg would have been of use as he could have brewed up and had a boiled egg for breakfast at the end of it. The Lancer boiling up over the short half mile blasts when a hose worked loose. There was no damage though, but a re-fill off water and off he went to Stage 3. ‘Off’ being the operative word and he didn’t come out. That’s what comes of not having a proper breakfast as Mum would say!

SS3, Zenith Energy Fetteresso, 5.80 mls
1= David Bogie/Kevin Rae, 5m 09s
1= Dave Weston/Paul Beaton, 5m 09s
3, Jock Armstrong/Paul Swinscoe, 5m 18s
4= Donnie MacDonald/Andrew Falconer, 5m 25s
4= Shaun Sinclair/Chris Hamill, 5m 25s
6, Mike Faulkner/Peter Foy, 5m 27s

After the stoory concrete of the AECC it was on to the sandy grush of Fetteresso where Bogie and Weston tied with Armstrong 9 seconds off the leaders’ pace, but with sore hands. “I was hanging on for dear life,” said Jock, “my hands were sore at the end of it. I saw 118 mph in there and just couldn’t go any quicker.” Donnie MacDonald and Shaun Sinclair were on the ball setting equal 4th fastest time ahead of Mike Faulkner, with Collie losing out, but he wasn’t alone. Another car which failed to emerge from the forest was Ken Wood’s Dolomite which fell off the road and ended up on its ear.

Andy Horne was luckier as the rust was showing (in him, not the car): “I spun it twice in there,” he laughed, “I was coming downhill too quick into a corner and got flustered with all the buttons and paddleshift – I forgot to change down! So I just flung it into the corner and when I looked down I was in 6th gear.”

SS4, McCombie Builders Durris, 6.75 mls
1, David Bogie/Kevin Rae, 4m 31s
2, Dave Weston/Paul Beaton, 4m 32s
3, Jock Armstrong/Paul Swinscoe, 4m 43s
4, Mike Faulkner/Peter Foy, 4m 45s
5, Andrew Gallacher/Jane Nicol, 4m 48s
6= Mark McCulloch/Michael Hendry, 4m 52s
6= Shaun Sinclair/Chris Hamill, 4m 52s

There was a single second between Bogie and Weston in here, this time in Bogie’s favour, but Weston appeared with flat tyre: “I misjudged a corner and nearly went into the trees, and was only stopped by a banking.”

Armstrong was best of the rest, despite a 4th gear backwards run at a banking, but got away with it, while Faulkner and Andrew Gallacher had woken up and were only seconds behind with McCulloch and Sinclair tying on sixth fastest.

Sponsored by McCombie Builders, this stage should have been kinder to Bruce! “I got the tail out coming into a chicane too quick,” said Bruce, “and couldn’t get it back, but it wasn’t a full spin. I’ve not got the right head on this morning.”

He was in good company thought, Steven Clark and Donnie MacDonald spun as well and John Rintoul picked a narrow section to spin and “had to do a 21 point turn” to get round and away.

Mark McCulloch had an incident at Armstrong’s banking, “I was just too ragged,” he said, and John Wink went off backwards at the same spot, but went further than anyone else: “I thought I was going over. It was well up on 2 wheels.” Going one better was Brian Watson who went off at the same place. There was no way he was coming back without a map and a compass and an explorer to find him.

SS5, Whyte Cranes Drumelzie, 7.25 mls
1, David Bogie/Kevin Rae, 7m 21s
2, Dave Weston/Paul Beaton, 7m 23s
3, Jock Armstrong/Paul Swinscoe, 7m 37s
4, Bruce McCombie/Michael Coutts, 7m 40s
5, Donnie MacDonald/Andrew Falconer, 7m 42s
6, Quintin Milne/Stephen O’Hanlon, 7m 43s

Bogie took 2 seconds out of Weston. “I’m trying to wring its neck a wee bit more,” said David, “but trying not to take any risks.” Whatever, it was working.

Armstrong was third quickest but Faulkner was later in to the Control: “There was a mix-up in the Notes and I went 400 yards down a firebreak,” Mike grimaced, “that’s a long way to reverse back!”

MacDonald and Milne rounded off the top six times, and Gallacher didn’t: “I tried to cut a corner just a bit too much, and it just the car in and off”. Fraser Wilson had an overshoot: “I hit a big stone. I saw it too late,” explained Fraser, “I was committed to my line so it was question of where is it going to hit. It launched the car over it and missed the corner.”

Scott McCombie appeared out of this one with a cracked windscreen: “It was a slippy approach into a corner and I just slid straight on into the trees,” said Scott, “we had to get out and push it then had to stop late on to pull bodywork off one of the rear wheels.” As for Milne (t’other one) he was going fast enough to spin twice, but the times are looking better.

SS6, Ross Survival Services Drumtochty, 8.06 mls
1, Dave Weston/Paul Beaton, 7m 31s
2, David Bogie/Kevin Rae, 7m 32s
3= Jock Armstrong/Paul Swinscoe, 7m 46s
3= Mike Faulkner/Peter Foy, 7m 46s
5, Steven Clark/Phil Sandham, 7m 53s
6, Bruce McCombie/Michael Coutts, 7m 57s

It was Weston in Drumtochty but only by a second from Bogie. Armstrong and Faulkner tied with Steven Clark, Bruce McCombie and Mark McCulloch the only other drivers under 8 minutes for the stage.

But Drumtochty did for Milne and MacDonald. Q was too hot into a hairpin left, slid off and got stuck while Donnie went off in the same stage. He slid wide and grounded out with a puncture: “I was too hot into a Right 3,” said Donnie, “and was carrying too much speed going into the next Left 3, I got on to the loose stuff, knew I wasn’t going to make it, so straightened it up and waited for it to stop.” No damage, but stuck. Freddie Milne spun once this time near the end but was still going, unlike older brother!

SS7, Groundwater Lift Trucks Strathgyle, 4.60 mls
1, David Bogie/Kevin Rae, 4m 36s
2, Dave Weston/Paul Beaton, 4m 39s
3, Steven Clark/Phil Sandham, 4m 50s
4= Mike Faulkner/Peter Foy, 4m 50s
4= Bruce McCombie/Michael Coutts, 4m 50s
6, Barry Groundwater/Neil Shanks, 4m 57s

Bogie fought back in Strahgyle, taking 3 seconds back from Weston with Armstrong nowhere in sight. “Mike took a bit of time out of me in that one,” said Jock, “There’s a crest in there. I was all set up to go over it and turn Right – but it was a Left. I took out all the tapes, but OK!”

Even then Faulkner could only manage fourth equal fastest with McCombie as Steven Clark popped in the ‘best of the rest’ this time. Rounding off the top six times was Barry Groundwater, first time out in his new Evo10: “I had 3 laps of a boggy field on Tuesday night,” he said, “It really is quite different to the old car, it’ll take a bit of time to get the best out of it.”

Proof that rallying can be pretty hard and unforgiving at times came from Mark McCulloch. He was on for a top six finish: “I was going into a corner on the second last stage and went from third to second gear and – nothing. The car just lost all drive!”

SS8, Smollett Express Swanley, 10.59 mls
1, Dave Weston/Paul Beaton, 9m 53s
2, David Bogie/Kevin Rae, 9m 57s
3, Mike Faulkner/Peter Foy, 10m 24s
4, Jock Armstrong/Paul Swinscoe, 10m 25s
5, Steven Clark/Phil Sandham, 10m 35s
6, Bruce McCombie/Michael Coutts, 10m 38s

Given the closeness of the battle for the lead at this point it will come as no surprise to learn that there were just 4 seconds between the top two, in Bogie’s favour, and one 10.59 mile test left to go. The two of them had a good idea of the difference as they approached the final stage, but we will never know what goes through the minds of drivers at a time like this.

Suffice to say that Weston was quicker by just 4 seconds over nearly 11 miles: “This is new. It’s never been like this before. I’ve never experienced such close competition,” he said, “We were pushing on fairly hard. It just seemed to work.”

Faulkner finished the day with third fastest time, by one second from Jock, but any hopes Steven Clark had of challenging Faulkner disappeared three miles from the end of the final test – coincidentally at the very same time as his brakes! Bruce McCombie recovered after a slow and scrappy start to score sixth fastest, before heading back to the Aberdeen finish.

But perhaps the luckiest finisher was John McClory. He finished the last stage and drove the final road section with a branch poking out of the front radiator: “Don’t touch it, if you pull it out, it might leak. So far the only fluids I’ve lost are bodily fluids!” And him such a mild mannered, well spoken and polite individual!

At the rally finish both Davids were smiling and had relished the day long challenge, but there could be only one winner: “All the stages were good today. It was fast and that helped. The Subaru is a big car and it’s not active. Last year I had spins and stalls all year, but this year is better, and this is the best yet!”

1, Dave Weston/Paul Beaton (Subaru Impreza WRC) 40m 27s
2, David Bogie/Kevin Rae (Ford Fiesta R5+) +00.00
3, Jock Armstrong/Paula Swinscoe (Subaru Impreza) +1:45
4, Mike Faulkner/Peter Foy (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9) +2:09
5, Steven Clark/Phil Sandham (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 5) +2:26
6, Bruce McCombie/Michael Coutts (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9) +2:46
7, Shaun Sinclair/Chris Hamill (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 8) +3:18
8, Barry Groundwater/Neil Shanks (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 10) +3:22
9, Andy Horne/Jim Howie (Ford Focus WRC) +4:00
10, Fraser Wilson/Craig Wallace (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9) +4:24

11, Martin Scott/Daniel Forsyth (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 5) +4:27
12, Steve Bannister/Louise Rae (Ford Escort Mk2) +4:36
13, Freddie Milne/Martin Forrest (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7) +4:38
14, John Morrison/Peter Carstairs (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) +4:42
15, John Rintoul/Ross Hynd (Hyundai Accent Wrc) +4:45
16, John McClory/David Hood (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) +4:55
17, Ian Baumgart/Mike Dickson (Subaru Impreza) +5:12
18, John Wink/John Forrest (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6) +5:30
19, Graeme Schoneville/Stuart Loudon (Honda Civic Type R) +5:46
20, Scott MacBeth/Callum Atkinson (Vauxhall Nova) +6:03
21, Fraser Louden/Abi Louden (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6) +6:11
22, Greg McKnight/Chris McKnight (Ford Escort Mk2) +6:14
23, Keith Robathan/Calum MacKenzie (Ford Escort Mk2) +6:38
24, Kevin Robertson/Murray Strachan (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8) +6:41
25, Robert Harkness/Mike Curry (Bmw 316i) +6:56
26, Ellya Gold/Jean Hay (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6) +6:58
27, Martin Craik/Steven Brown (Subaru Impreza) +7:23
28, Alex Curran/Heather Grisedale (Vauxhall Corsa) +7:39
29, James Brims/Iain MacDonald (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8) +7:43
30, Alasdair Reid/Donald Urquhart (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 8) +7:57

1, Sue Hynd/Tom Hynd (Peugeot 106)
2, Thomas Gray/Ewen Jappy (Toyota Yaris)
3, Donald Peacock/Scott Peacock (Peugeot 205 GTI)
4, Scott MacBeth/Callum Atkinson (Vauxhall Nova)
6, Steve Bannister/Louise Rae (Ford Escort Mk2)
7, Graeme Schoneville/Stuart Loudon (Honda Civic Type R)
8, Greg McKnight/Chris McKnight (Ford Escort Mk2)
9, Keith Robathan/Calum MacKenzie (Ford Escort Mk2)
10, Fraser Wilson/Craig Wallace (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9)
11, Martin Scott/Daniel Forsyth (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 5)
12, Bruce McCombie/Michael Coutts (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9)
13, Andy Horne/Jim Howie (Ford Focus WRC)


Coltel Granite City Rally: [Classes roundup]