… Granite City Rally – Classes Roundup …
On her first ever forest stage rally as a driver, Sue Hynd scored a class win. The mere fact that Andy Struthers failed to finish in his wee Citroen should not detract from this magnificent achievement. Co-driven by husband Tom Hynd, Sue survived a dramatic assault on a threatening log pile in the first forest stage of the day. Fortunately, ‘Bertie’ (the Peugeot 106) managed to escape the wooden grip of the dead trees and carry on. A breathless Sue said at the finish: “I absolutely hated the first 7 stages, then on the last one, I loved it! The car was brilliant – I’ll be out again on the Jim Clark.” At that point there was an audible sigh of acquiescence from the left hand seat – or was it pain? As for young Struthers, he was leading the class first time out in his new-build C2 until the final stage, when the wee thing slid off the road and got stuck in a ditch.
Thomas Gray brought his battle scarred Toyota Yaris home in first place despite the cloying embrace of a ditch in Stage 4. If it hadn’t been for the spectators (don’t tell the Safety Delegate!) lifting the wee thing out of the boggy bottom, there it might have stayed. Jacob Harlington drove his Volkswagen Polo from Inverness, did the rally, finished second in class, and was all set to drive it back home after the prizegiving. You can’t buy enthusiasm like that, eh. Craig Martin was third although the Felicia’s clutch was on its way out and the car was jumping out of 2nd gear by the finish. Grant MacRae retired his Peugeot in the first forest stage of the day.
Seasoned campaigner (a much more polite way of saying ‘auld git’), Donald Peacock saw off all the ‘young chargers’ in the Peugeot 205 category. As son Scott was co-driving, Donald said: “I was told to behave. We had a wee oil leak from a driveshaft, but kept an eye on it and it was fine.” He finished over a minute and a half clear of Steven Bellshaw whose Peugeot was bearing the scarred flanks of close encounters with the chicane bales. Simon Hay was lucky to finish, let alone score third: “We were up a banking in the last stage and lucky not to roll!” Newcomer Scott Beattie finished fourth in his Sunbeam but might have done rather better had he not spent some ‘quality time’ in a ditch having to be rescued by spectators. That cost him a possible third in class. First time on gravel for 3 years, Danny Sutherland was happy with fifth in class especially after he only got 4 miles on the Snowman before the Peugeot’s exhaust broke. James Munro was sixth in his Peugeot but lucky to survive a sore ding on a bridge parapet in SS4. Douglas Cameron struggle home seventh after his Peugeot’s fuel pump failed in SS5 and then the car stopped again in SS6. When all else failed, he hit it with a hammer and it started working again! Stuart Urquhart rounded off the finishers in his Sunbeam which had the driver’s door tie-wrapped and tank taped after the door latch broke and the throttle cable came off.
Scott MacBeth won the class by over a minute from Alex Curran with Carl Tuer third, first time out in his Fiesta R200. He didn’t like the handling at all but was getting it sorted by the finish although the biggest hurdle was the car was RHD, and after 7 years in the LHD MG, that took a bit of getting used to. Bill Davidson was fourth in the Nova despite “a chunter with a big stane” and Angus Lawrie was fifth after changing a brake calliper (borrowed from the Peacock clan) . Neil Redford rounded off the top six in his Civic despite an engine problem on the final stage which limited the revs to 5000, which gave him only half power. Colin Grant was seventh in his Mk2 losing out on the final stage when the gearlever broke and he finished the rally with vice grips in place. Darren Christie’s Peugeot 106 was jumping out of gear by the finish but he was pleased to finish having only sat in the car on the way to Scrutineering. Kevin Burns finished his first event in the forests with the Peug 106 just ahead of last man home, Jordan Black. Mind you, the wee Citroen didn’t look too pretty at the finish, he cowped it in Durris and got a Maximum. At least he finished. Ian Cattanach retired his Sunbeam on the very last stage with an engine problem and Jim Robertson had his French swear word dictionary out again when the wee Citroen misbehaved mechanically. Murray Coulthard had his first taste of the woods in his new Citroen, but it was shortlived. He bent a chassis leg on a kerb at the AECC and then slid off in the forest.
Steve Bannister was the only finisher but he wasn’t his usual happy cheery self. He was trying Pirellis in place of his favoured Dunlops: “The tyres are good,” he said, “but I’m having to learn new compounds and grip levels.” Willie Stuart didn’t even make the start when the fire extinguisher in the Escort went off on the Start line!
Graeme Schoneville took the class in his Civic despite an overshoot on SS7 with Jock McFarlane scoring second in his Fiesta ST and survived a hit on the barrier of the last corner of the first stage. Caroline Carslaw got her best result to date with third in class after a few spins in the Fiesta while Phillip MacIver on his second rally was pleased with fourth in his Ford Focus. Alan Cowan was fifth in his Astra but remarked on the fact that he encountered the same group of Marshals at three different locations during the day. Nice one team. Scott Burness finished sixth with the Fiesta but had no second gear all day. He completed the last stage with the clutch on its legs having to cope with first to third changes all day. Mark Budge was the final class finisher in his Fiesta after a couple of “scary moments” including one at a chicane when he had to reverse out of it.
Greg McKnight was a solitary finisher in this class having completed almost the entire rally with no rear brakes on the Escort after a bolt snapped in a calliper. Grant Inglis didn’t make it out of the first forest stage when he parked the Escort in a ditch and Ian Archer retired with broken steering.
Keith Robathan won the class despite his co-driver (the Hebridean Hurricane no less) suffering man-flu and coughing, sneezing and spluttering all over the place. Robert Harkness was second in the BMW pleased as punch with his new 6 spd sequential gearbox in place of the 5 spd manual and Donald Brooker was third in his BMW. Ken Wood failed to finish following an uncharacteristic off in the Dolomite and Gordon Murray’s Escort came off second best with a ditch fight in Drumelzie.
Fraser Wilson won the showroom class in his Lancer from John Morrison who wondered why he had lost power in his Lancer, till he discovered the throttle pedal was bent! John McClory was third just 13 seconds behind.
Mike Faulkner took the class win but Martin Scott and Freddie Milne made a decent fight of it for second place with Scott getting it by 11 seconds. “That’s my best result ever,” said Martin, ” and first time out since the Speyside.” He also punctured a rear tyre in Durris and then spun but managed to stay ahead of Milne. Ian Baumgart was fourth in the Subaru ahead of the Lancer of John Wink who had a wee off in SS4 when he went straight on at a Left 4. Fraser Louden was sixth although the Lancer had no anti-lag all day and Ellya Gold was seventh in his Lancer and happy with that as he reckoned this was his “bogey event” having finished every round in the Scottish Championship last year – bar this one. Martin Craik was eighth in the Subaru despite a puncture and cracked exhaust manifold and James Brims was ninth in his Lancer ahead of Alasdair Reid who admitted to a “few near misses”. Garry Wilson was 11th in his Lancer ahead of Scott Mutch who was lucky to finish when the Lancer developed a water leak on the final stage. Matthew Thompson was 13th and Ian Petrie finished 14th having stopped at the scene when Jordan Black rolled. Drew MacDonald was 15th on his second ever rally although the Subaru only had half a bar of boost all day and Scott McCombie was 16th after his adventures in SS5 (see Main report). Michael Robertson admitted to “three ditches today” on his way to 17th place while Ian Cruden was grinning from ear to ear first time out in 4WD after his early years spent in a 1300 Escort – a long time ago. Neil Philip was 19th and Raymond Kennedy rounded off the top 20. That meant Geoff Goudie finished 21st but the Subaru was a good advert for tank tape – he rolled it in SS$ right in front of the spectators. Final class finisher was Andrew Voisey who also put it off. At least his Subaru stayed on its wheels and he was able to reverse out. Amongst the non-finishers were Ross McFadzean with a broken gearbox and Scott Grant with a broken diff.
The order here was Armstrong, Clark, McCombie, Sinclair, Groundwater and Kevin Robertson sixth after an electrical problem in the Lancer which had all sorts of lights flashing on the dashboard! Nigel Feeney failed to make the finish when the Subaru developed an engine problem.
Four finishers here with Weston leading home Bogie, Horne and John Rintoul who had a big grin on his face after his day out with the Hyundai and despite a spin on the fourth test.
Coltel Granite City Rally: [Main Report]