… Reivers Classes Roundup …
Second time out in the family Peugeot, Sue Hynd drove to class victory in Kelso by over a minute from Andy Struthers in his Citroen C2. The Peugeot suffered a broken exhaust and more worryingly, a burst hose, but the Army and RAF Land Rover teams came to the rescue to keep her in the rally.
Thomas Gray was the solitary finisher in his Toyota Aygo when Mat Smith dumped his Proton in a ditch in Harwood. Davie Wilson was co-driving for Thomas and was quite impressed with the way the wee Aygo stopped and steered: “I was going for the brakes long before Thomas was!” said Davie.
Ben Cree won the class in his Peugeot 205 by over a minute from the 205 of Simon Hay, although it was nearly all over for Simon in Stage 2: “I nearly hit a gatepost!” Thaarique Fazal was third despite having to cope with a broken engine mounting. Andy Chalmers retired in Stage 3, but had struggled to get that far after a slack bottom balljoint had to be replaced at first service and then traced an overfuelling problem to an ECU which was full of water.
Alex Curran won the 1600 class in his Corsa by over a minute from tarmac specialist Barry Lindsay in his Peugeot 206. “We punctured in the first stage and caught a car in the second stage,” said Alex, “so I’m just relieved.” As for Lindsay: “I don’t like hearing stones rattling on the underside of my car, but by the finish I was really getting into the swing of things.” Going into the final stage, Colin Grant was 2 seconds behind Lindsay despite losing oil from the Escort’s gearbox, but: “I spun and overshot a corner, and lost it.” Trevor Gamble was fourth in class in his Puma but reckons he went ‘cold’ sitting for an hour in the car while the accident was being attended to: “It just knocked me off my rhythm when we got back into the stage and there was one moment when we frightened ourselves.” Jim Robertson was fifth in the Citroen and Carin Logan finished sixth first time on gravel: “There were a few scary moments. At one, I nearly shut my eyes.” Back came the voice from the co-driver’s seat: “I’m glad she didn’t,” said Christine. Scott MacBeth was unable to challenge for the class lead when the alternator bracket on his Nova snapped stranding him mid-stage.
Iain Heard was the solitary finisher (and starter) in his Mk2.
Steve Bannister finished top two wheel drive car in fifteenth place overall in his Escort Mk2 winning the Historic class from Seamus O’Connell in his ‘brand new’ Mk1 by 53 seconds. “It was going pretty good till the last stage,” said Bannister, “but the front kept locking up under braking and I don’t understand it, so I had to lift off just to be sure we finished. I’ll need to get it checked out before the Scottish, there’s summat not right.” Willie Stuart had a better run here, after his very short Granite outing, finishing third in the Mk1 and David Goose was fourth having “driven like a granny” in the first stage and had a dose of “clenched buttocks” when he encountered a ‘flat crest’ in Rooken Edge, only to find that the road went right over it. Marcus Noble was fifth in his Mk2 but had cause to rue old technology: “These old cars have crap wipers, they couldn’t clear the screen fast enough.” Peter Humphrey was sixth in the Kadett and Paul May was seventh in his Escort Mexico admitting to “one ditch and no lifts over crests.” Walter Aitken was eighth in his Mk1, although I think there was more relief than satisfaction etched in his worry lines and David Thirlwell was the final finisher in his Escort. Allan McDowall crashed out in the final stage and Andy Kelly retired on the last stage. A throttle and carburettion problem had been fixed earlier on but the alternator bolt bracket snapped and that was it, game over.
Ross MacDonald won the class in his Honda Civic despite flattening the exhaust in SS2: “We had to drill holes in the centre pipe to relieve the pressure.” Caroline Carslaw was second in her Fiesta ST and said: “I was chuffed with that. I kept it in the centre of the road and only had one lift over a crest.” Alan Cowan was third in the Astra but was lucky to make it home arriving back in Kelso on three cylinders: “I’ve broken my 250 quid engine,” he said, “I wonder if I’ll get a refund.” Jock McFarlane failed to finish going off on the final stage in his Fiesta ST, but he still managed to impress co-driver George Donaldson: “He’s getting quicker!”
In winning Class 7, Greg McKnight was less than a minute behind Bannister at the finish in his over-2 litre Escort splitting Bannister and O’Connell and finishing 16th overall with Grant Inglis second in his Mk2, although both of them were yellow flagged in the stage when Allan McDowall went off. Alister MacArthur failed to finish when the Sunbeam holed its petrol tank in the last stage.
Gordon Murray won the class after a well-balanced attack in his Mk2: “I was in two ditches – one on each side” with Colin Aitchison second in his Chevette HSR now fitted with a 6 speed sequential gearbox in place of the standard 5 speed ZF unit. The trouble is, he’s not sure if he likes it: “I can’t short-shift with it. I used to go from fifth to second for hairpins and use the locked up rear to slide it round. Now I have to come down the box.” Kieran O’Kane was third but the Ascona was down on power: “I’ve had fuel problems all day and then broke the exhaust manifold on the last stage,” said Kieran. The normally canny and quick Donald Brooker was an uncharacteristic non-finisher putting the BMW off the road.
John McClory was top Group N finisher and better pleased with the smoother power delivery of his Lancer after a post-event Granite re-mapping session. Fraser Wilson was only 20 seconds behind after a puncture on the final stage. John Morrison was third, but hampered with tyres which were too wide for the damp and slippery early stages while Craig Rutherford was fourth in his Subaru.
Faulkner, McCulloch and Milne were the top finishers in Class11 ahead of Ian Baumgart in his Subaru. The Lancer of Steven Ronaldson was fifth and although Steven is getting the hang of the car it was down on power all day. The improving John Wink was sixth after a puncture in SS4 then “hit something in SS5 and finished with something clunking underneath.” Alasdair Reid was seventh but reckons the Notional Time in the final stage cost him some places while Scott McCombie was eighth after the brakes started to fail in SS4 and disappeared completely in SS5. Garry Wilson was ninth after the Lancer burst a brake pipe and James Gibb was tenth first time out with ‘new’ co-driver Iain Robson. He reckons they “bonded well” together which is just another description for two auld farts having a blether in a car! Michael Robertson was the final finisher and Colin Patterson wasn’t when the Toyota’s engine let go in the final stage.
Armstrong, Robinson and McCombie were top finishers in Class 12 ahead of Steve Petch (Snr) having a run out in a Ford Fiesta S2000: “After 20 years driving turbo cars, I’m just not used to this. It turns in and stops well but it has no torque compared to Subarus and Mitsubishis. You need to scream the nuts off it. I keep changing up far too early. I’m still in the green or amber most of the time and not getting into the red at all. I don’t know how Steve (Jnr) manages in his R5.” Ian Graham finished fourth in his Lancer ahead of Kevin Robertson who was amongst the first on the scene at the accident in the final stage. Mike Williams rounded off the finishers in his Lancer.
Taylor, Stephenson and Young were the only finishers in the WRC and R5 class following John Rintoul’s woopsie in SS4 and Brian Bell’s ‘steam-powered’ run through the first stage.
Seven Land Rovers started the rally and seven finished, led home by the indomitable Alan Paramore although he did admit to breaking it: “The turbo blew up mid way through the last stage and burnt the wiring. But we managed to get back to Kelso by running it on idle.” When they pulled up at the finish and looked under the bonnet it was well blackened and scorched and the alternator wiring was hanging on by a single strand, or maybe two, of wire. Adam Woolner finished second despite sideswiping a tree (on the co-driver’s side) and claimed that the tree had jumped into the road in front of him. If that’s what the Army does to you, then the poor chap needs some R&R, soon! Brian Palmer was third and Blair Thompson fourth who thoroughly enjoyed his cold, wet trip to the Borders as he’s off to Iraq this week. Kind of makes us normal folks think that perhaps, the cold and wet of Northumbria isn’t such a bad place after all. Ross Cookman was fifth ahead of Steve Partridge who had stopped in SS4 top pull his mate Clive Alford out of a ditch!