… News & Gossip …
Just after the McRae Rally Challenge at Knockhill afer which Kris Meeke headed south to Portugal, Alister McRae was heading further south, back home to Australia. There he had a chance to unpack and then re-pack before heading north – to China. Alister had been invited to contest the Chenzhou Rally in a BAIC Senova, a Chinese version of the Lancer Evo10, but things didn’t go too well.
“I was out there and tested the car a month ago,” said Alister and it was fine and the team were pretty good, “but it all went wrong on the start line of the first stage. One of the cooling fans came loose when a nut came off and it jammed the other fan, so neither fan was working. The car overheated and dumped all its oil – all over the windscreen. Things were a bit of a mess under the bonnet too, then the power steering failed followed by a rear suspension failure. But the lads set to and fixed it for us to re-start on Day 2.”
“It was a great pity because the signs were good prior to the rally, but that’s rallying. Still it was good to spend some quality time with Stuart (Loudon), it’s the first time we’ve driven together.”
Mark and Mairi in Portugal
It wasn’t only Kris Meeke who went to Portugal, so too did Mark McCulloch and Mairi, but they just went over to watch. When they arrived to spectate at the first stage they saw cars parked up for miles and traffic queues to get there so they asked a Portuguese Polis how far they would have to walk – and he said 7 kms. And it was uphill. Then they heard there were some spaces closer to the stage and pulled out to follow some other cars who were going through. Just up the road they got stopped by the Polis again, so Mark showed them his ‘VW Pass’ – and they waved him through. Apparently they both had a great time, the roads are different and the speeds huge. They even got into the VW workshop at the service park at the end of the rally when Jari Matti-Latvala swept in to celebrate his win. Just one question, where did Mark get the Pass? He’s saying nothing.
More International News
Euan Thorburn was the sole Scot amongst the 12 drivers invited to the inaugural RX Talent Search in a 12-way shootout at Lydden Hill a couple of weeks back. The winner would get a free drive in the RX Lites class at the Istanbul round of the European series. Sadly our man didn’t win the prize drive. Each of the 12 got two runs of four laps each in an Olsbergs MSE RXLites Ford Fiesta with an engineer alongside as a passenger and this was followed by an interview in front of a panel of five judges. Euan was fastest in the first Heats, but punctured a tyre in the second runs. Rallycross’ loss is rallying’s gain though, eh.
The Jim Clark Reivers after rally prizegiving was delayed when Jock Armstrong and Paula Swinscoe queried their one minute penalty which cost them victory on Sunday’s event. It was alleged that the crew were a minute late at the main rally start. Subsequent inspection of the time cards and paperwork confirmed that the crew had indeed arrived at the Control with 3 seconds to spare so the penalty was cancelled. Then another one minute penalty appeared on the Provisional Results. Apparently in their hurry to reach the MTC in time, Armstrong had driven the car “at excessive speed” within the showground rally base and had cut across the grass which had been specifically banned. This matter took even longer to resolve and with time passing and crews already departing before the prizegiving had started, Armstrong and Swinscoe chose not to submit a formal Protest and the results stood.
Callum Atkinson was co-driving again at the weekend for Scott MacBeth having sold his Ford Fiesta ST to ex-Junior (he turned 18 just the other week) Sandy Fairbairn. The former Nissan Micra 1000 driver hopes to debut the car on the Solway Coast. That should keep faither Warren busy!
Glutton for punishment. It looks as though Tom Hynd won’t see much daylight in the run up to Mull. Now that the Missus has discovered a passion for gravel rallying, Tom has started building a new car. “The plan is to build a Citroen C2 for Sue to use on the C2 Challenge next year,” said Tom, “so the plan is to get it ready for Mull and I’ll give the car a shakedown on that before Sue tries it out on the Galloway Hills.”
Speaking of the Hynds, they were lucky to finish the Reivers when a hose burst. Apparently the split was so long that they couldn’t cut the end off it and re-attach the hose, and then the armed services arrived. Spotting the lady in distress, the Army and RAF boys descended on the car, wrapped the hose up in tape then fitted a string of jubilee clips the full length of the repair. Job done.
Walking with tigers. Duncan Cameron (aka the Hairy Highlander) was back in time from his hols in Thailand to help out in Kelso, but he did manage to cross out one wish on his bucket list. He walked with tigers. Apparently there is a tiger sanctuary out there that he has always wanted to visit. Mind you it’s one thing to play around with the cubs, but he actually got the chance to go into the compound where the full-sized meat-eaters were padding around. According to Duncan it was just the best thing ever (next to rallying) but then given Duncan’s propensity for avoiding razors and shaving, maybe the tigers thought he was a kindred spirit and left him alone.
Extreme selfies. John Morrison has a new appendage which he showed off at the McRae Rally Challenge the other week. He had put on a bit of a display with his Lancer and brand, spanking, glorious looking, new Escort (see previous News roundup) for the Scottish Rally Championship and ARR Craib had sent along a MAN tractor unit. If you look at his Facebook page for the Morrison Rally Team (run by son Gavin) on the 21st May you’ll see an aerial view of the entourage. This was taken not by a drone, but by a camera mounted on top of an 8 metre extending pole. Apparently John uses this new acquisition for surveying work and can view the live images from the camera on his iPhone thingy. That means he doesn’t need to carry ladders when he inspects roofs and buildings. Apparently his customers are fair impressed by this ingenious piece of kit. He was most perturbed when I called it a selfie stick.
I’m worried about David Bogie. With the thought of an engine rebuild looming, times are tight. He had to borrow a pound from Willie Nelson to buy a coffee at scrutineering in Kelso. What next? The Dumfries food bank for a loaf?
Speaking of food, young Struthers was looking awfy fidgety and getting worse as the delays ahead of the rally prizegiving lengthened. Apparently he was ravenous, but wouldn’t eat any of the food on offer in the Rally HQ canteen, even though there was plenty of choice, from lasagne to fruit scones, pies to cream cakes. According to faither Drew, Andy only eats MacDonalds. Now here’s the thing, he’s the son of a farmer, that means he should know about REAL beef, not the synthetic variety. The other thing is, he didn’t need a co-driver to find the nearest Mac. It was in Galashiels, on the way home.
And finally …
Although entered for the JC Reivers, Dale Robertson non-started and it was easy to see why when he turned up for a nosey at Scrutineering. He had a big bandage on his thumb and was on his way back from hospital when he dropped in at Rally HQ. Was it a rally accident or was he reaching for the last caramel wafer at the works tea-break? Nope, he was just about to set off for Scrutineering with the car on the trailer when his Dad called him over to help with the lawnmower. He had been cutting the grass with the three rotor machine when it jammed, so Dale leaned down to have a look: “When you lift one rotor it is supposed to cut out automatically. It didn’t,” said Dale. Nevertheless our bold boy reached in to remove the blockage and was rewarded for his efforts: “It was only the tip of the thumb I lost,” explained Dale, “so it wasn’t too bad.” And you wonder why the long suffering mothers and wives of this world despair at the antics of their menfolk. The words ‘daft’ and ‘eedjit’ come to mind, eh.