03 Jul: Scottish Rally Class roundup

… RSAC SCottish Rally, Sat 27th June

… Class Roundup …

Class 1
Andy Struthers was the sole finisher in the 1050cc and Rally First class with his Citroen C2 when Sue Hynd retired her Peugeot 106 on the last road section. Even so, Andy had set himself a target for the day as this would be his last run out in the Scholarship car as his own C2 is nearing completion: “It was brilliant. We worked on set-up today,” said Andy, “and we were testing things in this car to put into my own. It was also good to take time out of Jordan (Black) today.” No doubt this point will be well and truly pressed home at the next Coltness CC club night as they are both CCC bear cubs!

Class 2
Thomas Gray scored another class win in his Toyota Yaris and it looks as though he’s clinched the class in the Championship too with two rounds to go. “Davie (Wilson) kept on top of me over the last two stages to make sure I finished,” said Thomas, “we were running on the sumpguard in the ruts in some places in Stage 6 but the car’s fine.” Gary Parker finished second in class and was last man home in his Nova: “I did the Greystoke Stages 3 years ago and haven’t finished a rally since with all sorts of mechanical problems,” said Gary, “so I’m just pleased to finish today.” Niall Cowan Jnr retired his MG in Twiglees when the gearbox broke.

Class 3
Driving a borrowed Vauxhall Nova, Charles Blair won the 1650/8v class by 16 seconds from the Peacock Peugeot 205. After struggling with brakes all morning: “I got them sorted by the finish,” said Charles, ” but now I’ve got to give the car back to Jock Frew.” Donald Peacock lost time over the first couple of stages when a nut slackened on the rear wheel bearing allowing the wheel to wobble about alarmingly. But by the time he got it fixed at service, Charles had his brakes sorted and there was no catching him. Simon Hay was third in his Peugeot ahead of the MkI Escort of David Hayton with Thaarique Fazal finishing fifth after a mixed day: “We had smoke inside the car caused by an exhaust leak and burning rubber, the power steering is faulty, and the engine is not running right – maybe we flattened the exhaust.” At least he finished, Scott Beattie’s Sunbeam engine let go and Alan McMorran had a mechanical fault with his new Avenger. Steven Bellshaw and Douglas Cameron both retired retired their Peugeot 205s.

Class 4
Alex Curran won the 16v 1650cc class despite his Nova losing third gear early on. “I know it’s in there,” said Curran, “but it just won’t select third gear.” He also finished with the sumpguard held on with tie-wraps. Murray Coulthard finished second in his Citroen ahead of Jordan Black in another Citroen while Alex Lawrie lost out when his Corsa’s engine expired. Like Alex Curran, Scott MacBeth also lost third gear in his Nova, but his was a more violent parting. It fled the gearbox through a hole in the casing! John Urquhart was the final non-finisher. When his Peugeot 106 hit a rock it ripped the front o/s suspension mounting clean out of the floor. He completed SS2, drove down the road, did the Heathhall test and then went to service with the wee Peugeot looking like a three legged milking stool. The team set to, but ran out of time. And what a team, if they spent less time arguing, shouting, carrying on and posing for pictures, they might have got it done in time!

Class 5
John McIlwraith was the sole runner in the 2 litre/8v class and reported finishing Twiglees with a puncture in his Escort.

Class 6
Steve Bannister won the Historic class from Willie Stuart in his Mk1 Escort and Charlie Taylor in his Mk2. Stuart was lucky to finish. After changing a steering arm at first service he drove out to the next stage only to find the steering wheel loose and had to adopt a straight arm driving position with shoulders braced against the seatback pushing the wheel hard against the boss to get through the Twiglees stage before borrowing a socket from the Ambulance crew to tighten it up! Fourth in class and on only his second ever gravel rally was Adam Milner in his Mk1, and you know what, he comes from further down the valley from Bannister! They must drink the same water. Marcus Noble was fifth despite a rear puncture in one stage in the Mk2 and Ian Watson was sixth. He too had a puncture finishing Twiglees with no rubber left on the rim and flattened the exhaust in his Mk2. Paul May was the final finisher in his Mk1 and was full of praise for the “fast and flowing” Eskdalemuir tests: “I was using the rear end to steer it through there,” he smiled.

Class 7
Caroline Carslaw scored the win in her Fiesta ST and while she was well chuffed with her ditch-hooking exploits, co-driver John Duke was asking for gin every time they stopped at a stage finish! Methinks the two admissions are related. Ross MacDonald failed to finish when the Honda broke down in Twiglees.

Class 8
Greg McKnight was the only finisher when Grant Inglis retired his Mk2 in the first stage.

Class 9
Robert Harkness won his class in the BMW having spent the day on tyres last used on the Granite. Gordon Murray was second in his Mk2 and Donald Brooker was third after bumping his BMW on the Reivers and cautiously getting back into the swing over the early tests.

Class 10
John Morrison was the sole finisher in the GrpN class when Fraser Wilson parked his Lancer in a ditch.

Class 11
With Mike Faulkner winning the class, John Wink claimed second in his Evo9 although he dropped some time in Twiglees: “At the chicane there was a big hole on the navigator’s side and we nearly ended up in the ditch. I had to reverse out, j-turn and then get going again.” Scott McCombie claimed third and also admitted to “just one ditch today” while Ian Baumgart was fourth complete with 2 punctures and one overshoot. Chris Collie was an off-form fifth: “My own car’s not ready yet after its engine problem on the Granite and I’m using Brian’s (Watson) Evo6 but there’s something wrong with the front suspension. All the right bits are there, but we can’t get them to work properly.” Ian Wilson was a delighted sixth relishing the power and performance of the Subaru after his years with the Nova: “That was an awesome day. I had a permanent grin on my face. I haven’t enjoyed a rally so much for years.” Lee Hastings was seventh and happy to finish in one piece after a very eventful start to his season this year – like a Chinese firecracker, a bang here, a crash there, and a wallop everywhere! Scott Grant lost his brakes on SS4, punctured on SS5 and finally reached the finish with the clutch slipping badly on the Evo8. Just behind him in ninth place was Martin Craik and his only complaint was: “I didn’t like Ae North. The road was so wide I couldn’t see which way to go!” I told him ‘racing lines’ were the answer – he just looked at me as if I was daft. Garry Wilson finished 10th in class on his swansong and confirmed what he said at the start, that this was to be his last rally. Then he said “maybe”. Besides he’s still a boy (at heart!) and Ellya Gold was the final finisher. He also had a couple of minutes worth of time penalties at service after replacing a burst clutch pipe and fixing a broken driveshaft.

Class 12
With Armstrong, Clark, MacDonald, McCombie, Henry and Sinclair claiming the top six Class 12 points the only driver left was James Gibb in seventh. He wasn’t in his Subaru though, he was having a run out in Andrew Gallacher’s Fiesta just to try it out – and loved it. Kevin Robertson didn’t get far, his Evo8 giving up the ghost in the first stage.

Class 13
It was Bogie, Young and Robinson in the big class with Niall Henry (Desi’s brother) fourth in his Impreza S9 ahead of Brian Watson who was fifth and lucky to finish by all accounts. Apparently when he encountered Barry Groundwater’s ‘off’ the first thing he saw was Barry doing star jumps: “He was trying to put me off and nearly succeeded. I got two wheels in the ditch and thought this is going to be embarrassing but it kept going and pulled itself out.” Pauric Duffy was contesting only his second ever gravel rally and trying to get to grips with his new Fiesta R5 at the same time: “This is completely different from tarmac,” he said, “and I’m still trying to learn the car, it’s just so different.” And when everyone had left for home later that evening, Pauric and his crew were still there, swapping the forest suspension to tarmac ready for an event back home on the Sunday. Keen, eh?

Class 14
Ross Cookman won the Land Rover class and after initially claiming it was all down to clean living and a sensible diet, eventually admitted he won by default: “Alan Paramore was leading till his engine failed in SS5 and then Adam Woolner was leading till he rolled in the last stage!” he explained. Clive Allford was second and was dead chuffed: “It’s the first time I’ve finished without being in a ditch or getting towed home.” He did have a leaking front hub to contend with which was leaking grease on to the brake disc. Gary Hazelby was third on his last event as a rally driver: “I’m getting too old,” he claimed while Steve Partridge was the final finisher – and denied all knowledge of the dents and scrapes on the n/s flanks of the vehicle!

RSAC Scottish Rally – Main Report