… Speyside Rally Class Roundup …
Alex Pirie won Class 1 first time out in a hired Rally First Citroen C2 and finished 40thoverall beating quite a few more powerful cars on the way which shows the potential of the wee beastie. Sue Hynd didn’t finish, ending her ally with the wee Peugeot in a ditch.
Thomas Gray was top 1450cc runner in his Toyota Yaris while Mark MacDonald was second in his Skoda Favorit and Glenn MacDonald’s rally came to an end in the penultimate stage where the Nova was spotted with its bonnet up. Driving the ex-Callum Munro Nova, Glenn said it was smoking a bit at the start of stage 3 and then the fan stopped working!
Donald Peacock was the best of the Peugeot 205 runners winning Class 2 but according to Donald he had a “dramatic incident on the final stage when: “A shrew ran across the road in front of me and I had to take avoiding action.” Maybe he was concerned about the fall-out from animal lovers following the public backlash of Cecil’s demise in Zimbabwe! Steven Bellshaw had a canny run into second place when his Peugeot’s rear axle bearings collapsed on the penultimate test and he had to nurse it through the final stage to score a finish. Danny Sutherland was third but knackered, after having to bump start the Peugeot all day when the starter motor failed on Stage 3. David McLoughlin was fourth after fixing his brakes when the ‘slides’ on his calipers were completely worn down by the end of SS7. And scoring his best result (ever?) Thaarique Fazal was fifth in his Peugeot ahead of Chris Duff, Billy Falconer and Graeme Harris. Scott Beattie didn’t finish when his Sunbeam gearbox broke and Simon Hay put the Peugeot off in SS7. Adrian Stewart had engine failure in his Peugeot and Scott MacDonald was another to put his Nova off in SS7. Douglas Cameron retired his Peugeot in SS3 and Michael Cruickshank cowped his in SS3 but was OK, although he was feeling unwell and took himself off to hospital later that evening for a check-up where nothing untoward was diagnosed, so that’s the good news.
Colin Grant was delighted not just with the class win in hi Mk2 but also the fact that it was his first event in the car without having “any bother”. Alex Curran was a half a minute behind in the Corsa but had quite a collection of grasses and bracken decorating the front end but admitted to no misdemeanours. And delighted with third in class was Jim Robertson after, by his standards, a relatively trouble free run with the Citroen: “The problems today were minor compared to what I’ve had in the past although we did break a front shock absorber and punctured a tyre in SS7.” When Jordan Black finishes a rally these days there is much joy in the ‘bear camp’ because it means less overnight toil in the bear cave ahead of the next one, but worry ye might, he says the Citroen is too slow. Bill Davidson was the final finisher in his Nova despite a too fast approach over a crest in SS3 which resulted it a visit to a ditch on the others side: “At least I got out, it was the same ditch which Caroline (his grand daughter) went into later!” Usual class front runner Scott MacBeth joined the ranks of non-finishers: “I spun in Balloch and then couldn’t get reverse to get out because the gear selector had broken.” Darren Christie had problems too in his Peugeot when he lost 2nd and 4th gear and then lost drive altogether.
John O’Kane won the class in his Escort but was lucky. He lost the cutch in SS5 but it was only needing a new cable at service. Andy Chalmers was second after a slight off in the final stage that cost him over 5 minutes.
Top 2WD runner on the day was Historic Class winner Steve Bannister. The Escort Mk2 driver finished 13th overall, however, luck was with ‘Banner’: “I was off in a ditch in SS7 and stalled it, didn’t I,” he exclaimed, “but we scrambled out somehow. That cost me a top ten finish!” Willie Stuart was third 2WD car home in his Escort Mk1 but was left scratching his head at the times of Banister and Greg McKnight: “I don’t know what they had for breakfast, but I’ll need to get some.” Ian Milne rounded off the finishers in his Mk2.
Ross MacDonald won the class in his Honda Civic from Caroline Carslaw in her Ford Fiesta ST who had to have her strut-top tightened (?? !!) and Jock McFarlane was happy just to finish this time – with the Fiesta in one piece.
Greg McKnight finished second 2WD and 16th overall on his way to the class win in his Mk2 having survived a big spin on the first corner of the very first stage in Cooper Park and narrowly avoiding what might have been a detrimental impact with a high kerb. The Escort just brushing it before getting grip and on its way again. First timeout with his newly completed Mk2, Dougal Brown was understandably cautious with RWD as opposed to his previous 4WD experience. Liam Wood failed to finish when his Mk2 slid off and damaged the n/s front suspension in SS3.
Scott Kerr took the class in his Mk2 from the BMW of Donald Brooker. It was Scott’s first time out in the car since the McRae Rally saying it was great to be back out and: “Everything was fine until we had a really bad rain showers in the afternoon going to the final stages and the wipers got caught up and mangled together in the second last stage,” while Brooker admitted to: “Two near misses – one of them in Clash.” Third in class was the Sierra of Craig Robb and he finished despite having no third gear: “It just wouldn’t select,” he said, “but there was no other noises so I just kept going.” Robert Harkness had a mechanical problem in his BMW and failed to finish while Pete Garrow was another non-finisher in the Audi TT when the prop shaft broke.
Fraser Wilson won the GrpN Class but got a wee surprise at the end of SS3 when a Marshal jumped into the road to wave him down just short of where Quintin Milne went off: “It was just a few yards short of the Flying Finish,” said Fraser, “a few more yards and Quintin would have got a time!” Australia domiciled Gordon Grant was second in class first time out in a 4WD car and first time out in well over 5 years with John Morrison taking third having spent some time in a ditch in SS7: “It was just a wee slippy bit under the trees that caught us out,” said John, “but a film crew helped us out. That cost us second place and maybe even a shot at the class win.”
Faulkner, McCulloch and Scott McCombie took the top places in the ‘other’ 4WD class with the improving John Wink getting fourth ahead of Ian Baumgart and Ellya Gold who had an off in SS3: “We were right in the trees,” laughed Ellya, “but got out ourselves.” Alasdair Reid survived “one or two ditches’ to take 7th and Hamish Grant was 8th after wiping out a chicane in SS4 bashing in the driver’s door. On his first outing since this event last year, Mike Grant was delighted with 9th: “We were nearly out in the first stage,” said Mike, “when we bent a front wishbone and then hit a banking in SS8.” Niall Inglis was pretty chuffed with 10th, second time out in the Subaru, although he punctured a tyre in SS5 “cutting a corner a bit too tightly.” Keith Morris and Martin Craik were next up ahead of Robert Thomson who had a “wee misfire on the last two stages” and Ian Cruden hit a log pile in the last stage knocking a headlamp out. Ian Petrie was off “3 or 4 times” while Neil Philip lost a door mirror in SS1 “against a bale supplied by one of my relatives” although if that was an excuse, it was a pretty poor one!
Armstrong, McCombie and Sinclair were the main beneficiaries here ahead of a subdued Barry Groundwater. Freddie Milne survived an off over a Left 5 crest into a chicane, clattering off the road on the driver’s side to score fifth with Fraser Louden taking the final class points.
Bogie, Horne and Rintoul did the business here with Rintoul happy to finish in the Hyundai after his gearbox trouble on the Scottish.