… Usedcarparts.co.uk Solway Coast Junior Rally, 9 August 2015 …
The ‘usedcarparts.co.uk Solway Coast Junior Rally’ was every bit as competitive as the previous day’s senior event with Peter Bennett and Arthur Kierans clinching victory over the final 4 (of 10) stages by 14 seconds from Finlay Retson and Andrew Falconer. At the half way point, Retson had a 1 second lead over Bennett, but on the second half of the rally, the young Irishman “took a few risks” to seize the lead, and praised Arthur: “Arthur is good on the Notes and I have some experience on Notes back home, but I still had to take a few risks to catch Finlay.”
Apart from the sheer enthusiasm generated by the younger rallying generation there is one more very appealing fact about the competition. The teenagers haven’t yet learned to fib like their elders so you tend to get a more accurate rendition of their adventures, provided you keep them away from their ‘more experienced’ co-drivers, and also provided you can get them to say something in the first place. Gawd, it’s like trying to extract a seized cylinder head stud at times trying to get information or a quote.
Anyway, it was good craic. Zak Hughes was third making it a Citroen C1 full-house podium with Philip White fourth in his Nissan Micra. Matthew Davies was fifth in his Peugeot 107 with the unusual Suzuki Alto of Tom Delaney rounding off the top six.
Top seed Josh McErlean didn’t get far, the Peugeot 107 expiring at the end of the first stage with an ECU problem and no way of getting back to service within his time allowance because SS2 followed on immediately from SS1. Michael McGarrity got a fright when he smacked a bale and some loose hay underneath the engine caught fire and burned the brake lines and some of the wiring. Fortunately the crew were OK, but the Citroen was going no further.
Brodie Balfour was another early retirement when a driveshaft snapped and the Toyota slid off the road, breaking the windscreen in the process, and Ed Fossey broke his Citroen’s diff.
But what a fabulous event for the youngsters. For many of them it was their first ‘proper’ stage rally with ‘road sections’ and of course, Route Notes. No wonder there were 32 entries!
1, Peter Bennett/Arthur Kierans (Citroen C1) 51m 28s
2, Finlay Retson/Andrew Falconer (Citroen C1) 51m 42s
3, Zak Hughes/Chris Evans (Citroen C1) 52m 25s
4, Philip White/Richard Wardle (Nissan Micra) 53m 04s
5, Matthew Davies/Claire Williams (Peugeot 107) 53m 33s
6, Tom Delaney/Joe Cruttenden (Suzuki Alto) 53m 42s
7, Craig MacIvor/Allan Smith (Nissan Micra) 54m 06s
8, Tommi Meadows/Ian Oakey (Nissan Micra) 54m 15s
9, Harry Chalmers/Steven Brown (Nissan Micra) 54m 25s
10, Myles Reid/Ian Rae (Peugeot 107) 55m 28s