13 Mar: Scots in Cumbria

… News Roundup … Malcolm Wilson Rally … 12 March …

Charlie Payne in his Fiesta S2000 won yesterday’s Malcolm Wilson Rally in Cumbria by 23 seconds but only after David Wright broke a driveshaft on his Focus WRC on the final test which cost him 36 seconds and the rally lead.

In third place was ‘adopted’ Scot Wayne Sissons with Neil Shanks taking the final podium spot by just 17 seconds from Paul Benn in the Focus WRC. It’s also worth noting that Wayne was using Indian made MRF tyres on his Evo10: “They were ideal today,” said Wayne, “they are a wee bit softer than KMs, so whereas the KMs would have taken a couple of miles to warm up and work properly these were on it from the start.” Apparently they are also around 50 quid a corner cheaper! Maybe worth a look, eh? He was also third quickest through Grizedale North and second quickest through Grizedale South.

In 7th place overall at the finish was Rory Young in the Fiesta R5 but he lost a bit of time on the third stage when the throttle cable came off and the pop-off valve had to be replaced at service. But that wasn’t the worst of his problems. The poor soul didn’t look well all day: “I don’t know what it is,” he said, “but it’s not the cold or man-flu, I just don’t feel well at all.” Still it’s amazing what a couple of bottles of Lucozade and some Anadin can do. “I’m only doing this event cos I can’t do the Border Counties next week,” said Rory, “I’ve never driven these stages before. I would really have enjoyed them more had I been well!”

Ian Watson was giving his Evo9 a shakedown before next week’s Border Counties. This is the car he had built for himself and then sold to run his Escort Mk2 but has now bought the car back. “It hasn’t really done much since I sold it,” said Ian, “but it has a sequential gearbox now and has been re-mapped to run funny fuel.” He also said it was a lot cheaper to run than the Escort. “It’s half the price of a Mk2, you get to run further up the seeding list so you get better roads and it doesn’t eat tyres like the Escort.” He was quite pleased with 26th overall and 4th in class.

Right behind Watson was Alister MacArthur in the Talbot Sunbeam also having his first run out in the Lake District forests. He finished 27th overall and was fourth in class stating that he really enjoyed himself: “The second stage (Wythop) was shitty, but she was really singing in Greystoke. On the last stage I took 15 seconds off my earlier time through Greystoke and I caught a car on the Finish line. He didn’t slow me down or cost me any time but catching someone is always encouraging.” His next event is likely to be the Manx National in May: “I’m just picking and choosing events that I fancy,” he said,” and last year I did events in Wales and England, the Reivers and then did Mull which gave me a taste for tarmac, hence the Manx.”

Allan McDowall was off the pace at the weekend finishing 29th in the Escort: “That was my first time out since I cowped it on the Reivers last year,” he said, “the rebuild took so long because we were moving premises at home so I’m just getting back into it.” He also did the first two stages with no intercom, so that didn’t help matters.

Young Keith Riddick had a troubled day with the MG despite having a major rebuild over the Winter – the car that is, not the boy. The gearbox seized on the third test prompting Mark McCulloch to get the spare linkage out of the van only to find out that it was seized solid – apparently that was down to sourcing spare parts from scrapyards, sorry, recycling centres, and then not ensuring that they were stripped and checked before putting in the spares box! By the time the car got back to service Mark had the unit rebuilt and then the team swung into action like a well oiled machine – or more like a kids’ rammy at a wedding scramble! At the finish Keith remarked: “1st and 2nd gears are very over-rated. If you don’t have them, you don’t need them – although it needs a new clutch now.” He finished 48th and 4th in class.

Ian Baumgart was another in trouble using this as a shakedown ahead of his home event next weekend. One of the rods operating the gearshift broke on the first loop and he struggled to reach service where it was welded up. Then it broke again, and had to be re-welded and lasted till the finish. Ian also admitted to one wee mistake: “I went Left when I was told to go Right – I think it’s an age thing!” He finished 66th o/a.

And now an apology. Gordon Alexander was miffed that I had omitted his name from my pre-event Scottish listing: “Do I not count as a Scotsman now that I’ve moved to England?” Oddly enough I had noted the name in recent English event entry lists and results sheets, but given that the home town was Shawbury (in Shropshire) I presumed this was another Gordon Alexander. It isn’t, this is the ex-EACC stalwart from Cumnock who moved south three years back to take up the post of Poultry Director for Heals Farms, so I’ll need to keep an eye out in future. He finished 68th overall in his MG ZR and won his class by 6 seconds. His biggest problem on the day was catching cars in SS2 and 3, smashing his windscreen and lights in the process.

Scott Sloan retired his Vauxhall Corsa at the end of SS4. Like many crews he fell victim to a huge watersplash in SS2 with the Corsa aquaplaning off the road into a ditch. Fortunately spectators were on hand to push him out, but the radiator was clogged with mud. He and David cleared it out to do SS3 but it was still running hot. They took the thermostat out at service but that didn’t appear to help much so they pulled over at the end of SS4 and called it a day.

As for Andrew Gallacher he retired in SS5 after troubles with the flat-shift, but he still came out with the quote of the rally. At first service I noticed that the rear o/s corner had suffered a hit. It wasn’t bad, the light unit had been bashed and the bumper torn, and when I asked what the rear of the car had hit, he said: “I have no idea, I was in the front at the time.” Priceless.