07 Jul: The Patter from Dumfries

… RSAC Scottish Rally … News & Gossip …

Alasdair Currie had his first run on gravel at the Scottish in Steven Brown’s Peugeot 205. The Mull youngster won his class on the Manx Challenge in May in his own Peugeot 106 and has plans to compete on the upcoming BRC rounds in Ulster and the Manx, but prior to his gravel outing, he and Steven went to Wales. They did 30 miles at the Higgins academy before s strut failed on the Peugeot, but it was obviously enough, he won his class on the Scottish.

There was a bit of good news at pre-event Scottish Scrutineering when Peter Stewart turned up in his boiler suit and workboots. The VW Polo rebuild is on schedule to be finished in time for the Solway Coast: “The worst thing about it is getting parts for it,” said Peter, “we had to take the wiring loom out of dad’s car so that we could copy it and that’s been the same with many parts, copying Dad’s, which means I’ve had twice the work, stripping dad’s car and rebuilding it while doing my own. Fortunately the fire damage was not as bad as it looked, and although the fuel injectors on the engine melted in the heat, the engine was saved.”

Keith Morris appeared with a new Mitsubishi at the Scottish, an Evo6 to replace his Evo5. “I now have an extra gear to play with,” said Keith, “it’s got a 6 speed sequential instead of a 5 speed manual – and I’ve got a new tent for the Service crew!” It was hard to know which made him more pleased.

There was a very odd sight wandering about the Ae forests on the Saturday of the rally. Former Talbot Sunbeam driver Malcolm Robertson was out spectating but when he went to buy midge repellant, none of the shops had any left. Inspired by a bee keeper’s net, he bought a pair of ladies tights. No, not for his legs. He cut the legs off the tights and pulled one leg over his head and gave the other leg to his pal. I await a report of their effectiveness with interest.

Club Steward Brian Kinghorn was in trouble well before the Scottish Rally started. He had been a Steward on the event for the past 16 years and Jonathan had asked him to undertake the task again, but there was a problem, it was Brian’s 30th anniversary on the day of the rally and he had promised Liz that they would go away on a special holiday. As the day loomed ever closer the poor sod was in a quandary and hadn’t made a decision either way and was being pestered from both sides. Then Jonathan phoned Brian one evening at home and despite his best intentions, Liz overheard the conversation from the next room, and shouted through: “Oh, go on then, we can go away another time.” Nice one Liz. Since then I’ve heard they did go away the following weekend for a rather special trip.

Charlotte McDowall spent the week after Donegal on crutches as faither Jim explained: “She got kicked by a horse and her leg swelled up like a balloon, but she’s OK now,” before adding, “and the horse is fine too.” There’s parental sympathy for you, eh?

Speaking of caring parents, Duncan MacDonald turned up in Dumfries with an awfy braw, shiny Mk2. He got his 7 year old son Liam to clean and polish the car. Kind of makes sense now, the MSA’s requirement for Child Protection Officers at rallies these days!

It pays to keep your eyes open even when sitting in a queue on the startline of a stage. Donnie MacDonald was waiting his turn at the start of Twiglees when he looked across the water and saw part of the forest road and watched Garry Pearson – spinning. “I’ll need to slow for that – whatever it was,” thought Donnie.

Freddie Milne was popular in the Holding Control before second service. He had stopped at the filling station on his way into Dumfries and bought a whole box of ice lollies. They didn’t last long when Groundwater and crew spotted them.

John Morrison spent a lot of time on the phone in the same Holding Control as Freddie and was heard explaining the misfire on his Mitsubishi to someone on the other end of the line. It turned out, it was the guy who built his engine. The fact that the poor sod was on holiday in Portugal at the time didn’t phase our man Morrison one little bit. At least he got a few tips and tricks to try out at service.

After the first two stages, Fraser Louden phoned ahead to tell his service crew to get new wiper blades for the car, but they had a more pressing problem to sort first (see Class Roundup). Still they stuck the new wipers on and sent him on his way. After the next stage he phoned back to say the wipers were crap, they had smeared the windscreen and he couldn’t see a damn thing. At the start of the next stage he got out to inspect them, and yes, you’ve guessed, they still had the plastic covers on the blades. Dohhh!

When Michael Binnie had his driveshaft problem, Ivor Clark rushed over and offered him a shaft and Neil Buckley joined in the rush to get it replaced. These Borderers stick together, eh?

Prior to the rally, Steven Clark’s hugely experienced co-driver for the day, Steve Pugh from furrin pairts (that’s Wales by the way), just happened to mention that in all the years he’s been competing, he’d never been in a roll. Welcome to Scotland Steve, another experience ticked off.

There was a welcome addition to the ranks of Marshals at the Scottish Rally, June Bunker-Barratt, all the way from Adelaide in Australia. The 2015 South Australian Rally Champion Guy Tyler is in her car club back home and she was over here to support him in the DMACK BRC Junior Championship, of which the Scottish was a round. Guy and co-driver Steven Fisher finished 36th overall and fifth in class in their Fiesta, and won the Spirit of the Rally award, so the team was pretty chuffed with that. Anyway, June is making a holiday of her trip over here and volunteered to Marshal and considering she is a regular on grid marshalling duties for the F1 GP at Melbourne and also for the V8 racing series, she knows one end of a car from another. And you know what? She fair enjoyed the whole Scottish experience – rain, rallies and midges!

And finally …

At the test and shakedown session ahead of the Scottish Rally, Ian Barr, the Events Manger with Dumfries and Galloway Council got a run with Bruce McCombie, at the end of which he said to regular co-driver, Michael Coutts: “I don’t know how you do that, concentrate on the Notes, the road, the bumps and still manage to tell the driver what to do and where to go – I spent all my time concentrating on keeping my sphincter tightly closed.” I couldn’t have put it better myself.