18 Jul: Marshall’s Mach 1 Victory

… Mach1 Stages Rally, Machrihanish, 2/3 July …
Rd04, Scottish Tarmack Rally Championship …

John Marshall and David Robson won the Mach1 Stages Rally, but they didn’t realise until they were on their way home! That was down to a kerfuffle at the finish when the rally leader and runner-up were docked a penalty for striking a course marker. Going into the final stage, Bruce Edwards had been leading from Alistair Inglis with Marshall in third place when a Judge of Fact submitted a report that they had struck a course marker and were each given a 30 second penalty.

Naturally, there was a bit of ‘post-rally discussion’ but the organisers’ hands were tied. Penalties had earlier been given to other drivers for the same infringements. The Regulations were quite clear and the JofF was quite adamant, so the Penalties stood. Marshall scored his second victory of the season.

Going into the penultimate stage, the Darrian of Edwards had been leading the Lotus Exige of Inglis by 27 seconds with Marshall a further 4 seconds behind.

Two 9 mile tests remained but with warm sunshine drying out the wet tarmac, Marshall put in a blistering time in his Subaru a full 17 seconds quicker than Edwards, more than halving the leader’s advantage. On the final stage shoot-out, Inglis set the fastest time from Edwards with Marshall off the pace and shaking his head: “Wrong tyres!” he said, adding, “this event will be won on tyres.”

And that really was the crucial element in the weekend’s results – tyres. Over two days, conditions ranged from cold and wet to warm and dry with a few cold/dry and warm/wet options just to confuse competitors further. As Bruce remarked on Saturday: “At least I’ve been consistent, I picked the wrong tyres for EVERY stage.” He was able to demonstrate this quite succinctly between runs on Saturday afternoon. Standing on the hangar apron with a temperature gauge and ground probe in his hand he said: “Look, the surface temperature has dropped by 10 degrees between the last run and this next one.”

The result stood. Marshall had won from Edwards and Inglis with Alistair remarking: “I’ve got the full set now. I was second on my first visit here two years and won last year. So I’ve now got a full set of podium finishes here.”

John Rintoul showed a welcome return to form with fourth place in the Hyundai, but he was lucky too: “I had a bit of a coming together with another car on the 7th stage. I thought he had seen me as we went for the same corner but we touched and I spun off at 100 mph. I was on the perfect tyre too, for the first time, so I lost out doubly.” Tom Morris in the MG Metro was fifth: “I caught the same car,” he said, “and I saw in my mirror that John was going for the same move. I got away with it, he didn’t. I don’t think the other driver was expecting another car so close behind me.” Barry Renwick rounded off the top six, and he was smiling, because for the first time in three outings the Proton had behaved itself with Barry hoping that he’s now got to the bottom of its electrical gremlins.

Colin Gemmell scored seventh in the Subaru from the highest placed Mk2 of Barry McKenna with Stuart Walker ninth and Ian Paterson completing the top ten despite breaking a front driveshaft on the ninth stage.

Leading the rally at the end of Day 1 had been Shaun Sinclair, but even as he parked up the Subaru overnight he was aware of a slight vibration: “It got really bad on the first stage this morning,” said Sinclair at the start of Day 2, “it’s the gearbox,” and he retired from the fray. Alan Kirkaldy was also going well on Saturday ending the day as top Escort driver in fifth place but on Sunday morning’s second stage, the diff broke. At least he got further than John Paterson who retired his Escort on the fifth test with a bust halfshaft.

The best battle of the day was fought out by the Citroen C2 1600s of Gareth White and Sean Robson. They were level pegging with two stages to go when Gareth’s machine snapped a driveshaft on the penultimate test. Robson therefore took the class victory with Greg Inglis scoring a career best second in class in his Citroen. Tom Howie took third place in his Sunbeam by just one second from the Corsa of Joe Pringle with Gareth White dropping to fifth after his troubles. Murray Coulthard failed to finish when the Citroen stepped out at the rear, struck a kerb and took a rear wheel off and Donald Bowness retired his Nova with a broken throttle cable, a great pity because he was mixing times with the C2s.

Steven Hay won the 1400 class in his Corsa ahead of the Rover Metro of Innes Mochrie and Jamie Miller in the Nova. Blair Morrison retired his Nova with a broken driveshaft and Paul Hunter retired his Metro in rather more spectacular fashion in the third test. Both Paul and Angus were OK but the Metro will need an awfy lot of TLC to restore its bodywork after its unsuccessful audition for the British Olympic gymnastics team. Although its acrobatic roll got full marks for style and content, it lacked finesse and finish!

Final Results:
1, John Marshall / Dave Robson (Subaru Impreza Teg B13) 86m 01s
2, Bruce Edwards / Jim Smith (Darrian T9 GTR) +0:08
3, Alistair Inglis / Colin Inglis (Lotus Exige) +0:18
4, John Rintoul / Ross Hynd (Hyundai Accent WRC) +0:35
5, Tom Morris / Colin Harkness (MG Metro 6R4) +1:27
6, Barry Renwick / Paul Hughes (Proton Satria Millington) +1:56
7, Colin Gemmell / Derek Keir (Subaru Impreza) +1:57
8, Barry McKenna / Julie McGuire (Ford Escort Mk2) +1:58
9, Stuart Walker / Lewis Brown (Skoda Fabia S2000) +2:35
10, Ian Paterson / Heather Grisedale (Subaru Impreza N10) +2:35

11, Stephen Thompson / David Crosbie (Ford Escort Mk2) +2:49
12, Iain Wilson / Keith Riddick (Subaru Impreza) +2:52
13, James Gibb / Jane Nicol (Ford Fiesta) +3:15
14, Steven Ronaldson / Donald Ross (Mitsubishi Evo 9) +3:24
15, Sean Robson / Ben Diamond (Citroen C2 R2 Max) +4:26
16, Freddy Lockhart / Garry Lockhart (Mitsubishi Evo 7) +4:54
17, Greg Inglis / Martin Forrest (Citroen C2 R2 Max) +5:21
18, Alan Wallace / Darren Robertson (Mitsubishi Evo 6 Lancer) +5:24
19, Alister MacArthur / Chris Robertson (Talbot Sunbeam) +5:36
20, Kenneth Moore / Richard Wardle (Hillman Avenger) +5:41
21, Tom Blackwood / Gordon Winning (Ford Escort) +6:03
22, Gordon Morrison / Derek Drynan (Ford Escort Mk2) +6:20
23, Mark Souter / Mark Connon (Mitsubishi Evo 8) +6:46
24, Chris McCallum / Peter McCallum (Ford Escort Mk2) +7:35
25, Hamish Grant / Stewart Hurst (Ford Escort) +7:42
26, James Allan / Mike Dickson (Subaru Impreza) +7:49
27, Cameron Maclean / Robert Sherry (Ford Escort Mk2) +8:35
28, Derek Connell / Laura Marshall (Subaru Impreza) +8:38
29, Robert Marshall / Lewis MacDougall (Ford Escort Mk2) +9:12
30, Alex Adams / Sean Donnelly (Ford Escort Mk2) +9:19

Class 1: Steven Hay / Steven Brown (Vauxhall Corsa) 96m 19s
Class 2: Sean Robson / Ben Diamond (Citroen C2 R2 Max) 90m 27s
Class 3: Stuart Walker / Lewis Brown (Skoda Fabia S2000) 88m 36s
Class 4: Bruce Edwards / Jim Smith (Darrian T9 GTR) 86m 09s
Class 5: John Marshall / Dave Robson (Subaru Impreza Teg B13) 86m 01s