14 Apr: DCC Stages News & Gossip

… News & Gossip from the DCC Stages …

Off his trolley … Let’s start with a tale that will fill you with horror and cause panic in the fine dining rooms of cafes and chip shops across the south west of Scotland. The location was the main Marchbank Bakery in Dumfries in which a major and most upsetting accident took place. Apparently they have a huge oven in the building which is fed with large trolleys on wheels. Each trolley carries a number of trays on which are placed a variety of succulent delicacies such as cakes and biscuits, breads and pastries. And as they trundle round the tracks inside this oven they are cooked and baked according to the item on each trolley. This being a prime Scottish baker, they also do pies. And on the morning of the DCC Stages a tragedy occurred in the Bakery. Someone (who shall remain nameless) loaded up the trolley with 40 dozen pies and then pushed it on to the tracks in the oven. Only he didn’t quite manage to set it true on the tracks and as it trundled off into the baking hot darkness, the top edge of the trolley caught on a corner of the wall – and cowped the lot, all over the floor of the oven. Even just hearing of this culinary disaster brought a tear to your reporter’s eye. And before you all start thinking it was young Harry Marchbank who was the culprit, because he was in a rush to get to Ingliston, it wasn’t. He did tell me who it was, and I said I wouldn’t tell, although this information may henceforth be used to blackmail said individual!

Derek Masterton in the 2 litre Corsa didn’t get much sleep the night before Ingliston. He spent most of the dark hours trying to fix a gearbox which he discovered had no 5th gear when he was getting ready to travel to the rally. He did manage to get it all sorted by the rally start, and then on the last stage, holed the radiator flying over the jump.

When Iain Findlay posted the first retirement of the day, at the first corner of the first stage, to say he was disappointed is a bit of an understatement. The front n/s bottom suspension arm had pulled out of the chassis: “I don’t understand it,” said Iain, “a new arm was fitted for this event and it has just pulled out of its mountings.” He added that he didn’t have a spare because: “We don’t even have a shoestring budget – we have a dustbunny budget!” No, I don’t know either, but I’m guessing that is even poorer than shoestring.

Even though he didn’t finish the rally, Hamish Kinloch was pleased to have been there. Everything was fine in the morning, but as he drove the Escort up to the start of the first stage it developed a misfire. He switched it off and fired it up again, and all was fine. Then half way round the first stage it came back. Stage 2 was clean all the way, so he was truly puzzled. Eventually he found the cause when the car stopped on the 6th test. The car cut out completely after a hard landing at the jump whereupon Hamish found that one of the terminals on the back of the ignition switch had been fractured for a while and had eventually snapped off in the bump, hence the intermittent failures.

Folk like Leonard Jones make you wonder about the future of the sport. “On the second stage the brake pedal went to the floor,” said the Chevette driver, “so I had no brakes at all.” He changed the brake fluid at service and admitted: “I don’t think I’ve change the brake fluid in the car since I bought it – in 1986!”

Gavin Lloyd had a new (to him) Nova on its first run out at Ingliston: “It’s the first time I’ve driven it since I bought it,” said Gavin, “and apart from leaking rear brakes and fuel splashing out on corners, it’s fine.” According to Gavin this 1400cc machine is quicker than his previous 1600 Nova: “I’ve gone down a class but I’m going quicker. It’s got 50 bhp more than my old car and it’s got an F20 straight cut ‘box – which meant I was in the wrong gear at every corner on the first stage – but I’ve got the hang of it now!”

Stuart Grant didn’t finish the rally in his awfy smart green Mk2, fuel problems stopping the car from running cleanly. He did Crail last year and that was his first event since 2003. Maybe it wasn’t just the car that was rusty, eh?

Alice Paterson was fair proud of her new bright pink full harness seat belts in her Peugeot 107, but co-driver Ian ‘Bing’ Crosbie wasn’t quite so enamoured. Or is he just naturally grumpy about modern tastes and trends anyway?

There can’t be many Scrutineering sessions where the Noise Check is conducted under (well nearly!) the flightpath of a very busy airport so how does that work? But then I don’t suppose the MSA could offer any objections, Colnbrook House is under the Heathrow flightpath.

The ever so sprightly Joe Pringle was back in action at Ingliston finishing 4th in class in his Corsa having recovered from his birthday celebrations earlier in the week. I said I wouldn’t reveal his true age, but he’s still two years away from his bus pass.

Having sold his Subaru, Colin Gemmell was at Ingliston helping out one of the other teams and was showing folks pictures of his new Millington Escort. He had originally hoped to have it finished in time to debut here, but the wiring loom has yet to be finished. It should be quite a beast with a 5 speed seq ‘box and Geartronics paddle shift. And it looks mint!

Murray Grierson has sold his Ford Fiesta S2000 machine to Ireland, and since we all know the devil makes work for idle hands, promptly went out and bought David Hardie’s Subaru Impreza.

And finally …

Tom Hynd changes his rally cars as often as he changes his socks and he turned up at Ingliston with his latest project, a BMW MINI. Also tagging along was erstwhile Peugeot 205 devotee and collector, Duncan Cameron, aka the Hairy Highlander. And as much as he loves all things Peugeot, Duncan detests anything with a Renault badge. When Tom was rallying his Peugeot 205 all things in the Hynd service entourage were rosy, and life was amicable and sociable. Then Tom bought a Renault Clio which he campaigned for the past couple of years and caused frequent disharmony within the team and outbursts of profane language as Duncan was persuaded to wield the spanners and impart his considerable technical knowledge and expertise. There was therefore a huge sigh of relief from one particular disgruntlee when the Clio was passed on to another, only for Duncan to be informed that the replacement was not a Peugeot. The German sausage tin duly appeared in the Hynd workshop where the only words of endearment and support from one particular spanneriser was: “At least it’s not a f’n Clio.” This phrase imparted with sincerity and gusto. There was more to come at the car’s first outing at Ingliston where the vastly experienced automotive engineer volubly pronounced: “In 59 and a half years, today was the first time I have ever been called upon to need a 20mm ring spanner,” but he paid tribute to the common sense of German engineering, “it’s always easy to pick out the 20mm spanner – it’s the shiniest in the toolbox!”

Which begs the question, does any other service crew use a 20mm spanner in the execution of their duties? And for what?