12 May: News – Kames and Beyond

… News from the Kames 5 Star weekend and Beyond …

Scots Abroad

Last weekend while some of Scotland’s rally crews basked in the Muirkirk Riviera sunshine, some of our lot were abroad collecting silverware. Kirsty Riddick co-drove Northern Ireland’s Jonny Greer to victory in his Citroen DS3 on the ‘River Ridge Recycling Glens of Antrim Rally’. Proving that the move to Irish tarmac is being more successful and less stressful than home territory were 10th placed Lee Hastings and Alistair Wyllie who also scored 2nd in class in the Subaru.

On the same weekend David Hardie and John McCulloch finished 4th overall in their Impreza WRC on the Manx National Rally which was won by Hugh Hunter/Rob Fagg in a Buckley prepped Ford Fiesta R5 ahead of the Impreza WRC of Simon Bowen/Richard Robinson and the Ford Focus WRC of Jason Tauber Pritchard/Phil Clarke. Ross Hunter and Josh Davison scored an impressive 18th overall amongst more sophisticated and modern machinery in the 2 litre Peugeot 205. It would appear that Allan McDowall has forsaken his Mk2 for the time being having wheeled out the Opel Kadett, and Gavin Heseltine, and finished 20th. Nigel Atkinson and Callum Atkinson were 28th in the Evo 9 while Bill Laidlaw and Mark Simpson were 37th in their Peugeot 208 VTi R2. Ian Watson and Keith Atkinson didn’t finish, retiring the Evo9 at the end of Day 1.


Last weekend’s Rally Time Trial at Fort Augustus on Saturday 6th May had to be cancelled when Highland CC encountered problems with obtaining the necessary Land Reform Act suspension which meant no MSA insurance and authorisation. Without that there was no chance of getting permission to use the forest at Inchnacardoch. Such a shame after all the hard work by the organising team. However, every dark cloud has a silver lining. In this case it meant no after-rally party at Reay MacKay’s Stravaiger’s Lodge, therefore the locals could sleep soundly in their beds and the local A&E Department emergency response team was able to stand down.


Meanwhile back at Kames for the 5 Star Stages, there were two notable withdrawals from the entry list prior to the rally start. Both Nigel Feeney and James Gibb are awaiting parts to restore their respective mounts to rude health so were unable to take part.

Also in attendance, but without his new car, was Colin Gemmell. If he had rushed the job the Mk2 could have been ready for Kames, but he wants to give the car a proper shakedown and test, and plans to debut the new Millington powered machine on the NHMC Warcop Stages Rally on the 28th of May.

The McCubbin family were out in force at Kames with Amy debuting her new awfy smart looking Skoda Citigo. She had an eventful day surviving a two wheel balancing act on the 5th stage at a tight left hander and nerfed a tyre barrier on the second lap. Her Dad Marc McCubbin was also taking part having wheeled out the Nissan Micra finishing 11th overall – which sounds better than last man home!

The Blackwood family were out in force too, with Mum Joan co-driving for Marc McCubbin on her first ever rally while the boy Andrew was 6th after snapping a driveshaft. Dad Tom was there too looking a bit dejected at times confined to the service van: “I’m the chief tea boy today,” he said, “I feel like a rally widow!”

Newcomer Cameron Craig debuted his self-built Peugeot 205. The car runs a standard engine and gearbox, but the build quality is a credit to him and looks really smart, although he had to withdraw half way through the event when the car started over-fuelling and threatened to self-ignite.

Rally winner, Ross Auld had a tale to tell at the end of the one of the stages: “I heard a real hard bang round the back of the circuit,” he said, “but I couldn’t think what it was and kept feeling the steering and listening for trouble.” When they got back to service they found a perfectly golf ball shaped dent, complete with dimples, in the rear quarter panel! For those who don’t know the venue, the circuit runs alongside Muirkirk Golf Course. Russell Fair says that’s the first time that a golf ball has struck a car on the circuit so it’s now ‘one-all’ for the two sports – on a previous occasion a car landed on the golf course. But dinnae worry it was nowhere near the fairway or the putting green.

And finally …

Rumour has it that Joe Pringle (who has previously played a starring role in this section!) is taking his carbon emissions offsetting seriously. Whilst chatting at Kames, he revealed that Pringle Haulage now runs 50 trucks delivering goods around the UK and is having to install a new 90,000 litre diesel tank. Like many he is now concerned about Government intentions with regard to diesel powered vehicles, and like the rest of us has no clue as to what our political masters will do next. So for the moment he is doing his bit for carbon offsetting as revealed by Brian Pringle (no relation) who was listening in to the conversation and interjected: “Did you know that Joe is doing his bit for carbon offsetting? He now walks to work every day, and walks home again at night.” Naturally, I thought this a marvellous and inspiring commitment by an industry leading entrepreneur, till Joe piped up: “Aye, that’s right. I walk out the back door, down the drive, cross the road and into the yard. It must be all of 30 yards.”