… RSAC Scottish Rally, Class Roundup …
Class 1, 2WD up to 1450cc
Just two finishers in the 1400 class with John and Bridget Rowan taking the class win in their Talbot Sunbeam ahead of James Johns and Paul Watkins in their standard looking Skoda Felicia. Expected front runner Neil Coalter was sidelined when the Suzuki’s engine went ‘bang’ and Niall Cowan’s MG ZR didn’t last much longer when his gearbox broke – again!
Class 2, 2WD 1451 to 1650cc 8 valves
Even with a 10 second penalty and a puncture for the last mile of the final stage, there was no doubt about the Peugeot victors in Class 2, with Robbie Beattie and Dave Findlay taking the class from the Peacock twins, Donald and Scott, but they were lucky: “The car’s overheating a bit,” said Donald, “we landed heavily after a bump and burst the radiator and the fans are not working but we got here.” Newcomers Max and Callum Redpath were third and happy with that after blowing the head gasket at the Speyside. Allan Matheson failed to finish in his Escort.
Class 3, 2WD 1451 to 1650cc 16 valves
In the ‘big’ 1600 class, Keith and Mhairi Riddick were looking at second place behind Angus Lawrie and Paul Gribben, till Angus tore a rear wheel off the Corsa on the final stage. He incurred a 1m 20s penalty arriving later at the finish with a log ‘skid’ under the beam axle where the wheel and hub should have been. Good job the Polis were looking the other way. Mind you Keith was lucky too, the MG ZR surviving an incident on the second stage: “I was told NOT to cut – and I cut!” Alex Pirie and Frazer Skene were third in class and established something of a new record. It was the first time that an Ecosse Challenge spec Citroen C2 had finished inside the top twenty (19th o/a) of a Scottish Championship Rally. Jim Robertson and Mike Curry were 4th in their C2: “I’m not used to finishing,” said Jim, “and we did have some issues today, but we’re here!” First time out in their new C2 Charles Blair and Mark Roberts were 5th but were hampered by a misfire over the final 4 stages: “I think it’s fuel related,” said Chuck, “we’ve had a look and think it might be the fuel pump inside the fuel tank that’s the problem.” Andy Struthers and Alastair McIlroy were 6th and their only concerns were that some parts were a bit rough for the wee C2. Final finishers were Graeme Sherry and Richard Wardle who lost a chunk of time in Stage 3 when they ripped a brake pipe off their C2 and did SS4 after blanking off the fractured pipe. Graeme also claimed to have seen a deer running across the road in front of him. I blame stress and overwork. Out of luck again was Scott MacBeth. He punctured a tyre in SS4 swerving to avoid a big rock, only to rip the sidewall out of it on another! Then in SS6 the C2 struck another rock and bent the bottom arm “like a banana”. Ross Hughes fared little better retiring his C2 in the same stage with mechanical problems, Gina Walker cowped her C2 in SS4 and Elvin Smith disappeared into SS7 with his C2 never to be seen again – until the next rally.
Class 5, Historic
Top Historic finishers were Steve Bannister and Callum Atkinson in their Escort Mk2 ahead of second in class and final finishers Ian and Sandy Milne reckoning that this year’s Scottish was more like a wet Safari Rally with water cascading over the bonnet.
Class 6, FWD 1651 to 2050 cc 16 valves
Luke McLaren and Phil Kenny won the class in their Fiesta ST despite Luke saying he was off the pace on the first stage and then just when he was getting on the pace, punctured in the second test. He also admitted to a wee ‘off’ on the third test “pushing too hard” he said. Kevin Gray and Daniel Christie were only 10 seconds behind McLaren in their Astra and might well have got the class had not the car got stuck in third gear half way through the penultimate stage and they had to do the final stage like that too. Third in class were Michael Renton and Kenny Foggo after a hard day in the woods in their Peugeot 306: “The cross-member came loose, it was jumping out of gear, the power steering failed and all the windows steamed up in the heavy rain!”
Class 7, RWD 1651 to 2050cc 16 valves
After a slow-ish start, Dougal Brown and Lewis Rochford had to get a ‘hurry-on’ as Mike Stuart was up for the fight and so were the front running 1600cc front wheel drive boys. However, after the second stage they were the leading 2WD crew until they got into the two Ae stages when the wiper motor failed and their lead was reduced to 4 seconds. This was fixed at final service and normal service was resumed and they extended their lead in Twiglees before heading across the road to the final test in Castle O’er with the Escort’s temperature gauge soaring. The car was checked over before the Control and nothing untoward found apart from needing topped up with water, so it was with fingers crossed they completed the last stage. Mike Stuart and Sinclair Young weren’t far behind in their Mk2 and were pretty chuffed with fastest 2WD time through SS6, but that was countered by a slow time on the first stage when Mike left the handbrake on as the Start Marshal counted down and shouted “Go!” As ever, Paul McErlean and Niall McKenna fair enjoyed their trip across the water to the Scottish forests and were rewarded with third in class although “the alternator was playing up” over the final two stages. Hamish Kinloch and Mark Grierson were 4th with the big chap commenting: “that last stage was coorse!” Duncan MacDonald and Neil Ross were fifth, but lost a chunk of time in the first stage when they had to stop in the stage to fix the throttle linkage and as Duncan got out of the car he spotted it also had a puncture! A pity that, he was only 4 seconds off Dougal’s time in SS4 and was quite pleased with himself. Final finishers were Tommy Heard and Greg McCutcheon although they struggled with just a 4 speed ‘box: “It was topping out quite a bit,” said Tommy, “and those last two were really slippy – I did quite a bit of grass cutting in there!”
Class 10, 4WD without seq. g’box
On the basis that you learn something new every day, newcomer Michael Binnie with Claire Mole won the class and scored their result so far in their elderly Lancer Evo5 with seventh overall. They also won the Challenger’s category, but there was a slight moment of panic in the second stage of the day: “I went for the handbrake at a hairpin, and there was nothing there,” said Michael, “it came back later in the stage, but it was a concern. When we were chatting to Iain Wilson while waiting to book in for first service he suggested it might just be ‘pad knock off’. Another lesson learned in a fast rising career. Simony Hay and Calum Jaffray were second in class in their Evo6, but a minute behind Binnie: “We hit one chicane and had to reverse out of another,” smiled Simon, “the chicanes were a bit tight for the Mitsubishis.” John McIlwraith and Heather Grisedale were 3rd in their Subaru and he also reckoned the chicanes were not “Subaru sized”. He added, “The stages were fine, but I wouldn’t like to go through them again!” Ross MacFadzean and Rhona Hale were a cautious 4th in class in their Impreza. Cautious? “The car is sold and this it’s last event with me,” explained Ross, “and the new owner is out here watching today!” First time out in a newly acquired Impreza, Darren Martin and Martin Steele were 5th: “I’ve still got my old car,” said Darren, “and we’re just trying this out to see what it’s like, we might start hiring it out!” Colin Baxter and Tracy Smith were 6th, the Subaru appearing at the finish looking a bit lop-sided: “We were off just after a compression in that last stage,” explained Colin, “the front n/s side took the brunt of it and popped the headlamp and sidelight unit, but the car’s OK.” Michael Robertson and Gary McDonald were 7th and happy enough with that: “Two ditches and still leading the Subaru Cup,” said Michael, while Eric McClurg and Robert Sherry were 8th. Last men home were John Wink and John Forrest. Given his pace these days that was a surprise till John explained: “We kind of hit a chicane in Twiglees, and we kind of pushed the driver’s door in,” was the somewhat reluctant admission. After dispensing sage advice to young Binnie, Iain Wilson could have done with some himself when the Subaru lost all drive in the penultimate stage stranding him and Chris mid stage in the rain. Ian Baumgart and Mike Dickson lost out in the first stage when the front wheel just folded under itself after the bottom arm snapped a balljoint. “It’s done it before,” said Ian, “so we’ll need to look and see what’s causing it.” Ian and Kathryn Forgan parked the Subaru upside down in Ae1 while Kevin Crawford and Claire Martin were stuck in a lifeless Lancer in SS6.
Class 11, Grp A 4WD/Super 2000/Metro 6R4
Armstrong, Faulkner and McCulloch were top of the class from Milne with Scott McCombie and Mark Fisher in 5th place: “I just couldn’t get into that last one,” said Scott, “it was so slippery and horrible, but I got round.” A bit relieved at the finish were Sean and Ashleigh Will: “The front of the Lancer is a bit too low,” said Sean, “we were doing a bit of snowploughing back there.” Greg McKnight didn’t finish and neither did John Rintoul and Tom Hynd who managed to park their Evo10 in a Castle O’er ditch on the final stage.
Class 12, WRC/R5
Just two finishers with Shaun Sinclair taking the class from Rory Young.