… News & Blethers from Lockerbie …
There were 4 Scottish drivers in the top ten at the end of the Nat A, RSAC Scottish Rally with David Bogie and Kevin Rae taking a well deserved and overdue victory after trouble on both earlier rounds of the BRC held so far this year. However referring to the rain-lashed tests on Friday night, David said: “Friday night was f’n awful but Castle O’er and Twiglees were as good as I’ve ever seen them.” Going into the final stage there was just 0.1 of a second between David and Fredrik Ahlin, but it was Fredrik’s luck which failed this time, a stone puncturing the Skoda’s radiator. It was David’s first BRC event win since hw on the title in 2011.
At the finish in Moffat he said: This is unbelievable! This is the one I have wanted to win the most. We didn’t get off to the best start on Friday night, but we pushed hard on Saturday to put us in a good position to fight. To go into the final stage with 0.1s between Fredrik and I was all or nothing, and it was disappointing to see him go out. It’s been a tough event – the weather has been changeable and the pace has been unreal, but we kept out of trouble and brought the car home in one piece. It’s really special to win at home in front of my friends and family. In fact, I have booked a table at a local restaurant so we will be celebrating this evening!”
Because the Nat A rally competitors finished in Moffat and the Nat B bunch finished at the Lorry Park in Lockerbie there was no chance to get a word with the Nat A contenders, but I did manage to get word with most of them at Service.
Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton finished 6th after a troubled event and Donnie MacDonald with Neil Shanks were a damn good 8th finishing just 15 seconds in front of England domiciled Alex Laffey and Patrick Walsh. Because he was chasing SRC points, Euan wasn’t able to do the recce so that puts his performance compared to the others in perspective, but there was a hiccup: “We got a front left puncture in SS4. This was my fault. It was a slow Left and I was told ‘Don’t cut’. I did!” He also had a problem in SS6 when he felt something loose at the back end and backed off, bujt the car was checked at Service and nothing found.
Fergus Barlow and MaxFreeman were 19th and John Morrison with Peter Carstairs were 20th who had to contest Saturday under ‘SuperRally’ rules after two punctures and a lost wheel, when the studs broke, the night before.
Ross MacDonald and Matthew Johnstone were forced to retired after 4 stages with suspected head gasket failure, while both Kirsty Riddick, co-driving Jonathan Greer, and Dave Robson beside Matthew Robinson failed to get round all ten stages.
Never one to miss an opportunity to save money, Mike Faulkner had rebuilt his rear suspension and diff after the Speyside, but in a fit of inspiration, made a new underbody guard for his rebuilt rear end – from a sumpguard he still had from his ford Fiesta Championship days.
Also doing something different ahead of the Scottish was Ian Forgan. The Subaru had been converted from left hand drive to RHD. According to the worksheet the job took 55 hours but it has been done in such a way that it will re-convert back if needed in half the time. A complete new dash was sourced from a donor car and a steering rack but the biggest job was taking the old dash out, dismantling all the gubbins nand the heater bits and pieces on the back, feeding them through the roll-cage brace bar and then re-assembling through the brace bar and connecting it all back up. A real knuckle skinning, footery job requiring much in the way of sweary words and curses. Even though he had a left hand drive car at work,. Ian was still jumping in and out of RHD cars all day long,, hence the change. Conclusion? “I feel much more confident now, I can commit more.” Plus his times were good at the Friday morning test!
Mark McCulloch had a wee scare at the pre-Scottish test on the Thursday when he felt the brakes dragging and pulled into service with flames shooting out through the rear wheel. That meant an overnight shift fitting new callipers, brake lines and master cylinder which were tested on the Friday morning and everything pronounced hunky dory again.
Cheapskate rallying is a thriving art with Keith Riddick in the MG always having an eye for a bargain: “I bought six MRF tyres from Wayne Sisson at the start of the year, and I’m still using them, this is their 4th event.”
Alex Pirie was busy in the run-up to the Scottish when the Citroen developed an intermittent fault. It took ages to sort out but a broken wire inside its plastic sleeve was eventually found.
Just as infuriating was Angus Lawrie’s problem at the Thursday test. The Corsa kept blowing fuses and an auto-sparky had to be called in to trace the cause. The electrical feed for the bulb light in the oil pressure gauge had worn through the sleeve and was shorting out on the roll-cage brace bar – but only when it vibrated! Hence the reason they couldn’t find it when parked up and revving the engine. Grrrr!
Andy Struthers had an overnighter too, when he bent the rear beam of the Citroen at the test day and had to replace it before Saturday.
The perils of parenthood were amply demonstrated by the Sinclair and Wood families at the Scottish Rally weekend. Shaun’s lad Lorne Sinclair and young Robbie Wood were both supposed to be competing in the British Quad Racing Championship round in Cornwall on the Sunday. That meant Ann Wood was dispatched south with Robbie towing the quad trailer on Friday morning (it took 10 hours with motorway delays!) while Shaun’s boys set off with motorhome and quad trailer on the back. Immediately after the champagne finish on Saturday afternoon, Shaun caught up with Andrew who had closed up the tyre truck and they drove to Newcastle for the flight to Exeter where they hired a car to drive to the quad venue. And then it was the long drag home Sunday night/Monday early hours. It makes you wonder why folk don’t just take up something simpler like competitive bobble hat knitting or painting and wallpapering the spare room – or maybe not!
Mike Stuart’s result (11th o/a and 2nd 2WD) was all the more impressive when he admitted that he hadn’t been well all day on the Saturday. He went to bed early and didn’t sleep well and was sweating like a trench digger in the Sahara on Saturday.
It is said that two heads are better than one, or maybe not. Scott MacBeth used his ‘smart’ phone to record the sound of his Citroen misfiring and then played it back to Angus Lawrie to see if he had any ideas about the cause. I would never have thought of that! But Scott still had his misfire and didn’t finish the Scottish when he broke the steering. Angus also had an admission: “I still have nightmares about the Speyside,” he said, “getting beat by Scott by TWO seconds! So it was all about winning today.” And then he knocked a wheel off on the final stage and struggled to finish losing out on the class win to young Riddick.
John McClory didn’t finish the Scottish: “The front diff broke over a jump,” he said, “we landed with one wheel in the air and the other on the ground. Snap.”
Beatson’s Mull Snippets … It is rumoured that Calum Duffy has bought a Mk2 to replace his Skoda while Daniel Harper has acquired a WRC MINI. Meantime Subaru-owning James MacGillivray has been spotted kicking tyres – on a Mk2!
And finally …
Iain Wilson appeared at the Scottish Rally with his fifth co-driver in as many rallies. He was of course far too diplomatic to say which one was best, but there have been a few hiccups along the way including one co-driver who was instructed how to operate the in-car camera and then proceeded to film all the road sections and switched it off at the start of each stage! And folk say it is so simple a 7 year old, could operate it. Pity they don’t allow 7 year olds to go co-driving. Dohhhh!