28 Jun: News & Granite chippings

… News Roundup …

In addition to the Mach 1 Stages Rally (15/16 July) later this month there are a few non-competitive events coming up which could be an excuse to get the whiff of oil and grease up your weans nostrils without the Missus or partner getting all miffed at being left at home ‘cos they can come too!

Coming up – ‘Speedfest’ at Grampian Transport Museum in Alford on Sunday 2nd of July. Gates/Doors open at 11.00am and close of play is at 4.30pm. The theme this year is ‘Rally Sport’ and the ‘star’ attraction on track will be one Jim McRae Esq at the wheel of a Ford Focus WRC. The new electric Renault Zoe eRally car will also be shown and demonstrated with additional attractions from the likes of stunt motorcyclist Kevin Carmichael and a demonstration by the Aberdeen Hardstyle Drift Team.
Entry Prices: £10 – Adult, £8 – Concession, £5 – Child, £25 – Family – 2A + 2C

Also coming up the following weekend is the 43rd ‘Scottish Transport Extravaganza’ in the grounds of Glamis Castle over the weekend of the 8th & 9th July 2017 and which is organised by the Strathmore Vintage Vehicle Club.
Entry prices: Saturday Adult £8.00, Child/OAP £5.00
Sunday Adult £10.00, Child/OAP £6.00
9am to 5pm both days

Still in the North East, there’s another big motoring event, the ‘Royal Deeside Speed Festival’ coming up on the 20th August at Kincardine Castle. More details in next News roundup but well worth noting in your diary – or smartphone!!

Granite Chippings

First seen at the Tyneside Stages, the Granite Stages Rally at Leuchars provided the first Scottish sighting of Euan Duncan’s rally prepped Honda S2000. He finished 9th overall and 1st in class, and there’s more to come said Euan: “It weighs 1100 kgs at present but there is scope for more lightening work. I’m keeping the engine standard at the moment for reliability but even in standard form it produces around 240bhp. There’s no torque, it’s all about revs, so it makes it quite twitchy in the twisty stuff.” The car’s well worth a look next time you see it at an event.

Forest rally specialist Geoff Goudie was co-driving for Martin Farquhar at Leuchars (they finished 48th o/a – out of 48 finishers!) but he doesn’t make life easy for himself. Having bought another Subaru Impreza he still has the old car, which: “I am preparing for my girlfriend to drive,” he said. Two car team? I bet he thought that was a good idea at the time, eh?

Having retired from the 5 Star Rally at Kames, Michael Robertson appeared with his multi-coloured Peugeot 106 at Leuchars having found the cause of his troubles – eventually. “There was a broken wire leading to the ECU,” said Michael, “and it took ages to track it down. The trouble was the car would run fine till it shorted out but when it was re-connected, the ECU memory was lost and the car reverted to ‘limp’ mode.” After a few road miles during the week, Michael was all set for action at Leuchars, but after the first stage was quite disconsolate: “The LSD is playing up, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I reckon the plates are wearing out, so that’s another job.” He decided to retire before more damage was done.

It is said that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Ian Cruden thinks otherwise. Having dispensed with his Mitsubishi Lancer on the grounds of cost, he appeared with a Honda Civic for his first ever run out in a FWD car with a seq. ‘shift and finished 34th overall.

Stuart Thorburn was a busy lad at Leuchars. When his MG ZR hit one of the speed bumps on SS6, the rear suspension collapsed. The fittings at the bottom of the shock absorbers broke off and blew all the oil out. Somehow he and the lads bodged up a repair and re-filled the shockers with power steering fluid to get round and finish 44th. “When it broke, I felt the bump and saw a cloud of smoke in the mirrors,” said Stuart, “I thought at first it was the engine and engine oil but I still had pressure, so we kept going.”

Sue and Tom Hynd were indeed most fortunate to finish the Granite in 28th place. As the MINI crossed the Finish Line, Tom thought he could smell smoke, and as Sue pulled up in the Service Area, there was a mad rush from folks outside to get fire extinguishers as flames were spotted underneath the car. Sue and Tom were out of there quicker than a vegetarian in a butcher’s shop to find that some power steering fluid from a burst hose had caught light on the exhaust. Fortunately the crew and car were both OK.

And finally …

“What am I doing here?” And so was uttered the phrase, quite frequently during the day, by one Alistair Brearley. It’s 30 years since Al ‘retired’ from the sport, and here he was back again. Previously one of Scotland’s top forest rally drivers in the 70s and 80s in a variety of Escorts, Opels, Vauxhalls and latterly a Sprintex (made in Scotland) supercharged Metro 6R4, Al had succumbed to the lure of competition once again. Now selling cars in Galashiels and the Borders he chanced upon a rally prepped Mk2 for sale whereupon a sudden rush of stupidity overwhelmed his innate common sense and the beast was duly purchased. Choosing to give the car a run out before venturing into the woods, he opted to enter the Granite at Leuchars. Sadly a top 30 finish eluded him when the car incurred a maximum on the 7th test due to some mechanical problems. “It’s got a 2 litre red-top, Quaife ‘box with floating rear axle and Watts linkage,” said Alistair, “and it came with a load of 15 inch Peugeot wheels.” The airfield style tarmac event was a first for Alistair and not necessarily the way he wants to go, but will we see him in the woods before the year is out? Who knows?

And finally, finally …

Speaking of comebacks, Coltness CC’s Hugh ‘Uncle Shooey’ Steel contested his first rally in 20 years at Leuchars at the wheel of a Subaru Impreza. He had a couple of moments on his way to 36th o/a but enjoyed his first foray into all-wheel drive motoring after a ‘career’ in Escorts. And despite his protestations at the car clubnight prior to Leuchars that he was organised and ready, there was something lacking in his pre-event preparations. It was all looking good when he packed up, loaded up and set off confident that all was well and nothing forgotten – till he got to Scrutineering. The list was getting ticked off quite satisfactorily till the Scroots asked for his helmet whereby the bold boy opened his helmet bag to find – nothing. Empty. Devoid of head protection. Nae lid wis inside. Apparently Janette had taken his helmet out of his bag to clean the mould off it. Now that bit I believe!