30 Jun: Kirkaldy takes Kingdom

… Three in a Row for Kirkaldy … Kingdom Stages Rally, 17th June …

Whew, what a scorcher. The weather that was, and the competition wasn’t bad either on this 40th Kingdom Stages Rally at Crail. This was a day for tee-shirts and Factor 5 sun cream, but few folk had packed the sun cream, this was Crail on the far east coast after all!

It was hot stuff on the tarmac too with Alan Kirkaldy taking his third straight victory on this year’s Blackwood Plant Scottish Tarmack Championship. With Cameron Fair on the Notes keeping him right, and sometimes left, and straight on at other times, the Escort Mk2 crew romped home to a clear cut victory over Alistair and Colin Inglis in the Lotus Exige. Gordon Morrison and Calum McPherson were an awfy lucky third in the Subaru. Why lucky? Read on.

This year’s Kingdom was different to all that had gone before. There were 2 stages at Crail before the ‘Seniors’ moved on to nearby Leuchars for 4 stages, then back to Crail for the final 4. That allowed the Juniors to have the site to themselves for 6 long and demanding tests when the adults were away and they had a cracking time. However, there was another nice touch. The Glenrothes Motor Sport Club organisers had invited the first ever winner of the Kingdom Stages to flag off the first cars and meet the stars, Brian Wilkinson, and then present the prizes afterwards.

But it was Kirkaldy who set the pace. Whatever he had for breakfast, rivals take note, because he flew round the opening 10 mile test 14 seconds quicker than anyone else on the airfield which was celebrating its own anniversary – it first opened for RAF business 99 years ago in 1918! How’s that for an interesting fact?

That immediately left everyone else playing catch-up. Then he did it again on the second run, a hot 27 seconds faster than the Inglis boys.

Fourth quickest round the opening test, John Marshall didn’t make it into the second stage, the Subaru thumped a tyre marker which broke the front exhaust pipe and manifold. The car was still fit, but they didn’t have a spare manifold so that was them out of the game.

Kirkaldy was on fire. He was quickest on all 4 tests at Leuchars although Inglis was snapping at his heels all the way. If the Lotus was running out of puff trying to catch the Mk2, so was Morrison’s bright red Subaru. He was easily third quickest on the day, but the two in front of him were in no mind to let him catch even a whiff of their exhausts.

He was a very lucky boy though. The car was sitting in the queue to start SS8 with Gordon chatting to Alan when the call came from the co-drivers to start their engines. As Alan got up off his hunkers and Gordon turned the wheel of the Subaru there was a nasty crack from the front near side corner of the car. Gordon didn’t hear it, but Alan did, and signalled to Gordon to switch off and get out and look.

When he peeked under the car he found that the front n/s balljoint had fractured. A quick phone call to the lads had them running from the service area with spares, tools and trolley jack (in the hot sun too!) and the car was fixed and sent on its way within time. How lucky was that?

Having almost forgotten what a rally finish looks like this year, John Rintoul was fourth in the Mitsubishi but he too had a bit of luck. He lost the power steering in SS7 and did SS8 with his arms getting tugged out of their sockets before service for the final two. And there was another lucky boy in fifth place overall. Taylor Gibb had survived a huge tank slapper in the first stage. Exiting one of the chicanes at full chat, the rear end stepped out, but did Taylor lift? Did he heck. He fought the rascal all the way and at one point looked almost lost to view when he got three wheels in the corn field. Fortunately he survived his combine harvester impersonation and got it all sorted out before the hairpin.

There was a marvellous result for Ross McCallum too. He finished 6th overall in the Honda engined MG Maestro scoring a remarkable top six finish for the first time. Brian Watson finished 7th in the Mitsubishi looking quite pleased with himself and Colin Gemmell was 8th first time out in the new Mk2 which he managed to christen on its debut, whacking a tyre marker with the rear n/s quarter.

The top 1600 runner, Euan MacKay scored a marvellous result too in such dry and fast conditions, finishing inside the top ten in 9th place. The Peugeot 106 looked a bit battle scarred at the finish though: “I got sideswiped by a Subaru,” said Euan, “he pulled over and I thought he was letting me through, then he shut the door on me.” And that was after surviving a 100mph sin on the opening stage and a two-wheeling moment on the second.

Rounding off the top ten was Iain Sanderson in his Mk2, but David Newall lost out on a top ten finish when his Escort’s diff failed while Rob Snowdon’s disappearance was equally emphatic when the Escort’s gearbox: “Shit itself!”

Ross Auld was 11th in his Mk2 ahead of the Avenger of Kenny Moore which was struggling with a touch of overheating early on and clutch slip later on. Des Campbell was 13th o/a and second in the 1600 class with the Peugeot 206 despite a big spin on the final stage: “I lost the brakes and spun off between the bales – but into the tyres.” Young Harry Chalmers, the number 68 seed, was 14th in his Subaru with the Subaru of Kevin Paris rounding off the top 15 overall.

With MacKay and Campbell taking top honours in the 1600 category, Ron Walker got himself a result with the Ka, finishing third after a troubled start to the season. Brian ‘Beefy’ Fraser was 4th in the Avenger ahead of Kevin Clarke’s Corsa but regular front runner Gareth White didn’t finish when the Peugeot struck a kerb with the front o/s wheel and the Citroen C2 of Greg Inglis was sidelined with alternator failure.

Marcus Tinsley claimed the 1400 class in his Peugeot 205 well clear of the Suzuki Ignis of Eamonn Kilmurray.

But there was no stopping Kirkaldy. Victory by almost a minute and a half and his third on the trot. Will anyone catch him at Mach1?

Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge

Things were a lot closer for the Junior 1000 thrash with two drivers tying for victory at th close of six fast and furious stages. Ewan Tindall and Paul Hudson tied with Jude MacDonald and Michael Cruickshank 56m 06s, but fastest on the first stage of the day was Tindall, so victory was his.

Both drivers were rarely more than a few seconds apart all day. Initially, Tindall was in front in his Citroen by 3 seconds after two stages when MacDonald clouted a tyre on the first stage losing the rear bumper and crinkling the pristine Skoda’s bodywork. Over the next two stages MacDonald got himself a second in front but Tindall pulled back 3 seconds on SS5 and went into the final stage 2 seconds in front. On the final stage, MacDonald snatched 2 seconds back to tie on total times for the day.

In third place were Northern Ireland’s Sam Adams and Andrew Bushe just ahead of Lewis Haining and George Myatt who finished fourth. Both hit problems on the last stage – Adams with suspension failure but claims he didn’t hit anything while Haining bent his steering: “I hit the biggest possible tyre in the whole stage and bent the steering arm.”

Peter Beaton and first time co-driver Colin Baxter were fifth with Lewis Winder and Mike Baird sixth.

Alice Paterson and Ian Crosbie finished 7th after a misfire cost her 2 minutes in the pening stage while Amy McCubbin and Brian McLelland were the final finishers.

Johnnie Mackay and Steven Hay failed to finish after smacking a tyre marker in the first stage. The impact bent a steering arm which subsequently broke on the next stage. Andrew Blackwood and Gordon Winning also retired with gearbox failure.

Final Results:
1 Alan Kirkaldy/Cameron Fair (Ford Escort Mk2) 94m 10s
2 Alistair Inglis/Colin Inglis (Lotus Exige) 95m 38s
3 Gordon Morrison/Calum MacPherson (Subaru Impreza) 97m 18s
4 John Rintoul/Ross Hynd (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo10) 98m 38s
5 Taylor Gibb/Jane Nicol (Mitsubishi Evo 8) 99m 06ss
6 Ross McCallum/James Ralph (MG Maestro) 100m 44s
7 Brian Watson/Caroline Will (Mitsubishi Evo) 101m 10s
8 Colin Gemell/Derek Keir (Ford Escort Mk2) 101m 19s
9 Euan Mackay/Daniel Forsyth (Peugeot 106) 101m 28s
10 Iain Sanderson/Kyle Dods (Ford Escort Mk2) 101m 42s

11 George R Auld/Richard Stewart (Escort) 101m 45s
12 Kenny Moore/Thomas Purvin (Hillman Avenger) 103m 13s
13 Des Campbell/Shona Hale (Peugeot 206) 104m 06s
14 Harry Chalmers/Steven Brown (Impreza) 106m 22s
15 Kevin Paris/Allan McMahon (Impreza) 108m 52s
16 James Brims/Iain MacDonald (Honda Civic) 109m 13s
17 Marcus Tinsley/Rachel Clark (Peugeot 205) 110m 00s
18 Dave Cranston/Kelly Howe (Opel Astra) 110m 32s
19 Ron Walker/Dean Ross (Ford Ka) 110m 48s
20 Garry Muir/Nicola Ritchie (BMW Compact) 111m 50s

Junior Results:
1 Ewan Tindall/Paul Hudson (Citroen C1) 56m 05s
2 Jude MacDonald/Michael Cruickshank (Skoda Citigo) 56m 05s
3 Sam Adams/Andrew Bushe (Skoda Citigo)
4 Lewis Haining/George Myatt (Toyota Aygo) +00.41s
5 Peter Beaton/Colin Baxter (Peugeot 107)
6 Lewis Winder/Mike Baird (Toyota Aygo)

Kingdom Stages roundup – [News & Gossip]