19 Aug: Tyneside Stages Rally extra

… Tyneside Extra, Sunday 6th August …

Our lot did rather well on the Complete Group Tyneside Rally which was held on the Sunday after the usedcarparts.co.uk Solway Coast Rally. For those who tackled the Saturday event, it meant a quick trip across the country to Otterburn on the Saturday evening missing out on the recce over the ranges. That puts their performances into perspective, especially those with limited experience of Notes and the Northumbrian military ranges.

Rory Young and Allan Cathers finished second overall in the Fiesta R5 after mixing it with the Fiesta WRC of Peter Taylor and Andrew Roughead on the morning loop, but in the afternoon lost out to the local crew on the faster more open tests.

Rory Young commented: “I was quite surprised actually. I’ve only done two events this year, but the first six stages were quite technical and I felt I could mix it with the others, although I expected to lose out on the faster stages this afternoon.”

The duel for the runner-up position got quite hectic later in the day. At the halfway point after 6 stages, Rory had 16 seconds on Stephen Petch in another Fiesta world car. Stephen got the foot down after that, but Rory just managed to hold him off to secure second place by 4 seconds.

The top 2WD car was next with Alan Kirkaldy and Cameron Fair taking fourth place in the Escort: “It’s my second time here,” said Alan, “but I only did 3 stages last time!” while Gordon Morrison and Calum MacPherson were fifth in the Subaru, but lucky to survive: “I was off at 120mph this morning in the wet – and didn’t hit anything,” said Gordon. Still familiarising himself with the Accent WRC, Bob Grant had a good run into 8th place with David O’Brien, making it four Scottish crews in the top ten.

Just outside the top ten were Lee Hastings and Alistair Wyllie in the Subaru but they backed off a wee bit over the closing stages: “The gearbox is getting a bit ‘crunchy’,” said Lee, “but I think it’s a software problem with the sequential ‘box rather than mechanical, so I’m just taking it a bit easier.” Ross Auld and Richard Stewart were 15th in the Escort after a hectic overnight rebuild following their Solway trouble when they finished the Dundrennan event on three wheels. “Thanks to Lee Hastings, we went back to his place overnight and repaired the car, finishing it at midnight, then set off for Otterburn,” said Ross. The boys had to repair the whole front n/s suspension and straighten the bodywork. Luckily they had a few rolls of white tank tape so the bodywork didn’t look too bad in the murky wetness of the ranges – from a distance!

Inside the top 20 were Gareth White and Harry Marchbank after another scintillating run in the Peugeot 208 finishing in 19th place. Robert Marshall and Lewis MacDougall were 22nd in the Escort while Alex and Brian McClelland were 24th in the Chevette. Michael Harbour and Ian MacDougall were 26th in the Citroen despite a failed intercom in SS5.

Gina Walker and Richard Simmonds were 30th overall and 2nd in class first time out in David Martin’s Astra. Scott Grant and Stewart Hurst were 40th in the Mk2 while Greg Turner and Grant MacNiven were last men home in their Peugeot 206.

Unfortunately, John Marshall and Scott Crawford let the side down. They were lying just outside the top ten in their Subaru after 8 stages, when, according to John: “A fence jumped out.” They spun off and were left stuck facing the wrong way. Scott MacBeth and Daniel Forsyth didn’t fare any better either. On the first stage, they beached the Citroen when it spun off on a Left hander which tightened. There was no damage but the car was stuck: “It was going well too,” sighed Scott.

Joining them on the non-finishers list were Neil Thompson and Niall Frost whose Corsa had a brake problem. The car did actually have brakes, and they were functioning perfectly, but it was the actual brake pedal which snapped. Neil must have awfy strong leg muscles, or maybe too much panic braking, eh? Both Joe Pringle/Thomas Purvin and Alan Cowan/Dave Cranston also failed to finish. Alan’s Astra broke a driveshaft on the uphill start of SS4 and simply wouldn’t pull the car off the line while Joe mistook seem ‘green grun’ for ‘black grun’!
The Nova of James Thomson/Sean Douglas was retired after SS9 when a broken bolt was found in the cross member and it was judged too risky to carry on with three long, fast stages ahead.

1 Peter Taylor/Andrew Roughead (Ford Fiesta WRC) 53m 51s
2 Rory Young/Allan Cathers (Ford Fiesta R5) +0:01:12
3 Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson (Ford Fiesta WRC) +0:01:16
4 Alan Kirkaldy/Cameron Fair (Ford Escort Mk2) +0:02:20
5 Gordon Morrison/Calum MacPherson (Subaru Impreza) +0:02:39
6 Daniel Harper/Chris Campbell (MINI JCW WRC) +0:02:57
7 Michael Glendinning/Charlie Sayer Payne (Subaru Impreza 12B) +0:03:46
8 Mark Jasper/Don Whyatt (Ford Escort Mk2) +0:03:48
9 Bob Grant/David O’Brien (Hyundai Accent WRC) +0:04:02
10 Richard Clews/Ian Windress (Subaru Impreza STi) +0:04:16

11 Lee Hastings/Alistair Wyllie (Impreza)
15 Ross Auld/Richard Stewart (Escort)
19 Gareth White/Harry Marchbank (Peugeot 208 R2 VTi)