01 Apr: Morrison’s Maiden Win

… DCC Stages Rally, Sat 24th March, Rd2 of Cobble Shop Scottish Tarmack Championship …

Gordon Morrison scored his first ‘proper’ outright rally victory at the weekend when he and Cameron Fair won a close fought DCC Stages Rally at Ingliston. With two stages to go they were dead-heating with John Marshall and Scott Crawford setting up a tense decider over the two final runs. It was also good to see John Rintoul and Ross Hynd back on the podium after a character-building couple of seasons in a variety of rallying weaponry. No breakages and no failures. And the sun shone. And the heat caused problems! Happy days, eh?

Marshall opened the scoring, quicker by 4 seconds over the day’s opener than Morrison and Alan Gardiner in the Mk1 with Tom Morris only a further second adrift in the Metro 6R4. Rintoul was on the case too setting equal 3rd equal fastest time with Taylor Gibb in the Lancer.

Then it was Morrison’s turn on SS2, but by only a second from Marshall with Gardiner third quickest ahead of Rintoul. But already going for the trailer was Stephen Thompson. Re-united with his Mk2, his run was short-lived: “There was a funny noise, vibration – then it stopped,” said the boys, and after a look inside, added “the flywheel bolts have sheared!”

There was nothing between the top two on the 3rd test, but on the 4th, Morrison seized the lead, 5 seconds quicker than Marshall although there were only 2 seconds in it as play stopped for lunch. Not stopping for lunch, Tom Morris was packing up. He had been penalised for a jump start on the 4th test.

After the respite the top two went at it again like twa drunks fighting over the last dregs in the last bottle. First to wilt was Morrison. An over ambitious braking manoeuvre cost him 7 seconds to the flying Marshall in SS5 but he bounced back 5 seconds quicker in SS6. All square after 6 stages with two to go.

This was where tactics came into play. Both cars were overheating in the warm spring sunshine. No real problem, but neither car was getting sufficient air through the system on the short straights between the thoosands of corners that comprise the Ingliston layout – and the WRC boys think Corsica has got 10,000 corners. Huh, they’d get blown away if they came over here, right?

Despite the car’s anti-lag switching itself off in the heat, Morrison’s Subaru took 3 seconds out of Marshall’s similar on the penultimate test despite an ‘incident’, as Gordon explained: “I blootered one of the chicane bales and the straw flew everywhere inside the car like a blizzard. Young Cameron looked like Worzel Gummidge till he got sorted out.”

That meant there was still just 3 seconds between the leaders going into the final test. Sadly it didn’t turn out quite as hoped by Marshall: “There was a tight left just after the start on the final stage and my door flew open,” said John, “I was trying to handbrake it round the corner at the time and hang on to the steering wheel, so I couldn’t grab the door when it swung wide open. Luckily I managed to hit a chicane bale with the open door which banged it shut.” That was enough to unsettle him and he dropped 8 seconds to Morrison.

As for Morrison, no more mistakes, just a determined run to the finish: “I’ve won a couple of things at Kames,” said Gordon, “but that’s my first proper rally victory. Like John I was struggling to try and keep the engine cool but Arron (Newby) was on top of it.”

Athough 20 seconds behind in third place, John Rintoul was pretty pleased with his day out. He’s had a string of poor results over recent months in his Lancer, Skoda and Fiesta, but the Ford behaved itself: “That was my first troublefree run with the Fiesta and it gave me the chance to play with settings and get it handling more the way I like, but there’s more to come.”

Taylor Gibb finished 4th in the Lancer, a tidy, less exuberant run than his previous month’s Knockhill antics, paying dividends. Alan Gardiner was 5th and first 2WD car in the repainted glorious blue Escort Mk1.

Behind him a trio of Mk2 Escorts filled the next three places led by Tom Blackwood getting quicker every time out these day, from Colin Gemmell getting to grips with a new 6 spd gearbox in place of last year’s 5 spd unit and George Auld whose 8th overall earned him first in Class 3.

Scoring their first top ten finish in 9th place (and 2nd in Class 3), were Richard Sutherland and Jack Sutherland in the Opel Manta. It was Richard’s first time back here since he “did his back in two years ago” and Jack’s third event as co-driver so both were well chuffed. Iain Sanderson’s Mk2 rounded off the top ten and attributed his 10th overall to his: “Top athlete’s diet, a pie, a Mars bar and a can of Irn-Bru.” (Note to Editor: Remember this for future use).

Losing out on a top ten finish on the final stage of the day was Ed Todd driving his brother’s Mk1 Escort in place of his GTM. Despite the fact that a half shaft let go, Ed was impressed with the car’s pace and handling but this was a one-off. However, he did promise that we haven’t seen the last of his demonic skateboard yet.

Class 2 winner last time out at Knockhill, Stevie Irwin didn’t get far at Ingliston. The Nova lost drive on the first stage stranding him mid field. At first he thought it was the gearbox but when they got it back to service, it was just a driveshaft. And he had a spare! But no luck, he was out. Ben Wilkinson took the 1600 class win in his muscular looking Citroen Saxo but he had to fight all the way with Michael Harbour’s Citroen C2 only 4 seconds behind at the finish. Ron Walker took 3rd in his Ford Ka ahead of Fraser Smith in the noisy Honda Civic, although there was some debate about the source of the noise – not so much under the bonnet as emanating from the co-driver’s seat! Naturally I couldn’t possibly comment – Ed.

Early Class 2 pace setter Donald Bowness was out of luck – and out of spares! Having set 2nd fastest time on the opening stage he broke a driveshaft on the next and then broke two more, finally calling it a day when he ran out of spare driveshafts.

There was no doubt about the Class 1 winner, young Martyn Douglas scored a convincing 1400 class win by over a minute and half in his VW Polo finishing 29th overall. On his first visit to Ingliston, Cameron Craig finished 2nd in his Peugeot. After running out of his stocks of used tyres he was forced to buy two new Hankooks at lunch time. And don’t tell anyone, but third placed Alan Falconer was spotted ‘repairing’ his Nova’s broken front tie-bar with tow-rope then re-fitted the front bumper over it to hide it. Martin Farquhar was 4th after removing the Peugeot 106’s thermostat at the lunch halt to cure an overheating issue. It worked. Joe Cunningham retired his Corsa on the second stage when the engine dropped a valve and holed a piston.

1 Gordon Morrison/Cameron Fair (Subaru Impreza) 61m 23s
2 John Marshall/Scott Crawford (Subaru Impreza) +0.11s
3 John Rintoul/Ross Hynd Ford Fiesta) +0.31s
4 Taylor Gibb/Jane Nicol (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9) +0.49s
5 Alan Gardiner/Robin Nicolson (Ford Escort Mk1) +1.05s
6 Tom Blackwood/Gordon Winning (Ford Escort Mk2) +1.45s
7 Colin Gemmell/Derek Keir (Ford Escort Mk2) +2.05s
8 George Auld/Richard Stewart (Ford Escort Mk2) +2.54s
9 Richard Sutherland/Jack Sutherland (Opel Manta) +3.04s
10 Iain Sanderson/Kyle Dods (Ford Escort Mk2) +3.06s

11 Ben Wilkinson/Andrew Wilkinson (Citroen Saxo) +3.52s
12 Ross McCallum/James Ralph (MG Maestro) +3.56s
13 Michael Harbour/Ian MacDougall (Citroen C2 R2 Max) +3.56s
14 Alex Adams/Ian Parker (Ford Escort) +4.50s
15 Stuart Grant/Alan Hewitson (Ford Escort) +5.16s
16 Michael Robertson/Murray Milne (Honda Civic) +5.32s
17 Kyle Adam/Connor Adam (Ford Escort) +5.50s
18 Andrew Scott/Ian Robertson (Ford Escort Mk2) +6.39s
19 Andrew Gallagher/David Crosbie (Subaru Impreza) +6.39s
20 Edward Todd/Jamie Andrew Hope (Ford Escort Mk1) +6.45s

Class Winners
Class 1: Martyn Douglas/Brian Pringle (Volkswagen Polo)
Class 2: Ben Wilkinson/Andrew Wilkinson (Citroen Saxo)
Class 3: George Auld/Richard Stewart (Ford Escort Mk2)
Class 4: Alan Gardiner/Robin Nicolson (Ford Escort Mk1)
Class 5: Gordon Morrison/Cameron Fair (Subaru Impreza)

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