29 May: Scottish 2WD Rally Report

… RSAC Scottish Rally, Saturday 19th May …
Round 4 – 2018 ARR CRaib Scottish Rally Championship …

RSAC Scottish 2WD Rally

Running ahead of the 4WD Rally, the 2WD field had the best of road conditions. There were a couple of coarse stretches in Twiglees, but with no 4WD brigade on gardening duty running ahead of them complaints were few.

Greg McKnight and Harry Marchbank obviously meant business from the off. They were 22 seconds up on Matthew Robinson and David Robson at the end of the first run through Twiglees. Hot on their heels were Iain Wilson and Chris Williams a further 6 seconds back. “I made a mistake at the end of the stage,” said Iain, “I tried to swallow instead of spitting – and nearly choked myself. The dust was that bad.” Breaking the Escort domination at the end of that first test were Angus Lawrie and Paul Gribben in the Corsa with Steve Bannister and Callum Atkinson 5th quickest ahead of Mike and Kirsty Riddick in the MG. Missing from that elite group was the Mk2 of Duncan MacDonald. He was one of the first to fall foul of the dusty, marbly surface which hadn’t quite been swept clear running 4th car on the road. A similar fate befell Douglas Watt whose Escort suffered a front n/s uppercut to the nose when he slid off near the Finish of the stage.

Across the road in Castle O’er, it was McKnight again, despite an admission: “We lost all the oil in one of the front shock absorbers on that last stage,” said Greg, “and we don’t have a spare, so we’ve just got to keep going.” Wilson was 11 seconds slower while Robinson and that cheeky wee Corsa were tied on equal 3rd fastest! Bannister was 5th quickest ahead of Riddick. There was another car off in here when Iain Haining parked up his BMW: “I just got a bit wide on the loose and the tail slid out and hit the banking,” said Iain, “but the impact broke a steering arm.”

The next two stages featured a re-run of the first two, with McKnight again seizing control second time through Twiglees by 13 seconds from Robinson. Wilson had to settle for 3rd quickest with Lawrie hanging on to this trio like a flea on a racehorse tail and ahead of Riddick and Bannister.

It was the same again on the second run through Castle O’er, McKnight from Wilson, but Lawrie was 3rd quickest despite a minor misdemeanour: “There was a tight R9 in there and I braked well past where I braked first time through,” admitteid Angus, “we went right over the banking but I kept my foot on the gas and we shot out the other side.” He was still quicker than Robinson, with Bannister 5th quickest and Neil Coalter/Hannah Cessford getting on the pace with the Ford Puma.

Which meant that McKnight already had almost a one minute lead as he pulled into Lockerbie Service ahead of Wilson, Robinson and Lawrie.

After a high protein snack to help him ‘work, rest and play’, Wilson was quickest through the 5th stage in Ae called Rivox, but only by a second from McKnight. “I’ve got a wee bit of a problem with a misfire,” said Greg, “it’s happening low down the revs and keeps wanting to cut out.” Lawrie had to share 3rd quickest with Riddick, these two proving to be the real stars of the show on the day with their feverish pace and both quicker than Robinson and Bannister through here.

The three Escorts dominated in the final 9 miler through the north end of the Ae Forest complex at Gill Knowe with McKnight leading home Wilson and Robinson, followed by Lawrie, Riddick and Coalter.

“We were still very lucky,” said Greg at the finish, “the alternator failed on the final stage and we didn’t have a spare one of those either!” Wilson was delighted with second on the podium while Robinson and Robson appeared the Finish in Moffat, enviously sooking double caramel Magnums in a bid to keep their cool.

In fourth place after a mighty impressive run was the 1600cc Vauxhall Corsa of Angus Lawrie with the MG ZR of Keith Riddick in fifth place just beating Steve Bannister by 7 seconds. Keith was actually a little moved at the finish: “I’m pleased with that, and 3rd quickest through the second last stage. And I managed to beat Steve Bannister, for a young boy to beat a man like that. Phew!”

Neil Coalter was equally pleased with 7th place. “The rebuilt engine had done just 12 miles since it was put in on Monday,” said Neil, “so that’s our first proper run out in the car since we got it.” Gordon Murray finished 8th ahead of the top SRC Junior, Ally Currie in his Fiesta ST, with Fraser MacNicol rounding off the top ten and delighted with that, but offered up the unsavoury thought: “I’ve got dust in every orifice”.

Tarmac specialist Barry Lindsay finished 11th in his Peugeot 206: “I’ve never been in Twiglees or Castle O’er before, so that makes you LISTEN to the Notes.” Ross Hughes was another score a cracking result, finishing 12th overall in his Citroen C2, and perhaps a tad lucky to do so: “We burst a brake line in SS3 and I had to chuck it into a ditch to slow down on the approach to a Left 7, then we had to do the next stage with the handbrake only to reach service.”

It was a dominant run by Knight, but although this was his first outright Scottish Rally Championship ‘victory’ in the forests, it didn’t merit full SRC points. Instead, the 2WD total times were amalgamated with the 4WD times to determine how many points the Scottish Championship contenders got. A wee discussion got underway at the end of the 2WD event while waiting for the 4WD brigade, and perhaps the SRC might consider the idea that if the RSAC adopts the same format next year, then two full sets of points could be awarded to both ‘events’. That would shake things up a bit in the title chase, eh?

2WD RSAC Scottish Rally Results
1 Greg McKnight/Harry Marchbank (Ford Escort Mk2) 46m 05s
2 Iain Wilson/Chris Williams (Ford Escort Mk2) +1:05
3 Matthew Robinson/Dave Robson (Ford Escort Mk2) +1:34
4 Angus Lawrie/Paul Gribben (Vauxhall Corsa) +2:07
5 Keith Riddick/Kirsty Riddick (Mg Zr) +2:58
6 Steve Bannister/Callum Atkinson (Ford Escort Mk2) +3:05
7 Neil Coalter/Hannah Cessford (Ford Puma) +3:49
8 Gordon Murray/David O’Brien (Ford Escort Mk2) +4:24
9 Alasdair Currie/Grant MacNiven (Ford Fiesta ST) +4:30
10 Fraser MacNicol/Sinclair Young (Ford Escort MK2) +5:04

Class Winners
Scott Peacock/Robin Neal (MG ZR)
Donald Peacock/Tom Hynd (Peugeot 205)
Anguw Lawrie/Paul Gribben (Vauxhall Corsa)
Fraser MacNicol/Sinclair Young (Ford Escort Mk2)
Steve Bannister/Callum Atkinson (Ford Escort Mk2)
Alasdair Currie/Grant MacNiven (Ford Fiesta ST)
William Pollock/Tommy Mackin (Ford Escort Mk1)
Gordon Murray/David O’Brien (Ford Escort Mk2)

4WD Rally – [Main Report]
4WD Rally – [Fastest Stage Times]
2WD Rally – [Fastest Stage Times]