22 Aug: Grampian Classes roundup

… Grampian Forest Rally 2018 … The Classes …

Class 1 – 2wd Cars To 1450cc
Three cars started, two finished with Scott Peacock taking the win in his MG ZR from the similar car of Niall Cowan Jnr just half a minute down on the class leader. “I was very cautious through the last stage,” said Niall, who currently leads the Championship class (ahead of Peacock) and lies 2nd in the Juniors, “I just needed to finish to get the points.” Steven Crockett retired his Peugeot 205 with alternator failure in the second stage.

Class 2 – 2wd Cars To 1650cc With 8 Valves Or Less
Three cars started, two finished with James Campbell taking the win in his Talbot Sunbeam from the Peugeot 205 of Jamie Stewart. “I lost the brakes half way through the long second stage,” said James, “and we had a little off! I was sensible in SS3 and 4, made an arse of SS5 and was lucky to finish when a massive impact on the final stage broke the front o/s strut.” Jamie was no less lucky, “We had an oil cooler burst in the first two stages and didn’t spot it till we got to service, did 3 & 4 with no brakes and then lost the petrol, cap in SS5.” Tom Howie failed to finish when his Talbot Sunbeam got a bit too hot and bothered on the long second stage.

Class 3 – 2wd Cars To 1650cc With More Than 8 Valves
Second time out in a hired Fiesta R2, visiting English driver Mat Smith had a remarkable result with not only the class win but top 2WD in 21st placeo/a. “I struggle with the brakes on SS5,” said the Yorkshireman, “but we bled them on the road section before SS6.” Ross Hughes was 2nd in his Citroen C2 but it was a close run thing: “The rear beam mounting bracket broke and the axle came loose,” said Ross, “we did the whole of the last stage with the wheel banging about inside the wheel well.” Perhaps it’s a good job he couldn’t see it from inside the car, because from the outside it looked stupidly scary! Scott Sloan appeared with a new car and after a cautious run, the Peugeot 208 finished 3rd in class albeit without its front bumper. “The car’s amazing,” said Scott, “but I struggled with the sequential shift at times. I just need to get used to it.” Ryan Ingram finished 4th and Neil Redford 5th (despite breaking the power steering in SS5) in their Honda Civics while Caroline Carslaw was 6th in the Fiesta R2, and beaming from ear to ear: “I’m really happy, I’ve got my mojo back,” she said, “it was a bit tail happy in SS2 but the tyre pressures were too high and SS3 was really slippy, but the car finished with no problems.” Nikki Addison looked a tiny wee bit dejected at the finish as the Peugeot 106 finished on 3 white rims and one pink rim: “On SS4 I took a big chunk out of one of my pink rims,” said Nikki, “but the tyre didn’t go down,” so the car did not finish on its trademark two pinks and two whites! There was another worrying moment when the car cut out on the road section after final service on the way t SS5 – but that was solved by removing the offending fuse. Drew Barker finished 8th in the now officially re-christened Citroen ‘Kettle’ but when an engine mounting broke and was welded and then broke again, a ratchet strap was used to keep the thing in place. Final finisher was Duncan MacLean who spun the Peugeot 106 in SS1 and the stopped to change a punctured tyre in SS2. As for Angus Lawrie, he bent a rear stub axle in the Corsa while Finlay Retson didn’t last much longer in his hired Fiesta R2: “It was just after the start of SS2,” said Finlay, “the right front suspension just broke and collapsed – there was no warning.”

Class 4 – 2wd Cars To 2050cc With 8 Valves Or Less
John O’Kane admitted to “being a few drains and ditches” on his way to the class win with his Mk2 less than a half a minute clear of Fraser MacNicol who only had one scare when: “my door flew open on SS5.” Douglas Watt was a jubilant and relieved 3rd in class finishing with no gouge marks or dents in the Mk2, but he was lucky: “Yes, we were in a ditch in SS5,” he admitted, “it was the result of an over-ambitious attempt at a Right5.” Final finisher was Jim Robertson in his Mk2 with the similar car of Colin Baxter sidelined in the first stage when a rear shock absorber broke in half.

Class 5 – Historic Rally Cars
Duncan Ferguson was the class winner in his Escort BDG and finished with a flourish: “on the last hairpin in the last stage I had the tail out all the way round, just perfect.” Ernie Lee was 2nd in the BMW with Ian Milne 3rd in the Mk2 and David Cameron 4th in his Mk2. Tom Coughtrie retired his Mitsubishi Galant (and not because Jim Carty was ‘servicing’ although that wouldn’t have helped!) but because “the starter motor failed, which was OK, but then I had a problem with gear selection and we just couldn’t get any!”

Class 6 – Fwd Cars Up To 2050cc With 16 Valves
Just 9 seconds separated winner Bobby Mitchell in his Fiesta from 2nd placed Alasdair Currie, although Alasdair had to run through the last two stages with the car jammed in 3rd gear when it lost all gears on the road section coming out of final service. Only 3 seconds behind in 3rd place was Grant MacRae. “We finished work on the car at 4.00am on Friday morning after my Dad rebuilt the gearbox,” said Grant, “but we spun twice in SS1 and finished just 12 seconds off the class lead.” Finishing 4th in class, second time out in his Fiesta, was 17 year old Johnnie MacKay but lost a chunk of time in the final stage: “We went straight on at a hairpin and had to reverse out,” said Johnnie, before admitting, “it was Noted as a double caution! ” That’s called learning on the job, eh? Chris Abel was 5th in his Clio and Paul McErlean was a non finisher when the Escort broke down in Scare Hill.

Class 7 – Rwd Cars To 2050cc With More Than 8 Valves
Second time out in 3 years, Willie Stuart was feeling a mite rusty before the start but won the class by 11 seconds from Duncan MacDonald who admitted: “I was just too slow at the start, but near the end of the rally I remembered what it was all about!” Behind the two Mk2s was the RWD Fiesta of Steven Wood who spent the day getting used to a new steering quick-rack. Perhaps inspired by featuring on the front cover of the latest ‘Scottish Rally Scene’ magazine, John Brownie was 4th in the Kadett and said at the finish: “I’m still on an adrenalin high – I’ll probably come down about Monday afternoon.” Rhuaridh Campbell was the final finisher in his Sunbeam and let everyone know he’d finished – his exhaust was broken at the manifold. Mike Stuart failed to finish when the Escort broke down in the final stage.

Class 8 – 2wd Cars Over 2051cc
Gordon Murray and Keith Robathan determined who was 1st and 2nd in this class when fancied front runner Greg McKnight struck trouble. The yellow Escort lost out on a top 2WD finish overall when the clutch failed n the final stage. Murray scored the class win despite a burst exhaust in the Mk2 while Robathan had a huge moment in his BMW passing a stopped Greg McKnight in the last stage: “I was just showing off,” said Keith.

Class 9 – Other 4wd Cars Not In Class 10 Or 11
After a close duel, Northern Ireland’s Niall Devine claimed the Class 9 honours by 9 seconds from Michael Binnie, both finishing in the top ten. Fraser Wilson stayed out of the ditches and shrubbery this time to take 3rd in class making it a clean sweep for Mitsubishi with Ian Baumgart’s Subaru 4th. Simon Hay was 5th ahead of John McIlwraith who survived despite two mistakes: “I was nearly on the roof at Left 4 in SS2,” said John, ” then in the last stage, there was a ‘No Cut’ – I cut it, and had a massive moment.” Over a minute behind him was Subaru Cup arch rival, Mathew Thomson: “I just couldn’t catch John today”, he said. Kevin Crawford was 8th complete with cracked Lancer windscreen: “I slid wide on a corner, clipped the bank and struck a branch with the screen,” he explained while Duncan Campbell was 9th and Martin Craik 10th. Chris Collie didn’t get beyond the first stage when an electrical fire destroyed part of the wring behind the Subaru’s central dash panel and Sandy Arbuthnot retired his Focus with diff failure. Ian Archer stopped to change a punctured tyre in SS4 but later retired with other problems and Harry Chalmers had a mechanical failure in his Subaru. Ronnie Horne had to pull out when his Subaru lost boost: “It just died on me at the end of SS2, it wouldnae take the throttle,” he explained. Geoff Goudie also had turbo problems, a wee oil leak was dripping on to the exhaust and it couldn’t be fixed because they couldn’t reach it, so wisely decided to call it a day rather than risk a conflagration.

Class 10 – Group A 4wd, Super 2000 & R4
Armstrong took the honours here from Milne, McCombie, McCulloch, McCombie (Scott)
Rounding off the top six was Keith Morris who was slowed a couple of times with the Lancer’s fuel pump switching itself off. Alan Dickson was a disappointed 7th ahead of Ian Forgan who “chilled out” towards the end of the rally. John Rintoul was 9th after his earlier power steering problem and Kevin Downes was 10th having spun twice at hairpins. Barry Groundwater was the only Class 10 non finisher with the Lancer spotted with all 4 wheels off the road in the grass on SS4.

Class 11 – WRC and R5 Cars
McKenna added to his overall spoils with the Class 11 win ahead of Pearson, Gallacher, MacDonald and John Wink who finished 10th overall as well but complained about lack of grip: “My own fault, ” he said, “wrong tyre choice.” Reay MacKay wasn’t far off the top ten pace all day in the Focus finishing 6th in class ahead of Lawrence Whyte. Brian Watson was a subdued 8th ahead of final finisher, Kevin Stout in the 2.5 litre V6 engined Land Rover Freelander. He explained how he managed to stay ditch-free: “Every time I thought I was going off into a ditch, there was a car already there – so there was no room for me!”


Grampian Rally – [Main report]
Grampian Rally – [Stage Times]