… Memorial Garden Junior Rally, 13 April …
Condor is a special place to be on a rally day. As it is an active military base there is always an element of nervousness as anything could happen. Going into the event, the sun was shining, the wind was cold, and the cars were ready after getting prepared to set off for the day.
The first two stages had exactly what you expect from a rally. As the cars set off you could see the gravel churning out from under the wheels and flying up into the air. The Citroen C1 of Fraser Anderson/Martin Forrest was the first car out the traps and set the bar high, as they did at Ingliston, setting a good time on the first two stages by coming out 5 seconds in front of Oliver Hunter/Michael Cruickshank.
However, after the second stage Anderson dropped 11 seconds due to some confusion on the track with barrel markers, but this did not faze him as he continued to fight until the end for the top spot with fellow counterpart Oliver Hunter. After 4 of the day’s 6 stages, both drivers were neck and neck.
Oliver Hunter put in a whole-hearted performance as he and his Peugeot 107 gave everything to make sure that he could stay in front of Anderson. The fight went back and forth between the two leading drivers as they switched positions throughout the day, but when it came to the final two stages Hunter came out on top after pulling in front of Anderson in SS5 by a marginal 4 seconds. He then put it to bed in the final stage after topping the leader board by 8 seconds in front of Anderson. Both drivers showed tremendous effort in racing and both should feel proud of what they achieved.
But the story of the day goes to third place Cameron Davidson as his VW UP! was not finished until 5 hours before the event whilst both Cameron Davidson and Ian McRae put countless hours into the preparation. The weekend before the rally the car still had no front end, but after the efforts of Cameron’s team he managed to get to Condor, and not only compete, but get a podium finish. The car handled well throughout the day according to Davidson and said to be a joy to drive with the only mishap being an encounter with some bales which required the remedial action of a big hammer and some tie-wraps.
Letisha Conn travelled all the way from Northern Ireland to be at Condor, but it paid off as she took the Championship Novice trophy. She and Ian Crosbie showed great consistency in the Peugeot 107 throughout the day, setting consistent times and keeping up with the top three, and also keeping in front of Tom Johnstone.
Tom Johnstone and Ian Shiells also put in a consistent performance by setting good quick times. Johnstone in his Nissan Micra came out flying on the first two stages showing what he can do. However after service he did lose time on his third stage, but pulled it back and ended his day with a strong finish. This is another example of two drivers who have worked hard and should be proud of their efforts as they are doing well.
Aaron Webster/Neil Jeffrey, Erica Winning/Ellya Gold and Daniel Hurst/Phil Sandham all put in some effort respectively by showcasing the talent it takes to take part in these events and the courage it takes to be able to go at high speeds around a track.
Webster said he enjoyed the day and felt that he had learned a lot by being out at Condor. It was the first time that he, and indeed most Juniors, had experienced gravel and all of them handled it well. Winning and Hurst had a battle of their own as they pushed each other by setting close times and making sure that neither one of them lost sight of each other. It was a close battle by the two and it complemented their courage and mentality as they were not fazed by the position they were in and wanting to achieve their own goals and win their personal battles. All three drivers deserve plaudits for the effort they put into the competition.
The only non-finisher was Jack Hall when his gearbox punched a hole in the casing and sadly had to retire. Hall managed to complete three stages and set very good times, driving really well despite his short time on-track time as he showcased exactly what he can do.
The podium finishers on the day were Oliver Hunter/Michael Cruickshank who took top spot, Fraser Anderson/Martin Forrest came second, and Cameron Davidson/Ian McRae came third.
All the drivers put in a huge effort and should be happy with what they have done as they showed the talents they possess for the sport and have huge potential and put on a good show for all involved. I would like to personally thank everyone who helped set up the event and came along to make it a great day!
Media Reporter – Taylor Murray
1, Oliver Hunter/Michael Cruikshank (Peugeot 107) 57m 58s
2, Fraser Anderson/Martin Forrest (Citroen C1) +0:08
3, Cameron Davidson/Ian McRae (VW UP!) +1:22
4, Letisha Conn/Ian Crosbie (Peugeot 107) +5:53
5, Thomas Johnstone/Ian Shiells (Nissan Micra) +7:25
6, Aaron Webster/Neil Jeffrey (Nissan Micra) +9:56
7, Erica Winning/Ellya Gold (Nissan Micra) +12:27
8, Daniel Hurst/Phil Sandham (Peugeot 107) +12:41