09 May: Speyside Classes 1 – 6

… McDonald & Munro Speyside Stages Rally, Sat 20 April …

Classes 1- 6 Roundup …

On emerging from Stage 8, the gear lever on the Scott Peacock and Robin Neil MG ZR “fell off!” They managed to reach management service where Keith (Riddick) and Faither Peacock dropped the sumpguard to replace a broken pin and send them on their way to score a class win. Niall Cowan Jnr and Thomas Bruce were second in class despite “a few overshoots” in their MG ZR with Jacob Harlington and Chris Duff scoring 3rd in their Volkswagen Polo: “We nearly took the side out of the car – again!” said Jacob, “we were up on two wheels on a Left 9, but what a cracking day.” On their first rally, Robert Tonge and Sean Newlands were 4th in their MG ZR but had to cope with a few “gremlins in the car”. The first two stages were OK, but: “The brake bias was all wrong on SS3 and 4 and from SS6 onwards we had a misfire between 1000 and 4000 rpm,” said Robert, “and then we put a strut through the bonnet!” Having got the Suzuki out of storage (as the Puma is still being rebuilt) Neil Coalter and Hannah Cessford had to retire at second service with a failed crank sensor.

Competing with “no brakes all day” James Campbell and Kenny Foggo still managed to win the class in their Talbot Sunbeam, but that wasn’t all: “The half shafts were coming out of the axle,” said James, “and the disc brakes kept knocking the pads out.” Claiming to be “battered and bruised” Scott MacDonald and Angus MacNeil were 2nd in their Vauxhall Nova and just pleased to have finished.

“A perfect day all round,” was how Jude MacDonald and Michael Cruickshank described their class winning run in the Skoda Fabia R2 after a dismal non-finishing day out the previous month on the Border Counties. Steven Bellshaw and Lorn Hughes were just glad to see the finish in their Citroen C2 VTS: “I was just getting a bit too cocky over the last two stages,” said Steven. Beaming from ear to ear at the finish was Caroline Carslaw finishing 3rd in class with Charley Sayer-Payne in the Ford Fiesta R2. Peter Beaton and Dean Ross had to contend with a misfire in the Honda Civic all day: “We changed the plugs at service and that made it worse so we changed them back at next service,” said Peter as he finished 4th in class. On their first rally, Chris Gillies and Ryan Dougan got their self-built Citroen C2 to the finish, despite spending some quality time in a Teindland ditch. Not so lucky were Ian and Lisa Cattanach who clouted a log pile with the Sunbeam and Tom Howie and Charles McKenzie rolled their Sunbeam in Ordiequish. Fraser Smith and Ian MacDougall broke the manifold in their Honda while Stephen Fraser and Gareth McMillan were forced out with a waggle rear axle after the rear o/s suspension mount broke. Nikki Addison and Rachel Matheson didn’t make it to the finish either, the Peugeot coming to a halt in Stage 7. Maybe we’ll find out why at the Scottish.

Colin Patterson and Gary Clark had a clean run to the class win in their Ford Escort Mk2 unlike 2nd place crew John and Meghan O’Kane broke a wheel and ripped off a brake calliper in SS3 in their Escort. Colin Baxter and Donald Campbell were 3rd after a deceptive Right 7 into a ditch caught out the Escort in SS6. Paddy Munro and Gordon Chalmers failed to make the finish after mechanical problems in SS7 but one wonders if that had anything to do with their earlier ‘sideswiping’ antics when the Escort pulled into service displaying post marks and dents along the driver’s side flanks! Unusually, Fraser MacNicol and Ricky Finlayson were non-finishers with the Escort stopped in SS7 while Douglas Watt and Ian Parker continued their ‘fatal attraction’ to the more wilder elements of the countryside with an ‘off’ in Ordiequish.

Despite “losing confidence” after a spin at the hairpin on the penultimate test, Tom Coughtrie and Ian Fraser won the class in their Mitsubishi Galant VR4: “I couldn’t get reverse after that,” said Tom, “so we took it steady to the finish.” Duncan Ferguson and Alex Murphy were an unflustered and satisfied 2nd the Ford Escort BDG with Ian and Dawn Milne 3rd in the Escort: “We went off backwards in Stage 4,” said Ian, “It was my own fault. I was distracted by other cars already off at the same place!” Ernie Lee and Patricia Milligan didn’t make it to the finish when the BMW lost a wheel when the studs sheared on the very first stage!

Although they won the class quite convincingly, Carl and Rob Tuer in their Suzuki Swift MAXI 2000, Carl was kicking himself at the finish: “I spun on Stage 3,” he said, “I was trying too hard, then I was too cautious through Stage 4. Then in Stage 5 I was told I was coming to Left 9 – and I turned into a Right 9. That’s twice I was in reverse on the day!” Linzi Henderson and Tom Hynd had an equally fraught but successful day in the Ford Fiesta R2T 6: “When we came out of Stage 5, I couldn’t get 4th or reverse gear,” said Linzi, “so Tom had to get out and push us backwards at the stage finish. Fortunately it cleared on the road section and it was fine after that apart from catching folks’ dust.” Having a quiet wee smile to himself as he crossed the finish was Johnnie Mackay: “I didn’t roll on the last stage this time,” he quipped, taking 3rd in class with Andrew Logan in the rebuilt Fiesta ST. There was a problem with brakes in the morning and gear selection in the afternoon but the boys were well pleased with their finish. First time out for 31 years, Paul McIntosh was 4th in class with Clare MacKenzie in the Focus ST – (more detail in Rally Roundup!) Not so lucky were Kevin Gray and Callum Shanks retiring the Suzuki Swift with a broken gearbox and Michael Renton/Gavin Kelt were forced out when the Peugeot’s gear linkage connection to the gearbox snapped clean off. The Honda Civic of Scott McQueen and Andrew MacKinnon was forced out with some form of electrical failure when the car lapsed into ‘limp mode’ in the first forest stage of the day.

Speyside Rally – [Main Report]
Speyside Rally – [Stage Times]
Speyside Classes [7 – 11]
Speyside Rally – [Blethers]