… McDonald & Munro Speyside Stages Rally, Sat 20 April …
Classes 7 – 11 Roundup …
CLASS 7 – REAR WHEEL DRIVE CARS UP TO 2050CC WITH 16 VALVES
Duncan MacDonald and Neil Ross took the class in their Escort Mk2 crossing the finish line with some relief: “There’s more dust in here than on my mantelpiece at home,” quipped Duncan, so we all know what he needs for Christmas – a big feather duster. Paul McErlean and Aaron Mawhinney had a ‘wee off’ in SS7 when they missed a Square Left, but limped out with a double puncture in their Escort. The Stornoway crew of Ali Macleod and Thomas Jefferson were 3rd in class in their Escort and reckoned: “It was well worth the trip to the Speyside. We had a few issues with the car and we were in a couple of ditches along the way.” Steven and Mary Wood didn’t finish when they took the Fiesta for a dead-end run through the heather, gorse and bushes – rather than on the gravel road while Graeme and Kyle Morrison retired their Escort with engine failure.
CLASS 8 – 2WD CARS OVER 2051CC WITH 16 VALVES
The Escorts were well gubbed in Class 8 when Keith Robathan and Steven Brown in their BMW M3 and the BMW E30 of Mark McCulloch and Michael Hendry finished 1st and 2nd. Apart from tightening up the prop shaft bolts, Keith had a clean run while keeping an eye on Mark’s progress who was using up old tyres and having a ball in the forests. Best Escort was 3rd placed Gordon Murray and David O’Brien looking a wee bit damp and bedraggled at the finish – they had left the window open when they went through the watersplash in the quarry! A “delighted” 4th were Jamie McIntyre and Damian Greenall ahead of Keir Beaton and Robert MacDonald who were 5th despite a constantly rising temperature guage. They also had 3 spins and 3 stalls in 3 stages requiring a push start from the Marshals each time. Rounding off the finishers were Jimmy and John Jack in the bright orange BMW having nursed a noisy wheel bearing around the latter stages. Expected front runners Iain Wilson and Chris Williams didn’t make it to the finish when the Escort clutch failed in SS5.
CLASS 9 – FOUR WHEEL DRIVE CARS NOT CLASSIFIED IN CLASS 10 OR 11
Michael Binnie and Claire Mole took the class win while adapting quickly to his ‘new’ Evo9, Thomas Gray with Harry Marchbank finished 2nd and lucky to escape a “big moment” in SS4 (see main report). Martin Scott and Daniel Forsyth Mitsubishi were 3rd in the Evo9 despite their troubles (see main report) with Ian Baumgart and Sinclair Young who admitted to “having a look at a couple of ditches” on their way to 4th in the Subaru Impreza. 5th placed Matthew Thomson and Ian Graham were fast running out of vice grips (see Rally Roundup) to blank off brake pipes in their Subaru while Max and Callum Redpath were 6th despite spinning the Subaru across the Finish line in Stage 9. Max added: “That’s the best event I’ve ever done.” Graham Morrison and Steven Edwards would have done better than 7th if the battery terminal had not come off the Subaru in SS3 and that cost them 10 minutes as they had to stop and fix it. Mike and Michael Moates were 8th, Neil and Ian Philip 9th and Paul Collins/Robert Wood who had the Subaru in “more ditches than we care to count”. Derek Duncan and Adrian Bruce lost out on a top ten finish with a 2 minute timing penalty but also had to contend with no intercom on the first two tests and a failed ECU at the start of the Balloch test which had to be changed at the stage start. A relieved Steve McGregor said at the finish: “I’ve tried to finish this event 3 times – blew turbo, rolled, and no brakes – but he got 12th with Malcolm Vie in their Evo3 while Niall Philips and Curtis Fraser scored a “delighted and thrilled” finish on their first rally in their self-built Escort 4×4. Simon Hay/Calum Jaffray rolled (see main report) and the Impreza of Alex Pirie and Frazer Skene was halted at the end of Ordiequish with a wee fire under the bonnet. Michael Grant and Graham Kelman didn’t finish either despite their pre-event troubles, when the Subaru’s steering broke. Andy Chalmers and Martin MacCabe were forced out with mechanical failure in the Subaru as were Bill Nicoll and Jim Howie in the Lancer. The Arbuthnott boys lost a cylinder in the Focus and Iain Urquhart and Michael MacKenzie retired their Evo5 with mechanical problems.
CLASS 10 – GROUP A 4WD, S2000 & R4 CARS
The finishing order here was Armstrong, Milne and Collie from Keith Morris and Terry Mallin who finished with a leaky gearbox in their Evo6. Alan Dickson and Martin Forrest had a troublefree run in the Evo9, ahead of the similar car of a “super happy” Kevin Crawford and Andrew Stevenson. Bob Adamson and Jane Nicol had to contend with a slipping clutch in the Skoda over the last 3 stages while an “over the moon” Stuart and Marc Irvine finished in one piece (after Marc had ‘a wee woopsie’ in it at Knockhill!) and Kevin and Lynn Stout had a “long and enjoyable run” in their L/R Freelander. Scott MacBeth was the only Class 10 non finisher.
CLASS 11 – WRC AND R5 CARS
The finishing order in the ‘big’ class was Thorburn, Wink and McCombie from Donnie MacDonald who was his usual cheery self: “Enjoyable day, good stages, well run and the car was great.”