01 Jun: Scottish Rally Main Report

… RSAC Scottish Rally, Saturday 18 May 20129 …
Rnd 4 (of 7) – KNC Groundworks Motorsport UK Scottish Rally Championship

David Bogie and John Rowan scored a ‘home run’ on the RSAC Scottish Rally bringing an end to Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton’s remarkable run of six victories from six events so far this season. It also marked a return to form for Bogie whose progress has been blighted with bouts of ill luck over recent events. This weekend there were no such blips from an on-form man and machine.

Neither was there any rancour from second placed, but still smiling, Euan Thorburn whose imperial progress had been halted by his rival. Of more concern to them both was the pace shown by Garry Pearson and Dale Bowen. One fastest, one 2nd and four 3rd fastest stage times put Pearson’s performance firmly in perspective. The race for the 2019 KNC Groundworks Scottish Championship title is now on with a vengeance.

The previous day’s swirling stoor at the pre-rally test had been somewhat dampened by overnight rain, even so, Bogie set the pace, 3 seconds quicker over the first of the day’s 6 Stages at Twiglees. Perhaps more of a surprise was the fact that Pearson in his Ford Fiesta R5 tied with Thorburn in his Ford Focus WRC on the second quickest time. A full 15 seconds behind the 3Fs (Fabia, Focus and Fiesta) was the Subaru Impreza of Jock Armstrong and Cammy Fair struggling to keep up with the more modern machinery. Even so they were ahead of the Fiesta R5 of Freddie Milne and Patrick Walsh with Scott MacBeth and Daniel Forsyth in the first of the Lancers, 6 the quickest through the day’s opener.

It was Bogie again in the second test at Castle O’er which was used in reverse direction to ‘normal’. His Skoda Fabia R5 again 3 seconds quicker than the Focus with Pearson a further 3 seconds behind. Armstrong was 4th fastest again but this time ahead of Milne and Bruce McCombie/Michael Coutts in the Focus WRC.

Two tests in Ae Forest were next with Pearson scoring his first fastest stage time of the day on the Windy Hill test. He stopped the clocks just one second quicker than Thorburn and a satisfying 3 seconds clear of Bogie. Armstrong was next on the Time Sheets ahead of McCombie and Donne MacDonald/Andrew Falconer in the Fiesta R5. As for Milne, he was the first of the top seeds to appear on the Retirement list: “I ran wide at a Hairpin,” said Freddie, “and just got sucked into a ditch. No damage, but stuck.” It wasn’t Thomas Gray’s day either. Sharing the Lancer with Harry Marchbank, Thomas was having gear selection problems earlier in the day: “It started with not getting 2nd and 6th,” said Thomas, “then I couldn’t get anything at all, It seems to be a gear selector problem.” That meant he was out of at after 4 stages.

But it was in the next Ae stage that Thorburn dropped his clanger: “It was my own fault,” he recalled, still smiling, “I overshot a downhill hairpin then stalled it, backed up, and then stalled it again!” He dropped 7 seconds to Bogie with Pearson the sandwich filler between them. Holding 10th place before this stage, Chris Collie and Gary MacDonald punctured a tyre in the Lancer with the flailing rubber taking out a brake line. Afraid of causing more expensive damage to the hired Lancer, Chris pulled over and called it day.

More importantly, Thorburn was now in 3rd place, 3 seconds behind Pearson and 11 seconds off the lead, with two stages to go. All was not yet lost.

As if to emphasise that, he was fastest through the second run at the 8.5 mile Twiglees 2 test by 5 seconds from Bogie with Pearson a further 7 seconds adrift. Fourth fastest was – McCombie! The orange and black Subaru had punctured a tyre and Jock dropped over half a minute to the leaders. John Wink with brand ‘new’ co-driver Neil Shanks was 5th fastest as the new pairing set about building up a working relationship, improving as the day wore on. MacDonald completed the top six fastest through that stage just ahead of Armstrong. Thorburn was now back up to second and only 6 seconds behind the leader.

There was yet much to play for in the final 5.7 mile run at Castle O’er 2, or maybe not. “As I was waiting to start the stage, the sequential gearshift failed,” said Thorburn, “then the brake pedal sank to the floor. Not what you want when you’re just getting ready to start a stage.” As the Skoda disappeared over the horizon in a flurry of stones and stoor, the Focus eased up to the start.

At the end of it, Bogie and Thorburn had tied with Thorburn adding: “I couldn’t have gone any harder through there.” Pearson was five seconds off the pace and had to content himself with 3rd place: “I struggled towards the end,” said Pearson, “I thought I drove well on the first four, but the David and Euan seemed to find an extra gear for the last two stages. That’s something I’ll need to work on.”

Jock Armstrong and Cammy Fair were 4th in the Subaru Impreza, and although a match for the newer cars on the straights lost out on the more technical sections. Bruce McCombie and Michael Coutts finished 5th in the Focus WRC which had a new clutch fitted after the Speyside: “One puncture, one broken wheel and three stalls,” summed up Bruce, “but something’s not quite right with the clutch – I don’t think it’s all down to me!”

Rounding off the top half dozen was John Wink and Neil Shanks in the Hyundai i20 R5: “I got stuck behind one car limping out with a problem,” said Wink, “but I’m still pleased with 6th.”

Donnie MacDonald was 7th in the Fiesta: “I was just too slow in the morning, then I had two punctures in the last stage,” he said, with the top placed Mitsubishi Lancer of Scott MacBeth in 8th place after his first trouble free run of the season. Michael Binnie salvaged 9th in his Mitsubishi after contesting both Ae stages with braking on only three wheels and burst the exhaust manifold in the final stage. Keith Morris rounded off the top ten in his Evo6.

At the finish, Bogie was keen to play down the significance of his record equalling 6th victory on the RSAC Scottish Rally: ” Of course, it’s nice to match Roger Clark’s record,” said Bogie, “but the modern event bears no comparison to the challenge that the original week long International posed. I’m just pleased to have won what I regard as my home event.”

Final Results
1 David Bogie/John Rowan (Skoda Fabia R5) 40m 14s
2 Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton (Ford Focus WRC) +0:06
3 Gary Pearson/Dale Bowen (Ford Fiesta R5) +0:20
4 Jock Armstrong/Cameron Fair (Subaru Impreza) +1:38
5 Bruce McCombie/Michael Coutts (Ford Focus WRC) +2:40
6 John Wink/Neil Shanks (Hyundai i20 R5) +2:52
7 Donnie MacDonald/Andrew Falconer (Ford Fiesta R5) +2:55
8 Scott MacBeth/Daniel Forsyth (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9) +3:01
9 Michael Binnie/Claire Mole (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9) +5:00
10 Keith Morris/Terry Mallin (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo6) +5:10

11 Ian Baumgart/Sinclair Young (Subaru Impreza); 12 Roger Chilman/Paul Morris (Ford Escort RS); 13 Iain Wilson/Chris Williams Ford Escort Mk2); 14 Alan Dickson/Martin Forrest, (Lancer Evo9); 15 Kevin Crawford/Andrew Stevenson (Lancer Evo9); 16 Duncan MacDonald/Neil Ross (Escort Mk2); 17 Keith Robathan/Steven Brown (BMW M3); 18 Paul McErlean/Niall McKenna (Escort Mk2); 19 Gordon Murray/David O’Brien (Escort Mk2); 20 Mark McCulloch/Michael Hendry (BMW E30)

1 Scott Peacock/Robin Neil (MG ZR)
2 James Campbell/Kenny Foggo (Talbot Sunbeam)
3 Barry Lindsay/Caroline Lodge (Peugeot 206 Cup Car)
4 Fraser MacNicol/Ricky Finlayson (Ford Escort Mk2)
5 Roger Chilman/Paul Morris (Ford Escort RS)
6 Carl Tuer/Rob Tuer (Suzuki Swift Maxi 2000)
7 MacDonald/Ross
8 Wilson/Williams
9 Binnie/Mole
10 Armstrong/Fairbairn
11 Bogie/Rowan
L/R Barry Connolly/Matt Gudgeon (Land Rover Wolf)

RSAC Rally – [Fastest Stage Times]
Scottish Classes [1 – 6]
Scottish Classes [7 – 11]