06 Jun: Scottish Rally Blethers

… Royally Scottish Blethers …

The cause of David Bogie’s abrupt retirement on the Speyside was a broken circlip. The offending part was inside the steering rack and when it broke, it jammed the rack causing David to spin and block the stage momentarily. Oddly enough, Bob Adamson’s Skoda suffered a similar failure and he didn’t start the Scottish.

Scott MacBeth was another to suffer ill fortune on the Speysde when the Lancer dumped its oil at the end of the stage. Fearting the worst, the boys had a look when they got home and found it was simply a burst oil filter and not the engine or gearbox! “An easy fix” said Scott.

Johnnie Mackay failed to finish in the Fiesta ST when the gearbox broke in SS2, but he wasn’t down-hearted: “It happened just after the Hairpin where the Beck/SRC camera crew were filming – and I got it perfectly!” Just another small victory for the ‘selfie generation’ eh?

At the Scottish Rally, Gina Walker was back in a rally car for the first time since the 2017 McRae Stages. It was the same Citroen C2 she had used before but since she reckoned she was rusty she took it for a birl before the rally – and took her Mum along for the ride. Louise whispered in my ear: “She scared me!”

Keith Robathan’s BMW had some extra artwork for the RSAC Scottish. Turns out Keith used to live and work in Wales and a local chap called Hefin Lewis was very helpful in the young Keith’s early rallying career. In fact Hefin was well known in stage rally circles helping out and servicing for many folk, but years of fags and spray painting with no mask didn’t do him any good. He passed away just before the rally aged 55 years. The funeral was scheduled for the Saturday of the rally and Keith was going to pull out and head south to attend, but the family said “No”, that Hefin would want him to do the rally, so he did. RIP Hefin.

It wasn’t John McIlwraith’s driving skills that caused his off (see Class roundup) in Twiglees, he caught the ruts, got out of shape and snapped a strut clean in half.

Paddy Munro was a non-starter at Moffat. The engine had been rebuilt after Speyside but while the car was on the rolling road in Perth on the Friday afternoon before the rally – and it picked up a big end! Seeck? You betcha.

Pssst! Don’t tell anyone, it’s a secret, but Jamie McIntyre had his right wrist and forearm in a cast at the rally, but kept his jacket sleeve pulled over it so folk wouldn’t see – especially the H&S brigade. Apparently the need for such a cast was the result of an outing (or an offing!) on his enduro bike!

Ian Milne was reminiscing after the rally and was thinking back to his early days: “Y’know what, I miss the old Mini. Earlier today I was actually thinking it would have been good here – then we got to the rough bit!”

Speaking of auld gits, Alistair Brearley pulled up at the end of the Twiglees test to get his time and a certain spectating James S McRae Esq said: “Are you not too old for this?” To which Al replied: “That’s rich coming from you!”

Although he ‘retired’ officially at the end of the Galloway Hills Rally last year, Alan McMorran was tempted to return for this year’s RSAC Scottish Rally. “We’re the comeback kids,” he said. He actually contested his first stage rally in a Hillman Imp 45 years ago, but his best result was 20 years ago on the 1999 Scottish Rally when he finished the two day International event in 21st place overall in his Peugeot 205. “I said that was me finished last year at the end of the Galloway Hills,” said Alan, “but the idea of running at the front of the field in the reverse grid 2WD entry on this year’s Scottish made me think this is the only time I’ll get to run on good roads in this event.” He finished 59th overall and 3rd in class this time in his Historic spec Chrysler Avenger and promptly announced his retirement – again.

At the finish of the RSAC Scottish Rally Jock Armstrong was already thinking ahead to his next event – the following day. He and his former Rally Champion and professional racing driver sister Barbara were double entered in a 1400cc VW Polo on Solway Car Club’s latest round of their very popular Grass Autotest Championship. Barbara finished 6th and Jock was 8th, although he claims he was on course to fare better had he not run out of fuel on the final run of the day!

And now a dramatic tale of ingenuity and invention in the face of adversity and high personal pressure. It was previously reported that Nikki Addision and Rachel Matheson didn’t finish the Speyside Stages for reasons unknown. In fact they did finish, or maybe they didn’t! Although they had a problem with the Peugeot on SS7 they got it going and got out. Running late on the road they arrived back in Elgin only for the car to conk out again almost within sight of the Finish line. If it hadn’t been for a corner in the road they would have seen the Finish and the Marshals there would have seen them, so blame the Roads Dept in Elgin. As a result the girls were not classified. And the trouble? The car broke its gear linkage but the intrepid pilot fixed it. Nikki actually used the top swivel mount off the scissor jack to repair the linkage. See what I mean? Ingenious. And I’ll bet it would have flummoxed a few professionals and anyone else that can’t see beyond tie-wraps and gaffer tape.

Ian Wilson tells a nice tale from the Speyside. When the clutch failed on the Mk2, Iain got it out of the stage before it packed up completely. Whilst parked at the roadside, a van pulled up and the two guys asked if they could help. Turns out, the young lad had passed the Escort moments earlier, spotted they had a problem, drove on home nearby to pick up his mechanic Dad and then returned to see if they could help. Sadly not as both the slave cylinder and thrust bearing had failed. But wasn’t that nice from two complete strangers?

Speaking of Iain Wilson, when he collected Chris Williams from the station in Dumfries ahead of the RSAC Scottish Rally, Chris threw his crutches into the back of the car. This followed ligament damage some two weeks ago whilst playing football. which necessitated the use of such aids. Of course, Iain feigned not to notice, but first chance he got, he lengthened one of the sticks by 4 notches. On Saturday morning ahead of the rally start, Chris generated much mirth amongst the ‘sympathetic’ crew hirpling about lop-sided for some time before he realised that something was up, and re-adjusted his sticks. In such a serious sporting endeavour as a forest rally, isn’t it nice to know that one’s team mates always look out for each other and have their best interests at heart? Two morals here – Pick your ‘friends’ carefully and note that football is more dangerous than rallying!

And finally …

As reported in the Class Roundup, Scott Peacock was unwell in the week running up to the rally and was still a bit poorly on the day. In fact he was suffering a severial dose of the trots as well so he wasn’t eating or drinking much because it just prompted another run ben the hoose, or behind a bush. As ever, his very kind and considerate friends were concerned for his welfare to the extent that Keith and Cammy had a 5 quid bet on that he would sh*t himself in the car before the day was out! Faced with such a pecuniary enticement, Scott managed to contain himself. That wasn’t a smile of satisfaction at the finish of his class winning run – it was more of a grimace!