29 Nov: RAC Rally Roundup

Jaggy’s visit to the Roger Albert Clark Rally

My big pal was released from domestic care last weekend into the tender mercy of a very experienced ‘Care in the Community’ volunteer – as Chief Bear of Coltness CC is sometimes known, indeed a role to which he is well accustomed. Anyway the twosome set off to Lockerbie on Saturday just for an off-duty nosey. There follows a wee report of their adventures and their attempts to converse with all and sundry regardless of nationality or political persuasion and such information as was gleaned from ‘oor ain’ participants is regaled below, and not necessarily in any order. Apologies to anyone they missed, but they did try to get round everyone – it was an awfy busy place.

The first thing that caught their attention was the snow. Only it wasn’t snow. This misconception was due entirely to a preponderance of white and grey haired folk wandering and limping around whilst the lack of sunlight reflecting off bald domes did little to alter the initial impression. Of course there were a few youngsters wandering about, but even the description ‘youngsters’ is a relative term. The vast majority of folks were older than the cars and that includes Mk1 Cortinas and Saab 96s. Was that just because this was more of a ‘historic’ event, or is it just another symptom of our rallying times?

Anyway, although Wayne (adopted Scot) Sisson and Neil Shanks finished 4th overall, the wandering minstrels managed to miss them all day such was the confusion in the large service area so we don’t know how they got on. Still, 4th overall in the Mitsubishi Galant was pretty good and the only non-Ford in the top ten!

Jim Robertson and Paul Gribben were dead chuffed with a top 30 finish in such exalted company, but they were lucky too. The first stage on Thursday night was cancelled because of the fog and the second stage was cancelled because an earlier car had caught fire. But as the duo drove the Mk2 through the test at non-rally speed, Jim thought he could hear a ‘tick’ from the engine. On investigation at the roadside they found that the cam follower on exhaust number 3 had worn through. Luckily Jim had a camshaft kit in Chris McKnight’s van and fortunately they had no more stages to do that night so the lads had time to strip the head off it, fix the camshaft in the back of the van and they were in bed by half 12 ready to go again on Friday morning. Jim also had a bit of a misfire which was cured and the steering needed adjusted a couple of times but 29th overall was pretty good.

Speaking of McKnight, t’other one, Greg, has bought himself a Mk2 shell and is planning on a few outings next year but on tarmac first, not in the forest. He’s got a 6 speed Tractive gearbox and Mark McCulloch’s 2 litre and work is well underway.

And speaking of new cars, it seems Lee Hastings has bought another Subaru, an N14.

Walter Henderson didn’t start the rally when a fault developed in the engine on the Tuesday. The returning Charlie Campbell didn’t get far either, the Davrian breaking its gearbox in the first stage although he managed to get out of the forest, but got no further. Alan Clark was another early departer. He had fitted a self built ‘unbreakable’ axle in the Avenger. It didn’t break, but it did seize solid. Alan suspects that the splines weren’t quite a good match and they got jammed so hard at the diff end that no amount of coaxing could get them out.

Drew Struthers had his first run out in his ‘new’ Avenger and broke a wheel on Saturday morning. After first service Drew was on his way to the stages when he phoned back to say there was something up with the steering or front suspension. Seems the bolt had come loose at the bottom of the strut holding the track rod end so that had to be replaced with Big Barrie doing his flying leatherneck impression, hastening down the road to the stricken Avenger. He finished 52nd and was well pleasded with that.

Donald Brooker had a new car and a new co-driver. With daughter Rachael confined to home with her first baby, Tony Booth was pressganged into sitting in the Subaru Legacy. The car was shipped from Japan a year ago and Donald has spent the last year converting the road car into a rally machine – and didn’t it sound terrific. 43rd overall was superb first time out and nothing fell off.

Magic McCombie was his usual cheery self at service on Saturday morning: “I was off in Kielder last night and then got three punctures in the first stage this morning. I ended up with a mismatched Yokohama and a Pirelli on the front. The different profiles screwed up the diff and it was pulling and tugging. I was nearly off again.” It was a broken axle that finally put him out just 3 stages from home!

Kevin Jeffray had bought Iain Mutch’s Vauxhall Astra to do the RAC on the basis that it was “ready to rally” with new brake pads all round. And with those words ringing in his ears he set off southwards. Apparently the rear disc pads were gubbed by the end of the first day! The search was on thereafter to keep replacing them as they were wearing out as fast as they could fit new ones, but 11th o/a in the ‘Open’ class was excellent. Gavin Chisholm finished 23rd o/a in the ‘Open’ in his ‘spare’ Saab 99 which was a hasty replacement for the 96 which developed an engine problem prior to the rally.

Also in attendance at the service area was one Jim McRae Esq and he was spotted chatting to David Greer who was driving an Opel Manta 400 in Russell Brookes’ Andrews Heat for Hire livery.

Another visitor was Cameron Binnie, with son Michael in tow, but there was a worrying gleam in Cameron’s eyes after he spotted a sign in the back window of a Swedish team’s Volvo 240. The sign said: “Rent me for 2020”. Surely not?

By close of play and as the cloak of darkness wrapped itself around the Lockerbie Lorry Park it was time to go home, but Jaggy’s carer was nowhere to be seen. Naturally, he was indeed easily found – in the bar with Donald Peacock and a couple of christmas tree truckers accompanied by an array of empty froth-streaked tumblers! Time to go home, and so they went.

And finally …

Congratulations to Trish Milligan and Ernie Lee, they are now Mr & Mrs Lee. The sneaky rascals disappeared off to Gibralter last month to do the deed and didn’t tell anyone – till they got back. Jaggy managed to see some of the wedding foties. Trish looked awfy braw and really quite elegant, but the same couldn’t be said for t’other half. Of course he had polished up well and managed to comb his hair, stood there in the sun resplendent in jacket and kilt with what looked like a dead fox wrapped around his waist. At first Jaggy wasn’t sure it was him. He didn’t have a fag dangling out of his mouth in any of the foties!

 Roger Albert Clark Rally
 1, Martin McCormack/Barney Mitchell (Ford Escort Mk2)  5h 03m 12s
 2, Jason Tauber Pritchard/Phil Clarke (Ford Escort RS1800) +0:00:52 
 3, Roger Chilman/Patrick Walsh (Ford Escort Mk2) +0:11:11 
 4, Wayne Sisson/Neil Shanks (Mitsubishi Galant VR4) +0:15:18 
 5, Stuart Egglestone/Brian Hodgson (Ford Escort Mk2) +0:15:19 
 6, Barry McKenna/Arthur Kierans (Ford Escort) +0:28:58 
 7, Henri Grehan/Jack Bowen (Ford Escort) +0:34:47 
 8, Geoff Bell/Tim Challen (Ford Escort Mk2) +0:37:20 
 9, Rudi Lancaster/Dave Price (Ford Escort RS1800) +0:38:27 
 10, David Bennett/Alistair McNeil (Ford Escort) +0:40:04 
 29, Jim Robertson/Paul Gribben (Ford Escort Mk2) +1:06:02 
 43, Donald Brooker/Tony Booth (Subaru Legacy Turbo) +1:34:49 
 47, Grant Inglis/Robert Gray (Ford Escort Mk2) +1:40:42 
 50, Ernie Lee/Steven Brown (BMW E30 325i) +1:48:36 
 52, Drew Struthers/Fiona Moir (Hillman Avenger GT) +1:53:43 
 Open Rally
 1, Baz Jordan/Arwel Jenkins (Hillman Avenger) 5m 51m 11s
 2, James Nicholls/David Allman (Peugeot 205 GTI) +0:02:36 
 3, Nick Cook/Dave Raw (Ford Escort Mk1) +0:03:05 
 4, Ian Newton/Ian Jones (Ford Escort Mk2) +0:11:09 
 5, David Hutchinson/Jeff Garnett (Toyota GT86) +0:13:21 
 6, Richard Spink/Nigel Hutchinson (Ford Escort) +0:15:18 
 11, Kevin Jeffray/Iain Macleod (Vauxhall Astra GSi) +0:44:20 
 23, Gavin Chisholm/Shannon Turnbull (Saab 99) +2:26:41
 Magic McCombie/Jonathan Haynes (SAAB 900) SS29, Broken axle
 Allan Clark/Iain Thorburn (Hillman Avenger) SS7, Seized axle
 Charles Campbell/Kenny Owen (Davrian Mk8) SS2, Gearbox broke