06 Dec: Kingdom Capers

Kingdom capers at Crail, 02 Nov.

Alan Wallace has been watching too many old ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ videos if his performance at the Kingdom Stages was any indication. OK, so it might not have been deliberate but it was spectacular. Running early on the road, there was a huge puddle approaching the chicane in front of the old control tower. Quite a few folk had a scary moment there, braking hard for the chicane only to aquaplane, but Alan got 10 out of 10 for style and content. The Mitsubishi locked up, slid headlong into the tyres barriers where the sumpguard hit a lorry tyre dead centre. The impact launched the Lancer skywards, clearing the tyre barrier and looking for all the world like a WW2 bomber taking off before heading out to the North Sea. Then he did it again on the second lap. Some folk never learn, eh?

Mind you, he couldn’t have done it a third time ‘cos Peter Oag simply took out the chicane with his Citroen! That wasn’t what caused Peter’s retirement though, a driveshaft broke later on, but that was because it was an extended/welded unit.

There was a familiar face inside Stephen Hay’s Corsa, but it wasn’t Stephen, unless he had aged quickly! It was faither Colin Hay in the driving seat having his first run out in the car for over two years (and that was when it was a 1400!) and prior to that, he was last out in his own Escort Mk2 in 2010. 15th o/a and 3rd in class wasn’t too bad for the ol’-timer considering he did the early stages on “gubbed wets”. He had a couple of wee offs but he blamed Stephen for one of them. He was informed that a certain corner was flat in 3rd – but only if he did a pirouette after it. He duly obliged.

Finishing 34th o/a was Ross McFadzean in the Subaru, but he lost out big time in the first stage, getting a maximum when he came in a lap too early! Martin Murray didn’t fare much better getting a Maximum on the 2nd stage when they Escort beached itself on top of a lorry tyre marker. It was almost squarely stuck underneath to the extent that none of the 4 wheels got any purchase at all, so they were stuck till rescued.

Graeme Rintoul was last man home in the Fiesta after getting a  couple of Maximums on the first two stages when  the alternator failed, only it wasn’t the alternator, the battery had shorted out. Dohhh! Once fixed he was back on song setting some decent times, but too late!

Claire Kilmurray was an early retirement when the clutch failed on the first stage. It was slipping at first, but when the Suzuki lost drive there was no engine braking and it skelped a tyre barrier.

James Strachan’s retirement was caused by clutch release bearing failure in the Peugeot 106 while Martin Farquhar’s similar car was forced out with exactly the same problem – and on the same corner! Robert Sloan’s rally didn’t last too long either, the Peugeot 205 blowing clouds of blue smoke o the over-run throughout the first stage, so he withdrew with a ‘cooked’ engine.

Apparently it was Lindsay Taylor’s birthday at Crail and the poor lad was heartbroken. Nothing to do with age, but he had to spend his birthday money on new tyres for the Fiesta, so bang went his birthday bash carry-out at McDonald’s on the way home!

Wizard wheeze! When the alternator tensioner snapped on Ewan Stanhope’s Corsa Maxi on SS3 he managed to get the car back to service where the lads came up with a wonderful but very effective solution. They took the metal bar off and replaced it with an appropriate length ring/open ended spanner and bolted it to the top of the alternator and to the engine block. Marvellous, simply marvellous. This was Ewan’s first run out in the Corsa after his Clio and found it quite a handful in the wet.

Quite a few folk were giving Ross MacDonald a wide berth at Crail. On the second stage, the Citroen slid off and got stuck – in a midden! Bad enough, but it got worse. Once extricated, and once the hot engine started to heat up the packed muck in the engine bay, a whole forest of wee dangly rear vision mirror pine trees wouldn’t have done anything for the pong. Full marks to the service crew for perseverance under extreme smelly duress.

When Leonard Jones stopped the Chevette on SS2, there was no way he was going to be able to drive back to service – with a con-rod through the block!

Michael McDiarmid finished 24th in the Escort despite doing the last stage one-handed – the other one was holding the door closed, after the catch failed. It was his first finish with the car. Last time out, son James was doing the Beatson’s Mull but retired with clutch failure.

Speaking of Mull, Campbell McColm’s Peugeot 106) was looking rather better at Crail than it did after its island outing when his Dad Donald (who was driving!) smacked a wall on the first stage. When they got back to the mainland they sourced a complete car and drove south almost all the way down the A1/M1/A1to collect it – to Biggleswade. It was nearly the same colour so they just swapped over the front wings and panels. Job done, and with Campbell driving this time, they finished 34th o/a.