12 Dec: JCR – The Blethers

On a lighter note …

Winner in 2011, David Bogie was the only previous JCR winner who contested this year’s event.

At 2pm on Friday, Donnie MacDonald landed at Edinburgh Airport – and the rally in Duns started at 3pm. “I had been in Rome for the Celtic/Lazio game,” he explained, “but my return flight was delayed and then it sat on the tarmac for a further hour and a half. I didn’t get a wink of sleep last night.” He dropped way down the leaderboard when the Mitsubishi’s clutch slave cylinder failed and finished 46th.

Leading Historic runner and Class 5 winner Steve Bannister set off from service before the rally to the Holding Area, then through the Rally Start formalities, and he was on his way to the first stage when he realised he had left something behind in the van. A quick call to the service crew arranged a rendezvous where they handed over – his spectacles.

Joining the ‘lucky white heather’ club  was Lewis Gallagher. He smacked the rear n/s corner with the Mitsubishi at the Flying Finish in Langton when it stepped out of line under breaking. Damage wasn’t too bad but as he walked back to pick up the undamaged boot lid, the next car on the road ran over it!

Ross Auld must be a nice chap. He retired the Escort after a big tank slapper left the car stranded in a  field but when Gavin Lloyd pulled up close by with a dead Nova, Ross helped him fix the broken throttle to keep him in the rally.

Billy Cowe had a last minute stand-in co-driver when Peter Carstairs was called to action. Seems that original co-driver Craig Wallace had to call off after breaking his leg in two places at work. A bit of stookie shouldn’t have stopped him, should it? They finished 47th.

Iain Hunter (Ross’ faither) was a busy man the night before the rally. He was out drving the company’s own gritter making three passes of Langton ahead of the rally to try and ensure it would run on the Saturday after temperatures dropped overnight.

For those running late on the Friday morning and heading south from Edinburgh on the A68, the Polis camera van at Soutra earned itself a healthy pre-Christmas bonus catching out quite a few of the unwary, including so it is said, a certain Scroot who should have known better.

Bearing in mind that the Jim Clark Rally took place in early November, the last thing on folks’ minds was snow. Perhaps not in the Borders but when Sandy Arbuthnott and the boys left Elgin at 4am on the Friday morning, they encountered snow on the Dava road to Grantown. Twice they had to stop and scatter grit (from the roadside) bins on to the steeper hilly sections and eventually got stuck with the van sliding awfy close to the road edge and a steep drop. Scary stuff. That meant getting the rally car off the trailer and driving it to Aviemore where it was put back on the trailer for the A9 trip south.

And finally …

A bleary eyed Robbie Pearson appeared at signing-on for the JCR. He was complaining of no sleep since Monday, that’s because he became a Dad. Iona gave birth to Skye a week early so that Robbie could keep his date with the rally, although had Iona kept to her date of Tuesday after the rally, Robbie would have missed the rally. Now, hankies at the ready. The emotional big lad added: “I was glad I was at the birth – I wouldn’t have missed it for the world!” Anyway, Robbie’s rally turned out to be quite eventful which included smacking the front end of the Peugeot, not once but twice, in two separate incidents. Put that down to sleepless nights, eh? And he still finished 23rd overall with Alasdair McIlroy poking him with a pencil to keep him  awake!

Oh, and another thing, Jane Nicol’s Mum was on marshalling duty at the end of North Street to stop non-rally traffic trying to access the Square. Very effective. Not even a storm trooper could have got passed her. He wouldn’t have dared!

Jim Clark Rally – [Main Report]

Jim Clark Rally – [Fastest Stage Times]

Jim Clark Rally - [Class Roundup]