… Dunoon Presents Argyll Rally …
Class 7, RWD, 1651cc to 2050cc, 16v
Mk2 Escorts filled the top three class places led by Stephen Thomson with Larry Higton found the power steering a bit too sensitive for the Argyll bumps and jumps but quickly adjusted to the terrain and were rewarded with class victory over Mark McCulloch and Michael Hendry re-learning the car which they last used on the Jim Clark. Michael Harbour and Ian MacDougall had to cope with a gear selections problems on their way to 3rd place with the Mk1 Escort of Curly Haigh and Sally Peacock 4th thinking they were on a fuel economy run! According to Curly, the faster you go the smoother the jumps are and the further you fly, and the further you fly the less fuel you use. I suppose there is some logic in that but would still appreciate a scientific explanation. Brian Watson retired with gear selector problems in the Escort and Steven Wood had an ‘off’ with the RWD Fiesta.
Class 8, 2WD, Over 2050cc
First time on a Scottish event, Damien Toner and Denver Rafferty clinched the class win with his top ten overall finish despite a hiccup on the first stage of the rally. A broken wire stopped the alternator charging but with just two short stages before service the battery could cope and little time was lost. Ross Brusby and Sam Colls were 2nd, but they had a plan: “The plan was – to keep it on the road,” said Ross, “there were some really sketchy tyre marks about.” The fast improving Kyle Adam and Steven Brown were 3rd: “The big surprise is that single venue events shred tyres whereas this event doesn’t,” said Kyle, “but the big challenge is picking a balance, too fast in some places and too slow in others.” After a successful re-familiarisation and shakedown at Dundrennan recently with the Escort Keith Robathan and Phil Sandham were 4th ahead of Iain Wilson and Chris Williams who said at the finish: “At least I finished a bit closer to where I wanted to be when I started!” Class leader David Bogie went out on the Glendaruel test giving the Escort fair old dunt and Greg McKnight was in contention till his Escort plunged off the road on the Loch Fyne test.
Class 9, 4WD (Non Class 10 or 11)
Niall Devine and Joe McNulty won the class in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9 despite a front puncture on one stage and finished ahead the of the Subaru Impreza of Ian Baumgart/Dave Robson with the ever voluble Ian commenting: “That was quite guid, just no used tae it!” Just one second behind them was the Impreza of Michael Renton/John Shepheard whose comment was even less voluble than Ian’s: “Loved it,” said Michael. Graeme Sherry and Ewan Lees were 4th, Paul Collins/Robert Wood 5th and Mike and Michael Moates 6th all in Subarus.
Class 10, FIA 4WD
Richard Hill/ Steffan Evans’s top ten result was good enough to clinch class 10, but they were lucky. On Stage 7 they got a puncture one mile in: “I drove 4 miles trying to keep the tyre on the rim,” said Richard, “then I had another tyre go soft on the next stage!” Only 5 seconds behind at the finish was the smart looking Lancer Evo10 of Wayne Sisson and Tom Woodburn. Ian Forgan and Chris Lees were 3rd in their Subaru Impreza with Ian saying: “I’m just having fun but I’m struggling with the turbo boost. It’s an electrical problem.” Lee and Cole Hastings were 4th in the Subaru ahead of the Mitsubishi Evo9 of Willie Paterson and Paul Gribben while Mark Holmes and Mark Perryman were 6th in their Ford Fiesta S2000. Donnie MacDonald lost out with suspect head gasket problems in his Lancer while Michael Binnie was well in contention till a rock shattered a wheel and he had to stop mid stage to change it. Ross Hunter had two driveshaft failures and Scott McCombie was out with clutch failure on the start line of SS4. Andy Horne retired his Metro after a rear puncture removed almost the complete o/s rear bodywork and the lights, Drew Gallagher retired with an engine problem in the Skoda and parked up just to be on the safe side, and as for Kevin Crawford, who knows what happened? But his service crew was spotted leaving the service park with the trailer!
Class 11, FIA WRC
Meirion Evans won the class from Harper, Milne, Wright, Armstrong and MacCrone. Just 10 seconds away from the top six was the Ford Fiesta R5 of Gareth Sayers and Gareth Gilchrist with Gareth saying: “The roads were too tight. I like sliding about, and I can’t get sliding about.” Aiden Wray and Kieran McGrath were 8th in another Fiesta R5 with Aiden explaining that this was his first time in the car and first time with LHD. Andy Scott and Laura Connell were 9th in a Fiesta S2000 Turbo with Andy commenting: “It’s very technical and there’s no room for error – there’s a lot of content in the Notes!” Rounding off the top ten were John Rintoul and Ross Hynd in the Fiesta R5. after changing th suspension overnight Friday. “It’s working better now,” said John, “going over crests now, it lands, on Friday night it skipped!” At the bottom end of the class were Stuart Irvine in the Hyundai Accent WRC who had to repair the gearbox on Friday night, John Morrison first time out in an R5 sayign “I was driving it like my Evo last night,” and added, “these stages are harder than Mull.” Bob Adamson got a maximum on one stage when all the spokes sheared around the rim, leaving a spoked hub and a neat-as-you-like spokeless alloy rim with inflated tyre attached. Melvyn Evans retired after he was docked a one minute penalty for ‘hitting’ a chicane, Garry Pearson retired with no oil pressure, John Wink, Gordon Morrison and Barry Groundwater all ended their rallies amidst the scenery and Hugh Brunton retired with a mechanical problem.