23 Aug: Grampian Classes C3 – M8

… Grampian Forest Rally, 14 August, 2021 …

Class Roundup (C3 to M8) …

C3 – Clubman 2WD from 1651cc to 2050cc

Although Martin McCormack and  Barney Mitchell won this class in their Escort Mk2, the top SRC points scorers were Allan Smith and Paul Beaton in their Honda Civic but they are also contesting the BRC National series so scooped a good handful of points at the weekend. A big change from their first outing with the Honda on the Scottish Rally when they lost the fuel tank! Brian Ross and Daniel Christie were 3rd in their Escort Mk2 and Jordan Anderson and Clare Mackenzie 4th in their Peugeot 306. John Brownie/Ian Parker and Colin Patterson/Gary Clark were 5th and 6th in their respective Opel Kadett and Escort machines. First time out in a Honda Civic bought to replace his Mitsubishi as a cheaper way to get back out in the forests Ross MacDonald and Keir Beaton retired in SS5 while Martin Crombie and Ricky Finlayson were forced out with an oil leak in their Sunbeam.

C5 – Clubman 4WD drive cars

Michael Renton and John Shepheard were in good humour at the end of the rally after a day spent sliding about” and winning the class in their Subaru Impreza. Yet again the Impreza of Mike Grant and Graham Kelman reached a rally finish, not only that but with 2nd in class but they were less than impressed with class rivals Paul Collins and Robert Wood. “We came round a corner to find Paul’s car upside down in the middle of the road,” said Mike, “but they were ok. Did they stop to offer kind words and condolences? Nope, and the banter continued at Service when they inspected Paul’s Subaru. Iain Urquhart and Michael Mackenzie were 3rd in class in their Lancer with Neil and Ian Philip 4th in their Subaru. Last in class but preferring the term ‘5th in class’ was the Mazda 323 Turbo of Cameron Black and Grahame Douglas. It was Cameron’s first rally having built the car which was bought as a rolling shell two years ago. Regular front runners John and Meghan O’Kane retired their Subaru at the end of SS3 with John succinctly explaining: “Engine cooked”. They were sportingy towed out to the public road from the stage finish by those ‘Knightesses of the Road’ Nikki Addison and Rachel Matheson.

M1 – Modified 2WD up to 1450cc

After his scorching debut with the new Peugeot Rally4 on last month’s Scottish, much was expected of Peter Stewart with Harry Marchbank on the Grampian. “I was just not on it today,” said Peter, “In the first stage, Harry called a Right9 and I missed it. We were into the trees.” Little time was lost and as the only runner in the class they still won the award.

M2 – Modified 2WD up to 1450cc (sequential gearboxes prohibited)

Niall Cowan Jr and Callum Shanks had a bit of luck with the MG ZR. During checks at service they noticed the throttle cable was frayed and then faced a race against time to fit a replacement and get back out before incurring penalties. They managed it in the nick of time and won the class from the Honda Civic of Neil Redford and Duncan Daun with Neil spending most of the day holding the gearstick as it was jumping out of gear.

M3 – Modified 2WD up to 1450cc not Clified in Cl M2 (includes any FIA homologated R3 car (naturally aspirated or Turbo) and any forced induction car up to 1000cc

The Ford Fiesta R2T was looking quite pristine in Banchory after its bump on the Scottish with Ewan Tindall and Andrew Roughead winning the class, although they had a bit of better luck this time. The car blew a boost pipe off in the first stage and they did most of it in ‘road mode.’ Richard Stewart and Carin Tait-Logan were 2nd in the Peugeot 208 Rally4 with Ashleigh Morris and Martin Haggett 3rd in the Fiesta R200 having lost time in SS2 with a puncture.

M4 – Modified 2WD over 1651cc with 8 valves or less

Despite being the only runner in the class, Paddy Munro and Dave O’Brien still managed to win it in their Ford Escort Mk2.

M5 – Modified FWD from 1651cc to 2050cc with more than 8 valves (includes any FIA homologated R3 car (naturally aspirated or turbo) and any forced induction car up to 1000cc

With no other runners in their class, Johnnie Mackay and Emily Easton-Page got the award with their Ford Fiesta ST but they still managed to finish only 4 seconds behind Martin Craik’s Subaru and ahead of Andy Kelly’s Mk1 Escort and Niall Cowan’s MG ZR so much chuffness was well deserved.

M6 – Modified RWD from 1651cc to 2050cc with more than 8 valves

Given the exalted mechanical company around them, Mark McCulloch and Michael Hendry’s top 30 finish was an excellent result in their Ford Escort Mk2. They finished nearly a minute clear of Irish duo, Jason Black and Karl Egan in the Toyota Starlet. Now back to ‘normal’ after it’s ‘off’ in Argyll the Steven and Mary Wood RWD Fiesta finished 3rd in class but Steven admitted to a little outside help. At a recent test day, Matt Edwards had given him a few driving and setup tips, with thr4e setup tips being particularly useful. The rebound valves on the struts were set far too high for tarmac, never mind gravel. The ever smiling (now that he’s got away from French FWD cars) Jim Robertson and Paul Gribben were 4th in the Escort Mk2 ahead of Graeme and Kyle Morrison in another Mk2. Final finishers were Kenny Wood and Gordon Chalmers in their BMW. Rhuaridh Campbell and Shaina Archibald failed to finish after cowping the Sunbeam.

M7 – Modified 2WD over 2051cc

Only one Escort finished this class after Keith Robathan and Phil Sandham retired with differential failure and Jamie McIntyre and Craig Wallace were spotted parked up in the penultimate test, but even so, it wasn’t an easy win for Paul Mcerlean and Niall Mckenna. In fact Paul was all for packing up and going home when an axle tie rod mounting broke, but he sought advice from one Mark McCulloch who said he didn’t need and to just carry on. It worked.

M8 – Modified 4WD not Clified in Cl M9 or SRC Pro (Cl P1), without a sequential gearbox (including previously homologated FIA Group N 4WD cars). Includes any FIA homologated Rally3 car

The Subaru Impreza of Chris Collie and Gary McDonald is fairly new to Chris so when it started cutting out on SS4 he was a bit flummoxed. However, things improved after second service and he won the class from the Subaru of Ian Baumgart and Dave Robson who had been slowed a with a rear puncture and subsequent suspension damage. Duncan Campbell and Michael Cruickshank were fairly happy with 3rd after a puncture in SS2 with their Subaru and Graeme Sherry and Ewan Lees were 4th after a wee off in SS1 and a “90 point turn” to get the Subaru around and away again. After the rigours of The Scottish Martin Craiks’ Subaru was back to looking pristine as he and Richard Wardle finished 5th in class despite a daylong problem with the rear brakes which kept sticking: “I need to be careful,” said Martin, “the back end keeps wanting to step out.” Mike and Michael Moates were 6th with Mike explaining: “I’m just here for the craic – and let everyone else crash and go off!”

[Grampian Rally – Main Report]

[Grampian Rally – Stage Times]

[Grampian Rally – Classes M9 to SH2]