01 Nov: Carlisle Stages – Classes

Carlisle Stages Rally, 23rd October 2021 …

Class Roundup

Pete Gorst and Phil King won Class 1 in their Vauxhall Nova after a tough fight with no-one else. They were the only starters and the only finishers. Job done! But don’t go thinking they had an easy time of it. They finished 39th overall in their 1300cc motor  beating many more 1600 and 2 litre jobs. Well done boys.

Fraser Smith and Steven Brown heaved a sigh of relief at the finish as their unmarked Class 2 winning Honda Civic is now up for sale: “I’m building a new one for next year,” said Smith, “and admitted: “It’s going to be a tarmac car, I’m thinking of tarmac rallies, like Mull, next year!” Niall Cowan Jnr and Callum Shanks were 2nd in their MG ZR although Niall got a fright in SS2 when the gearlever jammed but it cleared itself towards the end of the stage, probably a stone had got stuck underneath. Cowan the Elder and Chris Wareham were 3rd in the MG3 with Niall Snr commenting: “That’s 3 starts and 3 finishes in the new car and I never touched it,” before adding, “by the way, those last two stages were awesome!” Bryan and Scott Gourlay were 4th in the Peugeot and were still talking at the finish, although Bryan was complaining that young Scott “kept pushing and pushing me, we were doing over 90 odds at times!” Martyn Erskine and Jonathan Fowler were 5th in another 205 and were lucky to survive a ‘cut’ on SS5 in which the car hit a hole: “It was taking cuts like a WRC car,” said Martyn. On his first ‘proper’ rally (after 5 Junior 1000 events) 17 year old Justin Gunning finished 6th in class with the vastly experienced (that just means auld) Kenneth Wills alongside in the Fiesta R1 with Justin just full of it at the finish: “That was brilliant. It was quite slidey this afternoon.” Running first rally car on the road (FWD and reverse seeding on this event) Campbell and Donald McColm brought the Peugeot 106 home in one piece to finish 7th while final finishers were Meghan and John O’Kane in the Fiesta. It was Meghan’s first event as a driver and she might have done better had the electrical Master switch not switched itself off twice during the afternoon stages. And she loved it: “The stages were better this afternoon.”

After another scintillating drive in their Class 3 winning Peugeot 208 Rally4 Peter Stewart and Harry Marchbank finished 11th overall just missing out on a top ten overall placing by 23 seconds. Peter’s still learning the car but at the previous day’s test had worked out that  using 2nd gear at hairpins was much better than 1st: “It’s got a surprising amount of torque,” said Peter, “and then on the rally I was suing all the steering lock at times it was so slippy, It was like an Escort. In the afternoon we took some big cuts and had half the car fully off the road at one point.” Richard Stewart (Snr) and Carin Tait-Logan were 2nd in the other 208 which was being conducted at a somewhat more suitably regal pace than Junior’s version. with Ashleigh Morris and Martin Haggett taking third in the Fiesta R200 after “a good clean run with no punctures, but it was quite slippy!”

Using Pirellis for the first time instead of the MRF Tyres as used in the BTRDA rally series Bobby Mitchell and Craig Wallace scored the Class 4 win in their Fiesta ST. “I enjoyed the tyres,” said Bobby, “but I think they were too hard in the morning stages, I just couldn’t get heat into them, not like on the recent Galloway Hills.” Johnnie MacKay and Emily Easton-Page were 2nd in class in their Fiesta ST, and they also clinched the Scottish Rally Championship Junior award when Jordan Anderson and Clare MacKenzie retired their Peugeot 306 with brake failure. Luke McLaren and Mhairian Wilson were 3rd in class despite rolling their Honda Civic which may have looked rather battle scarred but mechanically sound. On his first rally with his new LHD M2 Escort Mark Grierson and Heather Grisedale retired in SS3.

Using this event as ‘practice’ for the forthcoming R.A.C. Rally Paul Thompson and Josh Davison were the Class 5 winners in their Ford Escort from the Talbot Sunbeam of Rhuaridh Campbell and Shaina Archibald, but Rhuaridh was better pleased with his final SRC championship class placing. His Sunbeam is in the same class as Mark McCulloch’s Escort: “Imagine me finishing 2nd to Mark,” he said. Some bragging rights, eh?

The Class 6 award went to the Mercedes-Benz of Steve Magson and Kevin Bardon ahead of Ian Holt and Steve Pugh in their Ford Escort Mk2 with Ian revealing that it was 35 years since his last rally.

Three Subaru Imprezas topped Class 7 with Michael Renton and John Shepheard winning  from Mike Moates and Gary McDonald. Once again, Mike Grant and Graham Kelman defied predictions to finish third, but it was close: “Luck was on our side in SS1,” said Grant, “we got the tail in a ditch and were left looking at nothing but the sky. Another foot and it would have been the end of the day for us.”

Niall Devine/Liam McIntyre, Ian Baumgart/Dave Robson and Matthew Calderwood/Phil Sandham were the top three Class 8 finishers although Matthew had a bit of luck in SS2: “We got the tail in a ditch on a Right2 – but got away with it!” The Subarus of Duncan Campbell and Michael Cruickshank and Graeme Sherry and Ewan Lees were 4th and 5th ahead of the Evo6 of Chris Melling and Nick West. Jimmy and John Jack were pleased with 7th in their Subaru especially after a frantic Friday: “The brand new BiGEM suspension and all its kit arrived at 10am on Friday morning and it was ready for Scrutineering that evening!” Apparently, the Finnish company BiGEM are worth a look if you’re running a Subaru. Alan Wallace and Martin Forrest finish 8th in the Evo7 despite a sticking throttle in the first stage with Alan admitting this was his first time ever in Kielder!

Beattie, Binnie and Paterson were the top three in Class 9 with John McClory and Gordon Hood wondering what on earth they were thinking of, wheeling out the Evo9 on a cold, damp, grey October day in Kielder. You’d think they’d know better at their age, eh? Aileen and John Forrest were 5th in the Evo9 ahead of Kevin Downes and Richard Wardle while Kevin Crawford and Andrew Stevenson didn’t make it, the Evo9 retiring in SS4. Stuart and Marc Irvine didn’t make it either, the Hyundai WRC coming to a halt in the final stage.

Pearson, Petch, Milne, Forgan and Adamson took the top Class 10 placings with John Rintoul and Ross Hynd 6th in class after a trying damp day in a misfiring Fiesta.

Hugo and Arthur MacMillan won Class 11 in their Ford Escort Mk2 while George and Jacqueline Bryson were second giving their Escort Mk1 a shakedown ahead of next month’s R.A.C. Rally. Douglas and Alex Menzies were 3rd in their Escort on their first rally.

Steve  Bannister and Callum Atkinson won Class 12 in their Ford Escort Mk2 but when a surprised Rhys Yates and James Morgan were told they finished 24 seconds behind Yorkshire’s finest, Yates said: “I’ll settle for that.” He was having his first familiarisation run out in a  new Mk2 built for next month’s R.A.C. Rally. “It’s full Historic spec,” said the British Championship regular, “with a 2 litre BDG, ZF ‘box and fully floating rear axle but on the first stage I forgot I had to push the pedals to make it change gear!” Ernie and Patricia Lee were 3rd in class in the BMW, ahead of the Mk2 Escorts of David and Grace Pedley and Ian and Dawn Milne, with the ever thoughtful and considerate Ernie noting: “Trish doesn’t like the Kielder ditches!”

Carlisle Stages – [Main Report]

Carlisle Stages – [Top 10 Stage Times]