30 Nov: RAC Rally-1, Scotland-Nil

 … RAC Rally 1 – Scotland Nil …

That the 2021 Roger Albert Clark Rally managed to run despite the best (worst?) efforts of Storm Arwen and Covid Omicron is a tribute to the tenacity and ingenuity of the organisers, and the endurance and sheer stubbornness of competitors, service crews, Officials and Marshals.

Sadly, Scotland missed out as the worst of the storm raged across the Borders, but given the prevailing conditions a very wise move indeed.

Less than 6 minutes covered the top 5 finishers at the end of what must have been an arduous battle of survival and that’s pretty close for an event in which the rally winners spent just over 4 hours flat out in the woods.

Few would have predicted that Ryan Champion and Craig Thorley would have come out on top, and even less likely given their choice of mount. When two thirds of the entry was Ford mounted, the idea of a ‘retired’ rally driver coming contesting this event in a Porsche 911 was even less likely. Gaun yersels boys.

The Top Ten finishers are shown below along with those others in which us Scots might have had more than a passing interest. Best of our lot was John McIlwraith who finished a mighty impressive 25th overall with Jonathan Fowler in their Mk2. And who knows, Steve Bannister might have done better than 34th had he not had Clump – sorry – Callum Atkinson on the Notes. On the other hand maybe it was the youngster who kept the auld geezer going, eh?

Top Ten:

1, Ryan Champion/Craig Thorley (Porsche 911) D4,   4h 13m 10s

2, Seb Perez/Gary McElhinney (Ford Escort Mk2) D5, +04m 04s

3, Adrian Hetherington/Ronan O’Neill (Ford Escort RS1800) D5, +05m 20s

4, Ben Friend/Cliff Simmons (Ford Escort Mk2) D5, +05m 26s

5, Rhys Yates/Max Freeman (Ford Escort) D5, +07m 39s

6, Robert Gough/Jack Bowen (Ford Escort RS1800) D5, +09m 28s

7, Simon Webster/Jez Rogers (Ford Escort RS1800) D5, +12m 16s

8, Adam Milner/Roy Jarvis (Ford Escort Mexico Mk1) C2, +14m 02s

9, Paul Street/Ian Jones (Ford Escort Mk2) D5, +14m 13s

10, Sacha Kakad/James Aldridge (Ford Escort Mk2) D5, +17m 14s

Other Finishers:

25, John McIlwraith/Jonathan Fowler (Ford Escort Mk2) D3, +46m 44s

34, Steve Bannister/Callum Atkinson (Ford Escort) D5, +52m 47s

36, Grant Duncan Inglis/Michael Cruickshank (Ford Escort Mk2) D5, +53m 25s

40, Keir Beaton/Paul Beaton (Vauxhall Nova) D1, +55m 00s

55, Donald Brooker/Tony Booth (Subaru Legacy RS) F2, +1h 09m 59s

67, George Bryson/Jacqueline Bryson (Ford Escort RS1600) C5, +1h 27m 01s

76, Stu McLaren/Simon Hunter (Opel Kadett GT/E) D3, +2h 12m 07s

 Open Rally 2WD

16 o/a, Colin Smith/John Pinder (Vauxhall Astra Mk3) J4, +44m 39s


Mike Stuart/Neil Shanks (Ford Escort) SS6, Stopped – SS6

Jim Robertson/Paul Gribben (Ford Escort) SS3, Stopped – SS3

Allan Clark/Iain Thorburn (Hillman Avenger) SS27, Did not restart at MTC9