… Kinloss Stages Rally, Sat 12 Feb …
By all accounts the new single venue rally location at Kinloss was a huge success. The former RAF base has a huge network of excellent quality roads with the potential to run an up to ten mile stage without any splits or loops! This was the first time rallying had visited the site so the stages were a ‘conservative’ 8 to 9 miles in length! Full credit to Big Tam and his Condor MSC cohorts for the concept and getting the permission.
As it was, only 36 crews turned up on the day, but they were all winners. Given the quality of the stages and the stage surfaces, anyone who wasn’t there seriously missed out on a grand day’s sport.
Hugh Brunton and Charley Sayer Payne won the rally by nearly two minutes but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Going into the final stage they were lying just 3 seconds behind the Inglis brothers. With Hugh closing the gap over the later stages Alistair was struggling with a car which was only too keen to cut out and stall at the most inopportune moments.
That meant an all out attack on the final stage. A mile and a half in, the Fiesta Rally2 encountered the first chicane and just slightly overcooked its braking incurring a half spin – and the clock still ticking. Thereupon something of a red mist did descend and at the second chicane Alistair completely misjudged his braking and gave it a mighty smack. That incurred a 5 minute penalty and all hopes of victory were gone.
Unaware of this drama, Hugh was giving it big licks in his Fiesta Rally2 as well and his run was 8 seconds quicker than Alistair’s. But that became academic when the penalty was applied.
“That’s the best single venue rally I’ve done,” said Hugh, “the stages were phenomenal and we had a good battle all day with Alistair. This venue is like nothing else, it’s fast, proper fast, no ‘mickey mouse’ stages.”
Alistair paid the venue an even bigger compliment: “I’d say that’s the best single venue since Millbrook, you almost need Pace Notes round here!”
Barry Groundwater and Michael Hendry were second in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo6 with the Subaru Impreza of Scott Mutch and Greg Mcdonald third overall contesting their first tarmac rally.
Just 11 seconds behind the Subaru of Scott Mutch was the top 2WD car, the Ford Escort Mk2 of Keith Robathan and Ian Nicoll in 4th place. Kris Tennant and Rafal Stanislawski were 5th in another Subaru with the Lancer Evo6 of Alan Wallace Darren Robertson rounding off the top six.
Penalty afflicted Alistair and Colin Inglis dropped to 8th overall just behind Gordon and Steven Chalmers in their Subaru but ahead of Ricky Wheeler and Mark Runciman in the Historic spec Escort RS who also finished 2nd 2WD behind Robathan. Completing the top ten was the Subaru of Michael Renton and John Shepheard.
It was a pity that Brian Watson’s Escort gearbox started to play up as he had been hunting down the Mk2 of Keith Robathan over the first two stages before the ‘box finally gave up. He too was complimentary about the venue: “This rally will rival the Mach 1 Stages, but if there is another one here – count me in!”
Both the Metro 6R4 of Steven Ronaldson and Darrian T9 of Andy Horne were sidelined with gearbox failure and Graham Mutch retired when his Subaru burst its radiator.
First time out in his Vauxhall Adam, ex moto and cyclo crosser Robert Proudlock won Class 1 with Steven Brown alongside, but there was a good fight for 2nd in class with Nikki Addison and Rachel Mathieson in their Peugeot 106 just holding off Beefy Fraser and Iain Thorburn in the Historic Avenger Tiger.
Richard Wheeler won Class 2 in his Historic Ford Escort Mk2 but there were no less than three Honda Civics lined up behind him and one Toyota Corolla T Sport. Second time out in his Honda Civic Barry Hogg and Andrew Skinner claimed 2nd from Ian Cruden and Douglas McIntyre just managing to keep ahead of Andrew Mackinnon and Allan Matheson by 5 seconds – after 52 miles of stages!
Results: 1 Hugh Brunton/Charley Sayer Payne (Ford Fiesta R5) 53m 23s 2 Barry Groundwater/Michael Hendry (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo6) +1m 56s 3 Scott Mutch/Greg Mcdonald (Subaru GC8) +4m 01s 4 Keith Robathan/Ian Nicoll (Ford Escort Mk2) +4m 12s 5 Kris Tennant/Rafal Stanislawski (Subaru Impreza) +4m 26s 6 Alan Wallace/Darren Robertson (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo6) +4m 44s 7 Gordon Chalmers/Steven Chalmers (Subaru Impreza) +4m 46s 8 Alistair Inglis/Colin Inglis (Ford Fiesta Rally 2) +5m 05s 9 Richard Wheeler/Mark Runciman (Ford Historic Escort RS) +5m 22s 10 Michael Renton/John Shepheard (Subaru Impreza GC8) +5m 29s Class 1: Robert Proudlock/Steven Brown (Vauxhall Adam) Class 2: Richard Wheeler/Mark Runciman (Ford Historic Escort RS) Class 3: Hugh Brunton/Charley Sayer Payne (Ford Fiesta R5)