02 Apr: Ford wins DCC Stages Rally

  … DCC Stages Rally, March 26/27, 2022 …

There was no catching James Ford and Matt Daniels at last weekend’s DCC Stages Rally. The duo set seven fastest times out of eight stages to take victory by 46 seconds . Perhaps more surprising was the fact that this was the first time James had sat in the car and the first time he had ever been to Ingliston.

The Ford Fiesta Rally2 was actually his Dad’s new car and they had just picked it up from M-Sport at Cockermouth on the Friday on their way north from Preston. The idea being to give the car a shakedown on the rally before his Dad, Chris, drives it on next month’s Beatson’s Building Supplies Jim Clark Rally. After the rally, the car was put back on the trailer and taken back to M-Sport for a final spanner and set-up check – and change the fuel tank! The one installed was a temporary affair to allow them to do the rally.

The Fiesta Rally2’s of Alistair and Colin Inglis were second and John Marshall and Craig Wallace third. They were both on the back foot right from off and playing catch up, but each time they got close, Ford got a bit quicker too.

In fact there was a five way bunfight going on at the beginning. Jonathan Mounsey and Charley Sayer-Payne had originally been holding second place till a cog broke in their Fiesta Rally2’s gearbox. “We spun on the approach to the bridge,” said Jonathan, “we think a cog broke and just locked the car up” and then added, “Did you know, the width of the bridge is exactly the same as the length of a Fiesta Rally2?” And the car had the scuff marks to prove it!

Gordon Morrison and Hannah McKillop then took over the runner-up spot till their Fiesta R5 failed to start the final stage with a faulty throttle connection. Gordon was having problems from the start with it and had clouted one of the big bales on the first stage with the rear n/s corner. It wasn’t a sensor problem, but an obscure issue relating to the accelerator pedal connection to the sensor.

Greg Inglis and Ian Murray finished top 2WD and scored a mighty impressive fourth place in their Lotus Exige ahead of the Skodaru Fabia of Drew Gallagher and David Crosbie. “That was insane,” said Greg, “that’s the fastest I’ve driven the Exige yet. I actually had to back off in some places to protect the sump over some of the bumps.” As for Drew, he was having trouble with a car that was selecting gears all by itself, unfortunately not the ones he was wanting at the right time! “When I went over the jump it dropped two gears when it landed and other times when I was wanting third, it was giving me first!” he explained. At least they fared better than the Mitsubishi of Kenneth Blair and Steven Szumlakowski which was towed in from the SS1 with fuel troubles and retired after SS2.

Second 2WD was the Darrian T90 of Andy and Karen Horne which also suffered from a lack of ground clearance at times, but mainly cosmetic rather than mechanical, after a spin on to the grass which damaged the front splitter. Ben and Andrew Wilkinson were challenging for the top 2WD award in their Peugeot 106 Maxi but lost out after taking the wrong direction at a Split.

Richard and Jack Sutherland were seventh overall and third 2WD in the Opel Manta but suffered a broken clutch cable in the morning and by the time they got it fixed they were running further down the order and catching cars. Chris and Peter McCallum were eighth in the Escort Mk2 just ahead of the ‘Drive of the Day’.

That was down to young Archie Swinscoe who finished a scintillating ninth overall and scored the 1600cc class win. First time out in his new Vauxhall Adam, and first time with LHD, the ex-Junior 1000 Champion and Barry Young were clear class winners while regular 1600 class hotshots Des Campbell/Craig Forsyth broke a driveshaft in the Peugeot, Stephen Hay/Cameron Dunn broke the Corsa’s gearbox and Dave McIntyre/Shona Hale were plagued with electrical problems all day in the Citroen C2R2 Max.

Rounding off the top ten were Iain Sanderson and Kyle Dodds in the Escort Mk2 and it was good to see Kieron O’Kane back out in the Opel Ascona although I hope his doctor doesn’t read these reports in ‘jaggybunnet’. First time out since Wexford in 2018, he and Barry McGleenon were 11th in the Millington-Vauxhall engined machine. He wanted to show me his operation scars, but I ran away!

Andrew Blackwood and Richard Stewart won the 1400 class in their Ford Fiesta despite losing the use of first gear for most of the day with Steven Crockett and Michael Moates taking second in their Peugeot 205 but lost out badly on the chance of class victory with a driveshaft failure in the first stage. Aidan Gregory and Mark Casey were third in their Fiesta with Tom Johnstone and Ted Runciman losing out on third place in their 1 litre Skoda Citigo courtesy of a wrong slot on the final stage, with Ted manfully admitting it was entirely his fault! There was no disputing the cause of Garry Coutts’ and Paul Toner’s retirement – the Nova had a hole in the block!

Ben Wilkinson managed to hang on to second in the 1600 class, behind Archie Swinscoe, despite his stage Maximum and Peter Fleming with Kirsty Mochrie were third in the Escort Mk2 despite an incident on the first stage. “It was a case of cold tyres and hot brain,” explained Peter, “we spun off at the first corner on to the grass and it wouldn’t re-start. Then later on we had problems with the flat-shift.” Kenny Moore and Fiona Moir were fourth in class in the Historic Hillman Avenger ahead of Colin and Pauline Blake who smacked a big bale on the first stage with the MINI. Carin Tait-Logan and Harry Marchbank were sixth in the Citroen Saxo ahead of Dave McIntyre who managed a finish despite his electrical problems. Alasdair Currie and Chris Hamill were out of luck retiring the Peugeot 106 with a misfire which refused a fixable diagnosis despite changing the ignition pack and fuel pump and the Nova of Jamie Maclean and Darren Clark ruled itself out of the fight on the sixth test when it destroyed it’s alternator belt. Gordon Milne and Paul Watson didn’t even get that far, the VW Polonda breaking a driveshaft on SS3 with Adam Hanner and Wayne Wood following not long after when the Puma’s diff failed. Jamie Maclean and Darren Clark retired the Nova with gearbox failure.

The Sutherland family Manta scored the 2 litre class win from Sanderson and Graham Bruce with the Mk2 Escort of Adam Huggon and James Wood finishing fourth. Oliver Hunter and Owen Paterson were fifth in the Civic and Colin Butler and Stjohnn  Dykes were sixth in the Clio. Just missing out on a top six finish was the Historic Mk1 Escort of Ricky Wheeler and Tony Walker. Graeme Sherry and Ewan Lees missed out on a finish when the Manta started to “feel a bit loose at the back end”  and split rear cross member was diagnosed while the impressive looking Nissan Silvia RS of Peter Mosgrove and James Lyon was an early retirement. It kept tossing the fan/alternator belt off and Peter reckons the pulley is running just slightly out of line – back to the workshop, eh! Andrew and Joe Hutchinson had the front n/s driveshaft and coupling bits after two stages but it was well past repair and they had no spare.

DCC Stages, Sat 26th March 2022

1 James Ford/Matt Daniels (Ford Fiesta Rally2) 58m 54s

2 Alistair Inglis/Colin Inglis (Ford Fiesta Rally2) +46s

3 John Marshall/Craig Wallace (Ford Fiesta Rally2) +1m 32s

4 Greg Inglis/Ian Murray (Lotus Exige) +1m 42s

5 Drew Gallagher/David Crosbie (Skodaru Fabia) +2m 53s

6 Andy Horne/Karen Horne (Darrian T90 GTR) +3m 18s

7 Richard Sutherland/Jack Sutherland (Opel Manta) +3m 52s

8 Chris McCallum/Peter McCallum (Ford Escort Mk2) +4m 04s

9 Archie Swinscoe/Barry Young (Vauxhall Adam) +4m 21s

10 Iain Sanderson/Kyle Dodds (Ford Escort Mk2) +4m 33s

Class Winners

Andrew Blackwood/Richard Stewart (Ford Fiesta); Swinscoe/Young; Sutherland/Sutherland; Inglis/Murray; Ford/Daniels

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