… DCC Junior Stages Rally, March 27, 2022 …
Four seconds separated the two leaders on the DCC Junior Stages Rally as the top two entered the final stage. At close of play, one second determined the victors. This tense high speed duel provided a fitting finale to a cracking day’s sport.
An impressive entry of 20 cars and crews were entered for this opening round of the 2022 Ecosse Junior 100 Rally Championship which was also a round of the ‘British’ Junior 1000 Championship. In fact, 30 seconds covered the top four crews at the finish after 8 stages totalling some 36 miles.
Sam Mason and James Seymour opened the scoring on the first stage with a blistering 7m 11s run in their Suzuki Alto, a full 12 seconds quicker than the Peugeot 107 of Max Speed and Alan Gilbert. Speed followed that up with fastest time on SS2 by three seconds from the Citroen C1 of David Burden and Peter Williams.
On the third stage another crew set fastest time, Oliver Phillips and Emma Morrison in the VW Up! were a second quicker than Burden. And yet another crew set fastest time on the fourth test when Kalum Graffin and Richard Crozier hustled the Skoda Citigo around the track six seconds faster than Burden’s Citroen.
It wasn’t just the crews who needed an energy boost at the lunch time halt, it was all the onlooking anxious parents and support crews. You couldn’t have slipped a spark plug feeler gauge between any of the top four.
Burden opened the scoring on the afternoon runs but Graffin was now on fire after a steady start. He was a second quicker than Burden in SS6, they shared equal fastest on SS7 and then got themselves ready for the final shoot out. Burden had a four second advantage over Graffin. Job done?
Nope, not at all. In his final year of Junior rallying, sixteen year old Burden hadn’t won a round before and was determined to set that record straight. On the other hand, fifteen year old Graffin only sat his BARS test on Wednesday and this was his first proper rally.
There were no tantrums and no nerves as the two young men squared up for the final run and as the cars sped around the Ingliston circuit the rest of us could only watch and wait. Burden crossed the line first and then the wait began for Graffin. He was running six cars behind the rally leader but he was catching cars. This actually introduced a wee bit of a delay as he entered the Time Control virtually on the same time as the car ahead causing the ScotResults team to manually check the actual times. The parents were more nervous than David and Kalum!
Then came the news. Graffin had set a time five seconds quicker than Burden on the final stage to claim his first rally victory on his rally debut by ONE second. Marvellous stuff.
Sixteen year old Sam Mason had to be content with third place just 12 seconds behind the runner-up with Max Speed scoring fourth. Oliver Phillips was fifth and Letisha Conn with Richard Stewart were sixth in the Citroen.
Junior Saloon Car Racing Champ turned rally driver, Arwen Graham contested her first rally in a hastily prepped Nissan Micra with Tom Hynd on the Notes but retired on the start line of the final stage when a driveshaft snapped. Also on his first rally, Ruan Lowry with Ian McRae got a Maximum on the first stage when the Nissan Micra spun twice, the second time having to be pushed off the grass by the Marshals while Lucy Anne Cree also finished her first ever rally. At the start of the day her Skoda Citigo was four minutes off the pace of the fastest cars but by close of play with her times getting better every run, she was only two minutes off the pace.
Now that’s what Junior rallying is all about, sunshine, good humour, close competition – and Rhona’s tablet.
DCC Junior Stages
1 Kalum Graffin/Richard Crozier (Skoda Citigo) 61m 30s
2 David Burden/Peter Williams (Citroen C1) +01s
3 Sam Mason/James Seymour (Suzuki Alto) +13s
4 Max Speed, Alan Gilbert (Peugeot 107) +30s
5 Oliver Phillips/Emma Morrison (VW Up!) +59s
6 Letisha Conn/Richard Stewart (Skoda Citigo) +1m 42s
7 Jack Ryan/Robin Nicolson (VW Up!) +1m 44s
8 Rian Walker/Stuart McBride (Skoda Citigo) +2m 19s
9 Rhys Jones/Keegan Rees (Skoda Citigo) +3m 00s
10 Thomas Milne/Neil Jeffrey (Nissan Micra) +3m 17s