KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship / Burnside Piling Scottish Tarmack Championship
… Beatson’s Building Supplies Reivers Rally, Sat 29th May …
Well, that was a rally. Six stages in a four hour route, including one half hour service halt. The first stage is only a mile from the rally start and all the stages around seven miles in length. Hardly time to draw breath, eh?
The day dawned dull, but dry. Rain did threaten, but apart from a slight smirr during the morning, remained dry all day and even warmed up in the afternoon. The service park was on grass although firm underfoot and offered plenty of space (too much!) for crews to set up and it was a sore auld pech walking the full length of the place from one side to the other – but still better than previous event options.
With hindsight, the event did feature one little drawback. With the first stage being so close to the rally start, it offered little time for crews to heat up the tyres and brakes! But that’s all part of rallying, eh?
Nothing of the sort affected the fastest crew through the first stage at Edrom 1, Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton posting a marker. Overnight they had fixed the cause of the Ford Focus WRC’s failure the previous day which was not a gearbox fault as first thought but merely a burst hydraulic hose. Come the Reivers, their intent was obvious but their fastest stage time was only 0.7s quicker than Rory Young and Allan Cathers in the Fiesta Rally2. Then came David Bogie and John Rowan in the MINI WRC, a second and half down on Thorburn. Two and a half seconds covered the top three!
Some folks expected Freddie Milne and Patrick Walsh to be up there with the fastest crews, but the Fiesta Rally2 was parked in a field three corners into the first stage. On the approach to a long right hander, the Fiesta failed to make the turn and just slid broadside off on the outside through a hedge and into the field. No real damage and no injuries, but rally over for the day.
Also missing from the top times were Jock Armstrong and Cameron Fair when the Subaru struck a chicane bale losing the front bumper and costing them time but fortunately little in the way of mechanical damage: “I was flat in 6th and went for the brakes – but there was nothing there! Smacked it,” said Armstrong.
Not so lucky were Chris Collie and Ricky Finlayson. Reaching the end of the stage, the Mitsubishi got out of phase over a couple of bumps and the car tipped over and rolled hitting a tree. John Wink and Neil Shanks were first on the scene and stopped to see if the crew were OK and thankfully they were, but the car isn’t and the tree will have few extra knots in the grain when the axeman cometh.
Neil Roskell and Andrew Roughead in the Ford Fiesta R5 were 4th fastest but a full eight seconds down on Bogie with Dale Robertson and Stuart Loudon fifth quickest in the Fiesta R5 and Dale not having sat his bum in a rally car since last November. Rounding off the top six was a Mitsubishi Lancer poking its nose into R5 territory, but remember this was a tarmac event and pretty fast tarmac, so the Lancers had a chance on the straights if not on the twisty bits with Michael Binnie and Claire Mole making the most of it: “It’s all about confidence in the brakes,” said Binnie, “that’s what Friday night and Saturday were all about and hopefully it has set us up well for today.”
It was Thorburn again on Ayton 1, a full three seconds between himself and Bogie with Young a further four seconds adrift. Roskell got a fright when his brake pedal went to the floor but he survived to finish fourth ahead of Binnie and Jock Armstrong/Cameron Fair in the Subaru.
Robertson lost out on a possible top three finish when the Fiesta skittered off the road into a ditch on the exit of a left hander, dropping around 20 seconds as he tried to get the car out.
Bogie bounced back in the third stage at Fogo 1, just a second quicker than Young. “The misfire is back,” said Bogie, “it’s not as bad as it was on the Snowman or Speyside and I’m not blaming it for myself not being quicker, but fair play to Euan and Rory, they’re going for it!” Third quickest was Thorburn but he was only two seconds slower than Bogie
Having dropped nearly 20 seconds to the leader in the previous stage, Robertson was back on form and stayed on the road to set fourth quickest time ahead of three crews all tying on exactly the same time to set fifth quickest. They were Binnie, Roskell, and Mark McCulloch/Michael Hendry in the Proton Satria, with Roskell putting things in perspective: “You need proper commitment in Fogo – the car clocked 125 mph in there!”
And here’s a rather special note, only three seconds behind this high speed trio was Ewan Tindall with Peredur Davies. Bear in mind this was just Ewan’s second time out in the Evo9 and also his first closed public road rally.
After service and lunch break, it was back to Edrom 2 for SS4 with Thorburn back at the front pulling a further nine seconds out of Bogie with Young still hanging in there making this a proper three way fight, only a second behind Bogie.
Robertson was a further second behind Roskell and Binnie with Armstrong still well off the pace as the Subaru struggled to catch the ‘World’ cars and Lancers.
Bogie was fastest through Ayton 2 but by only one second from Thorburn. Not enough, not nearly enough. With a change of tyres from soft to medium, Roskell was third quickest: “I was struggling for grip this morning, the softs weren’t working, they were overheating.” Lack of grip also did for the impressively quick Young, the Fiesta just sliding off the road and getting stuck, ruining a possible podium finish for the valiant crew.
Binnie was still the top Lancer pilot, fourth quickest ahead of John Stone and Laura Connell in the VW Polo Gti R5 making the top six fastest times for the first time: “I’m using the same tyres as yesterday, but it’s completely different. It’s slippy in places it shouldn’t be!” said Stone. Robertson rounded off the top six times but was still managing to hang on to a top six finish.
The rally finished with another high speed blast through Fogo 2 where Thorburn and Bogie were again separated by just a second and Robertson finishing with a flourish third quickest. Only two seconds slower was Binnie ahead of Roskell and young Tindall.
Finishing just outside the top ten overall was Armstrong in 11th place but it was a struggle. The Subaru finished the rally with no clutch and the floor paint above the exhaust was melting and bubbling while at the same time making the gearstick almost too hot to handle.
John Wink finished tenth overall despite being a wee bit unsettled by coming across Colie’s accident: “That’s the first time I’ve been first on the scene of an accident – not nice, but just so pleased the boys were OK,” said Wink.
Scott MacBeth and Daniel Forsyth lost eighth place in the final stage and finished ninth in the Evo9 when the dashboard and gear selector display suddenly shut down just a couple of corners in to the stage and they dropped nine seconds to young Tindall who was the eighth place beneficiary! “I can’t ask for anything better than that,” said Tindall, “after putting it off yesterday and having a good battle with the other Lancers today – and just my second time in the car!”
John Stone was seventh behind Mark McCulloch who had a steady run after a test session at Kames and then used the shakedown to find a proper set up for the Proton so he was well chuffed with a top six finish. Dale Robertson recovered from his earlier woopsie to finish fourth behind the flying Lancer of Binnie who just lost out on third place by three seconds.
Neil Roskell was dead chuffed with third in such high speed company while Bogie was content enough with second: “That was real testing stuff,” he said, “it was a very condensed and intense event, and very enjoyable.”
Thorburn was quietly delighted with his victory especially after the previous day’s disappointment: “That was really good, the car was working, the tyres were working and it was a really fast rally. It was certainly gravelly and slippy in places but enjoyable – we were going sideways in places we’ve never been sideways before! You can’t get better than that.” Amen to that.
1 Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton (Ford Focus 05 WRC) 37m 06.4s
2 David Bogie/John Rowan (Mini JCW WRC) +13.0s
3 Neil Roskell/Andrew Roughead (Ford Fiesta R5) +53.8s
4 Michael Binnie/Claire Mole (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9) +56.5s
5 Dale Robertson/Stuart Loudon (Ford Fiesta R5) +1m 02.4s
6 Mark McCulloch/Michael Hendry (Proton Satria Evo) +1m 18.0s
7 John Stone/Laura Connell (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5) +1m 28.6s
8 Ewan Tindall/Peredur Davies (Mitsubishi Evo9) +1m 46.4s
9 Scott MacBeth/Daniel Forsyth (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9) +1m 50.5s
10 John Wink/Neil Shanks (Hyundai i20 R5) 1m 53.6s
C1: Andrew Blackwood/Richard Stewart (Ford Fiesta ST)
C2: Sarah Hunter/Iain Robson (Peugeot 205)
C3: Des Campbell/Craig Forsyth (Peugeot 206)
C5: Peter Stewart/Dave Robson (Peugeot 208 Rally4)
C6; Brian Watson/Chris Lees (Ford Escort Mk2)
C7: Greg McKnight/Harry Marchbank (Ford Escort Mk2)
C8: Billy McLelland/Chris Robertson (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo)
C11: Phil Cook/John-Paul Boom (Land Rover Defender Wolf XD)
H1/H2: Stuart Egglestone/Brian Hodgson (Ford Escort Mk2)
H3: Steve Bannister/Callum Atkinson (Ford Escort Mk2)
H4: David Kynaston/Val Thompson (Triumph TR7 V8)