… Beatson’s Building Supplies Reivers Rally, Sat 29th May …
First time on a closed road event, Andrew Blackwood and Richard Stewart had a good run in the class winning Ford Fiesta ST despite having to change a burst hose at service – and then nearly chucked it all away on the very next stage with a huge spin, narrowly avoiding finishing their rally in a hedge! Also first time here, and equally pleased with 2nd in class were Chris Smith and Amy McCubbin although their Vauxhall Corsa was losing power the longer the rally went on. At the start of the day it was revving to 8000 rpm but by close of play the wee beastie would only pull 6000 rpm. James Thomson and Fenny Wesselink were 3rd in the Vauxhall Nova and also struggling by the finish with knackered clutch bearings and no 4th gear. Fourth were James Lightfoot and Urszula Budzynska in a Peugeot 107.
After a sensible, trouble free day, Sarah Hunter salvaged some family honour with a class win in the Peugeot 205 co-driven by Iain Robson and finished nearly a minute clear of the similar car of Bryan and Scott Gourlay.
With the stages dry and fast there was no chance of Des Campbell and Craig Forsyth repeating their 2019 performance when the Peugeot 206 finished an amazing 11th overall. That was down to the icy and wet conditions that dark and dismal November night and the duo finished just outside the top 30 with the rev limiter chattering like a demented budgie. Less than a minute behind was the Honda Civic of Tim Johnson and Ian Bevan with Keith and Mairi Riddick 3rd in the MG ZR. Riddick was off the pace over the first half of the rally with a lack of brakes in the MG but managed to get them fixed at service and pull back time to finish 3rd. Newcomer Robert Proudlock with Lewis MacDougall finished a mighty impressive 4th in class in the Vauxhall Adam. A big dusty spin on a left over crest in the first stage removing the front bumper in the process against a hedge was a timely reminder that the aim was to finish, and to learn, on Proudlock’s first closed road rally! Giving her ‘ol’man’ something to think about was Meghan O’Kane in the Ford Fiesta ST. Pops of course was in the co-driver’s seat but Meghan’s pace was really impressive. Even when she started losing brakes late on the rally and having to pump the pedal to slow down didn’t faze her. Makes you wonder what the girl had for breakfast. Raw meat by the sound of things. Her pace was also a surprise to Nikki Addison and Rachel Matheson who finished 6th in class in the Peugeot 106. They were only half a minute behind Meghan at the finish and they weren’t hanging about either catching two cars in two stages and still had time for a straight-on at a junction! According to 7th placed Willie and Craig Nelson that was “the best rally ever.” This was their first closed rally and the new flat-shift in the Escort Mk2 “was great.” It was also the first time here for Calum MacDougall and Tommy Logan in their Citroën Saxo VTS and finished 8th which included a sobering spin on the first stage. Ashleigh Morris and Martin Haggett were on good form in the Ford Fiesta R200 but lost any chance of a top class finish when they had to stop and change a punctured tyre in SS4 losing over six minutes in the process. Shona Hale and Cameron Dunn in the pretty standard, road rally Vauxhall Astra were final class finishers with Shone beaming by the finish of her first closed road event. Justin Gunning and Keir Beaton might have been expected to be amongst the leaders but for the fact that someone had built a dry stane dyke (a long time ago!) on the outside of a downhill right hander just over a crest in the first stage. With the Fiesta R2 going light on its suspension just over the crest it locked up, went straight on and clattered the dyke, with the front n/s corner taking the brunt of the impact. Nigel Atkinson and Michelle Hunter also failed to finish due to a very simple but very costly failure. The Escort’s master brake cylinder plastic cap cracked and allowed all the fluid to spray out. So what would a new part cost? A few pence perhaps? David McIntyre and Andy Brown had wheeled out the old Vauxhall Nova to replace the temperamental Citroen C2 but after catching a car in the first stage, over exuberance resulted in clouting a verge and knocking the crank sensor off. They were classified as non-finishers along with Frazer Smith/Clare MacKenzie, Doug Logan/Greg Halfpenny and Peter Fleming/Kirsty Mochrie.
“I was rubbish on the first three, but better on the last two – that last stage was brilliant ” said the class winning Peter Stewart in the Peugeot 208 Rally4 with Dave Robson. “And of course there was a ‘don’t cut’ on the first stage – and I cut it!” added Peter. Normally a force to be reckoned with on the forest stages, the wee Peugeot didn’t have the poke to muscle in amongst the ‘world’ cars this time! Nearly three minutes behind was the Honda Civic of Stephen Hunter and Owen Paterson after changing the gearbox and diff overnight but still pleased with 2nd in class and their first time on Notes. Considering his first Jim Clark Rally was back in 1971 in a Ford Anglia, Richard Stewart did rather well with Mark Roberts in the class winner’s sister car finishing 3rd, but time doesn’t tell us how finished 51 years ago! (Does anyone have a set f 1971 JCR results?). Former Borders local and now Inverness resident Barry Hogg had returned ‘home’ with a Honda Civic and Andrew Skinner but things didn’t start well. The fuel pump failed before the rally start and they crew incurred a time penalty before they had even turned a wheel in anger and then during the rally had a few more fuel pump issues, so 4th was hard earned. Threatening that this would be his last rally, Ian Logan was 5th in class with daughter Carin in the family Mk2. Carin said she hasn’t laughed so much in ages, the car was never pointing the right way once – and even Ginge had a smile or two on his face! Last event? Some hope! Peter Thornton and Daniel Hurst were 6th in a Renault Clio RS with Katie Thompson and Kirsten Dallas 7th in their Vauxhall Astra. Bringing up the rear were Simon Mills and Barry Young having their first run on a closed road event and their first time on Notes but it was a broken driveshaft on SS2 on their Vauxhall Astra that scuppered any hopes of doing better. Allan and Sam Smith parked their Civic in the shrubbery while Keith and Graeme Meins had the clutch fail on their Proton Satria.
There was disbelief in some quarters when the winner of Class 6 was revealed, and not just because he had won a pot, but had finished the bluidy rally! Brian Watson and Chris Lees took the class in the Escort Mk2 but begs the question – where was the real Sheriff? First time Reivers visitors, Iain Sanderson and Kyle Dods were 2nd in their Mk2 with Iain remarking: “I’ve never had it flat out so much and for so long.” Proving that wonders will never cease Graeme Sherry and Ewan Lees also finished and also scored a class result with 3rd, despite the Manta looking pretty second hand at the rear. In fact there was no rear o/s quarter at all, just a big jagged space where there was previously a wing, boot and lights. Apparently the telegraph pole escaped with cuts and bruises. Gregg Lithgow and Chloe Fleming had nothing to report with their Mk2 in 4th place ahead of the Mk2 of Graham Bruce and David Aitken making their first visit to the Reivers, but reckoned that a panicky lock-up on the first stage sobered them up to make the finish in one piece. Still sporting the tribute to the late Bob Milloy (who was sorely missed in Duns Square) the Escort Mk2 of Jim McDowall and Heidi Woodcock was 6th ahead of the Chevette of Alex McClelland/Brian McClelland. When you look back on Alistair Brearley’s long and quite illustrious career it was rather surprising to note that this was the first time he had driven an Escort on ‘black roads’. Anyway, with Gerry Bryden on board the Mk2 they’ll soon be competing for the ‘auld codgers’ award as well. Kevin and James Knox were the final finishers in their Chrysler Sunbeam. As for expected front runner John Crawford with Josh Davidson, their rally ended with the Escort upside down in the middle of the road in SS4.