… Dumfries & Galloway RSAC Scottish Rally, Sat 23 July 2022 …
Rd5 (of 8) 2022 KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship …
In a land of R5s and Rally2s, there appeared a red Lancer – and a black one, and an orangey coloured one – plus an Escort Mk2 to take them on. And take them on they did, with three old tech and one really old tech cars in the top ten at the conclusion of the battle of the Dumfries & Galloway RSAC Scottish Rally. And a right royal battle it was with many of the combatants suffering punctures of one sort of another, to tyres, hopes and pride!
Out of that melee Michael Binnie and Claire Mole scored a quite remarkable victory ahead of the Ford Fiesta R5 of Hugh Brunton and Drew Sturrock and the Fiesta Rally2 of David Henderson and Chris Lees with another Fiesta R5 in fourth place, that of Joe Hegarty and David Turkington.
That means Binnie and Mole have scored two maximum point scores so far in this year’s KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship compared to David Bogie’s three, as he and John Rowan ended their ‘Scottish’ parked up and wounded on Stage 2.
With his brand new Fiesta Rally2 being delivered late on Thursday evening before the rally, David Bogie had time at the Friday test session to work on the setup, but: “The standard M-Sport set up was too hard so it was just a question of softening it off although I could have done with more time!” said Bogie.
Even so, Bogie shared fastest time, perhaps surrpsingly, with David Henderson and Chris Lees in their Fiesta Rally2 on the Dinnings Hill opening stage with Henderson commenting: “This is my first time here since 2002, and first time on gravel with this car.” Only two seconds behind them was the Fiesta Rally 5 of Freddie Milne and Patrick Walsh. Already this was looking like a Ford ‘whitewash’ with three more cars tied on third fastest time, the Fiesta R5 of Hugh Brunton and Drew Sturrock ahead of the Hyundai i20 R5 of John Wink and Neil Shanks – and the Mitsubishi Lancer of Binnie and Mole! Game on.
Meanwhile, former Mitsubishi Galant crew, Tom Coughtrie and Ian Fraser were fulfilling a rather ill-thought desire: “We hired a Ford Fiesta Rally2 from Dommie. It’s like a spaceship in here compared to the Galant with buttons, displays and procedures to follow. We almost spun at the first corner of the first stage, so that knocked my confidence right away,” said Coughtrie.
It all went wrong for Bogie in the recently regraded Castle O’er test: “I just put two wheels on the gravel edge. They must have been quite flinty because both tyres punctured – and I had only one spare!” Also in trouble was the Lancer of Scott McCombie and Murray Strachan which repeated it’s Argyll Rally trick of snapping the Hardy Spicer prop shaft joint.
This time it was Binnie who set fastest time by one second from Milne and three from Henderson. Brunton was fourth quickest just ahead of the Lancer Evo9 of Angus Lawrie and Paul Gribben with a smiling Joe Hegarty and David Turkington completing the top six fastest times in their Fiesta R5 as Hegarty added: “This is only my second time on gravel with this car.” As for Wink, the Hyundai lost a few seconds when it caught the Proton of Mark McCulloch driving out on a puncture.
It nearly went all wrong in here for Coughtrie grappling with the complexities of ultra modern rally cars: “We were off on one side of the road, then the other. We nearly went home at the end of it.” Also having an on/off run was the Fiesta R5 of John Rintoul and Ross Hynd: “We got a n/s front puncture in there – but I had a bit of a moment before it, so that’s probably what caused it.”
It was Binnie again in Stage 3 where Twiglees was in superb condition. Henderson was second fastest ahead of Milne who was grinning widely at the stage finish: “I wish I had another gear for in there. It was very fast, I loved it. Perhaps I could have gone quicker had I realised it was so good.” Wink and Brunton shared fourth fastest ahead of Lawrie and McCulloch. As for Coughtrie?: “I really liked that a lot better.” Progress was being made.
As they headed for service in the Subaru, Orrin McDonnell and Eoghan Anderson were looking a bit puzzled: “The brake balance is not right, there’s too much to the rear – but I don’t know which way to turn the knob,” said McDonnell.
After first service both Milne and Henderson struck trouble in Gill Knowe. “The front n/s went down first,” said Milne, “then the rear o/s – and I had only one spare.” Henderson suffered a sudden deflation rounding a left hander where the Fiesta bottomed out and spun. Binnie was therefore able to open up a bigger gap to the pursuit this time led by Brunton and Hegarty with Wink back on the pace. Lawrie was fifth quickest despite bending a bottom arm which bounced him into a ditch, while team mates Willie Paterson and Tom Hynd got into the top six for the first time with their Evo9 having lost time on the previous stage with a puncture, but there was a wry smile from Paterson: “We had two big offs in there, right across the ditch in one, I think we used up all our luck in there.”
Kevin Crawford and Andrew Stevenson departed the fray when the Lancer exited the stage only to break down on the next road section: “The gearbox jammed in 6th gear, and although we managed to rock it free, it didn’t feel right, so thought best to retire in case we caused more damage and find out what the problems is.”
Henderson was primed for a big attack in the 8.9 mile Ae test, until he punctured another tyre, but he was carrying two spares so was able to reach final Service. Lady Luck must have been riding with Binnie: “We got a puncture in here but the tyre didn’t go down and we were able to change it on the road section.” He was again able to stretch his lead keeping Brunton at bay with a jubilant Paterson third fastest (and no doubt Coltness Car Club members will never hear the end of it!) ahead of Lawrie who shared fourth fastest time with Hegarty.
This time there was another machine in the top six fastest times, the Historic spec Escort Mk2 of Stuart Egglestone and Brian Hodgson, but Wink was out, the Hyundai parked upside down in a ditch. Wink had been caught out under braking in the changing wet and slippery conditions as the rain came down and slid off, clipping a tree which tipped the car into a ditch.
One stage to go, the 9.4 mile Rivox test. Henderson had dropped to 16th overall with his spin and puncture on SS4 and his second SS5 puncture but his pace through that final test displaced Hegarty for the final step on the podium: “After two punctures I just wanted to ensure I was really on the pace,” said Henderson, “so I gave it a push and got third.” Hegarty was lucky to finish though. The Fiesta had broken a driveshaft which broke the steering with Hegarty struggling mightily to manhandle the broken car through the stage finish.
Binnie was second quickest ahead of Brunton on course for his best gravel result to date: “I lost concentration a wee bit in that last stage and smacked the back end against something but we got away with it.”
The Lancer twins, Lawrie and Paterson finished fifth and sixth just six seconds apart with Lawrie getting the bragging rights – this time! “The car steamed up inside and I couldn’t see the mirrors either,” said Lawrie, “so I couldn’t see if Willie was catching me or not.” He didn’t.
Mark McCulloch and Michael Hendry would have done better than seventh with the Proton Satria Evo had it not been for his puncture and they actually finished the final stage with fingers crossed: “We had a broken wheel nut, and didn’t want any more.” He just managed to keep the Fiesta R5 of John Rintoul and Ross Hynd behind him by one second. Egglestone scored a magnificent ninth place overall in the Mk2 despite a strong smell of rubber inside the car on the final stage: “I thought we had a puncture, but it was the car in front of us that we were catching which had the puncture!” Rounding off the ten was the puncture-free Fiesta Rally 2 of Bob Adamson and Jamie Edwards: “The plan was to drive so fast over the rough bits, we wouldn’t get any punctures!”
Just outside the top ten was the second 2WD machine, the Peugeot 208 Rally4 of Peter Stewart and Harry Marchbank in 11th place overall, but the day belong to Binnie and Mole.
Surprisingly, Binnie admitted at the finish: “I don’t think I drove particularly well today, but the times showed otherwise,” with Mole nodding in agreement suggesting, “He’s driven better and scored worse results.”
1 Michael Binnie/Claire Mole (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9) 42m 20s
2 Hugh Brunton/Drew Sturrock (Ford Fiesta R5) +45s
3 David Henderson/Chris Lees (Ford Fiesta Rally2) +1m 34s
4 Joe Hegarty/David Turkington (Ford Fiesta R5) +2m 05s
5 Angus Lawrie/Paul Gribben (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9) +2m 10s
6 William Patterson/Tom Hynd (Mitsubishi Evo9) +2m 16s
7 Mark McCulloch/Michael Hendry (Proton Satria Evo) 3m 30s
8 John Rintoul/Ross Hynd (Ford Fiesta R5) +3m 31s
9 Stuart Egglestone/Brian Hodgson (Ford Escort Mk2) +3m 40s
10 Robert Adamson/Jamie Edwards (Ford Fiesta Rally2) +3m 51s
C1: Niall Cowan/Chris Wareham (MG 3); C2: Martyn Erskine/Kieran Hyslop (Peugeot 206 Cup); C3: Graeme Sherry/Ewan Lees (Opel Manta); C5: Mike Moates/Gary McDonald (Subaru Impreza); M2: Keith Riddick/Mairi Riddick (MG ZR); M4: John Crawford/Karen MacLeod (Ford Escort Mk2); M5: Gordon Murray/Michael Cruickshank (Ford Escort Mk2); M6: Orrin McDonnell/Eoghan Anderson (Subaru Impreza); M7: Binnie/Mole; Pro2: Peter Stewart/Harry Marchbank (Peugeot 208 Rally4); Pro4: Brunton/Sturrock; H1: Egglestone/Hodgson; H2: Steve Bannister/Dave Robson (Ford Escort Mk2); LR: Daniel Hedges/Jake William Ian Pumphrey (Land Rover Defender)