… Dumfries & Galloway RSAC Scottish Rally, Sat 23 July 2022 …
Rd5 (of 8) 2022 KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship
Niall Cowan and Chris Wareham won the class in their MG 3 but only 30 seconds behind was the MG ZR of Robert Tonge and Sean Newlands but they may well have taken the class win was it not for an inadvertent trip into a ditch on SS5 which cost them half a minute! They also had trouble with alternators and were on their third by close of play. Even so, Niall was lucky because a fuel pipe came off the car, but did he fix it himself? Nope: “I shouted on Junior (Niall Cowan Jnr) to come over and fix it, and he did the job in two minutes!” Good lad. He also managed to spin and hit a tree stump and blamed a tyre coming off the rim.
Martyn Erskine and Kieran Hyslop were in charge of Class C2 all the way in their Peugeot 206 Cup car despite a “moment of over exuberance” which took out the FF boards at the finish of the final stage. The laid back approach of Donald Peacock and Mark Roberts was still fast enough to catch a car with Donald complaining that in doing so a stone smashed a front headlight in his second placed Peugeot 205. More expense! Veteran John Midgley and Geoff Maybank were third but having to nurse a troublesome and noisy gearbox in the Toyota Corolla with Bryan and Scott Gourlay bringing up the rear in their 205 although Bryan might have a limp for day or two. Scott stabbed his father in the leg with his pencil for messing up the last hairpin in the final stage going broadside on and nearly tipping over. No respect for his elders, eh?
Graeme Sherry and Ewan Lees were the sole starters and finishers and therefore won their class despite Graeme’s attempts not to do so as he continued his usual trick of leaving bits of Opel Manta strewn around the countryside! So if you find a headlamp lying in the bushes somewhere, you’ll know where it came from.
if you think Donald Peacock is laidback, then a quick peek inside the Subaru of Mike Moates and Gary McDonald will confirm that nothing strenuous ever happens inside here either! They won the class helped by the departure of Jordan Anderson and John Shepherd whose Subaru retired with engine failure in SS4.
Things were fairly close in this class although Keith and Mairi Riddick had it all under control – nearly! They actually finished a superb 16th o/a despite a broken exhaust manifold which almost scuppered their chances but they managed to get it fixed at service and won the class with a 23 second lead in their MG ZR over the Peugeot 208 of the Sloan brothers, Scott and David, whose new approach is paying off “calm down and get a finish is our new resolution!”. In fact they’ve finished every rally they have started this year. In third place, less than half a minute behind was the Vauxhall Adam of Robert Proudlock and Steven Brown also scoring top Junior points in the SRC series. On only his fifth rally, the youngster is learning fast although Steven was heard to comment: “He was all over the place and drove like a fanny on the first stage – and I co-drove like a fanny on the last stage slowing him down too much!” More used to tarmac events, and despite three punctures, Barry Lindsay and Caroline Lodge were 4th in class in the Peugeot 206 Cup car and he finished the rally unable to speak because his mouth was full: “I only get chocolate if I finish!” Niall Cowan Jr and Callum Shanks were 5th in the MG ZR ahead of the Fiesta R2 of Liam Clark and Ben Wild who uttered just one word at the finish “Brilliant”. Newcomer Justin Gunning and Steven Clark had a disappointing day only managing 7th in class in their Fiesta R2 after a double puncture in SS4, but still managed to finish ahead of the MG ZR of Scott Peacock and Craig Wallace. Ashleigh Morris and Martin Haggett would have done better than 9th but for a puncture in the Fiesta R200 on SS5. They stopped to look, but decided to carry on and change the wheel on the road section. Meghan and John O’Kane were 10th in the Fiesta 1600 which had no 1st or 2nd gear although having no brakes was more concerning: “It’s very skitey out there,” said Meghan. They also lost more time in the final stage when the windscreen misted up in the rain – or maybe the ol’man was just wheezing too much! However, the strangest tale concerns a baby rabbit. Meghan said she stopped in a stage because she didn’t want to run over the wee thing which was lost in the middle of the road – apparently her cold hearted Dad was raging!!
“The speed I was going, you don’t get punctures,” said class winners John Crawford and his sister Karen MacLeod as the Escort Mk2 finished almost a minute clear of the similar car of Paul Thompson and Josh Davison with Paul admitting: “The RSAC Scottish was my first rally four years ago – and I crashed on the first stage!” Honour redeemed, eh? Paddy Munro and Dave O’Brien were 3rd in the Escort which blew a wiper fuse – when it rained. Still putting a clutch in at 5am on the morning of the rally, Jim and Charlotte McDowall survived arriving at the FF of the last stage too quickly with the Escort finishing 5th just ahead of the Sunbeam of Rhuaridh Campbell and Shaina Archibald.
“A puncture 5 miles from the end of the final stage ruined my best result of the year,” said disappointed Gordon Murray with Michael Cruickshank as the Escort dropped out of the top 15 but he still won the class from Simon and Tom Pickard despite a rather inelegant finish to their day in the Escort. “The driver’s side windscreen wiper stopped working and I had to lean across Tom to see out his side!” said Simon, who was also under orders from his Dad to ensure that he finished. He pointed out Pickard Snr, and I quickly understood. He’s a big bloke. Sadly Michael Sawyer and Gareth Price had to retire the 2.3 litre Datsun Sunny with fuel feed problems, but it looked pretty quick when it was going.
Orrin McDonnell and Eoghan Anderson were the only starters and finishers in this class with their Subaru although they did have trouble adjusting the brake balance in the car and had a “dodgy” balljoint to nurse.