07 Nov: Kingdom Stages – Report

… Kingdom Stages Rally, 02 Nov …

Although Andrew Kirkaldy and Peter Carstairs won a wet, slippery and treacherous Kingdom Stages Rally at Crail from Joe McKeand and Callum Shanks in the runner-up spot, it was a superb third place overall that earned Greg Inglis the 2019 Cobble Shop Scottish Tarmack Rally Championship driver’s title by one point from year long rival Kyle Adam. If it was any consolation, Adam’s co-driver Fiona Moir clinched the 2019 Co-driver’s title as Inglis’ co-driver Ian Parker hadn’t contested all the rounds.

Apart from the rain, Crail was almost in benign mood. As one spectator commented: “At least it’s not freezin’, this is the warmest Crail I’ve ever attended.” Aye, obviously a visitor or a tourist, eh?

Also obviously, this was to be a 4WD day on the tarmac. Or perhaps not. Kirkaldy’s Mk2 Escort was out of the blocks faster than a Red Bull whippet, 7 seconds quicker than the Lotus Exige of Alistair Inglis and Harry Marchbank. It was left to Alan Wallace and Darren Robertson to restore some credibility to the total traction brigade in the Lancer with a time some 18 seconds slower than the white frisbee. Next quickest was young Harry Chalmers and Andrew Logan with a scintillating time in their Subaru just 4 seconds behind the Lancer. Greg Inglis was already on the pace, 5th quickest, two seconds up on the Fiesta R2T of Finlay Retson.

Already missing was top seed John Rintoul. In fact, he didn’t even start. The throttle sensor failed as the boys were taking the Fiesta R5 off the trailer before the rally start. It was either no throttle or full throttle – nothing in between. Hardly ideal for these conditions. And with no spare that was him out before he had started.

It was Kirkaldy again in SS2, this time 12 seconds up on Inglis Snr with McKeand only a second behind. Fourth quickest was the indecently quick Fiesta of Retson displacing Chalmers, Inglis Jnr and Wallace.

It all went ‘bladders up’ for Retson on SS3. The potent wee Fiesta got too much wheelspin off the line as it scrabbled for grip, and in one of the slowest understeering ‘offs’ seen since Noah thought about building a boat, the car slid helplessly off line at the first left hander and beached itself astride a lorry tyre marker. Even worse it blocked the stage ahead of the top three seeds who were already on their first flying lap. As a result of which Kirkaldy and the two Inglis’ had to stop and were credited with the fastest time of the next fastest driver, one Alan Wallace Esq. No advantage gained and nothing lost.

And there was more. 100 yards after leaving the start of the stage, the bonnet blew up on Chalmer’s Subaru. It wasn’t a case of a forgetful crew member, the pins broke. Instead of pulling over to close down the bonnet, Harry kept his foot down, peering around the edge and through the gap at the bottom losing only a minute and a half to the fastest boys. Incredible. That dropped him to 7th place overall with McKeand and Kyle Adam benefitting.

By this time, the sun had poked through the grey clouds and the track was drying, although the word ‘drying’ is a relative term in such tricky conditions. Even so, Inglis flew round the stage taking 19 seconds out of Kirkaldy to share the outright lead with his rival at the end of 4 stages. McKeand set third quickest stage time in the absence of Wallace whose Lancer was sidelined with centre diff failure.  Chalmers was 4th quickest ahead of Inglis (Greg) and Jamie Stewart/Kevin Mollison in the Peugeot 205.

Into the 5th stage and Kirkaldy set about retaking the lead – while Inglis Snr didn’t! The orange Lotus hit a patch of water, aquaplaned and spun a series of 4 perfect 360 degree rotations before coming to rest astride a tyre wall. Little damage, but it would need more than a few platefuls of porridge to get the beast off the rubber mountain. McKeand was 2nd quickest through here ahead of Greg and Alan Stark in the Lancer, Kyle Adam, Chalmers and Jonathan MacDonald/Chris Wareham in the Peugeot 306. Greg Inglis dropped a little bit of time in the conditions but was still holding 3rd overall behind McKeand with one stage to go.

There was no stopping Kirkaldy now and he romped round the final test 6 seconds quicker than the McKeand Subaru with Adam getting 3rd quickest in his 1600cc Mk2 ahead of Chalmers, Inglis and Stark.

Jamie Stewart’s excellent run earned him 7th place and 2nd in class behind Inglis Jnr and that was despite no brakes in SS2 and losing what he thought was oil pressure. Turned out the pressure was OK, just the drive belt for the pump was slipping! Frank Pinder had a good run in the Evo3 to finish 8th and Fergus Gray’s BMW was good to watch, and even better to listen to, as it growled into 9th place with MacDonald’s 306 scoring 10th.

Richard Sutherland might have done better than 11th overall had his Opel Manta not broken a driveshaft – helped on its way by getting a bump up the rear end from a locked up, overbraking, tail-gating follower! Ross Chalmers was 12th in the Subaru missing after an unintended excursion into a field, with the Dalgleish boys’ Subaru in 13th place.

In 14th place overall was the 2nd in Class 2 runner (behind Adam) Robbie McTaggart in his Peugeot 106 ahead of 3rd in class Colin Hay (faither of Stephen) and 4th in class Ewan Stanhope in the Corsa Maxi. Eamon Kilmurray was the Class 1 winner in his Citroen C2 GT.

It was therefore a slightly relieved but very upbeat Kirkaldy who took the win in those treacherously slippery, uncertain conditions: “I loved those last two stages, they were really fast, super quick,” said Andrew, “I’m just glad the Escort is in one piece – so my brother (Alan) can’t moan at me!”And as rain washed sun sank into the North Sea, it was time to go home. Wet, weary and bedraggled, but good craic.

Results

  • 1 Andrew Kirkaldy/Peter Carstairs (Ford Escort Mk2) 68mins19secs
  • 2 Joe McKeand/Callum Shanks (Subaru Impreza) +2:13
  • 3 Greg Inglis/Ian Parker (Lotus Exige) +3:03
  • 4 Kyle Adam/Fiona Moir (Ford Escort Mk2) +3:51
  • 5 Harry Chalmers/Andrew Logan (Subaru Impreza) +4:06
  • 6 Greg Stark/Alan Stark (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9) +4:45
  • 7 Jamie Stewart/Kevin Mollison (Peuegot 205) +4:48
  • 8 Frank Pinder/Ian Murray (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo3) +5:13
  • 9 Fergus Gray/Kenny More (BMW 130i) +5:21
  • 10 Jonathan MacDonald/Chris Wareham (Peugeot 306 GTi) +5:22

Class winners

  • Eamonn Kilmurray/Derek Cassells (Citroën C2 GT)
  • Adam/Moir
  • Inglis/Parker
  • Kirkaldy/Carstairs
  • McKeand/Shanks

06 Nov: Jim Clark Rally – Preview

‘International’ Line-Up for Jim Clark Rally

Did you hear the one about the Irishman, the Scotsman, the Englishman and the Welshman? They’re all contesting this weekend’s Jim Clark Rally in Duns.

The return of the Jim Clark Rally has been welcomed right across the country and despite the end of season date, many of the country’s top amateur drivers and their co-drivers are heading to the Scottish Borders. Ahead lies a choice selection of the country’s finest stretches of testing and demanding roads which will be closed by Act of Parliament for a few hours to allow the competition to take place.

Where tractors and Royal Mail vans provide the normal backdrop to country life, the roads will be busy with specialised machines of a very different nature. The sound of high performance engines will replace the rhythmic chug of tractors for a few hours before being handed back to their more habitual custodians.

Heading the entry list is top Irish driver Josh Moffett. Winner of 6 rallies in Ireland and Northern Ireland this season so far, this will be his first ever competitive run out on Scottish tarmac. At number two is top Scot, David Bogie. With one British and five Scottish rally titles already under his belt the Dumfries driver is coming across country to Duns “just for the craic”. Unlike Moffett who will be at the wheel of the latest generation 4WD Ford Fiesta R5, Bogie will be driving his cherished RWD Ford Escort Mk2.

All the way from Hertfordshire is the number 3 seed Robert Swann. For this weekend, the Englishman will swap his Subaru Impreza World Rally Car for a Ford Fiesta WRC machine which will be able to take the fight to Moffett. Another Scot fills the number 4 slot, former race driver Alan Kirkaldy. Fresh from victory in his Fiesta R5 just a few weeks ago on the Cheviot Stages at Otterburn, Kirkaldy will have his eyes on a bigger prize this weekend.

From  Wales comes the number 5 seed Hugh Hunter with his Ford Focus World Rally Car. Hunter hasn’t won a rally this season – yet, and will be keen to make amends this weekend. Rounding off the top six is Manchester’s Steve Simpson, another Fiesta R5 front runner and in his third change of car this year!

Filling the next three places are three more drivers in 4WD machinery, Lincolnshire’s Andy Fenwick in a Fiesta R5 and two more Scots both in Mitsubishi Lancers, local farmer Michael Binnie from Cornhill on Tweed and Inverness car dealer Donnie MacDonald. Completing the top ten line-up is another local hope, Garry Pearson, but like Bogie he has opted for a RWD Ford Escort Mk2. Unlike Bogie, this will be Pearson’s first ever run out in a Mk2 and he’s relishing the challenge. He started rallying in front wheel drive cars and moved on to four wheel drive machines. This will be his first rally where “the wheels are pushing rather than pulling”.

That’s not to say he won’t be competitive. Like Bogie, if conditions are right for the two wheel drive brigade, then the total traction faction will have to keep an eye on their rear vision mirrors.

The outlook for fun and frolics this weekend remains bright and promising, and the organisers will welcome careful and considerate spectators. To that end, four separate spectator areas have been created for fans to gather and cheer on their favourites.

All the information for would-be spectators is here:

https://jimclarkrally.org/index.html

  • Rally Timetable
  • Friday 8th November
  • 15.00 Hrs – Ceremonial Start, Duns Square
  • 15.15 Hrs – SS1, Abbey St Bathans 1
  • 15.56 Hrs – SS2, Langton 1
  • 16.04 Hrs – SS3, Langton 2
  • Saturday 9th November
  • 10.00 Hrs – Ceremonial Re-Start, Duns Square
  • 10.15 Hrs – SS4, Abbey St Bathans 2
  • 10.56 Hrs – SS5, Langton 3
  • 12.17 Hrs – SS6, Abbey St Bathans 3
  • 12.58 Hrs – SS7, Langton 4
  • 14.15 Hrs – SS8, Blackadder 1
  • 14.37 Hrs – SS9, Fogo 1
  • 16.04 Hrs – SS10, Blackadder 2
  • 16.26 Hrs – SS11, Fogo 2

[Full Entry List ]

06 Nov: Jim Clark Rally – Entry List

Jim Clark Rally, 8/9 November 2019 Entry List: No, Driver, Co-Driver, Home Towns, Car Make, Model, Class 1, Josh Moffett/Andy Hayes (Monaghan/Dublin) Ford Fiesta R5, 11 2, David Bogie/Kevin Rae (Dumfries/Hawick) Ford Escort Mk2, 8 3, Robert Swann/Darren Garrod (Bishops Stortford/Pwllheli) Ford Fiesta WRC, 11 4, Alan Kirkaldy/Cameron Fair (St.Andrews/Lancaster) […] Read more »

06 Nov: News from Motorsport UK

… Motorsport UK moves up another gear … While the public applauds the fantastic achievements of Lewis Hamilton in securing a sixth FIA Formula One World Drivers’ Championship title, there are issues to be addressed at the grass roots level. Throughout 2019 Motorsport UK has been evaluating the best strategic […] Read more »

03 Nov: Car of the Year 2019

 … MAZDA SPARKS SCOTS SUCCESS … The all-new Mazda3 has clinched the top title at the 2019 Scottish Car of the Year awards. The head-turning newcomer, which debuts the company’s highly efficient and innovative Skyactiv-X petrol powertrain, was a clear winner in its Family car class and then triumphed over […] Read more »

29 Oct: Kingdom Stages preview

… Kingdom Stages Rally, Crail, Sat 2nd Nov …   The final round of this year’s Cobble Shop STRC will be the Kingdom Stages Rally at Crail, this Saturday, the 2nd November. The first of 6 Special Stages is scheduled to get under way at 08.30 Hrs. Picking a winner […] Read more »