27 Jul: No Spectators at Grampian

One of the biggest entries in recent times is set to tackle this year’s Grampian Forest Rally, but sadly the popular 14 August motorsport event will run behind closed doors due to the restrictions in place.
 
Over 120 crews from across the UK and beyond have placed an entry to the rally, which is organised by Stonehaven and District Motor Club, and based in Crathes near Banchory. This year, the event will welcome both the British Rally Championship and KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship with competitors heading into the nearby Kincardineshire forests for a full day of action.
 
But, due to the current landscape and restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 situation, the rally will run without spectators. Event spokesperson and Rally Secretary Gordon Ritchie explains the situation.

“It’s just under three weeks to the Grampian Forest Stages and the ongoing Covid-19 situation continues to put additional challenges in the way of the organising team,” he says.

“Scotland has moved to Level Zero restrictions and the next Scottish Government announcement is expected on 2nd August to possibly come into effect on 9th August, just five days before the rally.

“It is immensely difficult to plan all aspects of a major sporting event against this unknown changing framework. We need to take into account the rules and guidance issued by the Scottish Government, the protocols agreed between Holyrood and Motorsport UK, the requirements of the various landowners, in particular Forestry & Land Scotland and the views of the Local Authority.”

“In light of all this, the Grampian Forest Rally organisers have made the difficult decision to give early notice that the rally this year is confirmed as `non-spectator`.

The entire event organising team have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to try and overcome the challenges presented by the pandemic and are disappointed with the decision.

“It is true that there have been sporting events held with large crowds, including football, tennis and of course the British F1 Grand Prix at Silverstone but all of these events are in fixed venues with pre-sold tickets” continues Ritchie.

“Entry to these events is controlled with people perhaps giving evidence of vaccination status or Covid test results and with the contact details of ticket holders available for Covid Track & Trace. None of this can apply to spectators at a forest stage rally.

“We understand that this will be a disappointment to many, no more so than us, for the fans and event partners. However, in the interests of the sport, we do ask that you act responsibly, stay well clear of the forests over the rally weekend and do not make travel arrangements into the area.”

“Any spectator activity in the stages will affect the running of the event.”

“Please also stay clear of the Service Park which due to infection control requirements will be off-limits to everyone except competitors, registered service and support personnel, and authorised rally officials and marshals.”

The event will have extensive coverage on social media thanks to the British Rally Championship with the Scottish Rally Championship also planning live broadcasts throughout the day to enable fans to enjoy the action from home.
 
More information on the Grampian Forest Rally will follow in the coming weeks.

**

22 Jul: Mach1 – Blethers

 … Tales from the Mach …

As hinted at elsewhere, the Mach1 Stages Class roundup report wasn’t quite as comprehensive as the Editor would have liked, but that was due to circumstances outwith his control. It wasn’t just the spread out nature of the four ‘servicing’ bubbles and Junior 1000 section in the Machrihanish service area, the editorial transport was out of action. As was his wont the Editor had set off to cycle around the stages on the Friday evening to see what dangers and challenges lay ahead. He didn’t make it. At the farthest point from the service area, the rear tyre punctured. The puncture repair kit was back in the van. A 1.6 mile walk is a breeze, but not when pushing a lump of recalcitrant ironmongery. Hopes of a saviour were dashed when the Set Up crew swept past in their van with a cheery wave, but they had other priorities. Then the sound of another engine was heard so the Editor pulled up one leg of his shorts to expose the flesh and stuck a thumb in the air. This time the Safety Officer swept past with no wave at all. The next plan was to lie down in the road ahead of the next car. There was none. So the walk commenced. However, solace was found back at service when the Set Up crew was prevailed upon to give the peched-oot Editor and bike a lift to the van at the other side of the service area where repairs were effected. Fair dead chuffed with himself, the Editor swung a leg over the bike in a most athletic manoeuvre and set off. But not far. Another puncture. Turns out the tube had mair holes than an Arbuthnott sock courtesy of the long push back with a flat tyre on the rim and the tube getting continually nipped. So no editorial carriage the following day. Editorial perambulations were therefore carried out on Shanks’ pony over the next two days!

Congratulations are due to the boy Kyle Adam. He got engaged to Katy ahead of the Mach1 – Lockdown does have some serious consequences, eh? Apparently she was a finalist on the TV’s Masterchef programme which generated a certain response from the ever financially gregarious faither, one Gary Adam Esq: “That’ll be the wedding catering sorted then!” I’ll need to have a quiet word with the girl before I offer my best wishes.

John Rintoul missed most of Saturday’s stages when the Fiesta’s PDU failed. This is the sensor which controls the power delivery to the four wheel drive system. Whilst chatting with Derek McGarrity, Derek mentioned that his son had a spare and John can have it so he can have a run out on the Sunday stages. Naturally John said yes, thinking it was in the van, but Derek said no, it was back home in Northern Ireland. So guess what, later that afternoon Derek flew John over to NI in his helicopter to collect the part and fly back, a 22 minute round trip. Now there’s a way to beat Brexit, load up the chopper with sausages.

Despite what you might have read elsewhere (The Sheriff’s Facebook page!) the reason for Barry Groundwater’s off in Argyll was due to a puncture picked up going round a chicane and on the exit just dragged the car off the road into a ditch. No real damage but stuck.

Kieran O’Kane had a brand new engine in the Ascona for Mach1 but had trouble with overheating causing the car to go into ‘limp mode’ over the first two stages which prompted an investigation. The temperature gauge was bolted to the engine  block right beside an exhaust header. Magic heat reflective tape was wound round both items – problem solved.

Willie Nelson was having his first proper run out in his newly acquired 1600cc Escort but had a misfire over the first couple of stages. The cause was traced to plug lead No4. Hamish found it – when he got a shock!

Despite hitting a bale on the first stage with his Escort Lorn McFadyen was going well until the later stages when the car was forced to retire when the crankshaft seal started leaking oil on to the clutch. Up until that point the best performing part of the team was 15 year first-timer co-driver Layla.

Kenny Watt had a grand day out despite having to miss out two stages after some trouble with the Mini. It was his first time at Machrihanish and also a first for 18 year old Ella Tyson from Cumbria who made the long trip to co-drive. She’s dead keen to do more and has a Facebook page if you want to contact her. Not only is she good at the job, she’s as light as a feather – and Kenny isn’t, so the wee Mini still had to work hard!

Apparently there was a general call issued during the rally for smelling salts, or some other effective life reviver, all suggestions gratefully accepted. The recipient in need of such drastic action was Ronnie Thom, and what occasioned this necessity? Sandy Arbuthnott approached him to buy two brand new tyres! It paid off, Sandy and Ian finished 24th in the Subaru powered Focus.

And finally …

And now a revelation. There appears to be three Ian Forgans, and that’s not counting his faither, as Ian the First explained ahead of the Argyll Rally: “There is the brave Ian Forgan who alters the Notes when watching the DVD, then there is the less brave Ian Forgan who alters the alterations during the recce and then there is the third Ian Forgan who is a real pussy and wimps out during the rally!”

22 Jul: Scottish Rally – Preview

… RSAC Scottish Rally, 24 July 2021 … Almost 140 cars and crews from all around the UK are entered for Saturday’s RSAC Scottish Rally and there is an awfy abundance of classes – see end of Entry List for details. In fact, it looks as though everyone who finishes […] Read more »

20 Jul: Mach1 – Class Roundup

… Mach1 Stages Rally, 10/11 July 2021 … Class Roundup … Class 1, Up to 1400cc Driving his awfy smart looking, completely rebuilt Peugeot 205 (who says Lockdown didn’t have side benefits) was Cameron Craig who scored the class win with Terry Mallin in the hot seat. And no, that […] Read more »

18 Jul: Mach1 Stages – Main Report

 … Mach1 Stages Rally, 10/11 July 2021 … Months of frustration and boredom exploded on to the runways and perimeter roads at Machrihanish in the Mull of Kintyre when the 2021 Marshall Construction Scottish Tarmack Championship opened for business on the weekend of 10/11 July. Organised by Dunfermline Car Club, […] Read more »

18 Jul: Mach1 Stages – Juniors

 … Mach1 Stages Rally, 10/11 July 2021 … Archie Swinscoe Tops the Juniors … It was a long time in coming, however the 2021 Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge eventually got started on Saturday 10th July when the excited crews lined up at the start line of the 2021 Mach 1 […] Read more »