… B&S Border Counties Class Roundup …
After winning the class on the Snowman despite finishing with the Nova’s big ends clattering, Scott MacBeth won the 1400 class again. “It’s a new engine but we’ve got a problem,” said MacBeth, “it started well this morning but won’t rev above 4000 rpm now. We think it’s electrical and we’ve changed everything, but still can’t find it.” Derek Connell was second in his Corsa, but was impressed with catching a MkII Escort on the final stage, until he got so close that it smashed a headlight. Earlier he had punctured a tyre in the second stage but didn’t realise till he got to service. Scott Sloan was third, despite going off backwards into the trees on the third stage and both Angus Lawrie and Linzi Henderson failed to finish falling victim to a long slippery straight in SS4 which sooked the cars into a ditch.
Iain Haining won Class 3 in his Vauxhall Nova with his ‘new’ engine: “It’s a 74,000 mile unit out of a scrapped Astra,” he explained, “but we were lucky. The bolts on one of the rear hubs had worked loose, but I borrowed a spanner from another competitor and tightened them before the last stage. We also had a problem this morning when the heater motor failed and the windscreen steamed up.” Charles Blair finished second in class clinching the Peugeot 205 category from third placed Adrian Stewart. “We had a big push in that last stage to make sure we kept the lead because Adrian wasn’t far behind,” said Charles, “but on the way into the finish here, the engine has lost power.” Adrian was happy with third in class and 2nd 205 and was hanging on to Charles’ flying coat tails till the final stage: “It was quite stoney in there,” said Adrian, “and I didn’t want to risk a puncture.” Andy Stretton was dead chuffed with fourth in class after a last minute change of co-driver overnight and Donald Peacock was fifth despite: “We nearly cowped in the third yin and we went up a firebreak in the last stage, but we’re here.” Blair Brown was sixth and quite chuffed with fastest 205 time in the third stage but had a faulty air flow meter in the next one which caused a misfire. David McLoughlin survived “a moment” in the final stage to finish seventh and although he did actually complete the route, Scott Peacock was classified as OTL: “Whit a day we’ve had,” he puffed, “the air flow meter failed, a relay failed and a bolt for the battery terminal came off – and that wis just the start.” Donald MacNeill, Andy Chalmers and Simon Hay all failed to reach Jedburgh as well.
First time out in the new Ford Fiesta R200, John MacCrone won Class 4. He was very cautious through the opening stage: “It was strange being back in right hand drive again,” said John, “I was in and out of every ditch I think. I couldn’t find any traction on the first two in the snow, but happy with the following three, and pulled back a fair bit of time. I’m really happy with the car.” Iain Wilson was second in the Nova: “I had a gingery start to the day on the snow then the steering column fell in my lap on the second stage,” said Wilson, “but I needed the points today because I’ll miss the Granite, I was 9 seconds down on Greg (McKnight) going into the last stage so I needed a big push.” It was enough to clinch second place by ten seconds: “I just didn’t go hard enough in that last stage,” said Greg, he (Wilson) took 18 seconds out of me, but the car’s spot on.” Alasdair S Graham was fourth after a relatively trouble free day, ahead of Carl Tuer. “We were third on the road this morning,” said Carl, “and just slid off on the snow. That cost us too much time to get back so settled for a nice drive in the country.” Duncan Campbell was sixth in the Civic: “We were lucky a couple of times today,” said Duncan, “we had a soft brake pedal all day and a moment in both SS1 and SS3. We were fortunate not to hit a bridge the second time.” Jim Robertson was seventh with the wee Citroen as he continues his love affair with all things mechanical and French: “The first two stages were good, then it cut out on Stage 3 and 4, and stopped completely on Stage 5. I thought it was all over – then it fired up again and didn’t miss a beat on the way in to the finish.” Matthew Kesson was eighth in class despite a couple of “scary moments in the snow” and Malcolm Robertson was ninth: “I was more off than on during the first stage,” said Malcolm, “then flung it off on a loose right in the second. We wouldn’t have got out with the help of spectators but lost 6 minutes, then had a huge spin in SS4.” The Fiestas of Peter Stewart slid off on SS4 and Kieran Renton’s was off in SS2, which then got hit by another car which bounced off his and kept going! Grant Inglis broke a driveshaft in the Honda on the first stage and Alex Curran’s Corsa dropped a valve.
Iain Heard had a good run in his MkII winning Class 5 by just 18 seconds from David Cameron whose steering rack rubbers disintegrated in the final stage leaving the MkII with a ‘fully floating rack’! Douglas Watt failed the finish when the clutch failed on his MkII.
Top 2WD runner on the day was Steve Bannister in 19th place overall from Matthew Robinson who finished just one second in from of Andy Kelly in his MkI Escort. Banner therefore won Class 6 and got his own back on Robinson for the Malcolm Wilson Rally result. As for Sandy Kelly, the old hands were not surprised at his result, he always excels in conditions like these and has history. He won a very snowy 1986 Valentine Rally outright in a 1600cc Talbot Sunbeam! But he wasn’t without his troubles. He had to carry one of those ‘jump start battery boxes’ in the car as the alternator wasn’t charging the battery and was struggling to power the fuel pumps, and the gearbox was not selecting cleanly. Tom Hewick finished fourth in class, but of more importance to him was finishing 9 seconds in front of Charlie Taylor. “It’s my first visit to Scotland in daylight,” beamed Tom, “I’ve been here before on RAC Rally stages but only in the dark!” as for Charlie he had just one question: “Does it always snow at this time up here?” but I really enjoyed it. John McIlwraith was sixth ahead of Marcus Noble and Ian Watson. David Goose had a wee off at the end of SS1 and lost the use of reverse gear so had to be careful after that and Peter Humphrey was the final Class 6 finisher after a bad start which saw the Kadett cutting out a lot on the first two stages. But after ‘tinkering’ with the car at service it never missed a beat: “I still don’t know what they did to it,” said Peter, “and I don’t think they did either!” Steven Smith reach the finish line in the MkI and was just about last man home, but was OTL: “A battery terminal sheared off in the first stage but we managed to wedge the connection back in place with a stick and carry on,” said Steven, “then it cut out again in SS2 – the stick fell off!” Once fixed properly at service his times started to look reasonable again. Duncan Ferguson’s gearbox broke in the MkII and a wheel came off Brian Middlemass’ Avenger in SS3. Phil, Jobson and Peter Smith also failed to finish.
First time out in his Fiesta ST, Calum Atkinson won the Class helped by the fact that Graeme Schoneville slid off the first stage with his Honda Civic. At the finish, Calum noted: “It goes through tyres quicker than the old Peugeot.”
Paul Hudson was the only finisher when Gordon Murray retired on the first stage with his co-driver holding his hands up.”Entirely my fault,” said Phil, and they were still talking and laughing when I left them.
Timothy Cathcart won Class 9 first time out in his Citroen DS3: “It’s a tad quicker than the Fiesta,” he said. Colin Aitchison was second in the Chevette and Robert Harkness failed to finish in the BMW when the transmission failed. “The diff has just been rebuilt,” said Robert, “so I hope it’s not that.”
Andrew Gallacher took the class win and his best overall result to date with sixth place at the finish. Fraser Wilson was second but admitted that he had his rear tyres on the wrong way round for the first two stages. It wasn’t a big problem but he was puzzled by the lack of grip till he noticed. John McClory was third and John Morrison fourth: “I was convinced that the tyres I used on Rally GB would be ideal for this,” said John, “but changed them after the first two stages and it went better from there.” Dale Robertson recovered from his brake pipe failure to finish fifth ahead of Tony Thompson who had a “great run round” in his Subaru.
The big cars filled the top places in Class 12, but Mark McCulloch in the Subaru recovered to finish 9th in class behind Bruce McCombie. “We lost boost half way through the first stage,” said Mark, “and it was coming and going through stage2. We checked everything at first service. It turned out that the clips holding the lead on to the coil had broken so we cable tied it to finish.” Dougal Brown was 10th in class having been in the top six after two stages. “We got a puncture in SS2 and think it might have taken a knock and put the tracking out,” said Dougal. Craig McMiken was tenth but will need to invest in new wheelnuts, “They’re all rounded at the corners and the sockets keep sticking on them.” Lee Hastings finished 12th after the clutch pedal broke on SS3 and the fuel pump was losing pressure by the finish. Martin Craik was getting the rust out of oxters ahead of Course Car duty on the Granite and Garry Wilson was 14th after an off on the last stage (and a several shouting from daughter Hollie) but spectators pushed them back on. Fraser MacNicol crawled through the final stage when an intercooler pipe came off and Alasdair Anderson did the same in SS2 then hit a stone in the final stage which damaged the front suspension. Darren Martin was scared to look under the Lancer after the final stage where he clouted a culvert and Ellya Gold was full of praise for co-driver Jean Hay’s pace note work on only her second rally. Colin Grant survived a scary moment on the final stage when he got a wheel on the grass and Roland Wessel was out in the BITZ Subaru again but still complaining that it lacks the character and personality of his Lancia. Geoff Goudie broke a front shock absorber on the Subaru and the ECU was on its way restricting the car to 4000 rpm. Tommy Heard finished 22nd in class ahead of the final finisher, Michael Robertson whose Subaru was back in one piece after its underbonnet fire on the Snowman and admitted to just one ‘moment’ on the fourth stage when the car got sooked into a ditch.