… Brick & Steel Border Counties … Class Roundup …
Angus Lawrie took the 1450cc class in his Vauxhall Corsa while Ross Carbry’s Corsa ended its day in the first stage with a broken driveshaft. Niall Cowan finished second in his MG ZR but admitted: “I’ll need to watch the in-car to see just how many ditches we were in!” As for newcomer Ruairidh Blacklaws he was still going in SS5, despite losing time when he knocked off the ignition switch and didn’t realise what it was (Dohhh!), and then went into S66 – never to be seen again. So whether the Corsa went off or broke down, we dinnae ken.
On only his fifth event (and 3rd finish!) Scott Beattie won Class 3 and finished 26th overall in his Talbot Sunbeam ahead of the top placed Peugeot 205 of Ben Cree who survived an over-exuberant blast over the finish line in SS3 which resulted in “one slight ditch visit”. Robbie Beattie finished third in his 205 after a puncture on the final stage. Luke McLaren got fourth place in his 205 despite limping into the finish with a failing clutch and David Hunter was beaming from ear to ear as he finished fifth in his 205: “I caught two cars in that last stage. A good day,” he said. Rounding off the class finishers was the Peugeot 205 of Douglas Cameron who was unable to switch the beast off all day as the starter motor failed after the first stage. Donald Peacock failed to make an impact on the class points today following a tricky Left 3 into a Right 6 on the downhill finish in SS5. He says a driveshaft broke, but co-driver Scott Peacock was more forthcoming when he said that it was “a fourth gear ‘looking out of the side windows job’ when it broke.” No doubt father and son will continue to differ on the finer points of rally car control.
Steven Smith took Class 4 in his Escort after a trying day, first when a brake pipe burst on the morning loop and then the diff started to get noisy in the afternoon requiring more than just crossed fingers to make it to the Jedburgh finish. Alex Curran was second in his Corsa with nothing to report but added that his ‘new’ co-driver Susan Shanks was pretty good on the Notes and schedules. Murray Coulthard made it to the finish in his Citroen C2, just 10 seconds behind Curran, having survived “one red mist moment” but John Frew got him back under control. And after all the doom and gloom on the Snowman (and not just the weather) Thomas Gray was smiling at the end of the Border Counties as the Fiesta behaved itself: “We had a big push on the final stage – and got a puncture,” he said. There was a surprise in store as ex-Vauxhall driver David Martin pulled up to the finish in his new Citroen C2, swished down his electric window and said: “This is too posh for the likes of me. We just had one moment in Elibank when the low sun blinded me and we ended up in a ditch, but kept going.” Final class finisher was Gina Walker on her first forest rally in the Citroen C2: “That was great,” she said, “Dad’s already been on the phone. I don’t think he’s worried about me, he asked about the car!” As for young Drew Struthers, his Citroen ended up, wheels in the air, in the first stage while Jordan Black got as far as Stage 5 before he too parked his Citroen (sunny side up though) in the boondocks. Both are from Coltness Car Club – must be something in the south Lanarkshire water.
Three Mk2s took the class points with John McIlwraith scoring the win from Andy Chalmers after struggling all day with braking problems: “The fronts kept locking and I got caught out a few times turning into corners. It got a bit hectic at times,” he grinned. Ian Heard was third losing a lot of time in the second stage when the distributor broke.
Top 2WD runner on the day was Steve Bannister who finished 16th overall to add to his class win ahead of Darren Moon in another Mk2. Darren arrived too late on Friday evening to catch the tyre trucks and on Saturday morning was too late to get anything suitable. He started the rally on the same tyres that he used on the second half of the Riponian Rally before getting some of Steve’s ‘cast-offs’ to get him to the finish. Andy Kelly finished third in his Mk1 ahead of the Mk2 of Dave Forrest who was hampered by a misfire in SS5 before getting it cleared for the final stage. Peter Humphrey was having his first run out in the Kadett since last year’s Reivers and finish fifth ahead of Ian Milne in the Mk2. Alan McMorran finished 7th in his Avenger and was another who paid an unplanned visit to a ditch when the low sun blinded him. Alistair Murray was the final finisher and pleased to do so as his Avenger’s carburettor was falling apart. Matthew Robinson retired his Fiat 131S in the final stage when the car hit a rock “and broke something underneath!”
There was just 13 seconds between the two finishers in this class with Alan Cowan taking a narrow victory over Caroline Carslaw. “There was a slidey bit in SS5,” said the Astra driver, “it was a big green, slimey puddle and we were nearly off, but the stages were good and I enjoyed the whole thing,” while Caroline admitted to “a wee spin in the third stage” in her Fiesta.
Grant Inglis took the victory in his Mk2 after repairing a burst brake pipe union while Greg McKnight, who was tenth fastest on the opening stage, lost out when the rear end of his Escort made violent contact with a banking on a 4th gear corner in stage 2, although he recovered to finish second in class ahead of Keith Seagar in his BMW Compact. Dougal Brown disappeared in SS3 and didn’t reach service so the cause of his demise remains a mystery,
There was only one finisher in this class when Donald Brooker drive into Jedburgh in his BMW 130i after “a good day” in the forests but it wasn’t so good for Gordon Murray who parked his Escort up in SS4.
Top Group N runner was Alasdair Graham now getting the hang of his Evo9 although he got lost in the Notes on SS2, although that wasn’t Laura’s fault. Craig Rutherford scored a finish and second in class when the Subaru behaved itself this weekend picking up speed as the day wore on. John Morrison was third after losing 5 minutes in SS2 with no fuel pressure and the engine cut out completely. Fuel pump failure was diagnosed as the cause. Fraser Wilson was fourth and final class finisher after a day plagued with brake trouble.
Faulkner, Robertson and MacDonald were the top three in Class 11 with the ever improving John Wink scoring fourth in his Evo9 and just missing out on a top ten finish in 11h place overall but he was under pressure from his team mentor: “Ken (Wood) told me he’d drive it himself if I didn’t get a move on.” Scott MacBeth was fifth in his Evo9 after losing 40 seconds with a front left puncture and Stephen Lockhart was sixth in his Evo6. Iain Wilson had a front puncture in his Subaru for most of the penultimate stage finishing 7th ahead of Ian Baumgart’s Subaru now with gearbox fully restored after his Malcolm Wilson outing. Keith Morris got his Evo6 round in ninth place but the ol’timer is still struggling to get his head around the use of Notes. Typical man, can’t cope with multi-tasking. Rally newcomer and ex-karter Michael Binnie rounded off the top ten in his borrowed Evo5 and raved about the amount of air he got over the jump in the final stage. Matthew Thomson struggled with front end grip in his Subaru but finished 11th ahead of Linzi Henderson who had a “wee moment” in SS4: “It was a Right, Left, Right,” said Linzi, “and I straight lined it, but hit a bump and nearly into a ditch. I just powered it out and kept going – Dad (Walter) would have been proud of me.” Geoff Goudie was running in a new car (to him) and was taking no risks scoring 13th with the Subaru which is due for anti-lag fitting before its next outing. Jan Budge lost time with a fuel pump problem and Scott Mutch was lying ninth in his Subaru at the half way halt, then blew it on the penultimate stage: “I was too hot into a Left 2, it went sideways, then backwards down a banking,” said Scott, “if it hadn’t been for the spectators I’d still be there!” Final class finisher was Simon Hay who was lucky to finish after going off in the final stage: “The sun blinded me for an instant and I nearly rolled it on a Left 8. It took us 10 minutes to get it out as there were no spectators nearby.”
Amstrong, McCulloch and McCombie were top points scorers here from Groundwater and Gallacher with Scott McCombie sixth in class after cooling problems in the morning requiring a change of radiator in his Evo9 at service. Ross MacDonald was lucky to survive the final stage: “Matthew called a Right 9 but I took it as a Left 9,” admitted Ross, “lucky there was a patch of grass before the ditch and we got away with it.” Sean Will lost a hose off the Lancer’s turbo in the first stage and then set about making up time: “I think we lightened it a bit – I’ve lost both the front and rear bumpers.” Brian Watson finished 9th in his Evo with James Gibb tenth in his AG Fiesta but saying that he needs a test day away from all this stress! Final finisher was Barry Renwick in the Proton Millington, pleased and relieved to have finished in one piece on only his third ‘proper’ gravel rally.
Pearson and Sinclair were the only finishers in the unlimited class with John Rintoul having departed the fray on the final stage when the Hyundai decided to head for some shade in the trees out of the strong Spring sunshine. No damage, but too far for the boys to shove out.