… Grampian Forest Rally, Class Roundup …
Class 1, 2WD up to 1450cc
Ever the gentleman, Neil Coalter blamed co-driver Hannah Cessford for damage to the Suzuki on their way to winning their class: “We knocked the back wheels out of line going over a big bump,” explained Neil, adding, “it was her fault!” Needless to say Hannah had a rather different opinion, but since this is a family mag her response was considered a bit too robust for this more gentle readership. Steven Crockett was 2nd in class in the Peugeot 205 despite problems with the gear selector. It was fixed for the final two stages with Steven adding: “The stages were brilliant. The new gearbox has made a big difference too.” He was lucky though: “On the final stage, the car dug in on a Left hander and bounced across the road.” Martin Farquhar was 3rd (out of a class of 3) but delighted to finish his first rally in his Peugeot 106.
Class 2, 2WD 8v up to 1650cc
The Peacock family were firmly in control of this class with their Peugeot 205 but Adrian Stewart wasn’t far off the pace, less than a minute behind. “We damaged a wheel and bent the suspension this morning,” said class winner Donald, “but I fair enjoyed it.” Adrian also had a moment when the dashboard fell off the car’s interior and he was awfy proud of the repair as he showed how it was accomplished back at the rally Finish – using duct tape. More functional than fashionable, that’s for sure. James Campbell was 3rd in the Sunbeam: “It got a bit hot in SS3,” he said, and added, “it was going like a pair of hips.” Well, that’s a new one on me but I think he was referring to a ‘Beyonce video’ – whatever that is. (If it’s not Tina Turner or Status Quo I don’t have a clue. Ed.) David McLoughlin finished 4th despite a broken front left shocker on the Peugeot in the first two stages, then lost power in SS3 when the lead came out of the ignition coil. Rounding off the finishers was Max Redpath having cable tied his Peugeot’s coil lead in place. Andy Chalmers didn’t make it, his Peugeot spotted parked up in SS3 and Robbie Beattie broke the front n/s hub in his Peugeot. Billy Falconer was the other non-finisher.
Class 3, 2WD 16v up to 1650cc
Angus Lawrie had a troublefree run winning the class in his Corsa with the MG ZR of Keith Riddick less than a minute behind: “We had smoke inside the car on the first stage,” said Keith, “but we thought it was just the wheel scraper at the rear, so kept going.” Jim Robertson had a fairly clear run in his Citroen C2 R2 finishing third but only 15 seconds behind him was the fast improving Gina Walker in the Ecosse Challenge winning C2: “I was told to get it back to the finish,” said Gina, “so I’m happy with that.” Alex Pirie might have made more of a fight of it in his C2 but he lost 40 seconds in Drumtochty when the car went into ‘limp mode’. Tom Howie was 6th in the Sunbeam doing the last two stages without the bonnet as the car was tending to overheat. Andy Struthers was next in his C2 while the Honda Civic of Neil Redford rounded off the finishers. Ross Hughes didn’t get beyond the start line of the second stage: “The driveshaft broke on the stage start line and because it was an uphill start, the car wouldn’t pull itself off the line,” said a disappointed Ross, “so we had to reverse out and go for the trailer.” Graeme Sherry was another non-finisher having survived a bent back axle in the first stage and an off in the 2nd. He got pushed out by spectators but when he went off in the 3rd with his ill handling C2 there was no help around this time. Both Michael Davies in the Polo and the C2 of Elvin Smith failed to finish too.
Class 4, 2WD 8v up 2050cc
Fraser MacNicol had a frustrating day although he won the class. The Escort had an over-fuelling problem which not only cost power but generated fumes in the cab, and yet he still enjoyed himself – or maybe that was the fumes making him high? Colin Patterson had fuel problems too in his Escort although it was the pump to blame, still he finished 2nd. John O’Kane was 3rd despite problems with the intercom and Douglas Watt was 4th Escort home after a fraught and arduous repair session in service – replacing a fouled up plug after SS1.
Class 5, Historic
Sole starter and finisher in Class 5 was the Escort of Ian Milne and he finished with a big smile: “That was the best rally of the year. Loved it.”
Class 6, FWD 8v up to 2050cc
What a debut, what a result. 17 year old Finlay Retson finished 33rd overall and 1st in class in his Fiesta ST: “I lost a mirror,” he said pointing to the remains on the door. It would appear that there is more to come – the ever so canny Tom Hynd was holding him back all day. Scott Burness was 2nd in his ST complementing co-driver Jodi Devine’s first time on Notes, and Michael Renton was 3rd in the Peugeot 306 after a long day in the woods: “The injector seals blew out, we had a sensor failure and that caused us to stop in 3 stages. Then the strut top mount broke, popped up and only the bonnet was holding it in!”
Class 7, RWD 16v up to 2050cc
“A good clean day,” beamed class winner Duncan MacDonald in his Mk2 finishing over a minute clear of an equally satisfied Paul McErlean. Unusually languishing in 3rd place was Dougal Brown who bashed the exhaust in the penultimate test and then completely ripped it off in the final one: “It sounds pretty good though,” he said. John Brownie was 4th man home in the Kadett after a “brilliant day.” Mike Stuart didn’t make it though. The Escort was well-cowped in Durris although he and Sinclair were OK. Charles Stewart didn’t make it home either, the BMW suffering engine failure in the final stage.
Class 9, GrpN
As ever Fraser Wilson was smiling at the finish, the sole Group N runner these days in his Mitsubishi: “We had a wee problem with the brakes locking up, but they were great stages.”
Class 10, Other 4WD cars
Tenth overall and Class 10 winner, didn’t he do well. Michael Binnie also won the SRC Challengers category first time out in his new Evo9. He didn’t quite get the car set up to his liking but Michael did manage to adjust a few things by close of play so there’s more to come. Simon Hay and Iain Wilson were right on Michael’s tail also scoring 2nd and 3rd Challenger points. “I had a few moments, but that’s what you get when you’re pushing,” said Simon, “just not pushing hard enough – I was 2nd to Michael.” Iain had his problems too (see main report) but this constant brake fade problem is p*ss*ng him off. Ian Baumgart was 4th in his Subaru despite “a half spin in the long one” and Fraser Louden 5th in his Evo6. John McIlwraith was 6th despite making an *rs* of the hairpin in the final test and also grabbed maximum points in the Subaru Cup. Martin Craik was 7th in the immaculate Impreza just ahead of Matthew Thomson who had to stop at Mike Grant’s accident in Hurlie Bog to ensure the crew were OK. Duncan Campbell was 9th and carefully explained why: “The car was faultless – the fault lies with the driver.” Rounding off the top ten was Ian Forgan after a problematic day with this Subaru (see main report) and yet he still managed to enjoy some of the stages and those bits of the stages where he could get going. Finishing 11th and quite chuffed with that was Michael Robertson and he explained how it was achieved: “Breakfast in McDonalds and we changed the Notes. We reduced everything by 2 and it seems to have worked.” Former Junior 1000 driver Harry Chalmers on his 2nd ‘senior’ event was 12th: “Spot on. The stages were brilliant and we were on the road – most of the time.” Kevin Crawford was 13th and Colin Baxter was an ‘out of puff’ 14th: “I don’t know what Michael Robertson had for breakfast, but I need some. I couldn’t catch him,” said Colin. (If you read the above Colin you will find out Michael’s secret. Glad to be of assistance. Ed.) Donald Brooker was 15th on his second run out in the Subaru and after the BMW, quipped: “It’s nice having grip.” Geoff Goudie was an off-form 16th: “The gearbox and clutch are going in the bin when I get home, and I can’t get first gear when I need it.” Neil Philip was 17th and ready for the drive home – is he the only driver who still drives his rally car to and from rallies these days? Hector McInnes was 18th on his first run through these forests and the car behaved itself prompting “that’s the first time in a long time.” Final class finisher was Ronnie Horne who was running a different car to the one which caused trouble on the Argyll: “This one is a standard ’94 car with a 10 year old gearbox. Mike Grant failed to finish but he got 5 stages (!) into this event before he put it off and Sandy Arbuthnott completed the route, but ran out of time after a string of troubles that would bring tears to the eyes of a statue, and both Mike Moates and Steve McGregor and ended their events prematurely in road side ditches – captivated by the local flora and fauna no doubt.
Class 11, GrpA 4WD
Armstrong, Faulkner and McCulloch were the top 3 ahead of McCombie, Groundwater and Ross MacDonald. Brian Watson was 7th, but pleased that he “beat Quintin!” while John Rintoul was final finisher commenting: “Really good stages, the last two were incredible.” Robert Thomson was a non-finisher when the Lancer’s turbo failed.
Class 12, WRC & R5
The order here reflected the overall positions with Bogie claiming 1st in class from Thorburn, Bird, Sinclair, Donnie MacDonald and John Wink. Nigel Feeney was 7th first time on gravel with his MINI WRC: “That’s the best day’s rallying I’ve had for a long time,” said Nigel, “I’m still getting use to the suspension travel. The nose dives under braking and rears up when accelerating. There’s just so much travel. It feels good and the power is relentless.”