… Granite Stages at Leuchars Rally, Sat 26th May …
Alan Kirkaldy and Eoghan Anderson won an action packed Granite Stages at Leuchars Rall in their Ford Escort Mk2, the latest round of the Cobble Shop Scottish Tarmack Championship. Although the duo were never seriously challenged, they were never able to relax.
Gordon Morrison was holding second place till his Subaru’s exhaust manifold broke and Alistair Inglis was lying third when the gearbox failed in his Lotus Exige.
That moved Ian Forgan up into second place first time out with a newly built clubman-spec Subaru Impreza and Ian Paterson into third in another Subaru. Both John Rintoul and Tom Morris failed to finish with steering problems and Lawrence Whyte whacked a lamp post with his Fiesta R5.
Alan Gardiner finished 4th overall in his Escort Mk1 holding off the fervent attentions of the Mk2 of Colin Gemmell. However, the ‘battle of the day’ featured an epic scrap between the Class 2 cars of Finlay Retson and Michael Harbour. Seeking some ‘tarmac’ running ahead of the next BRC round in Belgium, Retson’s Fiesta R2 just kept its nose in front of Harbour’s Citroen C2 and they finished 17 seconds apart in 6th and 7th places overall.
There was another class winning performance in 8th place overall with the MG Maestro of Ross McCallum winning Class 3 ahead of the Mitsubishi Lancers of Alan Wallace and Jimmy Christie rounding off the top ten.
The leading Class 1 car was the VW Polo of Martyn Douglas finishing 17th overall and almost a minute clear of the Peugeot 205 of Cameron Craig. This was Cameron’s first time out with coil-overs on the car and he was concerned about a slight knocking noise “coming from somewhere!” Malcolm MacDougall was 3rd in his Nova ahead of the Peugeot 106 of Martin Farquhar who lost time over the closing stages with a misfire: “I don’t know if it’s plugs or fuel,” said Martin. James Strachan was hoping to give Martin a run for his money but lost chunks of time with an electrical problem which eventually caused the Peugeot’s demise on SS7.
With Retson and Harbour in control of Class 2 that left Stevie Irwin frustrated in 3rd place in his Nova: “I’ve got gear selection problems,” said Stevie, “I think it’s just the linkage so I’m going for a finish now.” By close of play he had lost the use of 1st, 2nd and reverse. Equally frustarted was Des Campbell: “We had a puncture this morning and then broke a rear Proflex unit,” said Des, “I’m going flat out, can’t go any harder and still can’t catch the leaders.” Gary McDermaid was 5th in class with both flanks of the Peugeot sporting ‘rubbing marks’ from the chicanes while Brian Fraser was 6th in the Avenger. Final class finisher was Garry Coutts in the Fiesta second time out in the car.
Ross McCallum was a clear leader of Class 3 with Willie Beattie in the Mk2. Third was Jonathan MacDonald first time out in a Peugeot 306 which he bought 2 months ago while co-driver Chris Wareham admitted this was his first event for 30 years! Leonard Jones was 4th after a maximum with the Chevette on the first stage of the day while the Fiestas of Roy Ness and Graeme Rintoul were 5th and 6th. Graeme actually broke a driveshaft on the first stage and then missed out the next three while he sent his faither home to fetch a spare! Ross Auld might have posed a threat for class honours, but the engine failed in SS7 as did the engine in Kenny Moore’s Avenger.
Fifty cars started the rally but only 28 were credited as finishers. It had been a hard, fast and furious affair in the Summer sunshine. Pity the poor Marshals though, any bare skin they had showing was the same colour as their MSA tabards by close of play!
Granite Stages at Leuchars Senior Rally:
1 Alan Kirkaldy/Eoghan Anderson (Ford Escort Mk2) 65m 53s
2 Ian Forgan/Sarah Forgan (Subaru Impreza) +01:09
3 Ian Paterson/Alan Paterson (Subaru Impreza) +02:04
4 Alan Gardiner/Dave Robson (Ford Escort Mk1) +02:24
5 Colin Gemmell/Derek Keir (Ford Escort Mk2) +03:01
6 Finlay Retson/Harry Chalmers (Ford Fiesta R2) +03:52
7 Michael Harbour/Ian MacDougall (Citroen C2 R2 Max) +04:09
8 Ross McCallum/James Ralph (MG Maestro) +04:58
9 Alan Wallace/Darren Robertson (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo6) +05:16
10 Jimmy Christie/David MacFadyen (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9) +05:48
Martyn Douglas/Brian Pringle (VW Polo), Retson/Chalmers, McCallum/Ralph, Kirkaldy/Anderson, Forgan/Forgan