… Kingdom Stages Rally, 6th November 2021 …
Alistair Inglis took a big step closer to the 2021 Marshall Construction Scottish Tarmack Rally Championship title when he and brother Colin won the penultimate round, the Kingdom Stages Rally at Crail. Leading by 3 seconds after the first three stages were Andrew Kirkaldy and Peter Carstairs, but after lunch of tinned Spinach off-loaded on to the Crail beach by a shifty looking sailor chap called Popeye (so it is rumoured!), the Inglis brethren were simply uncatchable in the afternoon taking 9 seconds out of the leaders on SS4 and a further 3 seconds on SS5 to win the rally by 9 seconds.
Both Ford Fiesta R5 crews had their troubles, primarily with catching cars, so it was pretty much eeksy peeksy with Alistair commenting on the Glenrothes MSC stage layout: “That’s the best I’ve ever seen Crail, ‘effen’ fast, simple layout, but good.”
Almost two minutes behind the leaders was the Subaru Impreza of third placed Barry Groundwater and Michael Hendry although that gap might have been a lot closer had it not been for a lurid spin on the final stage. That was down to some standing water which caught out numerous crews after a dry morning with rain falling later in the afternoon. The Subaru hit a deep puddle, instantly lost the rear, swapped ends and nose dived into a banking wiping off the front spoiler. There was no mechanical damage but they had enough time in hand to ensure that the younger Inglis, Greg, with Ian Parker stayed in 4th place in the Lotus Exige.
In 5th place, Ian and Allan Paterson were awfy lucky as well. Their Subaru hit unexpected standing water in SS4 which executed a full double rotation, but didn’t hit anything more solid although Allan was later seen breaking into his emergency fag supplies having exhausted his standard rally quota. That also necessitated a clear out of the ash-tray to keep the weight down!
Sandy Fairbairn and Ian Murray finished 6th in the bright red Mitsubishi which sported a colourful message of support for the Doddie Weir Foundation on its boot lid. It’s been a while since Northumbria’s Peter Gibson and Chris Dodds visited Crail and they finished 7th in their Lancer which was still using a standard gearbox as opposed to the more popular sequential unit favoured by most Mitsubishi runners these days.
The Lancer Evo6 of Alan Wallace and Darren Robertson was 8th overall but they had to share a time of 57m 10s with the Peugeot 206 of Des Campbell and Craig Forsyth who were ‘demoted’ to 9th overall when the tie-decider was applied. Des also scored his own class win which earned him a maximum point score and should therefore have pitched him into contention for the 2021 Scottish Tarmack national title – only it didn’t. He missed out on the double points scoring Mach1 Stages opening round of the series and that deficit can’t be made up if only the best 4 scores from the 6 round series are to count!
Rounding off the top ten overall were Drew Gallagher and David Crosbie in the Skoda Fabia although quite a few other top seeds didn’t fare so well. Second time out in the MINI WRC John Rintoul and Ross Hynd retired the car at the end of the first stage with a grumbling rear diff, with John reckoning it was a legacy of its Mull outing. Lee and Cole Hastings retired their Subaru on SS3 when the engine let go and the resultant flare-up burnt some wiring while Chris and Peter McCallum’s Scottish Tarmack title bid suffered a blow with diff failure in the Escort while Sandy and Ian Arbuthnott also suffered diff failure in the Ford Focus.
Stuart and Alice Paterson decided not to start SS5 after the electronic diff started playing up. They tried to fix it but at the end of SS4 the car dumped all its water and the electric fans were not working, so financial temerity determined retirement. Andy and Alison Horne were in the hunt for a top six finish until a huge series of spins when the Metro hit standing water on the 4th stage. The front of the car suffered a bit of damage but was still able to drive out of the stage. However the incident caused one observer to comment that had they done it on Saturday evening, they would have scored a set of perfect tens from the judges on ‘Strictly’!
Best fight of the day? That would be the Class 1 battle where Innes and Kirsty Mochrie in the Metro squabbled over mere seconds with the Vauxhall Corsa of Chris Smith and Amy McCubbin. They went into the final stage, one second part and Innes just managed to snatch back another second from Chris to make the difference TWO seconds. In 3rd place was the Suzuki Swift of Claire Kilmurray and Duncan Smith by just 22 seconds from the Citroen C2 of Steven and Eamon Kilmurray.
Des Campbell’s pace in the Peugeot was electrifying in the changeable wet conditions as he and Craig Forsyth finished 8th equal overall and won Class 2 from Ewan Stanhope and Cameron Dunn in the Corsa. They had earlier lost time in stages 1 and 3 with an overshoot and some acrobatics when the Corsa got its rear end hooked upon a large lorry tyre stage marker! David McIntyre and Alan Todd were going well in the Nova to finish 3rd ahead of the Ford Fiesta of Meghan and John O’Kane. Meghan was particularly chuffed as she and Nikki Addison in the Peugeot 106 were engaged in their own private battle, but it has to be said that Nikki was hampered by her choice of co-driver for the day, one Billy Hamilton Esq! The driver turned temporary navigator more used to ignoring advice from the left hand seat than giving it.
It was an Escort 1,2,3 in Class 3 with Brian Watson and Sean Donnelly taking the honours in their glorious looking Mk2 from Graham Bruce and David Aitken with Jim McDowall and first time co-driver Findlay Donnan in third place.
Greg Inglis and Ian Parker took the honours in Class 4 with returning ‘one-off’ driver Gary Adam taking an absent Kyle’s seat to finish 2nd with Steven Brown in the Mk2. Gerry Fitzelle and Flaxen Knox survived an intimate ‘tete a tete’ with a one tonne bale to take third spot in their Mk2 ahead of Lorn and Layla MacFadyen in another Escort.
At the rally finish, the championship calculations would suggest that Alistair Inglis can’t be caught for the overall title which prompted a rather unfortunate off the cuff remark by the rally winner: “I might just change cars with Greg for the Milltown, he takes the R5 and I drive the Lotus!” Unfortunately, the youngster was within earshot. That should make breakfast time in the Inglis household rather interesting over the next few days, eh?
1 Alistair Inglis/Colin Inglis (Ford Fiesta R5) 52m 51s
2 Andrew Kirkaldy/Peter Carstairs (Ford Fiesta R5 Mk2) +09s
3 Barry Groundwater/Michael Hendry (Subaru Impreza WRC) +1m 58s
4 Greg Inglis/Ian Parker (Lotus Exige) +3m 00s
5 Ian Paterson/Allan Paterson (Subaru Impreza) +3m 28s
6 Sandy Fairbairn/Ian Murray (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo) +3m 45s
7 Peter Gibson/Chris Dodds (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo) +4m 10s
8 Alan Wallace/Darren Robertson (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo6) +4m 19s
9 Des Campbell/Craig Forsyth (Peugeot 206) +4m 19s
10 Drew Gallagher/David Crosbie (Skoda Fabia) +4m 35s