Sunday, 23 April 2017

Rally - Handle with care

After a grand day out in Moray, the Speyside rally report has been composed, written up and sent off to Motorsport News HQ for this Wednesday's issue. A much more comprehensive report will be published in JB's on-line mag later in the week, but in the meantime here's a pic of a unique cludgie, in a working office, at a rally service area somewhere in Huntly. This surely is the must-have, man-cave, lavatorial lever of the year. AbsoLOOtely perfect for the man who has everything. And for the technically inquisitive, it's a 3/8 spanner, certainly not a 20mm job.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Rally - Bogie wins Speyside

It was ‘business as usual’ for David Bogie at the McDonald & Munro Speyside Stages today. Even with a ‘new’ co-driver, young Andrew Roughead, the Skoda looked assured and composed all day.

“It’s never easy,” said David, “the pace was good here today but it’ll need to be better for next week at the Pirelli, I messed up last time out on the Border. We dropped a wee bit of time this morning with a puncture but after that we just kept it controlled. It was good seat-time for next weekend.”

Also here for some extra seat-time ahead of next week’s event in Carlisle, second placed Desi Henry was pleased with his pace despite his troubles: “We had 3 punctures today,” said Desi, “but then smoke started to come out from under the bonnet at the end of Stage 4. That was scary. We had the extinguishers out but didn’t need them. It was just an oil leak but we caught it in time.”

With two Skodas in the top two places, third placed Euan Thorburn salvaged something for Ford: “We struggled in the morning, but our times got better in the afternoon,” said Euan having switched back to Ford after last year’s run out with the Peugeot.

But it wasn’t Bogie who led at the start. Jock Armstrong led after 2 stages, then Bogie after 3 with Armstrong back in the lead after 4. At the end of stage 5 they were tied: “It was a good battle while it lasted,” said Jock, “then in the second last stage we went off on a 6th gear corner. It was a Left 1 into 4 at a junction and just overcooked it, but we managed to get it out without help.” He finished 11th.

Mark Donnelly scored fourth first time out on gravel with his Fiesta WRC: “We did a tarmac event at the start of the year,” said Mark, “but this was the first time on gravel, we were just happy to get round in one piece, but what a cracking rally. Fair play to David he didn’t put a wheel wrong.”

Mike Faulkner was fifth: “That was as hard as it would go,” said Mike, “we rode our luck a few times. We were right up a banking in that second last test,” he grinned, “but we had a good battle all day with Bruce (McCombie) and Shaun (Sinclair).”

Sinclair was only 5 seconds behind at the finish after McCombie got a bit crossed up on the very slippy last section on the penultimate test, which also caught out Dale Robertson who might have made the top ten first time out in the Fiesta R5. “That wasn’t a stage,” said Shaun, “it was a grassy field between the trees!”

Greg McKnight was 8th but happy with a finish as the poor wee soul was suffering from man-flu! (Women just don’t understand do they?) Mark McCulloch was 9th and Donnie MacDonald rounded off the top ten.

Quintin Milne was top 2WD car but only after a real tussle with Dougal Brown.

Top Ten:
1, David Bogie, 41m 55s
2, Desi Henry, 42m 34s
3, Euan Thorburn, 42m 37s
4, Martin Donnelly, 42m 49s
5, Mike Faulkner, 43m 32s
6, Shaun Sinclair, 43m 37s
7, Bruce McCombie, 44m 02s
8, Greg McKnight, 44m 14s
9, Mark McCulloch, 44m 32s
10, Donnie MacDonald, 45m 09s

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Rally - Condor chatter

There wasn't much in the way of news and blethers at the rally in Arbroath, but there were a few nuggets to be gleaned. Just what was Ian Forgan up to the day after the Memorial Garden Stages and what were the three munchkateers secretly plotting?

Rally - Condor report

Full report and results from the Memorial Garden Stages Rally at Arbroath now on-line. Greg McKnight scores only his second outright rally victory having won last year's Pendragon while young Jude MacDonald scores a hard fought and maiden victory in the Junior 1000 series:

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Rally - The next step

A certain columnist in Wednesday's (19 April) 'Motorsport News' is posing the question: "Where do the Juniors go from here?"

Much has been done over the past 6 years to create a budget rally category for 14-17 year olds who want to drive rally cars, but what happens when they turn 17, get their full licence and want to go big-time rallying? What is the next affordable step up, or is there one?

Wouldn't it be good if there was a UK one-make affordable National series, that can be replicated in regional championships in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The series would need to accommodate current production models and past production cars.

I don't see any motor manufacturer backing such an idea, but perhaps a tyre firm or parts manufacturer might be tempted. Ford, Citroen and Peugeot all have current and past machinery which could be used and parts are readily available.

Which brings us to the perennial question of seeding, where would such a category run in the new order of rallying?

If something isn't done then the whole question of attracting enough Officials and Marshals to organise rallies won't be a problem any more - there won't be any competitors who can afford to go rallying.

Just a thought.

Final point - A lot of folk complain that the weekly paper costs £3.50 - but it lasts longer than a Big Mac and is much more fulfilling!