Monday, 21 May 2018

Michael Dymock, 1952 - 2018

Scottish rallying has lost another good pal. Michael 'DynoMike' Dymock passed away peacefully at home last week in Newton Mearns after a long illness.

He was originally a member of 'the Bothwell crowd' a bunch of motor sports fans who met up regularly in the old Silvertrees Hotel in Bothwell in Lanarkshire in the 1970s. Most of them were members of Lanarkshire Car Club although a few interlopers from Coltness CC inveigled their way in. He lived in Bothwell at the time and got his leg pulled mercilessly for being a bit posh, although he gave as good as he got.

His own competition career started in Autocross and throughout the mid 1970s he campaigned a Mini in the Players No6 Scottish Autocross Championship before inevitably turning to rallying. Business beckoned as the 1980s dawned and his attention was diverted elsewhere, but invariably he would show up at occasional events for a look-see and a chat. He never lost his interest in the sport nor his desire to compete and in 2006 acquired a Vauxhall Chevette HS.

The car was unmistakably liveried out in the fluorescent red of Dynorod, for whom he managed his own company franchise in Glasgow. He had a fleet of glowing red vans at the time and I well recall being badgered about the fragility of Transit gearboxes - until he told me how much weight the vehicles had to carry. No wonder!

His return to rallying for the next three years was never intended to be anything more than having fun, and that's just what he did, although he did manage a few Historic class wins along the way.

Mike was a lovely bloke and an absolute charmer and he'll be missed by his many friends in the sport but not nearly as much as his family. Our thoughts and condolences must therefore go out to his wife Susan, and family Lesley and Victoria, and his grandchildren Nicholas and Callum and to his wider family and friends.

A funeral service will take place on Wednesday, 23rd May at Linn Crematorium, St Mungo Chapel, 413 Lainshaw Dr, Glasgow G45 9SP, at 11am.

Rally - Neuville wins in Portugal

Thierry Neuville won Vodafone Rally de Portugal at the weekend and put hiumself back on top of the  FIA World Rally Championship points table. He started the event 10 points behind reigning champion Sébastien Ogier and left Portugal with a 19-point advantage.

During a mad weekend of breakages, bashes and crashes Neuville kept his Hyundai i20 out of trouble to win by 40 seconds from Elfyn Evans’ Ford Fiesta.

Commenting at the finish, Elfyn said: “I’m happy with this result, and a bit relieved too if I’m honest! Everyone knows that our season didn’t get off to the best of starts. Monte started well with the exception of the puncture, but one thing led to another and it quickly snowballed into what was becoming a pretty dismal season. We knew coming here that we needed to get some strong points on the board – for the team and for us as well. So to come away with second place was good. It wasn’t perfect, and there are some areas where we can still improve. I wasn’t entirely happy with my driving through all of the stages, but it's certainly alleviated the pressure and we can go to Sardinia in a positive frame of mind.”

Fellow title challengers Ogier and Ott Tänak ended pointless after falling foul of Friday’s rock-strewn speed tests while Neuville emphasised his authority by claiming four extra bonus points in the final Power Stage.

Ogier had to retire his Fiesta after smacking  a tree and breaking  asteering arm while Tänak hit a rock and damaged his engine’s cooling system. Jari Matti Latvala hit a rock and broke his front right suspension and Haydon Paddon retired from the rally lead after a heavy impact damaged the front left of his i20 and blocked the stage. Andreas Mikkelsen also retired His Hyundai with broken power steering.

Once again the Citroen team endured both extreme highs and bitter lows. Kris Meeke twice led the rally on the opening day before a  puncturte on the final stage dropped him to 7th. Just a few seconds behind his team leader, Craig Breen also punctured and dropped to 8th.
It all went terribly wrong for Meeke on Day 2: "I turned into a fast left-hand corner a little bit late, missed my line and got onto the loose gravel on the outside of the corner and lost control of the car," said Kris, "Obviously, I'm sorry for the whole team, who clearly deserved better. I'm really very grateful that they built such a strong car. It was my mistake, of course, so I'll take it on the chin."

Neuville was delighted with his 2nd win of the season: “It was a clever approach all weekend. I had a fantastic car which was working well and I felt comfortable. We can be proud of what we achieved here. There are a lot of Portuguese mechanics in the team and I think the party is going to be big tonight!”

Suninen held off Esapekka Lappi and Dani Sordo in an intense fight for the final podium place. Lappi was 7.4sec adrift of his fellow Finn in a Toyota Yaris with Sordo 6.2sec further back in his i20.

( Thanks to M-Sport and Citroen Total Abu Dhabi for the pics )

1, Neuville / Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) 3:49:46.6
2, Evans / Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) + 40.0
3, Suninen / Markkula (Ford Fiesta WRC) + 47.3
4, Lappi / Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) + 54.7
5, Sordo / Del Barrio (Hyundai i20 WRC) + 1:00.9
6, Østberg/ Eriksen (Citroën C3 WRC) + 3:33.5
7, Breen / Martin (Citroën C3 WRC) + 5:23:0

1, Thierry Neuville – 119 points
2, Sébastien Ogier – 100 points
3, Ott Tänak – 72 points
4, Dani Sordo – 58 points
5, Esapekka Lappi – 57 points
6, Andreas Mikkelsen – 54 points
7, Elfyn Evans – 45 points
8, Kris Meeke – 43 points
9, Jari-Matti Latvala – 31 points
10, Craig Breen – 26 points

1, Hyundai WRT – 175 points
2, M-Sport Ford WRT – 162 points
3, Toyota Gazoo Racing – 140 points
4, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT – 111 points

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Rally - Points make prizes

Although Greg McKnight and Harry Marchbank won yesterday's 2WD RSAC Scottish Rally outright, they won't get maximum points in the ARR Craib Scottish Rally Championship. And neither will Iain Wilson and Chris Williams get runner-up points. Instead, points will be allocated by amalgamating the total finishing times between the 4WD Rally winners and their 2WD rivals. Which set me thinking.

If this year's RSAC Scottish Rally comprised two separate events with two separate sets of results over identical stages, then why not award separate SRC Points to both sets of winners? Or even half points to each top 14 as opposed to full points for the top 29? For sure it would spice things up towards the end of the season.

Such a scheme would not affect Class points as the two separate events were divided along current SRC class divisions anyway, so no change needed there.

And given the fact that we have already lost a round earlier this when weather stopped play in the Borders, then such a scoring option might have added a little extra drama and excitement to the 2018 competition.

Sadly it can't and it won't because 'rules is rules' and they can't be changed part way through a competitive season, but perhaps it might be something that organisers could look at in future.

The Scottish Tarmack Championship already awards its overall championship points on a class based system as opposed to first over the finish line, and whilst that works for them, I'm not quite advocating the same system for the forest rally competition.

The RSAC came up with yesterday's format before the MSA relaxed its rules on rally seeding and running order just last month, so rallies may not need to run such a format in future, but why not? And why not award equal points for both sets of winners?

If just two events in each championship season were to run such a format then it might inject a little bit more uncertainty into the final contest outcome, much like 'playing the Joker card' to score double points in  the British Championship - but only better!

As I said, just a thought. We-ll, I think it's a good idea.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Rally - Bogie Back on top form

David Bogie was in imperious form on today's 4WD RSAC Scottish Rally winning by over a minute, but said it wasn't as easy as it looked: "When Jock (Armstrong) got a puncture on the second stage and dropped half a minute that eased the pressure right away," said David, "the stages were hard and it was a case of managing the tyres to make sure I didn't get punctures."

Mark McCulloch scored his best Scottish Championship result with second place behind Bogie: "I was having a good fight with Freddie (Milne) and I actually got away with it twice on the last stage, and Freddie didn't, so I was lucky. We had two massive moments and got away with it both times. It could so easily have been us and not Freddie."

Rory Young was also quite surprised to finish on the podium: "At Service with two stages to go, I didn't expect this at all," said Rory, "We didn't start that well. This was the first time I had Paul Beaton co-driving and we didn't really click till the fifth stage. That's no criticism of Paul, just me, but I feel genuinely sorry for Freddie, he just simply ran out of room and fell off the road."

John Wink scored his best Scottish Championship finish with 4th place ahead of a subdued Donnie MacDonald with Bruce McCombie rounding off the top six.

Lawrence Whyte had been holding 4th place till he slid off the road in the penultimate test and Freddie Milne was holding second place by 3 seconds from McCulloch at the start of the final test and just overcooked it trying to fend off Mark. Armstrong picked up his second puncture of the day on the final stage too: "My fault, "said Jock, "I ran wide on a bend and a tyre punctured."

Top Six:
1, David Bogie, Fabia R5, 42m 38s
2, Mark McCulloch, Fiesta R5, 43m 49s
3, Rory Young, Fiesta R5, 44m 08s
4, John Wink, i20 R5, 44m 24s
5, Donnie MacDonald, Fiesta R5, 44m 28s
6, Bruce McCombie, Lancer Evo9, 44m 58s

(Full report will follow in the on-line mag later in the week.)