Friday 2 March 2012

Rally - Inside Dovenby Hall

The editorial transport feels quite at home!
As ever, Malcolm Wilson had thrown open the doors at Dovenby Hall to welcome competitors to the Malcolm Wilson Rally, and it's great the way he supports the local car club and the organising team with the loan of these palatial premises. But it's not quite open house, there are a few locked doors and windowless buildings to keep prying eyes out, even though the WRC team is already packed up and on its way to Mexico.

Most of the Scottish crews are through scrutineering for tomorrow’s Malcolm Wilson Rally but the furthest travelled competitor, Banchory’s Alex Petrie is still on his way.

Mind you, the term ‘Scottish crew’ might have to be reviewed. Mike Faulkner has actually moved south of the Border and lives just 9 miles outside of Cockermouth while Peter Foy works in Solihull these days. Peter is also staying locally because his parents run ‘The New Bookshop’ and coffee shop on Cockermouth’s Main Street, so he doesn’t have far to stagger ‘home’ tonight either.

Apparently, it’s right opposite the Rally Start ramp so you know where to go for a bit to eat and warm drink in the morning.

“It’s all about seat time,” said Mike, “we’ll try a few things tomorrow but we’ll be going for it, although there are an awful lot of World Rally Cars around.”

Euan Thorburn turned up with his Focus WRC, but he’s got a bandage on his right hand, just at the heel of his thumb. “I ripped it open on some steel this morning,” said Euan, “and I’ve got stitches in it. It’s numb at the moment but once the adrenalin starts pumping tomorrow, it’ll be fine.”

They have a wee problem with the Focus to sort out ahead of the rally start. There is no fuel gauge in the Focus WRC, although there is some sort of calibration through the ECU. Fortunately Neil Buckley is on the case and the plan is to drain the tank, re-calibrate it and start again.

Grame Schoneville appeared with the ex-David Newall EVO8 which he used on the Knockhill Stages. “Yes, I’ve bought it now,” he admitted, “but I’m still doing the Honda Civic Challenge this year, and will just use the EVO8 on occasional events to get the hang of it. If it all goes to plan then I could do the Scottish Championship with it next year.”

Andy Kelly is safely through Scrutineering too. “Dom Buckley rebuilt the engine which was losing oil the last time I ran it,” said Andy, “but he’s got me well warned to do 100 miles in it before I get it into the woods.” When asked how many miles he’s put on it, he grinned: “It’s done about 80 – we’re going to put a sticker on the back window for the first two stages – Running In, Please Pass!”

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