Reporting on the Jim Clark Rally is like trying to swat a fly with a teaspoon. The target is constantly on the move. For instance, even as the International entry is booking into Final Service this evening in Kelso, the National, Challenge, Historic and Land Rover runners will be booking into their Final Control in Duns – 20 miles away. And it will be the same tomorrow, the Internationals follow a different route and timetable from those in the Reivers Rally.
On that basis the only way to find out what is going on and who has won what is to look at the Rally Results section on the British Rally Championship website.
However, the good news on the domestic front is that Euan Thorburn scored his second outright rally victory when he won the Jim Clark National Rally today, having won the McRae Rally last year. He was leading Damien Cole by 2 seconds after 6 stages and then took 18 seconds more out of him in Fogo 2 so the local driver was on top form which puts him in with a big shout tomorrow on the Reivers, although David Bogie will be in the Metro!
Euan’s a very lucky boy thought, just after getting picked up from Parc Ferme last night he and Paul Beaton were getting a lift back home when their car was t-boned by a drunk driver! It was an all airbags blown type hit. But fortunately all in the car were OK.
Barry Groundwater was well pleased with 7th and David Hardie was 8th but David’s Subaru was losing oil and water over the last two stages. Nothing serious, but had to keep an eye on levels and gauges. Keith Robathan was an excellent and impressive sight in 9th place with the MkII while Alistair Inglis was 10th, and young Alasdair Graham put in a stormer of a drive finishing 13th despite caching cars all day – 3 in one stage alone!
Martin Elsdon was spotted looking rather disconsolate after the Escort’s rear diff packed up this morning and Calum MacLeod limped into service stuck in third gear after the gear linkage broke. In Worse trouble was Doug Brydon. He clipped a kerb in Edrom, but what he didn’t realise was that it had nipped a tyre, and on the very next corner, the car turned in, dug in. and tipped over on its ear. So he’s going no further. Neither is Dale Robertson as he has a broken rear diff.
Eddie O’Donell is out too. The new engine was a bit smokey last night, ands this morning on the way to the first stage, he “felt something” in the engine as he climbed a hill to the first stage. Upon examination, there was no compression in number 3 cylinder, and this engine was brand new before the Border Counties. So he’s out too.
In the Challenge Rally, Gareth White cowped the wee Citroen rolling it out of the rally lead, and Mark McCulloch retired the Proton, this time with overheating problems. It would appear that Gareth had a similar incident to Doug Brydon as he clipped a verge and although the next two right handers were negotiated OK, the car just dug in and flipped on the next left hander. Over and out!
After 10 stages Keith Cronin is leading Tom Cave by a minute in the International Rally after Jarkko Nikara lost the use of third gear in Fogo 1 and 2 and dropped 2 minutes to the leaders, but then tghe gearbox broke altogether. Young Arron Newby is out too. “We took off over a jump and the car nosedived,” he said, “it dug in and tipped us over 6 or 7 times.” Both he and Martin Taylor are ok, although stiff and sore, but when asked how bad the car was he replied: “It’s repairable – just not today!”
Ruary MacLeod in the Fiesta is holding 13th place and 6th in class, and that was despite putting it into a field: “It was the same field as everyone else – we just went in a bit further!”
It was dry all day today and conditions did improve in the afternoon. It would appear that a dry-ish line started to appear on the muddy stretches allowing drivers to commit more, but what will tomorrow bring?