Euan Thorburn leads the Ian Broll Merrick Stages Rally after the first of today’s four stages, but admitted he was lucky to be here: “We were nearly in Black Loch,” he chuckled, “I misheard a R6 into L6 and took the first one flat – at 100 mph. We had all four wheels off the road, but somehow it came back.”
Five seconds behind him was David Bogie: “It was tricky in there, slippy in places and very slippy in others,” said David, “we got all locked up in one muddy downhill section between the log piles and had to back right out of it.”
Nine seconds behind the leader was Jock Armstrong: “We smacked a log pile in there, about fifth corner in,” said Jock, “didn’t lose much time but lost a bit of confidence to push. It was really muddy in places.”
Not going any further is Barry Groundwater. The Lancer just slid off the road over a crest into a big gully. No damage, but stuck fast, and John Rintoul was spotted crawling out of the stage, so whether he makes service or not remains to be seen.
Liam Regan is struggling a wee bit in the Peugeot. He put a spike through his right foot climbing over a gate yesterday: “I didn’t think it would go through my shoe,” he said, “but it did,” and he struggled to get his bootees on over his bandaged foot this morning. Climbing over a gate? “Don’t ask!”
There’s a few big rocks getting pulled out and later runners were having to be careful - and the rain is holding off - so far!
Now the leaders are in the longest stage of the day, 20 miles of Glentrool.
Leading times after SS1 (of 4)
Thorburn, 8m 10
Bogie, 8m 15s
Armstrong, 8m 19s
Wright, 8m 24s
Faulkner, 8m 32s
MacDonald, 8m 36s
Collie, 8m 42s
Milne, 8m 43s
Kerr, 8m 52s
D Brown, 8m 55s