Saturday, 4 October 2014

Rally - Champ Thorburn

In winning today's Colin McRae Forest Stages Rally at Aberfeldy, Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton have clinched the 2014 ARR Craib Scottish Rally Championship title with one round to go.

Going into the final 11 mile stage at Craigvinean, Thorburn had a 2 second lead over five times Scottish champions David Bogie and Kevin Rae.

"David was running first car on the road," said Euan, "there were some real fast sections for the first couple of miles - and then we saw David off! It didn't really sink in at first and then we went off just shortly after it. We had a 'straight-on' at a junction, but after that I just drove to the finish."

Bogie had indeed slipped off the road on  a day which featured a huge variety of damp, wet, greasy, slittery and guttery surfaces, testing all of the crews.

David had earlier clipped a rock in  the fifth stage and knocked the tracking out which meant feverish activity around the Fiesta at service. It was touch and go whether the crew would get back out but finally came the thumbs up from under the bonnet 'good to go'.

Mike Faulkner and Peter Foy therefore claimed second place having solved their earlier diff and brake troubles in the Lancer. And after 3 punctures, Jock Armstrong and Paula Swinscoe fought back to complete the podium line-up  their Subaru Impreza.

Barry Groundwater also fought back after a slow start to finish fourth ahead of Dougal Brown and top 2WD runner Calum MacKenzie in his MkII. Steve Bannister was second 2WD just outside the top ten in 11th place: "I was running first car on the road behind the Historics," said Steve, "but after the accident last week on the Trackrod I was just a bit too cautious today."

Another superb performance came from Alasdair S Graham who finished 14th overall and first in the 1600 class in his Vauxhall Corsa after a fierce fight with Greg McKnight in his MkII. The two of them went into the final stage tied on the same totals but McKnight punctured a tyre and that was it.

But the day belonged to the Thorburn team and the whole clan gathered round their heroes and the Ford Focus WRC at the finish, the occasion made all the more memorable for the strange and unsettling sight of Euan's Dad, Alastair (a former Scottish GrpN Champion himself) who was actually seen to be smiling!

Leaderboard after SS3 (of 6)
1, E Thorburn, 43m 51s
2, M Faulkner, 45m 52s
3, J Armstrong, 46m 27s
4, B Groundwater, 46m 29s
5, D Brown, 46m 53s
6, C MacKenzie, 47m 50s
7, D Robertson, 47m 59s
8, A Gallacher, 48m 25s
9, B McCombie, 48m 39s
10, B Ross, 49m 39s

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