Saturday 21 March 2015

Rally - Bogie after 4

With one stage to go one today’s Border Counties Rally, David Bogie has extended his lead to 28 seconds over Stephen Petch with Andrew Gallacher displacing Peter Taylor from third. Donnie MacDonald is up to fifth with Bruce McCombie rounding off the top six.

But despite the sunshine, conditions have been difficult. It’s nearly 20 years since the Tweed Valley tests were last used on a rally which has led to a huge accumulation of pine needles, moss and grass.

As John McClory observed: “It’s worse than ice. At least with ice you expect it to be slippy, but here you just can’t tell until you’re on it!”

Bogie’s lead might have been greater but: “I stalled it on the start line of Elibank. The Marshal dropped the time card and there was a bit of last minute shoving it back through the window to Kevin and I just wasn’t ready when the countdown started.” He admitted: “It’s very slippery and green in places, especially under the trees.”

So slippy in fact that Stephen Petch: “I had to switch off the anti-lag on the slippy bits in Elibank. Some bits are dry, and some bits slippy, it’s hard to get it to turn in and find a braking point.”

These points were echoed by Andrew Gallacher: “Some bits are brilliant and then the next bit is all muddy and mushy and mossy. I was nearly off in the first stage today, the back end was hanging off a banking but I kept it going sand it pulled itself out.”

Peter Taylor dropped time with a half spin and is having trouble finding traction and Bruce McCombie heaved a big sigh of relief when he reached service: “Nearly didn’t make it here, we were skittering on the edge of a drop and sliding towards a big stone, when it just dug in and turned in and we were away. That was close.”

Barry Groundwater is seventh just ahead of Mark McCulloch: “I lost a bit of time in that last one when I hit a rock and buckled a wheel. I backed off thinking it was a puncture.”

In ninth place is Freddie Milne with Peter Stephenson rounding off the top ten. Brian Bell is well down the field after spinning the Focus and was changing the clutch at second service. Shaun Sinclair is out of the top ten at present after a big fifth gear off and back on, but has a 1 min penalty so that will need to be checked out.

The other big news is spectator behaviour. It is very encouraging to see that they are being much more observant and responsible. Long may it continue.

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