Tuesday 30 June 2015

Rally - SRC shock

Shock news for competitors in the Scottish Rally Championship this morning with the announcement that the Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally will NOT replace the Merrick Stages Rally in this year’s Championship.

Apparently the organisers of the national championship failed to get the agreement of ALL registered competitors.

If an organisation wishes to make changes to an MSA registered championship after Regulations have been published, then any subsequent change requires the consent of ALL registered competitors. This is an MSA requirement, so there’s no way round it.

But it’s not the MSA’s fault, as the SRC Management Committee stated: “In the 2013 and 2014 seasons, we had an agreement to list the Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally as the reserve event in the Championship Regulations.  For the 2015 season, we unfortunately did not have that in place at the time our Regulations had to be published.”

This year’s championship series will therefore be decided over 7 rounds, instead of 8. So that means just two rounds left, the Speyside in August and the McRae in October. It also opens up the title chase with one less scoring round.

The SRC Management Committee is due to meet this coming weekend, not just to discuss this year’s series, but plans for next year too.

Sunday 28 June 2015

Rally - Look back

At Scrutineering before the Scottish Rally two of the tidiest and tastiest cars were Alan McMorran's Hillman Avenger (with a little help from Alan Clark) and Davie Hayton's Ford Escort Mk1 resplendent in 'The Scotsman'/Andrew Cowan colours, including the thistle on the roof, from the early 70s. 

Sadly Alan retired at the end of the second stage with the Avenger suffering from sort of mechanical malady while Davie finished 45th and 4th in class after losing 3 minutes with a puncture. 

But the stars were the cars, a real tribute to the effort and hard work of both gents. Wonderful, simply wonderful.

Saturday 27 June 2015

Rally - Bogie wins

David Bogie and Kevin Rae scored a convincing win on today’s RSAC Scottish Rally at Dumfries. The Ford Fiesta R5 crew finished over a minute clear of Jock Armstrong and Paula Swinscoe in the Subaru.

“It just all clicked today,” said Bogie, “the car was great, the stages were good and the weather was fine but I had to keep focused all day and remind myself that I wasn’t in Donegal and driving the Escort.” Regardless of car, the fact that Bogie had been over in Donegal meant he was pretty sharp from the off this morning: “We didn’t do anything different, it just worked and Kevin was spot on all day as he always is.”

As for Jock: “I don’t know how he (David) does it, he’s out driving every weekend and out drinking when he’s not driving and of course I’m that sensible and don’t do bad things and I still can’t catch him.” And that was just the start of the banter with David giving as good as he got, but Jock was first to shake David by the hand at the finish. And that’s what’s god about rallying, good camaraderie and great competition.

Rory Young managed to grab third place second time out in the Fiesta R5 but it was close. Steven Clark took 3 seconds out of him in the Lancer on the final stage but it wasn’t enough and he lost out by 2 seconds finishing fourth. “Steven really deserved to finish third,” said Rory, “he was driving that old car far quicker than it should go, I was just lucky.”

Mike Faulkner’s charged back up from the 20s after his puncture on the opening test resulted in a strong Scottish Championship points scoring position, with fifth place: “I had to beat Bruce McCombie today to keep any hopes of the championship title alive, and I did it.” It was close, he got a second puncture on the final stage: “But it didn’t cost me any time,” he said.

Donnie MacDonald was sixth and Matthew Robinson seventh ahead of McCombie: “I really screwed up on that last stage,” he said, “I don’t know what went wrong. I turned into a corner fine and it just went straight on and I spun it.”

Desi Henry felt the day worthwhile as he got some seat time in his new Skoda but was very cautious: “I had no gear display all day, I hardly ever knew which gear I was in!” Rounding off the top ten was Shaun Sinclair just displacing young Greg McKnight from tenth place by 3 seconds. But Greg didn’t care, he had been n fire all day, aiming to beat long time hero Steve Bannister, and he did. He finished 11th and top 2WD car with Banner in 13th place and first to shake the youngster’s hand was the legend himself. Nice one Steve. “He drove well today,” said Steve, “he deserved it.”

Alex Curran got the top 1600 class despite the lack of 3rd gear with Murray Coulthard finally getting to grips with gravel, second in class and Thomas Gray won the 1400 class in his Toyota Yaris and has probably clinched the championship class too with 3 rounds to go.

Leaderboard after 7 (of 7) stages:
1, David Bogie, 39m 29s
2, Jock Armstrong, 40m 34s
3, Rory Young, 40m 55s
4, Steven Clark, 40m 57s
5, Mike Faulkner, 41m 24s
6, Donnie MacDonald, 41m 30s
7, Matthew Robinson, 41m 59s
8, Bruce McCombie, 42m 03s
9, Desi Henry, 42m 42s
10, Shaun Sinclair, 42m 45s

Rally - Bogie still leads

With a 51 second lead over the pursuit you’d think David Bogie was in a comfortable place. Apparently not: “After three days driving a rear wheel drive Escort in Donegal on tarmac and then coming back into this (4WD Fiesta) it’s just so different and it’s nearly catching me out, I’m really having to concentrate on what I’m doing.”

Jock Armstrong is now a clear second but Steven Clark is only 19 seconds behind: “When we were waiting at the start of the first stage I walked down the line of cars,” said Jock, “and realised I was the only one on hard tyres, and I thought, what do they know that I don’t?” Anyway a change of tyres and Jock is back in control but with little hope of catching Bogie.

After tying with Rory Young after three stages, Steven Clark has now managed to put some air between them in third place - ONE secondsworth! But Rory was smiling: “Dom (Buckley) says I can use the ‘Fast’ button now.”

Donnie MacDonald is fifth, but the man on the move is Faulkner, now up to sixth place and has his eye on some serious ARR Craib Championship points. Game on.

Desi Henry is still having to be cautious with his gears and hs dropped to 11th behind young Greg McKnight who is currently in tenth place overall and leading 2WD runner i his Mk2. According to Chris, he’s on a mission to beat Bannister. Steve is 13th but only 21 seconds behind with 2 stages to go. “I’ve beaten some of his stage times in the past,” said Greg, “but never beaten him on a rally.”

Scott MacBeth is out, third gear punched a hole through the Nova’s gearbox and made a bolt for freedom. So Alex Curran leads the 1600 class but his Nova is not selecting third gear at all. Unlike MacBeth’s, it’s still inside the gearbox but it doesn’t want to work for its living.

As for the sunshine, it’s still here, even the midges are sunburnt, but compared to Scottish rallies of old, the service park here at Heathhall is awfy empty. Changed days indeed.

Leaderboard after 5 (of 7) stages:
1, David Bogie, 27m 00s
2, Jock Armstrong, 27m 51s
3, Steven Clark, 28m 10s
4, Rory Young, 28m 11s
5, Donnie MacDonald, 28m 24s
6, Mike Faulkner, 28m 41s

Rally - Bogie leads

It makes you wonder what David Bogie has for breakfast before a rally. After two forest stages and one ‘spectator special’ he’s already half a minute clear and up the road. Or maybe he gets shorter stages than everyone else.

Only kidding, but the newly liveried Fiesta has a 31 second margin  over two drivers tying for second place, Jock Armstrong and Rory Young. The most surprised driver of that trio is Rory: “I don’t know what I’m doing up here, it’s all down to the car” referring to the Buckley prepped Fiesta. But Rory isn’t telling the whole truth. He farms Christmas trees for a living, he knows all the trees personally down here!

Only two seconds behind this pair is Steven Clark so the fight for third is pretty fierce. As ever Donnie MacDonald has got good pace and he’s holding fifth place ahead of Matthew Robinson who was lucky to reach service let alone hold sixth place: “It was the 1st chicane in the 1st stage. I was just carrying too much speed, and it was slippery. It got all out of shape and I just took out the whole chicane. The last I saw of the Marshal in my mirror he was waving to me. But maybe he was waving his fist at me!”

Barry Groundwater has retired from the fray, overshooting a corner and rumbling over a banking, No damage but the Lancer’s rear wheels were in the air, so no grip. Mark McCulloch is gone too. He hit a rock and the impact broke a bolt in the bottom suspension arm and damaged the chassis. The boys worked frantically to repair the chassis and get it re-attached. No luck.

Mike Faulkner was more fortunate although he’s currently in11th place: “I hit a rock in the first stage and punctured a front tyre.” He lost nearly a minute rumbling out on the rim. Freddie Milne hit the same rock and suffered the same fate.

Desi Henry is in trouble with the Fabia S2000 as well: “There’s a fault with the potentiometer (No, I don’t know either – Ed.) but it’s making gear selection difficult. If we can’t fix it at service, we’ll have to pull out, I don’t want to risk the engine.”

And you know what? Summer has arrived in Dumfries. It’s tee shirt weather down here now.

Leaderboard after 3 (of 7) stages:
1, David Bogie, 12m 28s
2= Jock Armstrong, 12m 59s
2= Rory Young, 12m 59s
4, Steven Clark, 13m 01s
5, Donnie MacDonald, 13m 09s
6, Matthew Robinson, 13m 21s