Saturday, 23 April 2016

Rally - Pearson’s First



There was no doubt this time about who won the McDonald & Munro Speyside Stages Rally. After their dead heat on the Border Counties, Garry Pearson and Jock Armstrong finished first and second with Mike Faulkner in third place. Early rally leader Euan Thorburn didn’t go to the rally finish and hand in Time Cards after suffering a diff failure in the Peugeot 208, deciding not to risk the car any further ahead of next weekend’s British Championship counter in Carlisle.

That left Pearson to hold off Armstrong over the c losing stages but it was a close run thing as Garry admitted to the pressure “getting to him a wee bit” commenting: “I spun it on that last one, my bum was nipping!”Co-driver Robbie Mitchell smiled wryly: “I think we had a couple of warnings prior to that, it was just getting a bit ragged. We knew Euan was having trouble and the pressure was getting to us. That was a big spin down the road backwards – you’ll no get a bigger spin than that and get away with it.” But get away with it they did and scored their first ever outright victory.

Armstrong was only 8 seconds adrift at the finish, that’s one second per stage (not counting the two tarmac spectator specials!) it doesn’t get much closer than that. Mike Faulkner had to settle for third: “That was as fast as it will go, I was on the door handles.”

Fourth and looking well chuffed with his improving pace was John MacCrone, fastest on the final stage saying: “I’m happy with that, but then if it hadn’t been for the broken shaft earlier, who knows.” Bruce McCombie was fifth but: “I just need to be more consistent, I got a 3rd quickest on Rosarie and then all to pot on the next one.”

Rounding off the top six was Dale Robertson: “That was as fast as she will go, so I’m happy with that.” Mark McCulloch was seventh: “I think the head gasket is going, we had to keep topping it up with water over the last loop,” and Andrew Gallacher was 8th having cured his fuel feed problems finally at the last Ingliston event.

Freddie Milne was 9th (Q was top 2WD) and Barry Groundwater made the top ten just ahead of Donnie MacDonald and Shaun Sinclair who both had car trouble over the closing stages.

Top 10 after 10 (of 10) stages:
1, Garry Pearson, 42m 32s
2, Jock Armstrong, 42m 40s
3, Mike Faulkner, 43m 13s
4, John MacCrone, 43m 19s
5, Bruce McCombie, 44m 08s
6, Dale Robertson, 44m 31s
7, Mark McCulloch, 44m 36s 
8, Andrew Gallacher, 44m 53s
9, Freddie Milne, 45m 15s
10, Barry Groundwater, 45m 37s

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