The Costa del Solway was glorious in the afternoon sunshine on Saturday, watching the ebb and flow of the Solway Firth with its glistening wave tops and listening to the backdrop of rally cars going about their business. A cup of coffee in one hand and a soft seat courtesy of the senior Gemmell encampment, life doesn't get much better than that.
Then came Sunday and the drab dreichness of Otterburn. For sure it can be a baking crucible sunken amongst the green hills when the weather is fine, but when it isn't, it is most certainly not the most hospitable place on the planet. Mind you Saturday was worse, with torrents streaming down the service park and across the military roads, so on that basis, Sunday wasn't too bad. Just wet. And miserable. Apart from the action.
Like Solway, the rallying was good and the competition was close, mostly, with our lot doing themselves proud. No-one could live with young Taylor though. Peter was quick in changeable conditions in the morning, but when it got really wet in the afternoon he moved up a gear and disappeared into the mist and low cloud.
Rising to the challenge was Rory Young. What a display he put on in this highly specialised speed-drome. He was as quick as Taylor in the morning, but then lost out on the faster tests in the afternoon. Not unexpectedly: "The morning stages were a bit more technical," said Rory, "but I knew I would lose out against the faster machinery later." Rory was the R5 sandwich between Peter and Stephen Petch's world cars.
Equally impressive were the fourth and fifth placed finishers. Both Alan Kirkaldy in the Mk2 and Gordon Morrison in the Subaru were mighty impressive, gradually getting quicker as the day wore on in these unfamiliar surroundings. Bob Grant made it four Scottish crews in the top ten with Lee Hastings just finishing outside in 11th place nursing a noisy gearbox.
After a heroic overnight effort repairing the Solway ravages, Ross Auld was 15th and Gareth White 19th. Robert Marshall finished 22nd, Alex McClelland 24th, Michael Harbour 26th and Gina Walker, first time out in David Martin's Astra was a marvellous 30th overall and 2nd in class. Greg Turner was last man home in his 206.
John Marshall, Scott MacBeth and Joe Pringle all took some involuntary time off and went sightseeing off-route in the Otterburn grasslands, Neil Thompson snapped his brake pedal, James Thomson had a broken bolt in a cross member and Alan Cowan broke a driveshaft.
1 Peter Taylor/Andrew Roughead (Ford Fiesta WRC) 53m 51s
2 Rory Young/Allan Cathers (Ford Fiesta R5) 55m 03s
3 Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson (Ford Fiesta WRC) 55m 07s
4 Alan Kirkaldy/Cameron Fair (Ford Escort Mk2) 56m 11s
5 Gordon Morrison/Calum MacPherson (Subaru Impreza) 56m 30s
6 Daniel Harper/Chris Campbell (MINI JCW WRC) 56m 48s
7 Michael Glendinning/Charlie Sayer Payne (Subaru Impreza 12B) 57m 37s
8 Mark Jasper/Don Whyatt (Ford Escort Mk2) 57m 39s
9 Bob Grant/David O'Brien (Hyundai Accent WRC) 57m 53s
10 Richard Clews/Ian Windress (Subaru Impreza STi) 58m 07s