There wasn't much need for saltire waving cheerleaders in Carlisle yesterday with just two Scottish drivers in the top ten of the Prestone British Championship opener.
English domiciled Scot Alex Laffey and Patrick Walsh finished 7th while Lawrence Whyte and Stuart Loudon were 8th, but remember, this was only Lawrence's fifth rally! John Wink and John Forrest put their 'oops bumpsadaisy' in Elgin behind them with a confidence restoring 12th overall while John Morrison and Peter Carstairs were 2nd in the National class and 16th overall in the Lancer.
Elsewhere, Kirsty Riddick co-drove Jonathan Greer into 5th place so technically she was highest placed Scot.
Sadly David Bogie and John Rowan crashed out on the first stage of the day giving the Skoda a helluva sore dunt on its nose and napper, although both David and John climbed out ok. Scott MacBeth and Neil Shanks had a slightly longer run, but retired after SS3. A bolt sheared in the gearbox mounting in SS2, but in SS3, the whole mount gave way taking the clutch cable with it. Also putting the car on to the trailer after SS3 were Finlay Retson and Tom Hynd. The Fiesta R2 developed an oil leak during the first 3 stages and despite leading the BRCCA class were forced to retire at service when they couldn't fix it. Heartbreaking, eh?
There was even less glory in the 'Historic & Rally2' event with Dave Robson guiding Matthew Robinson into the runner-up enclosure behind the similar Mk2 of Paul Barret, while Callum Atkinson had to bear the brunt of a daysworth of Yorkshire 'wisdom' keeping Steve Bannister company in 8th place.
Angus Lawrie and Paul Gribben got 2nd in class with an excellent 14th overall on such fast stages with the Corsa, while Carl and Rob Tuer debuted their new Vauxhall engined Suzuki Swift and scored a cautious 23rd o/a and 4th in class. Another crew debuting a new car was Caroline Carslaw and John Duke finishing 49th o/a first time out in the LHD Fiesta R2 while Alan McMorran and Albert Connelly pedalled the Avenger in to 51st o/a and 2nd in class.
As ever David Hayton's Mk1 looked mint at the rally start, but not so after SS2. He and Derek Adamson found a boggy hole on the outside of a left hander and spent some quality time together in the middle of nowhere before the arrival of the pull-me-out squad.
In the oddly named 'National B5' event (comprising 5 of the day's 8 stages) Reay MacKay and Keir Beaton scored a win first time out in the Dom Buckley Fiesta R5 with John McIlwraith and Scott Young 6th in their Impreza. Ian Wilson and Chris Williams were 7th first time on gravel with the Mk2 but were lucky to survive a 180 degree spin on the approach to a chicane which ended with the Escort's tail-end amongst the bales. Bob Adamson and Laura Marshall were 8th in the Fabia S2000 while Brian Ross and Mark Fisher were 9th in the Evo6 after knocking the boost pipe off the turbo in SS2 during a slight 'off'. Alistair Brearley and Paul Barbet rounded off the finishers in 12th place in the Mk2 after a day spent practicing the ark art of Route Note calling and implementing.
Tommy Heard and Greg McCutcheon were going well till the penultimate stage when they went for a picturesque drive through the heather and bracken instead of following a perfectly good gravel road!