Thursday 28 February 2019

Rally - Grant Construction Stages

That's the full rally report from Knockhill now in the on-line mag, and who knows there might yet be more to come this weekend with a few tales from the Service Area! For instance, Alan Kirkaldy was claiming the credit for brother Andrew's pace (!), Stephen Hay had to buy lunch for his rivals and the bloodcurdling, skincreeping reason why Terry Mallin had to retire from the rally. All this and more to come.

In the meantime, the pics show Scott MacBeth singlehandedly showing how it's done at Knockhill - note the gloved hand waving out of the window. Pure dead cool, eh?

Main report here:

Tuesday 26 February 2019

Rally - Closed Road Report

Full marks to the Transport Scotland staff. They have turned around their Closed Road report quicker than a Russ Swift J-Turn. And there's more good news, as previously intimated, the report is extremely positive in its findings.

In total, Transport Scotland received 3,788 completed Questionnaires which included responses from 52 'organisations' (not necessarily motors sports organisations!) and just 7 Local Authorities - which was a bit of a surprise considering many Local Authorities are claiming hardship. Looks like some of them haven't yet quite grasped there are opportunities to be had with such legislation in place.

There was also one response from a Community Council (gaun yersels Muileachs) and a quite massive response from individuals - that's you lot out there. In total, 3,728 of you sat yourselves down with your phone, tablet or computer and let your digits do the talking. That alone had a considerable impact on deliberations.

Of course there were doubters and dissenters, but we live in a democracy and the majority view should prevail. Principal amongst the dissenting views were concerns about the environment. Fair point, but every sport produces emissions either directly or indirectly, so it would be unfair to single out one activity for more restrictive treatment.

The re-drafted Bill should now be presented to the Scottish Parliament for approval, but there's no timetable on that process. However, we can be greatly encouraged by the speed with which Transport Scotland has turned around this report. Fingers crossed, eh? Again!

The full text of the 24 page 'Motorsports on Closed Public Roads Public Consultation Analysis Report' is here:

Sunday 24 February 2019

Rally - A blessed place

You know what, Knockhill on Sunday was a veritable cathedral of competition. The rain - it did not pelteth. The snow - it did not precipitate. And the temperatures - neither did they punish the penitents, those faithful followers of the rallygion of automotia. It was positively balmy. I kid you not.

As things turned out John Marshall and Scott Crawford won the opening round of this year's Cobble Shop Scottish Tarmack Championship. Their winning margin over Nigel Feeney and Nikki Addision on the Grant Construction Knockhill Rally was a mere seven seconds, but going into the final stage it had been a three way fight which included Donnie MacDonald and Sam Smith.

Even so, Andrew Kirkaldy was fastest over the first 3 stages, but diff failure sidelined the Escort in SS4. That left Marshall with a 23 second lead over Feeney with Donnie just 2 seconds further behind. Over the afternoon's final four stages Nigel's German sausage tin was the fastest metal around the circuit, but the Silver Fox was having none of it and he did just enough to ensure the top spot.

Mind you, had it not been for a stall on the start line of the opening stage of the day, who knows what might have been. As Nigel explained: "When the MINI stalls and cuts out, it goes into re-set Mode and won't fire up again till it has finished the process - that took 19 seconds!"

Donnie's trouble struck on the start line of the final stage. He got off the line smartly enough. On the move, he snatched second, and then went for third. It wasn't there. A wee bracket on the gear linkage snapped leaving the car stuck in 2nd and he had to do the whole final stage like that. So he was awfy lucky to hang on to 3rd.

Colin Gemmell was best of the Escort brigade snatching 4th from Tom Blackwood in the final stage while Scott MacBeth rounded off the top six first time out in his new Lancer, despite hooleying around at the hairpin! On the fourth stage, he approached the hairpin fully broadside on, drifted all the way around magnificently and in perfect control - while waving his right hand in the air out of the driver's window. And we all thought James Gibb was the grandstander. Not this time, the Lancer's centre diff had failed before the rally so James finished just outside the top ten in 12th.

Michael Robertson was equally spectacular in the Honda Civic till someone pointed out he was driving it all wrong, advising him that the car he was driving was front wheel drive, not rear wheel drive. Naturally, he paid no heed to such sage advice and finished 7th.

First time out in his new Citroen C2 R2, Angus Lawrie scored the 1600 class win with an excellent 8th= overall after a day long fight with Des Campbell while Cameron Craig took a rather lonely 1400 class in his Peugeot 205 finishing some 18 minutes ahead of his nearest 1400 opposition.

(A FULL rally report will appear in the on-line mag later in the week)

Final Results
1, John Marshall/Scott Crawford (Subaru Impreza) 39mins 41secs
2, Nigel Feeney/Nikki Addison (MINI Countryman JCW WRC) +0.07
3, Donnie MacDonald/Sam Smith (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9) +1.18
4, Colin Gemmell/Derek Keir (Ford Escort Mk2) +1.24
5, Tom Blackwood/Gordon Winning (Ford Escort Mk2) +1.33
6, Scott MacBeth/Dan Forsyth (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9) +1.34
7, Michael Robertson/Murray Milne (Honda Civic) +1.44
8, Angus Lawrie/Paul Gribben (Citroen C2 R2 MAX) +2.05
8, Robert Thomson/Kyle Mackintosh (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo8) +2.05
10, Ross Hunter/Becy Morrison (Peugeot 205) +2.06

Thursday 21 February 2019

Rally - Tribute to a legend

This fotie was sent to me by a good pal, a former editor of one of Lanarkshire's finest news weeklies, and who now resides in France somewhere near Englandshire. Apparently George was on a cultural visit to the Vatican, for reasons known only to himself, where he chanced upon a bust of a celebrated Roman general and was immediately struck by the likeness to one of Scottish rallying's best known characters.

Here at last was proof that the Romans did indeed visit Scotland in the days long before the automobile, railways and bus replacement services, although it has to be said that they got no further than the Antonine Wall at Stirling. Apparently this General was stationed at a Roman Camp somewhere in central Lanarkium called Coltnessium on the banks of the Aqua Clydeicus.

Now, I kid you not, the inscription on the plinth reads as follows:
" My name is Jamesimus Scotus Brownius, Commander of the Bears of Coltness, General of the Marshal Volunteers, loyal servant to the true King of Scotland, Jamesimus McGreaticca the Rallyist. Driver of a murdered Saab, sufferer of desecrated cooking. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next. "

An uncanny likeness to his descendant, eh?

Wednesday 20 February 2019

Rally - Grant Stages preview

John Marshall heads a quality entry for this weekend's Grant Construction Rally at Knockhill on Sunday 24th. He won this event last year, but there was a heck of a fight all the way and the outcome was only decided on the final stage. We can expect more of the same on Sunday with the likes of Andrew Kirkaldy, James Gibb and John Rintoul chasing him down and of course, Donnie MacDonald who was fourth last year. Mind you, he could have been first, but for a slow time on the first stage - so who won't be a slow starter this weekend, eh? 

Full preview and entry list here: