Tuesday 22 November 2022

Rally - Hill Rally lookback

Last weekend's Scottish Borders Hill Rally was interesting and thoroughly entertaining. It's just a pity that it is a non-spectator event. That's down to particular location circumstances and if the organisers can overcome that, perhaps by using  a nearby 'public' forest stage, then other interested parties might be able to see what all the fuss is about.

Anyway, my Big Pal was indeed allowed limited visitation rights courtesy of his friends at Land Rover and Bowler Motorsport and also managed to get a few pics.

Fans of regular 'fast & furious' forest stage rallies may scoff but for an entry fee of £595 competitors had 12 Stages totalling some 93.7 miles of competitive driving contained within a total 110 mile route. The winner's time for all 93 miles of stages was 2 hours 42 minutes and 22 seconds, so average speeds were around 40 to 42 mph. That may not sound very quick, but the organisers include some additional 'tests' within the stages to keep average speeds down while adding extra skills requirements to the route. Even so, some of these bellowing beasties can easily top 100 miles an hour - and regularly do!

All stages were used twice (some sections six times) and even where there were areas of heavy braking and enthusiastic cornering, the forest roads remained relatively rut-free. Admittedly some of the hairpins did cut up, but remember we've had quite a bit of rain recently - this is November after all!

Richard Kershaw won the event outright in his Mitsubishi Evo powered Lofthouse with the raucous 5 litre Milner R5 of Johnnie Drysdale less than a minute behind and the glorious sounding 6.3 litre Lofthouse of Mark Jacques in third place. Mind you some of these one litre motorcycle engined 'sports' Utility Vehicles have a serious turn of speed too, like Ian Gregg's Polaris which finished 4th overall.

Contesting the Interclub event were seven 'production spec' Land Rover Bowler Defender 90 cars with Jamie Thwaites' overall time good enough for ninth overall had he been contesting the main Clubman event.

Of course it is still hard to beat the visceral speed and thrill of car rallies but when Forest & Land Scotland eventually price the sport out of the forests and MS UK call a halt on safety grounds, then perhaps Hill Rallies and Comp Safaris will be able to provide a replacement challenge for those adrenalin junkies who are hooked on speed and adventure.

As for spectating next year, even if my Big Pal isn't allowed in to watch, what's the betting he'll go anyway, get as close as he can, and just listen - sad, eh?

Top Ten
1, Richard Kershaw/Mason Kershaw (Lofthouse Evo) 2h 20m 22s
2, Johnnie Drysdale/Tony Rae (Milner R5) 2h 21m 16s
3, Mark Jacques/Tony Barley (Lofthouse LS3) 2h 24m 48s
4, Ian Gregg/Jason Noakes (Polaris XP Turbo) 2h 26m 58s
5, Ben Gill/Ryan Exley (TMC 5.0 Indy) 2h 36m 18s
6, Robert Patton/William Robert Bones (Land Rover 3M Challenger 88 Inch) 2h 38m 28s
7, David Brose/Graeme Morrison (Land Rover Defender 110) 2h 37m 34s
8, Henry Webster/Emrys Kirby (Land Rover Discovery) 2h 38m 49s
9, John Rennie/Ian Gray (Tomcat 100) 2h 40m 45s
10, Ross Thomas Walker/Mark Walker (Polaris RZR) 2h 43m 58s



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