Tuesday 27 June 2023

Rally - Puddled reflections

Commenting purely as a spectating outsider (who kens damn all about rallying) Mull CCs Dunoon Presents Argyll Rally provided a serious splurge of speed, drama and commitment. This is not meant to be a rally report, just a few comments from a wistful onlooker.

Joking aside, the Sheriff can drive, but that bluidy Audi looks more than a handful. It twitched, spat and growled like a Scottish wildcat eager to lowp off the road and into the bush. And whilst we all might doubt the Brian's sanity, none can deny his bravery.

So who else impressed? And it's a personal view, but I thought Ashleigh Morris was more committed on this event than I've seen her before although Meghan O'Kane was a mere whiff of exhaust just 15 seconds behind her. These two seem to be giving Aileen Forrest a bit of a fright with their pace these days.

Nearer the front end of the field, I don't know how Rory Young does it. He's hardly the most committed of rallyists, only doing events as and when he can fit them into the arduous job of being a Christmas tree farmer. Mind you, one wonders how arduous that can be? You plant them, hang around for a few years before cutting them down and selling them at Christmas. Easy peasy, eh? He must go through an awfy lot of slippers as opposed to work boots.

Then when he does have a bit of time, he gives Dommie a bell to get the car ready, turns up, instantly on the pace and trounces the opposition taking maximum SRC points. Impressive. And yet Mark's 2nd place points score is equally impressive as he continues to develop that unique Proton. Then there's Michael Binnie hustling that old-tech Lancer along the lanes amongst the slot-car R5s.

Speaking of old-tech, Jock's Subaru could have embarrassed a few more and but for a puncture in the 14 mile Otter Ferry test was denied a top six appearance, so who knows what might have been? Another surprise was Lee Hastings, no demolishing dykes or ventilating hedges this time, he kept it on the road, well most of the time - ya beezer.

It was good to see Kev Dunn back out again and he managed to pip Dangerous Des for top 1600cc runner, these two going at it like twa terriers chasing an empty poke in a gale. They weren’t top 2WD though, Montana Morrison did the business making a rare rallying appearance in the ex Greg McKnight Mk2 but only 20 seconds clear of giant killing Kev.

Innes Mochrie had some serious competition this time in the wee class with old hand and Mull regular John Cressey keeping the Mighty Moose honest in his real Mini. I don’t know what grade of jet fuel Innes feeds his wee Metro on but by heck it goes and for something with limited suspension travel he’s got it handling a treat, although scarily twitchy looking at times.

And there were so many more sights and memorable moments, Ian Forgan in his parts-bin engined Ka and Booster Brearley giving hope to auld age pensioners across the land, while it wasn't a day (weekend?) for the youngsters. You had to feel too for the rising hot shots Archie Swinscoe taking flight (literally) and Robert Proudlock breaking a driveshaft, and of course Finlay Retson who could have made headlines at the front of the field - again. Rallying can be such a cruel game.

Having said all that, congratulations to Callum Black and the constantly surprising Neil Roskell for their overall top two placings with the top finishing Scot on the podium- just.

Still, four Scots drivers in the top ten (Young, McCulloch, Binnie and Wink) wasn't too shabby given that the Protyre Championship visitors were sharing the tarmac with the KNC Groundworks regulars. And thanks too to the guid fowks of Dunoon - for putting up with the lot of you!

What a rally, what pace and what weather – more changes than Carol’s wardrobe. Next round? That'll be the Scottish, and after the tarmac it will be a return to gravel. As the grizzly bears would say: “To the woods, and to hell with the bog rolls”.

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