Carlisle Stages Rally Classes Review
The battle for the overall Scottish title may have grabbed all the headlines but there were also class awards to be decided on the Carlisle Stages.
The C2 title was to be decided in a head-to-head battle between the 205 of Bryan & Scott Gourlay from Dalbeattie and the 206 of Stranraer’s Martyn Erskine & co-driver Jonathan Fowler. The morning would belong to the 206, arriving at service in the class lead. The afternoon would see Bryan & Scott turn the tables with an all-out attack. Bryan crediting Scott with really pushing him hard over the last 3 stages and they would charge to the C2 class title.
Inverness crew Jordan Anderson & Clare Mackenzie were the sole C3 competitors. Battling for the Junior title Jordan was devastated to retire before the final stage with a burst brake flex. Despite the disappointment they have the consolation of being crowned class champions.
Wrapping up the C5 title and the Andrew Wood Motorsport Subaru Cup Michael Renton & John Shepheard rounded off their fantastic season with another strong run. As Michael says, not bad for a crew who were only going to do Argyll for a laugh…….
Another crew who were only planning to do a couple of events to prepare for the Roger Albert Clark, Catrine’s George & Jacqueline Bryson needed a finish on the Carlisle Stages to snatch the H1 title. Still getting used to the power under the MK1s bonnet George found the car to be quite scary on the fast stages but survived to clinch the class win.
Out for the 1st time this year in their Mercedes, the Yorkshire crew of Steve Magson & Kevin Bardon wrestled the big German machine around the Kielder Forests to take the H2 class win.
Taking 2nd on the event Ellon’s Ernie & Patricia Lee did enough to clinch the H2 title in the glorious sounding BMW.
Class M2 went down to the wire. The Houston / Fort William pairing of Fraser Smith & Steven Brown took the event win by just 3 seconds at the finish from the South-West Scotland crew of Niall Cowan Jnr from Dumfries & Callum Shanks from Castle Douglas. Both crews driving well all day, the difference was probably when Cowan Jnr was delayed with gear selection troubles.
However, 2nd place was enough for the MG crew to clinch the class title.
Dominating once again, another South-West Scotland crew Peter Stewart & Harry Marchbank would win the class by over 5 minutes. Knocking on the door of the overall top 10 Peter would also take the Albyn Garage Challengers title after an incredible drive.
Finally having their pace rewarded with a class win Dunbar’s Bobby Mitchell & Craig Wallace from Kirriemuir struggled early on in the slippy conditions, finding the brakes very easy to lock up, causing a lot of sideways moments. They would finish just over a minute up on the Aberdeen pairing of Johnnie Mackay & Emily Easton-Page.
It was a big day for Johnnie & Emily though, taking both the class and the Bob Shepherd Junior titles.
Taking the class win by just 20 seconds at the finish, Penpont’s Jim Robertson & Annan’s Paul Gribben had a list of jobs to do in Kielder. Job no 1 was to guarantee Paul the Challengers co-driver title: job done. Job no 2 was to shake the car down before the Roger Albert Clark: again job done.
Driffield’s Paul Thomson & co-driver Josh Davison would grab an excellent 2nd ahead of the Inverness-shire crew of Roo Campbell & Shaina Archibald.
The Sunbeam crew did enough to take 2nd in the class championship behind the all-conquering Mark McCulloch & Michael Hendry.
On his first rally in over 30 years Lancaster’s Ian Holt had a lot to re-learn in his MK2 Escort. With experienced navigator Steve Pugh from Aberystwyth alongside Ian would take the M7 win after a solid return and an obligatory flirt with a big Wauchope ditch.
Wrapping up another solid year the Scottish Borders pairing of Hawick’s Ian Baumgart & Jedburgh’s Dave Robson would take their 4th class win of the year in forests they are both very familiar with. There was a small concern with a sticking throttle towards the end of the day but 8th SRC crew home was another good result for the Impreza crew.
Taking the class and a fantastic 2nd overall in the SRC Scott Beattie & Paula Swinscoe’s extremely strong end to the season continued. The white Evo grabbing the Mitsubishi Motors Open award by just 16 seconds from fellow Evo pilots Michael Binnie & Claire Mole.