AM Phillip Trucktech Snowman Rally Overall Review
Border Reivers’ plunder back-to-back Snowman wins.
The 2022 KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship kicked off with the return after an enforced break of the Snowman Rally and a new event sponsor in AM Phillip Trucktech.
Two years on and the Cornhill/Duns pairing of Michael Binnie & Claire Mole took their 2nd consecutive win on the event ahead of Jock Armstrong & Cammy Fair. A 19 second gap would suggest a reasonably comfortable victory but the final result was nowhere as clear cut as that as Binnie & Mole had battled all day with the R5 Fiesta of Freddie Milne & Patrick Walsh. Leading by 5 seconds going into the final stage, Freddie & Patrick were robbed of a podium when their engine cut out with just 2 miles to go of the final stage, taking over half a minute to reset and restart the engine and dropping them to 4th overall in the process. A cruel twist of fate after another controlled drive from the Aberdonian.
Take nothing away from Michael & Claire who were absolutely flying all day, their only issue being a questionable tyre choice for the final loop. To mix it with the R5s in an Evo 9 is an incredible performance.
Also sticking it to the more modern machinery, Jock Armstrong & Cammy Fair were back in their famous orange Impreza after a season in a Fiesta. Feeling really good back in familiar surroundings they overcame brake problems in the morning to secure a fine 2nd place.
Salvaging 3rd overall, 5 times champions David Bogie & Kevin Rae suffered a puncture and subsequent suspension failure in stage 1, dropping them over a minute. A typical charge in the afternoon saw the MINI WRC climb back up onto the podium. A case of what might have been.
9th overall on their 4wd debut, local crew Keir Beaton & Iain Thorburn would also take top spot in the Albyn Garage Challengers category in their hired Group N Impreza. Finding very quickly that Nova and Escort techniques didn’t really work they endured a few excursions into ditches as Keir figured out the best way to drive the car throughout the day, but it was another strong run on their home event.
Top finishers in the 2 Wheel Drive supported by Autoshop.co.uk category in 15th place overall went to the rapid Peugeot 208 R4 of Dumfriesshire crew Peter Stewart & Harry Marchbank. Challenging the 4wd cars all day they lost a lot of time to the bigger cars in the long straights and square corners of the Millbuie stage due to the cars relatively short gearing. On the twistier stages the front wheel drive 1200cc turbocharged car was more than a match for the 4wd machinery around them and Peter is determined to keep pushing for even more on the rallies to come.
Another crew making their 4wd debut were local crew Jordan Anderson & Claire Mackenzie who dominated the 5 Star Vehicle Deliveries Subaru Cup battle by over 2 minutes. Really enjoying the traction and stability of the Impreza over the 306 they campaigned last year their only real problem was Claire losing her voice early in stage 1. Many throat sweeties were consumed as Claire guided Jordan to a fantastic 21st overall.
In the Moates Offshore Junior category R2 Fiesta pilot Justin Gunning from Lanark would emerge victorious over Victoria Adam driver Robert Proudlock from Dumfries. Having even tested in Sweden on the off chance of snow, Gunning was very prepared for his 1st Snowman, catching cars in every stage. Despite the delays the Fiesta took a fantastic 33rd overall, co-driver Stuart McBride full of praise for his driver describing it as an almost perfect performance.
Car 43 finished 43rd overall as former Snowman winner back in the 1986 Snowman Rally winner Alistair Brearley from Galashiels & co-driver Gerry Bryden from Sorn took the honours in the new SRC Super Seniors supported by Haddo Energy category on their 1st event together. It was a tricky day with a spin and an overshoot but the Mk2 Escort crew took the win by just 21 seconds ahead of the glorious sounding BMW of Super Seniors creator Ernie & Patricia Lee.
The Ladies battle was well supported with 4 drivers contesting the Snowman. Reigning champion Ashleigh Morris would start her title defence in the best possible way, taking the win and 47th overall. Ashleigh was very happy with the new suspension on her R200 Fiesta and with the effort of regular co-driver Martin Haggett who had flown all the way from his new home in Germany to guide Ashleigh to her best SRC result so far.
Entries are now open for round 2 on 23rd April which sees competitors return to the Elgin-based McDonald & Munro Speyside Stages for the first time since 2019. The traditional opening stages in the town’s Cooper Park will kick off proceedings once again.