Championship Battle Hots Up on Voyonic Grampian Forest Rally
The KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship welcomed the British Rally Championship to a sunny Crathes for round 6 of the 2022 SRC season, the Voyonic Grampian Forest Rally.
After managing only 3 miles on the previous round, David Bogie & John Rowan were keen to properly test McGeehan’s new Fiesta Rally 2. Leading from the start they found the opening loop very slippy in the warm conditions and switched to a different tyre compound at 1st service. That vastly improved the car and they held their lead all the way to the finish, taking the SRC win by 19 seconds. A big result for David considering his main Championship rival Michael Binnie retired with an off in SS1.
Losing 10 of those seconds off the lead in another competitor’s dust on the middle loop fellow Rally 2 crew David Henderson & Chris Lees had shadowed Bogie & Rowan on the 1st 2 stages. After their delay they made sure of their position to take their 3rd podium of the season, moving both of them up into the battle for a top 3 place in the championship with 2 rounds remaining.
Fresh from their 1st SRC podium on the Scottish Hugh Brunton & Drew Sturrock enjoyed a titanic battle with the i20 of John Wink & Neil Shanks all day. For the Fiesta crews part they had found the rear end to be very nervous on the morning stages which was cured by a change of rear spring settings at 1st service. They continued to swap times with the Hyundai until Wink & Shanks were delayed with turbo issues on the last stage. That left the Fiesta crew to secure 3rd at the finish.
In the Albyn Garage Challengers series, Angus Lawrie would strengthen his championship lead with another win despite the driver overheating in the conditions. That wasn’t the whole story in the challengers though, with ALM teammates Willie Paterson & Tom Hynd ahead of Angus & co-driver Paul Gribben early on. The red Evo was swapping times with Jock Armstrong & Cammy Fair before unfortunately crashing out. The team were taken to hospital for checks but thankfully are on the mend.
Top Autoshop 2wd award went to the Autoshop liveried 208 of Peter Stewart & Harry Marchbank. After losing out to the Escorts on home ground last time out they were delighted to get their revenge in Aberdeenshire. Even losing time catching and passing an Evo in the middle loop wasn’t going to deny the turbocharged fwd car from taking the 2wd win by 24 seconds from the Mk2 Escort of Stuart Egglestone & Brian Hodgson.
3rd 2wd once again, Escort legend Steve Bannister & Callum Atkinson would also take their 3rd Haddo Energy Super Seniors win this season. They had played 2nd fiddle for most of the day to Gordon Murray & Michael Cruickshank, the big engined Escort absolutely flying until they crashed out on the final stage.
Taking the 5 Star Vehicle Deliveries Subaru Cup win on home ground Mike Moates & Gary McDonald were absolutely delighted at the finish, describing it as “if Carlsberg did rally weekends”. Mike was relieved to finally have a clean run on the gravel after issues on every loose surface event this year. The blue Impreza just 15 seconds ahead of Cup rivals Orrin McDonnell & Eoghan Anderson, the orange Impreza heavily delayed with a lack of brakes on the middle loop.
Robert Proudlock once again grabbed top Moates Offshore Juniors honours with a very controlled & mature drive in the Vauxhall Adam, navigated as always by Steven Brown. Steven very impressed by his young driver’s ability in the slippy conditions. Robert strengthening his points lead over Fiesta man Justin Gunning. Gunning was delayed by a puncture early on and unfortunately went off the road as he tried to claw back time.
There was huge drama in the Ladies battle. Aileen & John Forrest were leading for the most of the day despite Aileen backing off after an early scare. That would end when she rolled her Evo off the notorious bridge near the finish of the last stage in Fetteresso, thankfully escaping with no injuries.
That left the Fiestas of Ashleigh Morris & Meghan O’Kane. Morris’ challenge was seriously hampered by 2 punctures, one resulting in a stage maximum,ruining any chances of a win. Meghan & dad John also punctured a tyre and split the Fiesta’s exhaust during the day but survived to take Meghan’s 1st maximum points score since she switched to the drivers seat at the end of last year.
Next up for the SRC is the popular Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally in September.
images courtesy of Alistair Farquhar