Round 1 Classes Round-up
The A.M Phillip Trucktech Snowman Rally was a rally of attrition for the crews competing in the various classes throughout the field.
Murray Mackay (Rogart) & Andrew Macaskill (Wick) took both the C1 win and the top Moates Offshore Junior award. It was an adventurous day, the Fabia backwards on about the 4th corner of the day after a mix up in the notes. After that they settled down, finding the big hills hard work with only 90 horsepower at their disposal.
It was a day of firsts for Brora’s David & Molly Sutherland. David’s first Snowman since the mid-eighties and this was daughter Molly’s 1st experience of rallying. Determined to have fun and make the finish they piloted their 205 to 48th overall.
Lauder’s Craig Smith & Charles Mackenzie (Alexandria) endured a character-building day on their way to the C3 win. Issues before the event meant starting with a standard gearbox and diff in the Astra. The car was also using oil at an alarming rate, over 15 litres were added throughout the day, and they had to contend with wildly unpredictable handling. Post event they found a broken rear shock absorber, a non-functioning diff and no compression on one of the cylinders. Amazingly they survived despite the car’s best efforts to take a very creditable 35th.
John McIlwraith (Canonbie) & Heather Grisedale (Workington) showed just how quick a C5 spec Impreza could be driven. 12th overall, the class, Groundwater Lift Truck Subaru Cup and the Albyn Garage Challengers wins all going the Subaru crew. John reckoning he’d never driven the car harder and was absolutely delighted with the result.
H2 produced the closest battle of the day. Grant Inglis (Glasgow) & Kilmarnock’s Gavin Chisholm eventually winning out after a titanic day long battle with Donald Peacock (Bridge of Dee) & Mairi Riddick (Dumfries) by just 2 seconds. It wasn’t plain sailing for the blue Mk2, the gearbox mountings working loose midway through stage 3 and there were concerns over the alternator. They made it to the finish in 28th overall.
Stranraer’s Martyn Erskine & Kieran Hyslop were making their debut in the ex-Jim Robertson Citroen C2. Overcoming last minute problems to make the start Absolutely loving their new toy, particularly how much they had to rev it, they took fastest time in the class on every stage but one. A puncture on the last stage slowed their attack on their way to 42nd overall.
Inverness crew Andy MacDonald & Richard Alsop were contesting their 1st event for 7 years in the ex-Mark Macdonald Fiesta ST. Describing his performance as “hit or miss” as he relearned the rallying game Andy was pretty happy with 43rd overall.
Former 2wd champions Dougal Brown (Forres) & Lewis Rochford (Keith) took the M4 win in their refreshed and upgraded Mk2. A relatively steady start was compounded by the alternator belt slipping off its mountings. Once the teething problems were sorted they were on the top 2wd pace on the final loop finishing 3rd 2wd car and 16th overall.
15th overall and 2nd 2wd David Wilson (Alness) & Kerrie MacGillivray (Mull) really enjoyed the morning stages in their BMW Compact. Stage 3 was tougher and they made a wrong tyre choice for the final loop. To top it off they were lucky to finish at all when the engine began to overheat on the final road section, giving up just after they passed through the final time control.
Reigning Subaru Cup champions Mike Moates (Udny Green) & Gary McDonald (Aberdeen) led the M6 runners for most of the day, really enjoying the car on its new suspension. Sadly for them 2 spins on the final stage dropped them to 2nd behind Elgin’s Brett McKenzie & Navenby’s Barry Young. Brett & Barry had started slowly as they got used to the new Evo. 65th after stage 1 they improved the pace all day to finish 27th and 1st in class despite catching a car on the final stage. The battle between the Evo and Impreza looking like it could be a highlight of the season.
Class Pro 2
Reigning Autoshop 2wd champions, the Dumfries crew of Peter Stewart & Harry Marchbank continued from where they left off in 2022 with 11th overall and the top 2wd spot. Peter reckoned all the work had been done on the morning loop and they were able to back off and pace themselves in the afternoon. The 208 crew were very happy to be back on the gravel after a very difficult weekend on the tarmac of the East Riding Stages the week before.