Round 4 Classes Round-up
Owen Macleod & Ryan Urquhart’s 205 had been treated to a full engine rebuild after the Speyside, along with a few upgrades. There were concerns about the engine breathing quite heavily before the start, but Owen was pleased with the performance on the stages. They made the very brave decision to tackle Friday night on cut slicks in the rain and survived a couple of big moments. The dry conditions on Saturday were much more manageable and they took 63rd overall at the finish.
After the Ka’s engine failure on the Jim Clark Ian Forgan had installed a spare engine he found at the back of his garage. Sporting a massive 100 horsepower Ian & co-driver Ewan Lees were finding the long uphill sections to be a bit of a slog. Saturday saw them head into the halfway halt with no clutch. A great effort in service kept them going but the drama wasn’t over. A broken engine mount in the penultimate stage jamming the throttle open and they had to use the kill switch to slow the car. Rounding everything off they finished the event stuck in 5th gear to take one of the most deserved finishes in recent times.
Class winners Jordan Anderson and Harry Stubbs also took both the Albyn Garage Challengers and Groundwater Lift Trucks Subaru Cup wins. The clubman spec Impreza crew turning heads with their pace, particularly in the wet on Friday night, mixing it with the higher-spec cars. Saturday was a case of maintaining what they already had. Despite a wrong tyre choice, they were able to take an excellent 22nd overall, tied on time with the Fiesta R5 of David White & Phil Hall.
Ryan Ingram & Calum MacDougall enjoyed the dark and wet of Friday night in their Civic, despite having to run the heater on full to keep the car from misting up. The Civic doing its usual trick of sounding fantastic out on the stages as Ryan revved it as hard as he possibly could, really enjoying finding the limits on the dry tarmac of the final loop.
Michael Mackenzie took the top navigator’s points, sitting alongside Tom Howie. The Sunbeam crew were one of the best to watch out on the stages as they pushed hard to an excellent 35th overall.
Top M2 driver, Ashleigh Morris produced her best SRC performance so far with the uber-experienced Steve Harris in the hotseat. The Fiesta R200 pilot mixing it with some much more powerful machinery in 43rd overall. Steve was very happy with how well Ashleigh listened to his advice and encouragement on these difficult stages.
Meghan & John O’Kane’s Friday started with losing all the lights in SS3. A bit of tinkering on the road section got some back for the next stage but then they were caught in a bank of fog. The Saturday went very well, battling for top Ladies honours with Ashleigh Morris. Meghan was finally beginning to enjoy the Fiesta with its new engine and also very grateful to Johnnie Mackay for lending them some suspension parts before the event.
Ian Macdougall was out in the hotseat of Michael Harbour’s MK2 Escort and was the sole M4 class finisher. It was a solid run, taking 27th overall and 7th 2wd car home at the finish.
Class honours were split. Ian Parker taking the navigator’s win alongside Gordon Morrison in the ex-Greg McKnight Ford Escort despite modifying the front end on something solid on the Saturday and having to stop at the scene of Archie Swinscoe’s accident.
In the drivers, David Hardie’s bad run of luck in 2023 finally improved, taking his 1st finish of the year and his 1st maximum 2wd points into the bargain. A good result after retiring from the Challengers and 2wd lead last time out.
Taking his 2nd class win of the season John Easson Award winner Johnnie Mackay was keen to bounce back after his Jim Clark retirement. A steady start in the rain of Friday night was exactly what was needed. Into the daylight on Saturday and Johnnie & navigator Michael Cruickshank began to push. A small setup tweak in service helped with the confidence and they set some strong times on the way to 25th overall.
Keith Robathan & Peter Carstairs took the H1 win and 3rd SRC 2wd car home in their Vauxhall Firenza. The car, finally sporting its new engine after a 12 month long build, was performing very well on these stages. Keith saying it now finally feels like a proper rally car and the only real issue was it gradually filling up with water on the Friday night.
Out for the 1st time in 12 months Linzi Henderson had Sue Hynd in the navigator’s seat for the 1st time. They quickly adapted to how each other work and were running well on the Friday night. Saturday saw the bonnet fly open on the opening stage of the day, thankfully David Henderson & Chris Lees were on hand to quickly shut it for them. They also survived an argument with a bale on their way to 62nd overall. Hopefully we’ll see them out for the rest of the season.
images courtesy of AF Motorsport Media