Bulletin 15 - 24th June 2017

Alistair and Colin Inglis, Lotus Exige © West Coast Photos
Alistair and Colin Inglis, Lotus Exige © West Coast Photos
Kenny Moore in his Hillman Avenger © West Coast PhotosDes Campbell and Shona Hale, Peugeot 206 © West Coast PhotosSue and Tom Hynd, BMW Mini Cooper S © West Coast Photos

Kenny Moore in his Hillman Avenger © West Coast PhotosDes Campbell and Shona Hale, Peugeot 206 © West Coast PhotosSue and Tom Hynd, BMW Mini Cooper S © West Coast Photos

                                                  

Inglis takes maximum points on the Kingdom.  In recognition of the 40th anniversary since the inaugural running of the Kingdom Stages, Glenrothes Motor Sport Club took a brave decision to change a tried and trusted formula that had worked well for them in recent years.  Their single venue rally at Crail (the Summer Stages) would this time be extended to include another venue, RAF Leuchars.  The plan was to have 2 tests at Crail before a road section up the coast past St Andrews to attempt 4 runs in Leuchars before returning for a final 4 stages in Crail.  With service after each pair of stages, it all sounded like a good plan.  And then good weather was booked too with 25oC a regular sight making for a hot, sticky and tiring rally.

 

Alistair and Colin Inglis quickly laid down a marker over the opening 20.26 miles of Crail to take 2nd overall and this position was consolidated with more quick times in the next 4 stages at Leuchars.  Alistair was kind of happy in that his Lotus Exige was going well but the rear tyres were struggling a bit in the heat.  A change to harder compound rubber on the front and back for the afternoon stages at Crail helped enormously.  So after their disaster of putting the car off the road at Ingliston a couple of months ago, their hard work in re-prepping the car had all been worthwhile with a top result of 2nd overall in the event and maximum championship points too.

 

Taking second co-driver’s points was Richard Stewart sitting in with the non-registered George R Auld in his Ford Escort.  The only problem to report being a trip over the tyres at a chicane on SS8 losing them about 20 seconds. 

 

The Hillman Avenger of Kenny Moore was next up with another solid finish in 12th overall.  Kenny’s usual co-driver Richard Wardle opted to go to Donegal this weekend and the unregistered Thomas Purvin quickly jumped into the silly seat for the day.  The opening test in Crail saw the engine running very hot but after bleeding the system a more normal service was resumed.  The only other issue the quiet man from Coltness had to mention was a lack of brakes by the stop line of the final stage, something that the stopwatches confirmed with several seconds lost.  With this best score of the season, Kenny now moves up to second overall in the driver’s table and his consistency will keep Stevie Irwin and Rob Snowden much more alert now.

 

Des Campbell wheeled out his Peugeot 206 once more and with yet another different co-driver alongside him – this time it was Shona Hale.  As ever, Big Red was committed in his driving style that kept Shona on her toes particularly through the twisty parts of Leuchars tests. It nearly all came to an abrupt end with a dramatic off on the very last stage, where it nearly ended in disaster.  Flat out in 5th, coming into the chicane at the end of the quarter mile straight and the brake pedal went to the floor. They hit the chicane bales and carried on into the lorry tyres.  Most crews might have called it a day but Des found that the car was still driveable so carried on to finish the stage.  The car looked like it had been in a big battle at the final control so that will keep the man from Hawick busy for a wee while re-fettling her.

 

Our final finishers were the Hynds in their BMW Mini Cooper S.  Last time out at Ingliston, it was Tom who was driving while his wife was in the left hand seat but for this event they would swap seats.  Their only mechanical concern was after the first pair of stages at Leuchars when the water temperature was on the high side.  They felt it was down to the more technical layout of these stages and the issue didn’t get any worse once back at Crail.  Sue was a very tired lady at the finish as the heat inside and outside of the car took its toll on her.

 

The list of retirements this time is a short one, which is always a good thing unless your name happens to be on it of course.  Our first crew to leave the fray were Stevie Irwin and Ian Middleton when they rolled their Vauxhall Nova.  Just clipping a tyre sent our leading driver into summersaults and out of the event.  Gareth White and Harry Marchbank made it up to Leuchars and were lying just outside the top ten after the first pair of tests there.  Unfortunately a puncture on SS5 meant they had to stop and change the wheel losing them over 4 minutes.  Our final retiree was Rob Snowden who made it back to Crail but stopped on seventh stage.  At the first service in Leuchars, Rob was starting to get concerned as the engine cut out at the stop line and he feared a return on the sensor issue that surfaced on the previous rally.  A switch to a spare seemed to solve it but after the remaining 2 runs at the RAF base, he was complaining about vibrations from the gearbox.  The orange Ford Escort made it back into the stages at Crail but was soon parked up when a bolt sheared on the gear linkage leaving the car stuck in 3rd gear at a hairpin.

 

A mention is needed here for Robert Ness and all his team at Glenrothes MSC for their efforts in making the ruby anniversary Kingdom Stages just a little bit more special. A few complaints were heard from some crews having difficulties with the signage and layout in early Leuchars tests but as this was the club’s first attempt with the new venue, it’s something that can be fixed for the next time.  Running the rally over two venues and giving competitors over 80 testing miles in 10 stages worked well.  This was more of a logistical challenge and they may have lost a little time at the start of the day but that was easily recovered as the rally went on with awards being presented by 6 o’clock.

 

Round 8 of the championship will see our first visit of the year to Otterburn military ranges as we tackle the Tyneside Stages. The Regulations for the rally were published earlier this month and the organisers are proposing 60 miles of competition run over several special stages and linked together by 60 road miles.  Entries are available until 24th July; recce takes place on Saturday 5th August and the rally on Sunday 6th August.  There’s much more on the event at Alnwick motor club website - see http://www.alnwickmotorclub.co.uk/tyneside-stages-rally

 

 

All images courtesy of West Coast Photos ©