Bulletin 5 - 5th April 2016

Alistair and Colin Inglis, Lotus Exige © West Coast Photos
Alistair and Colin Inglis, Lotus Exige © West Coast Photos
Neil Thompson, Vauxhall Corsa  © West Coast PhotosGareth White / Harry Marchbank, Peugeot 208 © West Coast PhotosKenny Moore / Richard Wardle, Hillman Avenger © West Coast PhotosTom and Sue Hynd, Renault Clio © West Coast Photos

Neil Thompson, Vauxhall Corsa © West Coast PhotosGareth White / Harry Marchbank, Peugeot 208 © West Coast PhotosKenny Moore / Richard Wardle, Hillman Avenger © West Coast PhotosTom and Sue Hynd, Renault Clio © West Coast Photos


Inglis makes instant impact at Ingliston.  Newcomers Alistair and Colin Inglis made an immediate impression on their first rally of this year’s campaign, the DCC Stages.  Driving a Lotus Exige, the guys from Montrose were on the pace with a fifth fastest time over the opening 5.9 mile test.  The greasy surface soon offered a dry line and the boys pushed on to hold third place at the half way point of the rally.  With the afternoon stages being run in a clockwise direction, more time was gained even though light drizzle arrived for the penultimate stage.  The Inglis’ were just 2 seconds adrift of the rally leader going into the final stage but were overhauled by the eventual rally winner in his Subaru Impreza.  It appears that the 4-wheel drive of the Japanese car provided the better grip in the worsening slippy conditions.  Still a joint runner up place, refined to 3rd overall on the fastest over first stage decider, was still a cracking result.  Factor in that both Alistair and Colin played their jokers for the rally and they open their accounts to stand in 6th place in both overall tables.  A crew to keep an eye on as the year develops …


Our second placed driver was Neil Thompson in his ‘new’ Vauxhall Corsa kit car.  It was but a bare shell a week earlier but a few late nights and fuel issues later; the car was ready to go on Saturday morning.  Thirteenth quickest over the opening slippy test and everything was still working.  The only problem to report all day was a broken rose joint on the nearside front suspension but that was quickly fixed.  Steady progress up the leaderboard would see Neil and the non-registered Alan Cowan, end the day 2nd in class and 7th overall - a cracking result.


And 2 places further back were Gareth White and Harry Marchbank in a Peugeot.  This was a R2 variant of the French company’s 208 version and similar to Neil, it was new to Gareth less than a month before the event.  A lot of hard work had the car in pristine condition for the opening stage but it’s a shame it didn’t stay that way for long.   Driving with his usual flat out style, it wasn’t long before Gareth was hitting just about every bale in the stage !  A little cosmetic damage to the front panel / wing will soon fix and the boys from St Boswells will be ready to go again soon.


Next up in 11th overall were Kenny Moore and Richard Wardle in the rare Hillman Avenger.  It wasn’t a throwback to the early 1970s as this was an Avenger Tiger 2 door bodyshell but with all the modern machinery that makes it the ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’.  Kenny had a clean run and reported no issues, just a need to buy more door mirrors ripped off by passing bales.


Next up were the husband and wife team from Inverbervie, Tom and Sue Hynd.  They wheeled out another unusual rally car in their Renault Clio.  Tom wasn’t too happy with the braking performance in the morning but a change of pads after the first pair of tests helped his cause.  The only other concern was the need to change a gearbox mounting and this was easily done during the lunch break.  A steady run to 17th overall was reward for an unfamiliar venue.  Finishing in 27th place and collecting yet another good haul of points were Kevin Mathers and Craig Forsyth.  Another pairing from the ‘boys from the borders’ clan had a little gearbox issue in the morning’s 4 stages but some ‘blacksmith engineering’ had the little Peugeot 205 running happy again for the remainder of the day.


Garry Laverick / Phil Kenny continued the learning experience with their Ford Puma and were setting some consistent times.  They lost quite a few seconds on the first slippy, stage and then a big lock up with some ambitious braking after a long sweeping section of the third test.  No major damage to car or stage furniture was recorded and more good time in the seat is a plus.  Another husband and wife pairing, this one being Nigel and Helen Harkness, were next in their Vauxhall Corsa.  The were credited with a maximum stage time after some confusion in the car at a stage split and they ended up completing only 2 laps of SS4.  They pressed on though and still managed to scare themselves at the chicane / jump over bridge on stage 6 but made it to the finish in one piece and 38th position.  Our final placed contender was Ann Forster sitting alongside the non-registered Neil Raven.  Neil’s Peugeot 106 goes in near standard trim and their worries about tyre choice was added to with the car jumping out of 2nd gear. It kept the service crew busy in the afternoon making regular adjustments.


We have a long list of retirements this time, which includes our championship leading driver, Barry Renwick.  Barry was teamed up Paul Hughes but they had an electrical problem meaning the car wouldn't start and when it did, it kept cutting out.  They only managed the opening stage before retiring.  Jane Nicol was sitting alongside the non-registered Andrew Gallacher and they called it a day after the second stage with fuel surge issues.  Ed Todd and Andy Brown’s hopes of repeating last year’s giant killing result evaporated on stage 3 when loose engine and gearbox mounts were discovered on the GTM and this caused them to finally lose the clutch. Stephen Thompson / David Crosbie never made it out of the first stage after a problem with the starter motor reared it’s head.  Andrew Falconer’s run with the non-registered Jamie Smith ended on the first stage too when the cambelt lost all it’s teeth.  Nigel and Callum Atkinson lasted until the sixth test when they were forced to retire from 10th place overall when the diff of the Mitsubishi Evo packed in.  Barrie Thomson and Jerry Hettrick decided to go home at lunchtime despite their Citroen C2 going well in 20th place. Tom Middlemiss / Richard Stewart were forced out on the second test after a heavy landing broke a CV joint and hub bearing.  Steve Irwin got stuck in SS3 when the gearbox in his Vauxhall Nova broke.  Chris McCallum withdrew in service after stage 3 with a cracked diff casing on his Ford Escort whilst lying in 17th position.  Stuart Walker and Jack Morton retired while in the queue to start the first test after lunch, a change in the engine note causing big worries.  And our final retirement was the current champion driver Nigel Feeney.  His new Subaru Impreza was making good progress and up to 5th after SS5 when a fuel pump issue caused he and Shona Hale to retire in stage. 


A big mention to Graham Provost and his team at Dunfermline Car Club for a well run rally.  They provided more variation and a challenge for our championship contenders within the road complex of the former Ingliston race circuit and Royal Highland Showground.  The roads may be different from other events but are still there to be driven.  The improved facilities of the Highland Hall for rally headquarters were a bonus too.


We’ve now done 4 events and already we’re at the halfway point of our championship year.  The early runaway leaders in the quest for the driver’s title, Barry Renwick and Paul Swift, haven’t continued to pick up points at the same rate as Kevin Mathers, Alistair Hutchinson, Mark Constantine and Alistair Inglis.  These 4 drivers are covered by just 5 points and very much still within catching distance of the top 2.  Across in the co-driver’s table it’s a similar story as Steve Dargan and Jessica Swift are still out front while Richard Wardle, Andrew Constantine, Craig Forsyth and Colin Inglis are just 4 points apart.  While in the classes, it’s still all to play for with no one monopolising their particular class.


Our mid-season break kicks in now as we all have 10 weeks to get ready for round 5 which is the Summer Stages.  Once more Glenrothes Motor Sport Club will be running the event at Crail and although the organisers are still finalising the details, we can expect in the region of 60 competitive miles in 6 stages.  The Regulation are expected to be published in early May and the link for more information is http://www.glenrothes-msc.com/


All images courtesy of West Coast Photos ©