Argyll rally crews fly in forests of Dumfriesshire
It has been a busy period for Argyll rally crews, both on tarmac and in the forests.
The third round of the Scottish Rally Championships, the RSAC Scottish Rally, was held in the forests around the Lockerbie/ Moffat area of the Scottish Borders.
Furnace driver Douglas Watt took his historic spec MkII Escort, freshly repaired after a small indiscretion on the last outing at the Speyside Stages and was pairing up with Mark Grierson from Edinburgh, an experienced co-driver with rallying pedigree. The pair were seeded car 30 in the two-wheel-drive section, run first on the day in a new schedule being piloted by the rally, the twowheel-drive cars covering the stages before the four-wheeldrive cars followed in the afternoon.
With the dry conditions in the weeks running up to the event, dust would be the main problem for those running further down the field. Douglas attacked the first stage, Twiglees, and was catching the car in front when, unfortunately due to the dust being created by that car, came out of a 90-degree corner with zero visibility and connected heavily with a rock, damaging the suspension and forcing his early retirement.
The car, and the driver, are noticeably quicker each event they compete in and it’s only a matter of time before the results are there.
The other Argyll car out on the stages was Ally Currie from Mull and Grant McNiven in the Ford Fiesta ST picking up ninth overall and 1st in Class 6.
The next round of the Scottish Championship is the Argyll Rally, based in Dunoon on June 23 – the closest round for most Argyll rally enthusiasts and one not to be missed. The stages look absolutely breathtaking this year and well worth a watch.
The Scottish Tarmac Rally Championship continues as well with round three being the Granite at Leuchars Stages hosted by Aberdeen and District Motor Club at the MoD base in Leuchars, Fife.
Argyll was well represented both in the drivers seat and the co-drivers. All-Argyll crew Willie and Steven Beattie were out in the newly finished and beautifully finished Escort MkII. They were absolutely flying and really getting to grips with the car when a sixth-gear lock-up threw them into a spin and off the stage, clouting a fairly substantial fence post in the process.
The navigator’s side now looks decidedly second-hand, but nothing a few hours in the workshop won’t sort. A bent bottom suspension arm put paid to them rejoining but they will take the positives and the blistering pace into the next round for sure.
Willie Beattie Snr in his equally exquisite Escort was also beginning to get the hang of the car, with some more seat time this year, not to mention experienced co-driver, Phil Sandham, pushing him on. He, after making sure his boys were okay when they didn’t show up at service after their spin, continued on to secure 12th overall and second in class – his first honours since building the car.
The next round may see some family ties severely stretched, at least until the final results are announced.
Ian Parker was also out in familiar machinery, co-driving for Fraser Smith in his Canal Garage-prepared Honda Civic. The pair were also making good progress up the class rankings until the diff decided to implode and finished their rally on stage six.
The drive of the day was not in question. Alan Kirkaldy led from start to finish despite some interesting issues in the first test. His door came loose after about a third of the stage and he continued, holding the door shut by the open window whilst steering, changing gear and waving.
Astonishingly, he still managed quickest stage time by five seconds. His co-driver for the day could forgive himself for being a little green about the gills after that.
Eoghan Anderson from Cairnbaan was lucky enough to win the seat in a charity auction at the annual STRC dinner earlier in the year – an experience he is unlikely to forget in a hurry, although some of the memories may be a little bit blurry and perhaps just a little sideways. The top three were rounded out by Ian Forgan, ably guided round in his Subaru by his daughter in her first rally and the final position on the podium went to Ian and Allan Paterson, also in a Subaru.
The next round is at Crail where the Beattie boys will be back out, Ian Parker swaps a Civic for an Escort MKII and Donald Bowness is set to get back out in the Nova. Willie Beattie Jnr and Steven Beattie managed 10th overall and second in class at the Crail.
Overall winner in round three of the Scottish Tarmac Championships held at he MoD base in Leuchars was Alan Kirkaldy and his co-driver Eoghan Anderson from Cairnbaan.
Kilmartin’s Willie Beattie Snr and Phil Sandham finished 12th overall and second in Class 3.
Lochgilphead’s Ian Parker and Fraser Smith in their Honda Civic.
Willie Beattie and Steven Beattie from Lochgilphead in their Escort MKII.