SOLWAY COAST RALLY MCCUL­LOCH IS THE SOLWAY MAS­TER

Motor Sport News - - Erc: Rally Rzeszow - By John Fife Re­sults

Al­nwick and District, Ber­wick and District Mo­tor Au­gust 8 Where: Ot­ter­burn, Northum­ber­land MSA Asphalt Rally Cham­pi­onship; AS Per­for­mance North of Eng­land Tar­ma­cadam Rally Cham­pi­onship; BTRDA Rally Chal­lenge; Scot­tish Tar­mack Rally Cham­pi­onship; North­ern His­toric Asphalt Cham­pi­onship; MSA English Cham­pi­onship. Stages: 12 Starters: 81

Scor­ing his fourth suc­ces­sive vic­tory on the Solway Coast Rally, Mark Mccul­loch made it look easy, but it wasn’t. At the half way point of the eight stage event, just 27 sec­onds cov­ered the top four places, but when their ri­vals wilted, Mccul­loch and Michael Hendry were home and dry.

Mccul­loch was quickly into his stride right from the start, quicker than lo­cal ri­val David Hardie over each of the first four tests, but it’s more com­pli­cated than just a straight­for­ward ri­valry. “David spon­sors me and helps out with tyres,” ex­plained Mark. “Even when I’m beat­ing him!”

The big­gest sur­prise of the day was Greg Mcknight’s per­for­mance. On only his sec­ond run out in his Mit­subishi and first time on Tar­mac with the car he was hold­ing third, just 4s be­hind the Subaru of Hardie.

In fourth place was Ian Pater­son, but al­ready sport­ing con­tact dam­age on the Subaru’s nose. “Mark hit a chi­cane bale and moved it, then I hit it fur­ther, so it’s his fault,” he smiled.

That slow­ish start only seemed to pro­voke Pater­son and he was right on the case over the next three stages. Just as im­pres­sive as Mcknight was Stephen Thomp­son in his two-litre Es­cort Mk2 giv­ing the 4WD ma­chines and big­ger Es­corts a real run for their money. He was hold­ing fifth place ahead of the Subaru of John Mar­shall as the en­gines fell quiet for lunch.

Mccul­loch’s Mit­subishi Lancer E9 picked up where it left off and he was quick­est on the fifth test but Mcknight’s rally was run. A drive­shaft broke on the stage start line. Then David Hardie dis­ap­peared with a bro­ken rear dif­fer­en­tial, fol­lowed by Ian Pater­son on the fi­nal stage. The Subaru had struck a pot­hole which snapped the bot­tom sus­pen­sion arm clean through.

That meant John Mar­shall as­sumed the run­ner-up po­si­tion ahead of Gary Adam, who had been on a bit of a charge since the first stage when he had in­vol­un­tar­ily parked his Es­cort Mk2 in a field for a few mo­ments.

Nigel Feeney was fourth, and on his first run out this year, Richard Dick­son was fifth ahead of the im­pres­sive Thomp­son who was lucky to sur­vive: “The al­ter­na­tor light was flick­er­ing through SS5 and then it just failed com­pletely as we crossed the line.”

Steve Retch­less was sev­enth in his Ford Es­cort Mk2 ahead of the Ford Fi­esta of Mur­ray Gri­er­son af­ter a wee spin on the sec­ond test, then a “bloody big one” on the sixth. Jim Mcdowall was ninth with Brian Wat­son round­ing off the top 10.

Keith Rid­dick scored the 1400 class win in his MG, Gareth White was top 1600 in his Peu­geot 208.

In Sun­day’s Ju­nior Rally, Ir­ish driv­ers of Josh Mcer­lean and Peter Ben­nett topped the 29-car en­try. Ben­nett, with An­drew Bushe on the notes, took sec­ond while Ewan Tin­dall and Harry Chalmers up­held Scot­tish hon­our with third and fourth place. Early leader Fin­lay Ret­son broke a gear­box and then Zak Hughes who took up the lead broke a drive­shaft.

Tyneside Stages Mc­cul­lough and Hendry on form Thomp­son im­pressed

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