Ar­gyll driv­ers hit the road at Gran­ite Stages Rally

The Oban Times - - Sport -

THERE were Ar­gyll driv­ers spread through the field at Leuchars re­cently for the Gran­ite Stages Rally or­gan­ised by Aberdeen and Dis­trict Mo­tor­sport Club.

John Kean and Mal­colm McDon­ald were once again out in their 106 GTi pow­ered Peu­geot 205. Seeded at 64 out of 66 starters, they were de­ter­mined to im­prove their plac­ing af­ter their dis­ap­point­ing per­for­mance at Inglis­ton.

They started well but part­way into stage three were forced to slow down with a bad vi­bra­tion com­ing from the rear of the en­gine. A quick check re­vealed it was only the ex­haust work­ing loose so stage four was run at full throt­tle and it was back to the ser­vice area where ser­vice crew mem­ber Frazer Shaw ably sorted out the prob­lem.

This cost the team about a minute and a half but they were con­fi­dent they could claw the time back over the fi­nal four stages. And as the day pro­gressed, John was gain­ing more con­fi­dence in the car and a com­mit­ted drive over the af­ter­noon stages took the car to fourth in class and the team fin­ished 30th over­all. On stages five and six they set the 26th fastest time – a big im­prove­ment on pre­vi­ous out­ings.

Jamie Miller was co- driven by Ross Car­bry (who is more ac­cus­tomed to sit­ting be­hind the wheel and not shout­ing en­cour­age­ment/jab­bing the driver in the leg with his pen­cil/ scream­ing/try­ing des­per­ately not to be sick).

What­ever prepa­ra­tion he had done, it was to prove worth­while. The ser­vice team were wit­nessed still try­ing to get the car to drive in a straight line in ser­vice on the Satur­day morn­ing.

Four-wheel align­ment may have been slightly wasted on the Lochwin­noch Mo­tors/ J Plant Hire-spon­sored Nova as it barely ever has all four on the ground at one time.

Jamie and Ross, de­spite get­ting stuck be­hind some slower cars once the splits and merges came into play, pushed hard right from the start and set very quick times over the morn­ing stages. The pair man­aged to keep ev­ery­thing in shape and on the tar (nearly all the time) to se­cure first in class one and 23rd over­all.

The fi­nal lo­cal lad out in the silly seat for the first time was Eoghan An­der­son from Cairn­baan. Eoghan had made it clear how much he ad­mired Fer­gus Gray’s BMW 130i at pre­vi­ous events and, when the op­por­tu­nity arose, Fer­gus was kind enough to let Eoghan guide him around the fast stages at Leuchars. The pair clearly en­joyed it and judg­ing by the style that Fer­gus adopted, side­ways all day with late brak­ing a must, it would ap­pear that ei­ther there were some wrong/ late notes be­ing de­liv­ered, Eoghan was tak­ing to it like a pro or nei­ther of them had a clue where they were go­ing. Re­gard­less, it was a whole heap of fun to watch.

The event was won by Alan Kirkaldy in his Mk2 Es­cort, chased by last year’s win­ner, Alis­tair Inglis, in the very nim­ble Lo­tus Ex­ige in sec­ond and a storm­ing drive from Gor­don Mor­ri­son in third. Gor­don ably as­sisted by Oban’s Calum MacPher­son, who is re­ally start­ing to get the best out of Mor­ri­son, who is, in turn, re­ally be­gin­ning to re­alise the po­ten­tial of his TEG Sport Subaru. Surely not too long be­fore he takes a step or two fur­ther up the podium.

The pace shown by all cars right through the field, in­clud­ing the J1000 Ju­niors, was im­mense and showed just how much the level of com­pe­ti­tion in the na­tional cham­pi­onship has risen yet again this year.

The fourth round of the cham­pi­onship is the King­dom stages, hosted by Glen­rothes Mo­tor­sport Club, this year a dual venue event with stages at Crail and also at Leuchars. The next out­ing for most Ar­gyll crews will be their home event, Mach 1, at Machri­han­ish on the July 15 and 16.

Pho­tos: west­coast­pho­tos

Gor­don Mor­ri­son and Calum MacPher­son fin­ished the Gran­ite Stages Rally at Leuchars in third place in their TEG Sport Subaru.

Fer­gus Gray and Eoghan An­der­son in their BMW 130i.

John Kean and Mal­colm McDon­ald in their Peu­geot 205.

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