Machri­han­ish suc­cess for Oban rally team

The Oban Times - - Sport -

AN OBAN rally driver and his Mull co- driver roared to vic­tory and the top of the podium at the fourth Mach 1 race last week­end held at Machri­han­ish.

Like Lewis Hamil­ton who won the Bri­tish Grand Prix, at Sil­ver­stone, on Sun­day, Shaun Sin­clair, and Fred Ma­clean’s Subaru WRC 2,000cc mo­tor was in a class of its own across all but one of the road race’s 12 tar­mac stages at the for­mer RAF base.

Clerk of course, Colin Hark­ness, said: ‘Shaun and Fred have put on a ster­ling dis­play all week­end.’

Spec­ta­tors had a feast too, as or­gan­iser David Hat­trick and Dun­fermline Car Club, the Mach 1 pro­mot­ers, of this fifth stage of the Scot­tish Tar­mack Rally, had changed the route in con­junc­tion with MACC De­vel­op­ments Ltd.

En route to their win in a to­tal of 106 min­utes 36 sec­onds, Sin­clair and Ma­cLean led from the sec­ond stage and ac­cel­er­ated away to fin­ish 1:26 ahead of the near­est chal­lenger, sec­ond placed Nigel Feeney and John Sand­ham’s Mini Coun­try­man 1,600cc.

Scot­tish Tar­mack Rally Cham­pi­onship leader Alan Kirkaldy and co- driver Cameron Fair, in a 2.5 litre Ford Es­cort, had to set­tle for third in 108.47.

The su­perla­tive drive came after Sin­clair, 48 and Ma­cLean, 42, failed to fin­ish in the same car last year due to gear­box prob­lems.

At the prize giv­ing cer­e­mony Sin­clair, the owner of Sin­clair Plant and a fa­ther of four, said: ‘Thanks to Fred we did what we had to do and put last year’s di­aster be­hind us.’

At the Mach 1 rally’s in­au­gu­ral year, 2014, Sin­clair and co- driver Ruar­idh Al­lan, cam­paign­ing a Ford Es­cort 1.8, fin­ished a cred­itable 39th. The fol­low­ing year, 2015, in the Es­cort, but with a ca­pac­ity boost to 2.5 litres, and a new co- driver Sarah Sin­clair, they failed to fin­ish.

Their Subaru World Rally Car (WRC), spon­sored by B Wat­son and Son Haulage, with its flat four en­gine and four-wheel drive, is one of the great­est rally cars of all time, cov­eted by many a boy racer.

Sin­clair added: ‘It is a great rally, I am sur­prised there were not more cars at­tend­ing this week­end.’

Ar­dr­ishaig’s Don­ald Bow­ness and co- driver Chris Lees, in a Vaux­hall Corsa 1400, were pop­u­lar win­ners of class one.

Camp­bel­town’s Neil McAl­lis­ter and Stephen Lang, driv­ing the Camp­bel­town Mo­tor Com­pany-spon­sored Peu­geot 205 1360, fin­ished 31st, more than 30 places higher than their first year in 2016.

Glen­barr mum, Lois Fell, driven by her son Ge­orge in a Ford Puma 1600, also had a great Mach 1, fin­ish­ing 34th.

Muas­dale’s John Kean and Mal­colm Mac­Don­ald failed to fin­ish for the first time since they first en­tered the race in 2015.

The clash with Bri­tish motorsport’s big­gest event of the year might ex­plain why the en­tries were down by about 20 cars com­pared to last year.

It did not put off the spec­ta­tors and more than 600 peo­ple, judg­ing by ticket re­ceipts, braved Satur­day’s per­sis­tent driz­zle. On Sun­day an even larger crowd basked in the sun to sup­port the rac­ing teams.

MACC De­vel­op­ments Ltd, busi­ness man­ager, Mal­colm McMillan said: ‘Dun­fermline Car Club worked with us on chang­ing the route for this year and it has been great for the spec­ta­tors.

‘From the spec­ta­tors’ point of view it has been the best Mach 1 event ever and next year we hope to fur­ther im­prove with some sort of cov­ered spec­tat­ing area.’

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Sin­clair and Ma­cLean’s matt black Subaru lifts a wheel as it pushed through a cor­ner.

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Shaun Sin­clair and Fred Ma­cLean at the prize­giv­ing.

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