Ar­gyll rally crews fly in forests of Dum­friesshire

Argyllshire Advertiser - - SPORT -

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.

Pho­to­graphs: Gavin Brown west­coast­pho­tos

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.