26 Apr: Memorial Garden News

Steven Hay’s run of bad luck continued at RM Condor when his gear selector broke, but I found out the reason for his poor finish at Ingliston on the DCC Stages last month. He got a stage Maximum on the 5th test when he went the wrong way at the merge, although Kirsty couldn’t be blamed for that. Apparently there was a smell of burning and smoke started to enter the cabin so they headed straight to service. Turns out it was only a plastic clip which was melting against the hot exhaust. No real damage and quickly fixed, otherwise a top 20 finish was on the cards. Still, you can’t be too careful.

Tom Hynd’s retirement at the Memorial Garden Stages was caused by electric fan failure. While the MINI was sitting in the queue to start SS2, it dumped all its water out. Tom reckons heat soak caused it to overheat and as he had no spare fan, that was it. Game over.

Willie Paterson dropped a bit of time on the opening test at RM Condor when a retaining spring broke on the exhaust and the down pipe separated from the manifold. Willie backed off not sure what was wrong – but added: “It sounded great, didn’t it?”

Not that there was much gravel at Arbroath, but it wasn’t only the Juniors who were enjoying their first taste of loose surfaces, so was Michael Robertson. He hit a previously dislodged tyre lying in the middle of the road and took the bumper off the Civic, but then he’s used to running repairs on front and rear bumpers these days anyway. He did add: “I’ve never been on gravel before.”

Russell Milne got a wee fright when he finished the first stage with smoke coming from under the bonnet of the Ford Escort Cosworth – followed by a few licks of flame. Turns out the overheating turbo had set the insulation on the underside of the bonnet alight. Quickly extinguished and no damage done so he was back out on time for SS2. Apparently he’s done a bit of work on the engine so it’s working harder these days which means the turbo is running hotter, hence the fire. So he was quite pleased with 12th o/a.

Des Campbell blamed himself for his non-finish at the Memorial Garden Stages. “I spun at a corner on Stage 1 which was just a silly mistake, then I got angry and lost my temper and said the next one’s ‘flat’ and it wasn’t, and a I smacked a bale hard – on the co-driver’s side.” An altercation with another tyre marker on the next stage curtailed the day’s activities with a broken driveshaft, steering and bottom front suspension in the Peugeot: “It was a long, long left, and I just threw it in,” said a disconsolate Des, “I was expecting it to slide, and it didn’t. It gripped and I hit a water butt!”

Ross McFadzean was lucky to finish let alone score 9th o/a in the Subaru. “I thought we were out when I broke a driveshaft and didn’t have spare, but Ian Paterson (servicing for Letisha Conn nearby) saw me and came to the rescue. He had a spare in the van and even fitted it for me.”

Finishing 20th first time out in a 2.8 litre BMW Compact and pleased with that was Jimmy Jack. “It’s my first rally since I did the Speyside with a Subaru in 2012,” said Jimmy, “so this was just a wee run out before I do the Speyside again next week.”

The Subaru Impreza of Gareth Dalgleish got a new 6 speed gearbox before the DCC Stages and it got a new set of brake discs and pads ahead of Condor. “I’m still getting used to the ‘box,” said Gareth, “but the pads were goosed after 4 stages here!” Still 7th o/a wasn’t bad.

Hoping for a steady and troublefree run was Jonathan Stepney in the smart wee Peugeot 205. “We haven’t finished the last 5 events,” he explained, “and a gatepost stopped us on the Manx. We were still fitting the new gearbox at half 12 last night – after waiting for parts from France!” 11th o/a and 4th in class was therefore regarded as an achievement.

Martin Farquhar’s oil leak in the Peugeot 106 was easily explained: “Someone forgot to put the oil cap back on!”

The power of Facebook. Kevin Jeffray was competing in an unusual choice of rally car, an 1800cc Toyota Corolla T Sport and finished 18th, but might have done better had he not hooked the rear o/s corner causing some damage and whipping off the rear bumper. He posted details of his misfortune on his Facebook page and got a phone call shortly afterwards from a pal on the Isle of Man who said: “I’m breaking one of these just now, what do you need?” Kevin gave him a list of the bits needed, so all he’s got to do now is arrange collection. Nice one, eh?

Getting a bit carried away in the wee Peugeot 206 was Stuart Waite: “Six spins – and counting,” he said, with Lisa Demirkoc adding: “I think he thinks the do’nuts are in the Notes!”

Kayleigh Strachan recorded a finish after completing the last stage very slowly. When the coil pack in the Citroen Saxo failed she urged the car round in ‘limp mode’.

It looks like young Lewis Haining’s senior rally debut will be delayed., The ex Junior Ecosse 1000 front runner passed his Driving Test on Thursday and took his newly acquired Nova out for a spin on Thursday night only for the engine to seize within two miles. “My ‘reward’ for passing my test was to do the Speyside,” he said, “so no Speyside now. We haven’t even opened it up yet to see what went wrong.”

There was an additional traffic hazard which competitors and service crews had to cope with at RM Condor. Faither Gemmell (Colin’s Dad) has now acquired an electrified bike. One of those fold-up jobs with the wee wheels. Winner of the 1975 Tour of Mull Rally (in an Avenger) he stills thinks he’s hot stuff on tarmac, and there he was, wobbling about on his tiny wheeled electric bike looking like a Womble heading home after a heavy night at the pub.

And finally, finally …

On the basis that encouragement comes from the most unlikely sources or perhaps just the plain and simple fact that close family are the best judges of endeavour, skill and talent, Graeme Rintoul was spotted wandering about the service area at the lunch halt talking on the phone. Wondering if something was up with the Fiesta, a gentle enquiry was made which elicited the response: “I just phoned the wife to tell her I was lying 6th overall,” said Graeme, “she said – What? You’re sitting 6th? Is the rally full of sh*t* drivers the day?” How I kept a straight face I’ll never know. Poor Graeme, eh?