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Speyside Stages Rally - Saturday 1st September 2001

Speyside 01This event was the first major rally to run in Scotland since the start of the foot and mouth crisis. Colin McRae was running in a 1600 Form Puma as the course car. The rally started off with its now traditional run round Cooper Park in the centre of Elgin. The route then headed off into the forests to make up the remainder of the rally.

The crew were sitting on the start line waiting to go into stage 3 when, with less than 10 seconds to, the stage commander stopped the countdown and sent an ambulance into the stage. It turned out that a marshal had been hit by a car with no brakes at the finish line. Fortunately the marshal wasn't seriously injured. Stage 3 was cancelled however and the crew moved on to stage 4. The next couple of stages went fine with no major problems.

On the road section to stage 8 there was an ominous knocking sound coming from the rear brakes. At 15 miles this stage was the longest of the rally so a brake problem before it started was not ideal. We made it through the stage OK although we lost a lot of time with a couple of spins, one at a hairpin where the engine stalled and the other on a fast downhill section. Back in the service halt, Sam and Brian now had 20 minutes to fix the brake problem and get us back on the road. With a couple of minutes to spare the brake caliper was re-attached with a new home made pin holding it onto the car.

The last few stages passed without incident and an excellent result of 32nd overall and 4th in class was recorded.

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