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Park Systems Rally - Saturday 21st September 2002

The event started in Newton Stewart with 4 stages in the south west. This was the last round of the Scottish Championship and as we had won the 1300 championship and the class on the previous round we decided to take the MK2 Escort out for a run on some gravel roads.

The day didn't get off to the best of starts when about a mile or two into the first stage we lost the back brakes. This turned out to be a burst brake pipe and it left us with only front brakes on the footbrake and no handbrake. We kept going and Gordon just had to brake a bit earlier for the corners. Right at the very end of the stage we got a puncture but this didn't really cost us any time as it was so close to the finish.

Things just got worse on stage 2 as we got a rear puncture with about 4 miles to go. We continued for a while but it just got too bad with lots of tyre smoke coming into the car. We had some problems getting the wheel changed and it probably cost us about 10 minutes getting the wheel changed over. We then went off into a ditch about half a mile from the end of the stage. Some spectators managed to lift us back onto the road and we were able to continue.

We made it back to the service halt without any further problems and we then set about trying to fix the brakes. It turned out that it would need a special tool to fix the brake pipe and we didn't have one with us. Fortunately a mechanic from another crew was able to help us out and he managed to get the brake pipe reattached in around 15 minutes.

On stage 3 the car was running well and we set a very quick time which was 26th quickest overall out of a field of 90 cars. We had no problems at all and brakes held up well after being repaired.

The last stage of all was 19 miles through Glentrool Forest. Again we were going very well in here until about five miles from the end. We had almost caught the car in front and we had to slow down as we couldn't see anything for the dust which was getting kicked up. In the more open sections the wind was moving the dust away and we could go a bit quicker but then we had to back off again when we went into more sheltered areas. In the end it maybe cost us 20 seconds or so but we still had a good run.

The old Escort went very well setting some really good times for such an old car and we would have finished a good bit higher but for the brake problems and the punctures in the first two stages. We finished 41st overall and 8th in class.

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