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Speyside Stages - Saturday 31st August 2002

The event got off to the worst possible start as Sam had taken ill on the morning of the event and was unable to service for us. This meant that Brian had to do all of the servicing duties by himself.

The Speyside Stages traditionally starts with two stages round Cooper Park in the city centre. The stage round the park was only 0.7 miles long but it is always busy with lots of spectators and is a good way to warm up before heading out to the forests to tackle the longer stages.

Stages 3, 4 & 5 went well as we built up a lead over our rivals for the championship. The only real problem was on stage 4 where we broke a wheel after hitting a big rock in the middle of the road. This left us with a slow puncture which we had to keep going with until the start of the next stage.

At the service halt after stage 5 we learned that one of our rivals had gone out meaning we only had to finish second to take the 1300 championship. We had a slight lead over the second placed competitor and then a big gap back to third. As second was good enough we started to be a bit more cautious and lost a bit of time as a result.

We had a small spin on stage 6 which left us sitting across the road. Unfortunately stage 7 was a rerun of stage 6 and there was a faster car following 30 seconds behind us. As we were turning and getting going again a Mitsibushi came round the corner and stopped only inches from where we were sitting. We got going quite quickly after that and there was no harm done.

Stages 7,8 & 9 went fine with no problems. Stage 10 also appeared to go fine although when we arrived back in Elgin at the finish of the rally we noticed we had a bad petrol leak which was caused by a burst fuel tank. Fortunately it was the last stage that it had got damaged on or we would probably have run out fuel before getting to the end. A nice steady run to the finish brought us second in class and 31st overall. More importantly it gave us enough points to claim the 1300 championship with one event still to go.


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