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Argyll Rally - Saturday 17th May 2003

The rally started from Balloch with the six stages based around the rest and be thankful and Glenbranter.

Stage 1 started well. The conditions were very slippery but we were able to make good time. About half way through the stage the car hit a rock which buckled the drivers side front wheel although this didn't slow us down any. Near the end of the stage we hit another rock which buckled the other front wheel and damaged the front brake system. This led to the front brakes gradually losing pressure until they weren't working at all.

Stage 2 wasn't going too badly even with only the back brakes working. About five miles to go the car started handling funny with the car trying to turn round even along the straights. About half a mile later the car turned right round. We were able to pull into a junction off the road to investigate the problem. The back brake disk had exploded which had damaged the brake caliper and the shock absorber as well. We spent about ten minutes trying to tie up the brake caliper to get us to the end of the stage. Unfortunately the caliper got ripped off not long after we got going and we had to crawl to the end of the stage with no brakes. We stopped before heading back to service and we were able to get a little bit of pressure into the front brakes which would let us get along the road section to the service area.

Sam and Brian had a lot of work to do during the service halt and tried to get the brakes fixed to let us continue. With the time available there wasn't much that could be done with the back brakes but they were able to get the front brakes fixed up.

Having lost around twenty minutes with the problems in stage 2 there wasn't any point pushing hard with a brake problem. Stages 3 & 4 were taken at a much slower pace than normal and we got through unscathed to get us back to the second service halt.

The second service was used to try and get more pressure into the front brakes. The back brakes still couldn't be fixed and the fronts weren't much better than before.

Stage 5 went well under the circumstances without any real problems. Stage 6 was fairly eventful with a car going off just in front of us and blocking the stage. Fortunately there were enough spectators on hand to move it out of the way and we were ablt to continue after a few minutes stoppage. On the very last corner the car wouldn't slow down enough and it slid off and got stuck. Another couple of minutes were lost as we were lifted out by some spectators.

All in all quite a disappointing day but it was good to get to the end in 42nd overall and 6th in class.

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