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Granite City Rally - Saturday 19th April 2003

Car at the finish rampThe weekend didn't get off to the best of starts when doing the final checks on Friday before getting ready to leave. The rear suspension settings just wouldn't add up and a closer look revealed a hairline crack on the rear axle which hadn't been spotted. This need to be welded and then the rear suspension had to be readjusted to compensate. After a quick test run the engine was idling at very high revs which it hadn't been doing previously. This was tracked down to a broken spring inside one of the carbs. This was duly fixed and the car was put onto the trailer at about 11:00 pm on the Friday night.

The rally wasn't due to start until 11:30 so the team left for Aberdeen about 5 o'clock on the Saturday morning. A good run north saw us get into Aberdeen shortly after 8 o' clock. The rally consisted of 4 stages, all closly grouped to the south of Aberdeen.

The first stage was very slippy with a lot of loose gravel lying on top of the road surface. There were no major problems with the team setting a steady pace to give a 12 second lead in the class.

Stage 2 was the longest of the day at around 15 miles and it was full of incident. The car slid off about half way through and got beached on top of some huge boulders. We lost about a minute while Ian jumped out and rocked the car back and forth to allow the wheels to get a grip and drive the car back. We got going again and were making up for lost time when we were stopped by a fellow competitor about two miles from the end. A car had gone off and caught fire and they needed some help to try and get the flames under control. The fire on the car was put out but unfortunately the forest had caught fire and the stage was stopped to allow the fire brigade in to bring the fire under control. Everyone caught up in the incident was given an average time for the stage which meant our lead was unchanged after the second stage.

We had a service halt next and there wasn't too much for Sam and Brian to do. Unfortunately we had damaged the gearbox on the cancelled stage 2 and second gear sounded like it had teeth missing. There wasn't anything that could be done in the half hour service so we had to try to complete the rally without using second gear too much.

Stage 3 went well with the team setting 28th fastest time overall and strethching our lead to over 50 seconds.

Stage 4 was run at the same sort of pace as the third stage, setting 25th equal time over the last ten and a half miles. Three of the other runners in the class failed to complete the last stage to give us a winning margin of 3 minutes 43 seconds. The only problem during the stage was a bad navigator call on the very last corner which led to Gordon taking the corner around 15mph too fast. The car was sliding from side to side but he managed to hold on to it and make it round the corner.

After a good days rallying in very fast, dry conditions, the team recorded their best result on a Scottish Championship event with 26th overall and 1st in class.


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