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McRae Stages - Saturday 19th July 2003

This rally arrived just a bit too soon for the team following the big accident on the Jim Clark rally. Sam had a huge task getting the car rebuilt straightening out the chassis leg and replacing the wings and bonnet. The team were still working on the car at midnight the day before the rally and the car still didn't have an oil cooler after we were let down and the one we had ordered failed to turn up. We managed to get loan of an oil cooler but the coupling broke when it was being fitted. Gordon and Ian loaded the car onto the trailer while Sam attempted to make repairs to the oil cooler.

The team left for Perth at 5:00 the next morning arriving at about 7:30. The car was scrutineered and then Sam just had time to attach the new oil cooler and check that it wasn't leaking before we headed to the start line.

The rally consisted of five stages around Aberfeldy. Stage 1 went reasonably well with the team opening up a decent lead in the class. The car seemed to be handling well despite the lack of time to set it up following the rebuild.

We then had a service halt where a leak on one of the front brake calipers was discovered. Attempts to repair it just made the problem worse so stages 2 and 3 were run with spongy front brakes. This lost a bit of time as we couldn't push too hard through the stages.

We then had another service halt and opted to replace the caliper with a spare one. This cured the problem for the first 2 miles of stage 4 but then the seals burst on the new caliper and we were left with no front brakes again. More time was lost limping through the remainder of the stage.

At the last service we were able to change back to the original brake caliper which Sam had repaired properly while the car was doing stage 4. The last stage was much better and the team set a steady pace to get the car to the end and take the class win.

It was a miracle that the team got to the start of the event following the big accident only two weeks previous. To take the class win and 43rd overall was a great result to reward all the hard work in getting the car ready.

Special thanks go to Sam Black for somehow getting the car ready to go to the event. Thanks also to Tommy Mackin for giving us a loan of an oil cooler at such late notice and to Jonnie Johnstone for bringing the oil cooler to the garage for us.


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