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Scottish Rally - Sunday 15th June 2003

The Scottish Championship runners take part in day 2 of the Scottish International Rally. The team went to Dumfries on the Saturday to get the car scrutineered and managed to get out to stage 4 to watch the cars competing on day 1 of the rally.

First car on Sunday left Dumfries at 7 o' clock, so it meant an early start leaving Cumnock at about 5:30. Day 2 consisted of 5 stages in the galloway forests in the south west of Scotland.

Stage 1 was a seven mile stage through Glengap forest. We set a decent pace through there to take a slender lead in the class. The only problem was about quarter of a mile from the end when we hit a rock a bent a wheel. This didn't cause too much of a problem until we got to the stop line when the car wouldn't move forward because of the damaged wheel. The marshalls on the stop line bounced the rear of the car round 180 degrees so that we could reverse off of the stop line out of the way. We changed the wheel and then got going again.

Start of stage 4 Stage 2 was a ten mile stage and started off well. About half way through we joined some roads which must have been used on the Saturday as well. The road surface was absolutely terrible with huge ruts and really big stones all over the surface. It was so rough that Gordon was unable to hear anything through the intercom over the noise of the stones hitting the bottom of the car. We got to the end of the stage but suffered a lot of damage in the process.
The rough stage had rattled a water hose loose from the radiator breaking some plastic clips in the process, the engine had lost most of its water and was starting to overheat. The new exhaust that we had put on had been badly damaged and had also trapped the gear linkage between the exhaust and the tunnel meaning that first and second gears couldn't be selected. We had also had another puncture near the end of stage.
We stopped at a layby on the road section and changed the punture. We had stopped next to a burn which let us fill the car with water having stuck the broken hose back on. We then managed to get back to the service halt without any other problems.

We had a busy service trying to fix all of the niggles. The biggest problem was trying to get the gears working and they still weren't perfect when we left service with only about 20 seconds to spare.
On the road section to the next stage the gear lever came off in Gordons hand and we had to stop and reattach it before continuing.

Stage 3 was a short 4 mile stage. Everything was going reasonably well until about two miles from the end we picked up a front wheel puncture. This caused a few problems and we nearly went off twice as the car refused to turn in on the right hand corners. We got to end having dropped around 20 seconds and then changed yet another wheel. We now had only 1 spare wheel left to take us through the last two stages.

Stage 4 was the longest of the day at 19 miles. It was in Glentrool forest and the team usually go well in there. Sitting on the start line it all went wrong when the intercom just stopped working. This meant we had to negotiate 19 miles of forest with no pace notes. This didn't go too badly with Ian using hand signals to indicate when Gordon was approaching corners a bit too quickly. There were no major incidents although we were losing a lot of time because of it. Right at the end of the stage we went over a small jump at around 90mph and when the car landed the windscreen cracked. Fortunately we were within sight of the flying finish and it didn't cause any problems.

Stage 5 was the last of the day and was just over 8 miles long. The intercom still wasn't working so we had a slow and steady run through the stage just to get the car to the end. Just before we went into the last stage we learned that our closest challenger had gone off in Glentrool so that left us with a 3 minute advantage. Gordon picked his way through the stage trying not to pick up any punctures. We got through the stage OK with no major problems.

We then had a short service for refuelling and then a long road section back to Dumfries for the finish. On the road back to Dumfries the brake disk on the back (which had been newly fitted following the last rally) shattered and we were left stranded in the middle of the road. All we had to do to win the class was to get to the final time control in Dumfries and it looked as if we were stuck on the road section on the way back. We jacked the car up and took the wheel off. Fortunately we were able to remove the broken bits of brake disk and tie the brake caliper up out of the way. We then got going and were able to get back to the time control in Dumfries and take the class win.
We would like to say a big thank you to Dave Tennent who parked his van behind us when the brakes broke and sat with his hazards on to make sure nothing ran into the back of us. He then followed us back down the road into Dumfries just in case anything else went wrong.

Start of stage 4

Above, a picture of the rear axle following the very rough stage 2.

This Scottish rally was nothing if not eventful and we were bit fortunate to make it to the end first in class and 33rd overall.


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