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Mcrae Stages - Saturday 24th July 2004

Click here to read Roy's version of events!!!

The Tuesday before the event Ian received a phone call from Roy MacLennon asking Ian to navigate for him on the rally. Roy contests the Belmont Ecosse 205 Challenge and his regular co-driver couldn't make it due to work commitments.

The event started in Perth and Ian met Roy on the morning of the event at the scrutineering area. The first stage was about 12 and a half miles long. The day got off to a good start with a fastest time in class. There were one or two problems along the way with the exhaust getting torn off and the drivers door and side back window getting hit by a tree.
The next stage was the shortest of the day at 4 miles and started off well. About two miles from the end we picked up a front left puncture which only became obvious when the car wouldn't turn right into a tight right hander. This led to a slight excursion through the undergrowth but fortunately no serious damage was done. Quite a lot of time was lost to the end of the stage with the puncture slowing us down. The time lost cost about 30 seconds and we dropped to third in class.

The main service halt was next and the car was checked over for damage. The only problem was that the exhaust could not be fixed so we would have to continue with the back silencer missing.

Stage 3 followed. It was cut short by about three miles because there was heavy logging activity and the condition of the roads had become dangerous with the rain that had fallen. Even with the stage being cut short it was still over 11 miles long. Roy had a good run through the stage with no problems setting a time 22 seconds quicker than anyone else in the class. The only incident was on a tight left hander where we found a Nova in the middle of the road after it had broken down. A quick evasive manoeuvre was required and we managed to miss it by inches.

The last stage was just over twelve miles and we held a slender 9 second lead, although at the time we thought we were down by 9 seconds. The stage was going well until we picked up a puncture with about 5 miles still to go. It didn't slow us down too much and although we were only third quickest in class we were a bit quicker than the second placed crew to retain the lead. At the end of the stage we were unsure of how we had finished and thought it must be first, second or third.

The car refused to start as we left the stop line at the end of the stage. We pushed it down the hill and stopped to change the pucture. It still wouldn't start and further investigation showed that the fuel pump wasn't working properly. The bottom of the fuel tank had taken a hit and had pushed up and damaged the fuel pump. It took about 30 minutes to fix the problem which meant that we didn't have a lot of time to get back to perth for the final two time controls. Fortunately there wasn't much traffic and we made good time. Even so we arrived with only seconds to spare. There was a car at the time control so Ian jumped out to go and get the time written on the card. Just after that there was a lot of shouting from the car as Roy had been informed of the class win. Delighted was an understatement as Roy recorded his first class win in the 205 challenge.

The final road section into Perth city centre was more gentle and the day was rounded off by going over the finishing ramp in the town centre.

All in all it was a very eventful day with an excellent 49th overall (from 108 starters) and a class win.

Thanks to Roy for giving me the opportunity to co-drive on the event and for driving an excellent rally to win the class.


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