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Mid Argyll was well represented at the GMSC Crail Stages, the final round of the Blackwood Plant Hire Scottish Tarmac Championships, in Fife on Saturday November 11.
Rally teams from the area included Innes Mochrie from Lochgilphead and Del Galbraith of Minard, Willie Beattie from Kilmartin and Steven Beattie from Lochgilphead, Alex Adams and Ian Parker both from Lochgilphead, Donald Bowness from Ardrishaig with Robin Nicholson and Lochgilphead’s Jamie Miller and Ian McCulloch.
Overall champion had already been decided with Gareth White taking the drivers championship and Harry Marchbank lifting the co-drivers title.
The layout at this year’s event was a big hit with competitors and spectators, with fast and testing stages throughout the day. The twist in the tail this year, however, was the addition of a night stage to finish the event off.
Shaun Sinclair from North Connel was seeded car one with his daughter Iona. Shaun was unfortunate to suffer mechanical issues on stage one after losing car parts in the first two corners of the event.
They battled bravely on, finishing just outside the top 10 overall.
Calum MacPherson with podium contender Gordon Morrison started the rally with eyes firmly on third place overall in the championship. Their main contender Taylor Gibb, one of the sports brightest young prospects, had mechanical failure almost from the moment the stages started and he would retire after stage one, leaving the door open for Gordon and Calum to settle in and concentrate on getting a finish.
However the pair slid off the road in stage two after a bottom ball joint let go sending the car into a fairly unexpected spin through the tyres and into the stubble field.
Despite this, with the retirements on the day, Gordon and Calum took a respectable third place overall in the championship.
Mid Argyll had a selection of classes covered, both in drivers and co-drivers. Jamie Miller was chasing a class one overall championship win, up against a very quick and consistent Marcus Tinsley in his Peugeot 205.
Jamie did all he could to catch the Peugeot driving his Nova 1400 8v, sadly coming up just short on the day but securing second place in class one for the season.
Donald Bowness was quick in the orange and white Corsa (also class one) until the car’s back axle snapped on stage five.
Innes Mochrie chain ganged Del Galbraith into the seat for the final round. He was his usual fast and neat self, although there were a couple of moments on stage two when two wheels were deemed to be quicker than four.
Officially they were over time limit on stage one though with a failed kill switch cutting the engine.
George and Lois Fell came back to Crail to banish the demons of previous visits. Everything was going well until the car developed a bit of a misfire at the coast end of the venue resulting eventually in no drive.
Ian Parker has a run with Alex Adams in a well prepared Mk2 Escort. The pair had a lot of fun in the recently repaired Ford and finished a more than credible 18th overall and third in class.
Willie and Steven Beattie powered their beautiful MK2 to a fantastic 14th Overall and second in class three. This season has seen Willie really find his feet and it will be interesting to see how his 2018 season shapes up, with success surely round the corner.
There were a couple of immaculately presented Peugeot 205’s flying the Argyll flag. Angus McNeil from Oban was out in his excellent 1600cc 205.
Angus and Michael unlucky not to get a finish with the engine letting go on stage five. Neil McAllister and Stephen Lang were out for a test in the newly upgraded Peugeot 205. The pair got to grips with the increased power and finished 30th overall and a respectable fourth in class.
The event was won by Mini WRC pilot Nigel Feeney, ably guided round the venue by Phil Sandham.