Argyll rallyers fly in Fife

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Report by Gavin Brown

Glenrothes Motor Sport Club hosted the final round of the Scottish Tarmac Rally Championships at the Kingdom Stages rally.

Several Argyll crews were out on the stages on the day, some competing for overall championship positions, some out to consolidate class points and some just out for a blast to shakedown new cars or check old ones.

Willie and Steven Beattie were out in their dad’s pride and joy as their own Escort had been unceremoniously dumped upside down in a Northumberland river at the previous round of the championship.

‘We’ll treat it like our own,’ they were heard to say as it was strapped onto the trailer for the journey to Leuchars Air Base. No wonder he looked nervous.

The boys got to grips with the different handling characteristics of Willie Senior’s car and started to up the pace in the afternoon bringing the car home in a respectable 16th overall and third in class three. This result was enough to secure second position in the overall championship in class.

Jamie Miller continued the learning process with the little Citroen C2-R2Max with Ian McCulloch pointing him in the right direction. A very neat rally from Jamie with very few mistakes saw him finish a creditable 13th overall and second in class two, only beaten by the Scottish Tarmac Champion for 2018 Michael Harbour in his similar Citroen, who was only one place above him after seven stages.

Innes Mochrie was once again out on the stages in the Mighty Metro and this time he had someone whom he might listen to in the co-driver’s seat. His daughter, Kirsty, had elected to fill the silly seat for this event and they, after a few first stage detours, managed to keep speaking right to the end and brought the class one pocket rocket home in 34th overall and a brilliant second in class. The mind boggles as to what the result could have been if, as Kirsty was heard to remark, she had ‘someone who would listen to her’.

Jonothan MacDonald and Chris Wareham were out in the beautifully prepared Mull of Kintyre Cheese sponsored Peugeot 306. Their pace was good enough for 18th overall and fourth in class three.

Mull pair Malcolm MacDougall and Stuart MacLean were out in the class one Vauxhall Nova and were getting visibly quicker as the day went on, a trend that had repeated itself over the course of the year with confidence and technique increasing with every stage mile covered. They finished 39th overall and a commendable fourth in class one.

There were three Argyll co-drivers directing their pilots around the airfield. Ian Parker, recently announced as one of seven – and the only Scot – co-drivers to be selected to join the MSA Academy for 2019, was back in the Honda Civic of Fraser Smith. The Civic screamed its way round the stages with minimal fuss, other than perhaps a lucky trip on two wheels after clipping a tyre, to finish in 22nd overall and fourth in class two.

The final Argyll man out was Eoghan Anderson from Cairnbaan who was shouting left and right for Greg Inglis of Montrose in his quick and agile Lotus Exige. Eoghan had been co-driver for Alan Kirkaldy in the earlier Granite Stages Rally, also held at Leuchars, and they had been first overall that day, so no pressure there, then.

Greg found the Lotus was almost perfect for the stages on the day with a great balance of handling, braking and pace when needed. They were surprised, perhaps unjustly, to find out they were sitting well up the leader board after the first few stages. They got the hammer down over the last three and were to finish fifth overall and first in class three.

They were beaten only by the Kirkaldy brothers, both in Escort MkII’s of the highest calibre, and two WRC cars driven by Brian Watson and Reay Mackay.

Last but not least, Oban’s Angus MacNeil was out with Sam MacFadyen in Brian Watson’s Mitsubishi Evo 9 binging it home unscathed in 14th overall.

The event was won by Alan Kirkaldy in a freshly built Escort MkII, followed by his circuit racer brother Andrew in second (in Alan’s old Escort) and Reay Mackay taking the last podium place in his WRC Fiesta. This was a fitting finish to the Championship at Leuchars with very fast stages and a good test of man (and woman) and machine in equal measures.

Photographs by West Coast Photos.