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By Gavin Brown
A round-up of Mid Argyll crews in the Dunoon Presents Argyll Rally, held on June 25/26 and won by Welsh driver Meirion Evans and co-driver Jonathan Jackson.
Alister MacArthur and Christopher Robertson were teamed up once more in their Talbot Sunbeam and looking forward to tackling the new stages around the Cowal peninsula.
The two blasts round Dunoon town centre stage were a suitable shakedown for the pair and they headed out into the evening stages starting with Glendaruel.
The car was performing well and good runs through stage three then the challenging stage four Bealach Maim, over the hill road to Otter Ferry, got the confidence levels up and a good rhythm in place with the only issue being the excellent pace meant they closed the one minute gap and caught the car in front and, with very few passing opportunities, definitely lost a good bit of time following them for the last mile of the stage.
Stage five, Loch Fyne, saw the pair lose second gear but they managed to get through the 6.75 miles and finish the evening having climbed from their start number of 97 up to 51st overall and fourth in Class 7. The car was trailered back to Lochgilphead to see what was amiss with the gearbox. After a very late night the car was back on the trailer and heading for leg two on the Saturday morning.
During the first stage of the morning, Glendaruel two, they also lost first gear, making continuing the rally impossible. The gearbox finally let go on the road section on the way back to Dunoon. This was a disappointing end to what was looking like a great event for them.
Innes Mochrie was back out in the mighty Metro, once again guided by his daughter Kirsty, using pace notes for the first time. The Metro’s suspension was tested to the maximum on the bumpy, twisty stages with some huge jumps which resulted in several bouncy landings for the Lochgilphead pair. That said, the car ran faultlessly all weekend and their times were consistently quick.
The two runs through the loop of four stages on Saturday saw the pair within a second of their previous times on three of the four stages, slightly slower on the second run through, until the last stage where they knocked four seconds off the morning run to secure 60th overall from a start position of 95 but, more importantly, lifting the Class one honours. Another trophy for the increasingly full cabinet.
Duncan MacLean and Ross Callander were out in the wee 106 GTi again and were only one stage in when the clutch started to give Duncan severe problems.
Nipping back to service to try and sort this out, they incurred a stage maximum on stage two but, importantly, were still in the rally.
The clutch continued to give some problems when it got hot. Into the second day and the stage times in daylight with the knowledge from the previous night’s loop meaning Duncan soon had the 106 singing and the stage times reflected this.
As with other crews, the re-running of the same loop in the afternoon offered the crews the chance to use that knowledge to increase the speeds and adjust the lines. Duncan was quicker in all but one stage in the afternoon with the final two tests completed significantly quicker than in the morning.
The problems on Friday night meant they were always going to struggle to finish anywhere further up the leader board, but a finish is very welcome and will surely help to build confidence for the rest of the season.
Photographs: West Coast Photos/Gavin Brown.
Innes and Kirsty Mochrie took the Class one honours in the mighty Metro. no_a27ArgyllRally_WCPhotos02_InnesMochrie
Duncan MacLean and Ross Callander’s Peugeot 106 GTi had clutch problems – but the pair finished strongly. no_a27ArgyllRally_WCPhotos03_DuncanMacLean
Gearbox woes cost Alister MacArthur and Christopher Robertson a finish in their Talbot Sunbeam. no_a27ArgyllRally_WCPhotos05_AlisterMacArthur