By Barry Lindsay,
Jim Clark returned to the forests in 2015 following 2014’s accidents to give the organisers time to adapt for a return to roads in 2016. I heard the route was using the forests similar to a Border Counties Rally of 2007. Infact the stages turned out to be the same. The event had good and bad memories, was a good fun & competitive day but also a one we rolled on. Back in 2007 we ran 2nd car on the road behind George Macdonald and ahead of Carl Tuer. It was one of the first events to run under 1600’s at the front of the main pack but was a great day.
In 2015 though the event didn’t live up to expectations.. Running car 40 which was 3rd 1600 the first two stages were wet & misty and had dug up quite bad. Caroline & Myself dropped 20sec to the class leader on SS1 with 8m26. Peter Taylor & Andrew Roughead got 7m12 with Focus dropping 10 seconds to Faulkner on 7m02. Rory Young & Allan Cathers had there first event in a new Fiesta R5. 7m 16 was 5th fastest a great start. That was Ogre Hill crews now headed to Rooken along side the forest drive. The start line was so bad I opted to start in the loose rather than risk getting stuck sitting on the sumpguard the ruts were so deep. The stage was little better in places the sandy surface was like being in a toboggan run in some corners. Chicaines were a mass of dug up rocks. 7m16 was our time which dropped another 26sec to class leader. Peter had upped his pace getting 6m00 which was 2nd fastest. Rory & Allan got 6m23 8th fastest.
Crews now had an hour road section to near Morpeth for service, which was a grass field which had cows in hours earlier.
Service was a quick check over but nothing could be done for the electrical glitch that was causing the car to cut out for split seconds.
Stage 3 was at Harwood, Stage condition was better except a few regarded bits, 12m01 was our time and we had pushed on now that Scotmaps Notes grading system was sinking in following years of Patterson System. Peter / Andrew had got 10m15 while Rory & Allan got 10m50. Management service on the road section Sidwood stage near Falstone. Geoffrey, our chase crew had picked up a puncture so following a quick check he followed complete with spacesaver!
Stage 4 was a better stage but some really heavy rain where wipers could hardly cope with it. 8m 37 was only 4 sec behind the class leader. Peter / Andrew had got 7m16 and lead the rally by a single second from Faulkner with a 13mile stage to go. Rory / Allan got 7m 39.
Final stage Peter & Andrew dropped 7 seconds and the lead with 11m29, Rory & Allan got 11m49 while Caroline & myself saw yellow flags, the first one I tried to ignore but then there was more and eventually came across the rescue crews attending an accident. We got a notional time and finished driving the stage non competitively parts were bits used on SS2 so in some ways was grad to not have to drive in the ruts
Thanks to Caroline for egging me on despite the conditions and a car wanting stop. Notes were perfect as always. Thanks also to Geoffrey running chase car and Dad for service in the pickup.
2nd OA 1st in class Peter & Andrew Focus 42m12
7th OA 3rd in class Rory & Allan Fiesta R5 43m57
32nd OA 2nd in class Barry & Caroline 206 49m25