Monthly Archives: April 2017

The second round of the Ecosse C2 Challenge saw us heading North to Elgin for the McDonald & Munro Speyside Stages. The event contained 10 Special Stages with a total of
44 miles, 2 stages through Elgin's Cooper Park and 8 stages in local forestry.

 

The Ecosse Challenge is a standalone rally championship which continues the work started
by Colin McRae. The selected car for the Challenge, is the Citroen C2VTS which provides a
level playing field for all competitors.
The first 2 stages saw a quick blast around Cooper Park the only tarmac section of the rally,
times proved to be competitive through these short stages, we then headed out of the town
into the local forests.
Stages 3 and 4 proved to be very slippy in bits with some long fast sections that quickly took
us through the first 11 stage miles. Happy with our efforts, we headed to first service
located in Huntly, where the times showed us to be lying second, 7 seconds behind the
leading Challenge C2.
Heading for stages 5, 6 and 7 with the plan to increase our efforts to close the gap between
us and the leading crew, a clean run through stage 5 saw us drop time to the leaders. A decision was made to push harder through stage 6, where unfortunately we punctured a front tyre, around the mid-point, but continued to the end of the stage to limit time loss. A quick roadside tyre change saw us head on to stage 7 the longest of the rally at just under 9 miles. We suffered some intercom issues through this stage, but the times showed we managed to gain 16 seconds on the Challenge leader.
Back to Huntly for the final service. A quick look at the time sheets showed that we still had
9 seconds to gain on the leading C2.
We had a good run through the last 3 stages with no major issues. On the road section back
to the finish we discovered that the leading Challenge crew had picked up 5 minutes of time
penalties whilst dealing with an issue in service. This handed us our first Challenge win.
We would like to thank our team and sponsors for all their help in making this possible. Now
looking forward to the Scottish Rally on the 20th of May.

Pic © 2017 Frank Love

RSAC New Talent Scholar reflects on his 2017 visit to Elgin.

The second gravel rally so far but by no means easier than the Border Counties!

On the way up and while staying at the hotel the night before I caught a pretty bad cold which didn't make things any better, added it up and every Motorsport or driving event/ meeting I've done I've been ill. It's one record that I desperately want broken due to the fact you never get the most out yourself when struggling to balance concentration and hydration than when you're physically well.

The first two stages were a quick blast through Cooper Park in Elgin so I used them as practice to get back into it after a month out of the car. You can't win an event on stages like this, but you can lose it!

Once I got to the first gravel stages I noticed the car was handling extremely weird and never wanted to stay planted. This is good in some occasions but it was hard to stay straight at all! We later found out at first service that the pressure in the tyres were above 50psi. This made the contact patch extremely small and opened us up to the chance of having a puncture or even a blow out!

On the three middle stages after fixing the problems I was flying! The times instantly dropped and became competitive. Unfortunately, problems with pace notes started to appear, from the stages after first service my co-driver made some mistakes and we lost time. This was due to not being able to trust the notes, not being able to go flat out and having to ease off before every blind crest or turn just in case it was wrong which is one of the worst things to have while rallying.

The last three stages were familiar in that, just like the Border Counties,  it started to rain and churn up the ground. So even thinking of getting close to my competitors in other C2s was lost due to the starting position and drastic difference in road surface from front of field to the back. It became extremely slippy and hairpins just became corners were you could actually get stuck in the ground if taken too slow.

In the end it was a great laugh and I enjoyed it greatly even with the set backs  but it's made think about a lot of variables that factor into a rally weekend.

Pic: Garry Headridge

Gina Walker Rallying with Jack & Victor Motorsport

Brick & Steel Border Counties Rally 18th of March 2017

This was the first round of the Ecosse Citroen C2 Challenge and the first event of the year for the team.

This year we have been very kindly given the use of David Martin's 2016 Challenge winning car.

We had done a small amount of testing in the car, but the decision was to  use this event to learn the car and to get seat time as it was 6 months since our last event.

Scrutineering was on Friday night which went without any major hick-ups, and we were treated to an amazing firework display as the BRC crews headed off for their first 2 stages, before the competitors briefing.

Saturday morning our first stage SS3 Wauchope, from the DVD this looked to be a fast, flowing stage unfortunately for us, as we came round a L6 corner 3 miles from the end and were greeted by a queue of cars stopped on stage by a crew who had managed to park their car on its roof across the stage. Car returned to its wheels and pushed to the side, we drove in convoy to the end of the stage, where we were given a notional time which was 1 minute and 15 seconds down on the leading C2's, an almost impossible task to get back as the cars are so similar.

SS 4 Hyndlee we got a good clean run setting second fastest Challenge time through this stage.

Heading back to first service the engine light came on, we had a little panic to ourselves. Jack and Victor now joined by David Martin jumped into action, but could find nothing wrong. The instruction was given not to push, but to bring the car home in third spot.

SS5 Elibank 1 unfortunately this stage was cancelled due to an incident and we received another notional time, this time the leading Challenge cars received the same time.

SS6 Yair 1 another good run with third fastest Challenge time dropping 9 seconds from the leading car and 2 from the second.

Second service of the day no change with the engine light. Some new tyres on the front and sent out for the final three stages.

SS7 Cardrona a slight mishap with a large bale didn't slow us down too much setting second fastest Challenge car again.

SS8 Elibank 2 we had used the earlier drive through as a recce, making a few adjustments to the notes. Another third fastest time dropping 8 seconds to the leading car and 3 from the second.

SS9 Yair 2 the final stage a repeat of SS6 and another second fastest Challenge time.

We had a good day and delighted to have finished third in the Challenge, though a little disappointed that due to the notional time we were not able to be involved in the battle for the win.

We would like to thank the organisers, safety crews and marshalls who helped make this a great event.

A big thank you to David Martin for lending his car and for servicing along with Jack and Victor. To Louise and Mandy for providing food and support along with Allana and John braving the rain on the stages. And our sponsors Aitken-Walker cars and H & S Joinery.

2017 RSAC Motorsport New Talent Scholar revels in his first gravel outing

2017 RSAC Motorsport New Talent Scholar, Elvin Smith, headed to Jedburgh for the first round of the 2017 Ecosse Challenge. The Brick and Steel Border Counties Rally would be Elvin’s first outing on gravel having graduated from the tarmac format of the Junior 1000 championship.

Elvin admitted that the rally had gone by in a blur, “The whole two days I never had a moment where I could relax or catch my breath.” Having rushed from Fife, scrutineering and signing on were achieved with only a minute to spare. The day of the rally itself was pretty much spent in the car the whole time with cancellations and delays putting time pressures on the crews. “…by the end of the day I was drained of fuel for my body and all energy was gone but I felt amazing knowing that I had completed my first gravel rally”.

Despite starting at the back of the field, Elvin was delighted to finish his first gravel event 63rd out of 120 starters. The Citroen C2 fared well, but lost its rear spoiler and window going over the yumps in the final stage flat out. “All in all it was a great adventure back into rallying after my time away between being in the Junior 1000s and now in the Ecosse C2 Challenge but I'm glad to be back!”

Elvin thanked Graeme Mack for building the car and helping with servicing on the day. He was also grateful to his service crew Jamie Morgan and Christopher Hampson who got themselves dirty so he didn’t have to. Elvin also thanked his co-driver, Jamie Mactavish for having the courage to stay in the car throughout the event.