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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.

Saturday 10th September saw 18 year old Andy Struthers from Libberton, and co-driver Ali McIlroy from Jedburgh competing in the final round of the ARRCraib Scottish Rally Championship, which was also the final round of the C2motorsportparts.com Ecosse C2 challenge.  They finished first in the SRC class and 3rd in the C2 challenge.

“I really enjoyed the Galloway Hills rally.  The stages were great and the organisers and marshals ran a very smooth and compact event,” commented Andy.

Reflecting on the 2016 season Andy said “this year has been a mix of ups and downs for us, the most memorable down being the end over end roll we did at the Borders County Rally.  This caused extensive damage to the car, but amazingly Barrie Lochhead managed to rebuilt it in time for us to be back out competing four weeks later!

The end of the season also sees the end of my two year “RSAC New Talent Scholarship.”  As well as giving me financial help throughout the two years, I have appreciated the support and encouragement from all those involved in the scholarship.”

Andy started competing at the age of 14 when he drove his one litre Micra in the Ecosse J1000 Junior Rally championship.  Andy explained “The C2 challenge is quite a new championship, it was designed as a step up from the junior challenge, with a more powerful car but one that could be built for a smaller budget than some of today’s rally cars.  I real enjoy my C2 and hope that others will join the championship.  At each event Stephen Smellie and Richard Welsh, C2 co ordinators are there offering support to all competitors in the challenge.  This is their final year and I would like to thank them for the help they have given me over the last two years.”

The season has now finished, the 2017 championship begins in February with the “Snowman” Rally at Inverness.  Andy has started his first year at Strathclyde university but is still planning to compete next year.

Andy would like to thank all members of “Team Struthers” for the work they have done preparing for rallies, servicing on the day, and repairing any damage after the event!

SG_01The Coltel Grampian stages held at Milton of Crathes in Banchory on Saturday the 13th of August 2016 was a successful day for Gina and co-driver Richard Simmonds. After finishing third over all in the Ecosse Challenge she managed to accumulate enough points to win the overall C2 Junior Championship. She quotes "I really loved the stages, there was some great flowing bits and some testing bits but overall I thoroughly enjoyed the day, and to take the Junior Title was just the icing on top of the cake, it just rounded up a fantastic day."

The day in the Grampian forestry wasn't all plain sailing for Gina and Richard as they had some overheating trouble with the car. The crew at "Jack and Victor Motorsport" Hacker “Victor” Atchison and Billy “Jack ” O'Brien, named after the well know comics in the sitcom Still Game as they provide not only the mechanical knowledge but the entertainment too, had diagnosed the problem as a head gasket leak. They managed to work their magic and get the car back down to temperature sealing the hole causing the overheating to get them safely to the end of the rally. "I absolutely couldn't do it without them, not only for their hard work but for the fun that we all have as well" said Gina.

Mum Louise kept a close eye on things, and giving some words of wisdom when needed. Mandy Wood now known as “Isa” in keeping with the Still Game theme was there to keep the team fed and watered along with Louise doing the home baking. "It’s a massive team effort, every body has an important role to play and like I said I really couldn't do it without them." Gina was asked a question at the end of the rally " why do you think there were only 2 females in the rally today, Gina replied with "I really don't know because the C2 challenge is such a great stepping stone to get a taste of motor sport, everything is kept so basic on the cars meaning the cost stays down and every body is on the same playing field, so it really is the most affordable way to get some great experience and meet some amazing people along the way." so a great day had by all at the Jack and Victor Motorsport team.

SATURDAY 6 AUGUST 2016

We have pleasure in welcoming participants to the RSAC Three Lochs Classic. Once again we offer a warm welcome to all drivers and passengers, and we look forward to seeing old friends and newcomers alike.
This year we have a new venue: the Oak Tree Inn at Balmaha, which will host the start, finish and the Concours d’Elegance. We are grateful to Sandy Fraser and everybody at the Oak Tree Inn for making us so welcome.
We welcome our new sponsor Bob Hay of Hay Lough Davis (Chartered Town Planner and Architect), Dumbarton, and hope that he will enjoy his day with us. Having been in business for over twenty years, HLD are understood to be the most prolific agents operating within the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park area, enjoying very good and successful working relationships with the Park Authority and local businesses.
There will again be a “wee” route of around 40 miles suitable for cars in the Veteran class and any others whose drivers prefer it, and a “big” route of around 70 miles for everybody else. We are continuing to welcome entries from the owners of all cars built before 1982, and we look forward to seeing a good representation of cars from all eras.
The change of venue has allowed us to use some new roads which we hope will be enjoyed by drivers and passengers of cars of all ages.
The event will again feature light-hearted “examinations” leading to the award of degrees by the
Automotive University of Rhu (Balmaha Campus).
We look forward to receiving your entry and to seeing you on Saturday 6 August.
The Organising Team

REGULATIONS ARE AVAILABLE HERE

13557734_553071071532481_3619424202692715143_nThe Scottish rally was a mixture of positivity, excitement and bitter disappointment all loaded Into one day for Andy Struthers and Alasdair McIlroy competing in their fourth event together.  This event took a different format from previous events because it was also part of the BRC, and involved a number of world class rally drivers from home and abroad.

The goal for the day was to continue to up their pace and close the gap on their Class competitors. From the very first stage Andy and Ali were on the pace and straight away were in contention to lead their Class.

The stages were proving to be tough but they found themselves leading the Ecosse Challenger Class as they went in to the final stage of the day.

Unfortunately, on a very tight right bend uphill the car’s front tyre just caught a deep ditch full of small trees which dragged them into it meaning the race was over for them.

Positives throughout the day must be remembered for the next event - the Grampian rally in Aberdeen on 13th August.

Commenting on their day’s event Ali said “Gutted that Andy didn't get the win he deserved with that unlucky off on last stage when leading but massive improvement to his commitment, pace and skill level. Massive positives to move forward with but rally isn't over until you reach that last time control at finish.”

Andy said “when I slid of I was disappointed at not finishing the event.  On a positive note we had made a few minor changes to the car set up for this event and it was clear that they were working.”

As always Andy and Ali thank the organisers, marshals and the rescue team – without them they would still be stuck in the ditch!