23 crews lined up to contest the Crail Summer Junior Stages Rally, round 3 of the 2024 Ecosse Junior 1000 Challenge Season.

Leading from start to finish on his home event, it was an almost perfect rally for Rian Walker and co-driver Stuart McBride. Quickest on 5 out of the 6 stages the only issue for the Citigo crew was getting briefly held up on a couple of stages when they caught other cars. Ending the event with the win by 1 minute and 1 second perfectly wrapped up a very busy few weeks for Rian.

Charlie Mathewson and Ian Bass once again came out on top in an excellent battle for 2nd with Ollie Forrester and George Myatt. Learning yet another new venue, they found Crail to be to their liking and similar to venues they’ve experienced down South. The battle with Ollie and George had them working hard all the way to the finish, grabbing 2nd by just 35 seconds after 61 miles of competition.

For their part, Forrester and Myatt endured a bruising morning, surviving an unfortunate collision with another competitor and an argument with the tyres at the flying finish of SS2. They battled hard with their fellow Citigo all day but were frustrated when they noticed a drop in power in the afternoon making it harder to pass when they caught other cars. 3rd at the finish was still a solid result.

Flying once again, William Paterson powered his mighty Micra to 4th overall. With Mike Dickson in the hotseat this time, they ended the day just 19 seconds away from the podium. William loving the chance to get some proper speed out of the car on these fast airfield stages. He also went on to be top Paterson at a local autotest on the Sunday, capping off a great weekend.

7 seconds back, Lauchlan Hunter and Richard Simmonds endured a slightly frustrating day, finding their VW to be down on straight line speed by about 10 miles per hour compared to their rivals. Hard work in service by Dad Sam, aided by some other crews eventually traced the issue to a binding brake caliper just before the final 2 stages. 5th at the finish was solid, although Lauchlan was dismayed when he lost a wing mirror cover that had been signed by Max McRae.

Thomas Babb was joined by Carin Tait-Logan for this round. After a clean start to the day they lined up on the start line of SS3 only for the intercom to die. With Carin shouting at the top of her lungs Thomas was able to hear her pretty well and still set solid times, really enjoying the SS3 and 4 layout. The final loop saw them unfortunately held up by another competitor and survive a big 2-wheel moment on the way to a solid 6th.

Alfie Letham and Craig Wallace were still without ABS after the issues at Kames, not a problem in the tight and twisties but Alfie still had to learn the car when braking from high speed. That resulted in a couple of big lockups in the morning and contributed to an argument with a chicane in SS4. It was still a solid day, ending just 23 seconds away from Babb and Tait-Logan at the finish.

Back for another play in Scotland, Riley Chester had Victoria Swallow alongside for this round. The Up pilot enjoyed another new venue, pushing the car up to and beyond it’s limits, especially in front of the spectator bankings. Riley and Victoria ending up just another 23 seconds down on Letham and Wallace.

9th overall and making it 2 newcomers wins in a row, Ollie Poole and Garry Wilson looked just as happy on the wide open spaces of Crail as they had done at Kames. The C1 seen at some properly extreme angles as Ollie extracted every ounce of performance out of the car. Ollie’s dad Ross was also pivotal in assisting Sam Hunter in diagnosing the issue with Lauchlan’s car, showcasing how helpful the J1000 service park is.

Taking an excellent 10th, Tyler Bowness and Alan Edwards day started poorly when the car cut out in SS1. Thankfully it refired after some more fuel was put in, pointing to a dodgy fuel gauge. The rest of the day was very good with Tyler growing in pace and confidence with every stage. Alan also chuffed that he didn’t get any splits wrong the entire weekend.

Just 9 seconds down on the 107, Daniel Campbell-Hill and Jack Stewart enjoyed a good day, with Daniel continuing his excellent increase in pace and confidence this season. For Jack it was a proper day’s work, pulling double duty and servicing the car as well as navigating. 11th was another good result for the red Up.

Rhys Purvin and Paul Cummins ended the day 21 seconds down on Campbell-Hill and Stewart at the end of the day, the Micra not proving quite as suitable to Crail as it was at Kames. 12th overall at the finish did give them bragging rights over Rhys’ Dad Thomas. Purvin senior guiding Joe Pringle to 49th overall in the senior event after being delayed with gear linkage issues.

Much happier than they had been at Kames, Connor Pitcaithly and Ian Rae were enjoying their run to 13th overall. They survived the mother of all 2-wheel moments in the afternoon, Ian convinced they were going to go over. They were another crew to be slightly held up on a couple of stages but not by enough to affect their result. Connor wrapping up a successful weekend by finishing 8th overall at the Saltire autotest on the Sunday.

25 seconds back, Aaron Dickson and Simon Mills were back having missed Kames. The 107 was running well, although Aaron seemed to be determined to rid Crail of all 107 wing mirrors over the 6 stages. Aaron particularly found stages 3 and 4 to be a proper adrenaline rush, the inner loop in particular proving to be a real challenge for the Peugeot pilot.

On his 1st ever rally, Irish driver Lewis Carmichael and co-driver Andrew Bushe really impressed, getting quicker with each passing stage on the way to a solid 15th overall at the finish. That rounded out a good weekend for the Carmichael clan, Lewis’s dad Alan guiding his i20 to 4th in the senior event, navigated by Keir Beaton.

Another driver much happier here than he’d been at Kames, Jamie Findlay was running very well, navigated on this occasion by Bryan Hamilton. The newly fitted front bumper was immediately damaged after nudging some tyres on the 1st stage but that was a sacrifice Dad Andy was happy to make considering the jump in pace. 16th overall at the finish was a good way to bounce back after a disappointing run at Kames.

17th overall on her 2nd event, April Blair and Gordon Winning were another crew to get quicker with every stage. A nudge on a bale on the 1st loop was no big deal but a split exhaust in the middle of the day was more serious. Thankfully the team were able to borrow a welder and sort the problem before the final 2 stages. Clean runs over the last loop rounding out another solid day of learning for April.

Gregor Beatson and Stephen Graham’s day took a knock early on when a gearbox mounting bolt failed, causing the engine to cut and resulting in a stage maximum. Aided by Donald Bowness, Gregor and his Dad were able to sort the problem in service and get the Yaris back out. The rest of the day was seriously committed, Gregor pushing the Yaris to and beyond it’s limits in a bid to make up time, eventually finishing in 18th overall.

Missing Kames, Amie Wallace and Ewan Stanhope were back to do battle in their Toyota Aygo. Unfortunately, the car didn’t seem to be that keen to help, seriously down on power and straight line speed. The power steering was also very heavy which became an issue when Amie clipped a tyre. Catching the wheel caused her to cut one of her fingers open mid-stage and left her plastered up for the rest of the day. 19th overall was their reward

JJ Jutley and Ted Runciman were another crew to suffer an early setback, a wrong split on the 1st loop giving the Mii a maximum. Apart from that JJ was loving the car and the stages, getting quicker all the time and setting consistent top 10 times despite losing the intercom and sending a cone to the moon. The Mii pilot salvaging 20th overall at the finish.

Lewis and Cameron Davidson had brought a new sponsor onboard for this round, Hallmark Engineering keen to support young engineering talent, a category which both members of the crew fit into. 11th overall early on despite a small off their day was a bit ruined by a wrong split in stage 4, giving them a maximum. Still there were lots of positives, Lewis much happier at Crail than he had been at Kames.

Rounding out the finishers, it was a properly tough day for Lucy Cree and Chloe Fleming. Adapting to new suspension was one challenge and they were involved in an unfortunate collision with another competitor and had to deal with a misfire on the opening loop. The middle loop was even more challenging, clipping a tyre misplaced by another car and colliding head on with a bale before Lucy could catch the resulting 2-wheel moment. The team sorted everything for the final loop, and they had 2 clean runs to round out the day and get some important miles in with the new suspension.

After their gearbox woes at Kames the Junior Jinx followed Angus Henderson and Barry Young to Crail. Running very strongly on the edge of the top 10 for most of the day it all went wrong on the final loop with an off into a field, thankfully without too much damage. Barry still full of praise for his young pilot on his 1st Crail event, with a lot of positives to take home with them.

Up next for the Juniors are 2 days of competition at Machrihanish Air Base in July.

Image courtesy of Becksport Media

About the author

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Rhona Dickie

Rhona is our Discipline Representative for the J1000 Ecosse Challenge.

She has always had a passion for motorsport and as teenager could be seen out spectating on the rally stages. She first became involved with the J1000 Ecosse Challenge when it was first launched back in 2012, as her son was one of the very first competitors in the championship. Initially Rhona took on the roles of Safeguarding Officer and Membership Secretary. In 2021, she became the Coordinator of the Championship. When time allows, Rhona can also be seen marshalling. She is a member of RSAC Motorsport and is also their Club Safeguarding Officer.