14 Ecosse J1000 crews descended on Crail Airfield for the Summer Stages Junior Rally. 6 stages made up the day in glorious dry conditions.
Taking their 2nd win of the season Oliver Phillips and Barry Young took a massive 17 seconds out of the rest of the field in stage 1. That meant the rest of the event was a case of consolidating what they already had. Despite catching a couple of cars in the middle loop the Citigo crew took the win by 23 seconds at the finish.
Rian Walker and Stuart McBride’s day had started with an uncharacteristic mistake, a mis-timed downshift causing the car to over rev and lapse into limp mode. A quick alt-ctrl-delete and they were back up to speed but at least 20 seconds were dropped to the leaders. The rest of the day they were on the pace, also catching cars on their way to 2nd overall.
33 seconds further back it was a difficult day at the office for Albar winners Jack Ryan and Robin Nicolson. The 1st 2 stages Jack managed to bounce the Up off as many things as he could, removing the rear bumper in the process. The next loop saw the engine begin to develop a rattle and lose power. That stymied any hope of catching 2nd, so they made sure of their 3rd position.
The battle for 4th was the closest of the day. Ruan Lowry and Ian McRae eventually winning out over Thomas Milne and Neil Jeffrey by just 15 seconds at the finish. Ruan and Ian were still finding the limits of their new Citigo on its 1st visit to Crail. Ruan relatively happy with another solid 4th but as always wanting to get closer to the top 3.
For Thomas and Neil it was another day of getting the absolute maximum out of their Micra. Stages 3 and 4 were particularly quick, Neil almost struggling to believe how much speed Thomas was able to carry. At the end of the day Lowry’s Citigo’s extra power would make the difference, the Micra ending the day 5th.
Ollie Forrester and George Myatt’s Citigo had new front suspension after the issues at Kames along with different brake pads to cure the brake issues. The car was much better, but they were unfortunately badly held up on the opening 2 stages. That cost them a lot of time, which was exacerbated when the exhaust blew after a heavy landing, losing them power. Things were better off stage, a new sponsor, DD Competitions, coming onboard from the next round after coming along to Crail and really enjoying their 1st experience of rallying.
Lauchlan Hunter had Richard Simmonds alongside for this round. The Yaris surviving the mother of all moments with a massive spin in front of the spectator bankings in the morning. That knocked the exhaust into the manifold in the process, requiring some surgery in service. Lauchlan was also having to deal with a long brake pedal, not ideal when trying to get stopped for chicanes from high speeds.
Alfie Letham and Craig Wallace continued to learn about their new Citigo, Craig very impressed with Alfie’s ability to make the new car dance. There was a small incident towards the end of the day when Alfie ran wide into a ditch as he tried to use all the available road. After comparing their pace to the other Citigos they are planning a few setup tweaks for the next round to squeeze more out of the car
Lucy Cree and Chloe Fleming were back on their normal pace after a steady run at Kames. Chloe really happy with her pilot’s performance out on the stages, saying Lucy was driving really well. There was also a bonus for Dad Ross too, despite Lucy’s best efforts she managed to not lose a single wing mirror throughout the day, an impressive achievement in itself.
Thomas Babb and Paul Gribben shunted a bale in stage 1, resulting in a little bit of cosmetic damage on the Skoda. The rest of the day Paul was very happy with Thomas’s progress on only his 3rd rally, particularly with his runs on stages 3 and 4.
Graeme Mack had burned the midnight oil refreshing Jamie Findlay and Graeme Meins’ 107 after the issues at Kames. Jamie immediately christened the new bodywork on a bale in the 1st stage but apart from that things were going well. Jamie growing in confidence with every stage on his 1st full event.
JJ Jutley and Ted Runciman were victims of stage 2, a late turn in on some gravel saw the 107 understeer up a bank and damage the front left suspension. Luckily Graeme Mack had all the necessary spares to keep them in the event. On SS3 they missed a split and they caught another competitor in 4. JJ is starting to push the car hard as he gains experience.
Amie Wallace’s Yaris was now sporting the family team colours. With Keith Morris back in the hotseat Amie was showing just how much she’s come along in only 2 events. Keith was very impressed with her progress, Amie getting quicker with every stage. She also had the satisfaction of doing better than her Dad managed for the 2nd event in a row.
Rounding out the finishers it was a tricky 2nd day at the office for Freddie Johnson and Tom Hynd. The Up losing a wheel mid-way through stage 3 and heading straight into the tyres. Once they were recovered to service many crews pitched in to help sort the car and get them back out. They recorded 2 good runs on the last 2 stages, and they were quick to thank all those who helped them out.
Up next the juniors take on another fast airfield with 2 days of competition at Machrihanish near Campbeltown on July 8th and 9th.
Images courtesy of Becksport Media