Garry Pearson and Kirstie Marshall got their Brick and Steel 205 Ecosse Challenge season back on track with a convincing win in the Peugeot section of the Granite City Rally. The results of the Civic Ecosse Challenge, meanwhile, are being withheld pending a stewards’ enquiry.
Pearson (18) and Marshall (17) spent the first half of the rally dicing with round one winners Sean and Iain Robson. Damage sustained in an altercation with the scenery forced the son-and-father crew out on the fourth Blackhall test, leaving Duns driver Garry to romp home ahead of second-placed Steven Smith and Russell Fair. Late entrants Martin Scott and Daniel Forsyth took the final 205 podium place.
Euan Duncan and Peter MacInnes were the pacesetters in the Civic section, followed by Graeme Schoneville and stand-in co-driver Peter MacCrone almost a minute behind. The Honda results are, however, subject to a stewards’ enquiry.
The result moves Pearson and Marshall into the lead of the 205 Challenge after two rounds, with Smith and Fair two points behind. Jamie Watson and Stephen Williamson – who took fourth place on the Granite – are a further point adrift.
“It’s been so long since the last time I won that I’d forgotten how to open a bottle of champagne!” jokes student Pearson. “It’s great to get a win after all of our troubles on the Border Counties, and we can look forward to the rest of the season knowing we have the pace to take the fight to our rivals.
“I’ve learned lots of new things in the year since I started rallying, but this is the first time I’ve ever had to jump on top of the car and celebrate a win,” adds Castle Douglas co-driver Kirstie. “After a slightly wobbly start to the rally we settled down and pulled away from the other cars in the afternoon.”
The next Brick and Steel Ecosse Challenge round will be the RSAC Scottish Rally down in Dumfries on Saturday 26 June.
Brick and Steel 205 Ecosse Challenge – Granite City Rally Results
1. Pearson/Marshall 48 minutes 22 seconds; 2. Smith/Fair 49:26; 3. Scott/Forsyth 50.37; 4. Watson/Williamson 50.37; 5. Graeme Sherry/Ewan Leeming 50:46; 6. David Brown/Tom Hynd 51:02; 7. Alex Pirie/Paul Cummins 52:13; 8. Graeme Smith/Laura Marshall 1:14:48.
-Martin Scott only decided to enter the rally the day before after his flight to a work project in Egypt was delayed due to ongoing volcanic ash issues. Co-driver Daniel Forsyth was contesting his first forest event, and is now weighing up an offer to return to the forests with Martin for later rounds this year.
-2009 Peugeot champion co-driver Peter MacCrone agreed to step in at short notice to fill the vacant co-driver’s seat in Graeme Schoneville’s Honda Civic. Graeme’s usual navigator Phil Coulby was away at a wedding, so with nephew John coming over to compete in his Ford Fiesta R2 Peter decided to make the trip up to Aberdeen worthwhile.
-Former Challenge stars Colin Smith and Craig Chapman were spotted out spectating on the Granite stages. The local crew withdrew their entry in order to focus their efforts on the up-and-coming Intercontinental Rally Challenge campaign, but were keeping a keen eye on their former rivals. Anyone interested in backing the boys can contact email@example.com
-The learning curve continues for Formula Ford racer-turned-rally driver David Brown. After learning how to push his own car out of the undergrowth on the Border Counties, the son of Scottish motorsport stalwart Ken Brown spent the Granite getting to grips with route notes. “It’s a big challenge for David going from driving to what he sees to driving to what he’s told is coming up,” reckons experienced co-driver Tom Hynd, who has been recruited to help the Brown effort. “At the start of the day he kept asking me what’s coming next, but I’ve been impressed by his progress and the speed will come in time.”
-Graeme Smith may have finished last 205 Challenge competitor and third-to-last car overall, but he left a positive impression on the event organisers. At the end of a day that saw a morning gear linkage drama force Graeme to head for the stages just minutes ahead of the closing car, a mid-stage roll and numerous stops to adjust the Peugeot’s temperamental air-flow meter, a senior event official declared Smith had “given him more entertainment in one day than in all the other days of the year put together”. The apprentice joiner was given a special mention at the rally’s awards ceremony for his efforts.