The Japanese rally crew of Motoharu Kaseya and Kohei Izuno battled the weather, the rocks and the midges on their way to a fine finish on Saturday’s RSAC Scottish Rally – and were rewarded with one of Scotland’s historical motor sport trophies for their efforts. The pair received the Bandeath Trophy at the finish of the Dumfries-based rally in recognition of their endeavours in the EuroRallye Honda Civic Type R.
The Bandeath Trophy is awarded annually to the ‘star’ of the RSAC Scottish Rally. This is a person or group of people whom the organisers of the rally – itself among the oldest motor sport events in Scotland – feel most appropriately conveys the spirit of the rally. This year K’s World Rally Team members Kaseya and Izuno were chosen in light of the (literal) great lengths they went to in order to take part in the Scottish, traveling several tens of thousands of kilometers just to reach the start venue before tackling the rally with good humour, much friendliness and great enjoyment. Spectators, marshals and other competitors alike were delighted to see the red and white Honda arrive at the final time control, covered in mud but with the crew in the cockpit beaming as they had done all day.
Motoharu and Kohei were driving competitively, though, and put in a respectable performance against many of the British Rally Championship’s regular competitors. Rallying in Europe for the first time, they set out with the aim of getting to the finish and soaking up the experience along the way. With Motoharu, an occasional participant in World Rally Championship and Asia-Pacific Series events, slowly adapting the car’s settings to his driving style, they gradually upped their pace throughout the day whilst staying out of trouble in the changeable conditions.
A double puncture towards the end of the seventh Shaw Hill stage was the only major drama the Honda pair had to battle. They hit one of the large, sharp rocks that have gained notoriety among rally crews in this part of the country, puncturing both right-hand side tyres. With the rear tyre losing air immediately and the front going down more slowly, they had to deploy both of the spare wheels EuroRallye had placed in the car on account of the rough conditions. Wheels changed, they were back on their way with minimal time loss.
“It was a very enjoyable rally, I had a lot of fun out there in the Honda”, declared Fujisawa driver Kaseya at the finish. “I didn’t expect to receive the Spirit of the Rally Award, so I was very pleased but also surprised when my team came to tell me. This is definitely going on display in my house!”
“Although I have competed in New Zealand, this was a completely new and different experience for me”, added Nagano co-driver Izuno. “Even though I am usually a driver myself, doing a big rally as a co-driver is a very good way to get experience about working as a team and understanding how the car is set up”.
The 2013 RSAC Scottish Rally was held in Dumfries and Galloway on Saturday 29 June. A round of the British Rally Championship, the Scottish took place over seventy miles of south-west Scotland’s forest roads, with the event start and finish in Dumfries. Over 130 crews took part in the Scottish, including those from as far afield as Finland, Norway and – of course – Japan.