The Rally2Raise team travelled to Dunkeld last weekend to drive in the Saltire Classic Rally as part of the Saltire Rally Club’s generous support of the Rally2Raise project which this year is raising funds for the Nystagmus Network and raising awareness of the Bottle Stop campaign.
The popular event was based at the Birnam hotel and it attracted a full entry including some unusual rally cars such as an Austin Maxi and Fiat 127. The crews faced a challenging 95 mile route through some gorgeous scenery around Pitlochry and Loch Tummel which included 17 tests and three regularity sections.
The Rally2Raise Micra was running as “0” car ahead of the competitors with Rachel Clark driving and Gary Simpson, who is usually outside of the car photographing it, making his debut in the co-driver’s seat.
After a short road section the crew arrived at the first test which was like a mini-rally stage featuring a gravel road surface, several very slippery hairpins and a “stop-astride” finish on snow. The Micra successfully completed the test in a good time. Tests 2-5 also went well but ominous noises were heard coming from the engine bay in test 6, a test which also saw the Micra almost collide with a large bale on one particularly slippy section. At the end of the test the bonnet was lifted and it was found that the exhaust manifold had cracked.
With an hours rest halt after test 10 which would give the chance to make a temporary fix the crew decided to carry on at a reduced pace in the hope that the exhaust would not completely fall off. Test 7 was a run around a course in the grounds of event sponsor Edradour’s distillery with several whisky barrels to hit if you got it wrong but Clark and Simpson got through unscathed and headed through Pitlochry to tests 8, 9 and 10. The exhaust situation was getting worse with fumes filling the car but the crew managed to make it to the very picturesque lunch halt venue of Ardgualich Farm where the course car crew of Craig Wallace and Ryan Hay patched up the exhaust sufficiently to allow Micra to continue in the event.
“We were pleased to reach the lunch halt,” said Clark. “After looking at the exhaust following test 6 we were doubtful we’d make it that far. We’re very grateful to Craig and Ryan for their efforts in keeping us in the event.”
The afternoon section had another 7 tests and two regularity sections including a run across the mountain road north of Trinafour which was surrrounded by snow-capped peaks. Despite the exhaust problems returning in that latter stages of the rally the Micra successfully completed all the tests and made it to the finish.
“It was a brilliant event, we thoroughly enjoyed it. The tests were great fun and the road sections went through some absolutely fantastic scenery. We didn’t have any problems with the navigation despite it being Gary’s first time on the maps so that was good too!”
At the event finish the team organised a raffle to support the Nystagmus Network and £251 was raised. Event winners Noel Cochrane and Olly McCollum generously donated two bottles of Edradour for a future Rally2Raise raffle.
“Thanks to everyone who bought raffle tickets, we were amazed to raise so much. Thanks also to Colin Wallace and all at the Saltire Rally Club for their continued support of Rally2Raise.”
The team is hoping to contest the Coltel Granite City rally in April if a budget can be pulled together. Promotional opportunities with the team are available, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. More information on the Rally2Raise project can be found at www.rally2raise.co.uk.
Image courtesy Bill Crichton