Skip navigation

vassallowinnerA record 17 Brick & Steel Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge crews lined up on the start line of the first stage of the PJ Planthire And Groundworks Charterhall Stages on Saturday 30th March. This was the first round of the 2013 Championship and the numbers go to show how this Junior formula has been embraced by 14 to 17 year olds and their parents.

There is always maximum anticipation at this point of the season because nobody really knows who is going to do what. Plus, of the 17 starters, 7 were complete newcomers – some more so than others. And to some extent we were not disappointed.

The first stage was a real challenge – it was very fast in places and very very slippery in others. Not from snow or frost but from the moss and other farmyard types of deposits left over the winter. In the “2nd year class” , it was almost “service as usual” with Alexander Vassallo (Citroen C1)and new co-driver Micheal Gilbey pulling out a 30 second advantage over second crew up – Ryan Weston (Toyota Aygo) and Mark McCulloch – in the opening stage. This was fairly usual strategy from Alexander and he then left everybody playing catchup all day.  He was then able to relax a bit and extend his lead by a few seconds on the remaining 5 stages until he crossed the finish line with a 1minute 5 seconds advantage over Ryan Weston in second.

The rest of the top 5 pretty much resembled how we finished 2012 with the addition of 2012 Irish J1000 Champion Ben Crealey (Micra) and Liam Reagan filling third place and first Micra.  Michael Dickie (Toyota Aygo) and Euan Duncan were 4th after a fraught first 2 stages when an electrical fault kept cutting out the engine regularly for a few seconds. Harry Marchbank (Micra) and Jordan Black put up a good fight into 5th place but dropped over 45 seconds on stage 5 when they “attacked” a tyre chicane.

The 7 newcomers started well with only one team – Brandon Walsh/Steve Turnbull (Toyota Yaris)  – failing to cross the finish line because of an electrical problem. Which was not surprising considering that father Walsh and helpers only finished working on the car at 4.30am on Saturday morning!!!  But the real stars in the newcomers were Michael Robertson (Micra) and Phil Sandham and Dylan O’Donnell (Micra) and Tracey Louise Muir. Michael held the advantage by 4seconds over the first 2 stages, they were tied by the end of the second 2 stages and Dylan got his head down over the last 2 stages to win the battle and take 7th place overall by 19 seconds.

All in all, an amazing day and we cannot wait for the next round at Ingliston on 27th April.

%d bloggers like this: