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Ten Junior drivers from the Brick & Steel Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge and one guest driver from Wales  lined up beside some of the biggest and most famous names in the rallying World to celebrate the anniversary of every rally fan’s hero – Colin McRae and his 1995 World Rally Championship title. They ran over exactly the same stages as the experienced and famous “Seniors” on the 2 day  McRae Rally Challenge at Knockhill Racing Circuit on 16/17th May in their fully rally prepared 1000 cc cars. They may well have been outpaced on the blasts around the main track but their performances on the tight and twisty hillside roads surprised and delighted many.

Finlay Retson (Blairgowrie) emerged as a convincing victor after taking the lead on stage 3 of the 10 stage event.   Peter Bennett (Laighgall, Northern Ireland) put up some strong opposition in the early stages. Both drivers are aged 14 and drive exactly the same Citroen C1 cars. Bennett flew round the first stage but then made a couple of mistakes on stages 3 and 4 and ended the first day in second place – 16 seconds behind Retson. On the first stage of day 2, Retson and Bennett were separated by 1 second in Retson’s favour. On the second stage of the day, the battle was over as Bennett slid into the gravel in the slippery conditions and that was the end of his rally. Retson then cruised to a comfortable 1minute 9 seconds victory.

Another battle was raging all weekend between Craig MacIvor (Evanton) and Harry Chalmers (Alford). MacIvor slotted into third place from the second stage and held that position at the end of day 1 with a slim 2 second advantage over Chalmers in fourth. At the end of the first stage on day 2, Chalmers had pulled level but an overshoot on the second stage lost him 10 seconds. MacIvor then upped the pace on the second last stage and the pair ended 13 seconds apart at the end of the rally.  With Bennett’s demise, MacIvor was second overall and Chalmers third.  A terrific battle and result for these 2 lifelong friends.

And coming home in fourth place on his first ever rally was Tom Llewellin (14)  – our guest driver from Wales.

Of the 11 Junior starters, 7 crews got round without too many scrapes but 4 “Failed to Finish”

The second of 8 rounds of this very popular Championship for 14 to 17 year olds will be the Summer Crail Stages at Crail Aerodrome on 13th June.McRae Juniors15d

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