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At the finish of the Kingdom Junior Stages Rally at Crail on 17th June, we experienced a first – a draw on total times. Ewan Tindall/Paul Hudson (Citroen C1) and Jude MacDonald /Michael Cruickshank (Skoda Citigo) were both on 56.06. But the tie break rule – fastest on first stage – put Tindall in first position.

Both drivers had pushed hard all day and were never more than a few seconds apart. After 2 stages, Tindall was 3 seconds in front but MacDonald reappeared from ss1 with the rear bumper missing and bits of damage to the side of the car – the Crail big tyres don’t take prisoners!! But a more steady and tidy approach to stages 3 and 4 put MacDonald 1 second ahead. Tindall pulled back 3 seconds on ss5 and went into the final stage 2 seconds in front. And lo and behold, MacDonald took 2 seconds back to tie. It was a terrific battle and displays the skill and commitment from both Junior teams.

We lost the other front running Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge driver – Johnnie Mackay (with Steven Hay replacing a “resting” Gordon Reid) – in the second stage but this was after damage sustained to the Suzuki Alto in ss1 when they struck a tyre and bent a steering arm which then broke on ss2 leaving them stranded out on the stage. The team did repair it and got some practice time in for the rest of the stages.

In third place at the end were our NI guests – Sam Adams and Andrew Bushe – in another Skoda Citigo. They were pursued all day by the Aygo of Lewis Haining and George Myatt who finished fourth. After a “slow start” Haining picked up the pace from ss3 on and there was just a second or two between them on each stage. But both hit problems on the last stage – Adams with suspension failure (but he did not admit to hitting anything) and Haining with bent steering (“Hit the biggest possible tyre in the whole stage and bent the steering arm” admitted Haining)

Another pair of crews dodging away against each other were Peter Beaton/Colin Baxter (Peugeot 107) and Lewis Winder/Mike Baird (Toyota Aygo). Beaton finished fifth and Winder sixth. This was a great result for Beaton, who, despite recounting several “tricky moments”, took his 107 home with no damage and a much relieved first time co-pilot Colin Baxter. Winder had a slow start but picked up the pace in the afternoon when the gap between him and Beaton over the last 3 stages was 1 second in his favour. It was 15 seconds down over the first 3.

And then we come to our 2 ladies. Alice Paterson/Ian Crosbie (Peugeot 107) had a terrible start when the engine started misfiring on ss1. When you only have 3 cylinders, this is a real problem and Paterson dropped 2mins 2 seconds to Amy Mccubbin/Brian Mclelland (Skoda Citigo) on ss1 and ss2. But Dad Stuart worked his magic on the electrics before ss3 and turned the tide and Paterson took time back off Mccubbin on ss3, 4, 5. But she still went into the last stage 1min 36secs behind, only for Mccubbin to get a puncture and record a stage maximum. And so Paterson got seventh place and Mccubbin eighth.

Apart from Mackay, the only other non finisher was Andrew Blackwood/Gordon Winning (Citroen C1) when the gearbox let go in ss4.

It was an excellent event but we were a bit worried after ss1 when several cars came in with modified bodywork and bits missing. The fast open nature of the stages had caught many of them by surprise but things settled down from ss2 onwards. And the glorious sunshine all day was a real bonus.

We now have a 7 week summer gap before the the next event which will be the Solway Coast Junior Rally on 6th August 2017. This is the big one when all 3 UK Junior 1000 Championships go head to head.

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