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Round 7 of the STRC was the Tyneside Stages Rally held at the infamous Otterburn Military ranges in Northumberland hosted by Alnwick Motor Club. With 12 stages ahead of the 63 teams and rain forecast for 3pm it was always going to be a challenging day, the event itself ran right on time with the first car away at 08.30 and like a slick well-oiled machine the stages continued to run on time which was a credit to the organising team.

Together with the crews heading straight from the Solway Coast rally a further two STRC Teams chose to only compete at the ranges, Joe Pringle ( Corsa ) and Neil Thomson Corsa kit car ) made the trip South but unfortunately both of them failed to finish, Neil broke the brake pedal meaning no brakes on 2 stages so retired on Stage 3, Joe Pringle had a head on accident with an embankment and damaged the front of the Corsa pushing the engine back into the bulkhead, Joe and navigator Thomas Purvin were taken care of by the medical teams to check they were ok and thankfully both were fine but imagine will be a bit sore in the morning.

Kirkaldy/J Marshall/R Marshall/Morrison all had steady runs throughout the day and with no real dramas to report apart from Gordon Morrison missing a chicane straw bale but was insistant it was moved by a previous car…….on the early stages it was Kirkaldy who made the first error, running wide on a flat crest left 5 right 5 he ran off the road over the grass and into a small embankment causing minor damage to the lower front of the Escort, John Marshall followed his lines and did exactly the same but ripped the front lower splitter off his Subaru, both cars managed to continue to service to have the cars checked out with no major damage a quick spanner check and all was good.

Later in the day John Marshall ran wide on a tricky left and right and went straight through a gate into a field closely followed by Ross Auld and Robert Marshall, both Ross and Robert managed to get out but John was stuck with fence wire entwined round the driveshaft’s and went OTL retiring on the second last stage.

Gareth White received a 2 x minute penalty for booking into a time control early but this was later scrubbed as it was incorrect, meaning Gareth was still on for collecting maximum class points and all going towards his attack on clinching the overall STRC title.

Gregg Turner in the 206 was also happy to drive cautiously on the ranges to get a finish and maximum class points but found a loose suspension bush during service and later managed to change it to complete the day with max points.

Stage 6 saw Ross Auld come into service with no brakes to find a broken brake disc and no brake pads, a quick brake change at service soon saw Ross back on the pace.

Gordon Morrison started cautiously on the stages due to being a relative newcomer to Pacenotes but soon managed to get into the flow of them and soon started getting to grips with the rhythm.

STRC finishing Crews overall positions below are worth a mention
4th Overall Alan Kirkaldy.
5th Overall Gordon Morrison.
15th Overall Ross Auld.
19th Overall Gareth White.
22nd Overall Robert Marshall
44th Overall Greg Turner.

Overall not many dramas to report from the STRC contingent but can only say that a great performance by all the STRC boys showing some real commitment and swapping stage times with some more powerful world cars from South of the Border, maybe it’s time the English crews start coming to Scotland to sample the rest of the quality we have to offer………………………….

Overall event winners were;
1st overall Pete Taylor/Andrew Roughead Ford Fiesta WRC 53.51

Provisional STRC Class winners were;

Class 1
No eligible finishers

Class 2
Gareth White/Harry Marchbank Peugeot 208 R2 VTI 1598cc 1.01.51

Class 3
George Auld/Richard Stewart Mark 2 Escort 1.01.29

Class 4
Alan Kirkaldy/Cameron Fair Ford Escort Mark 2 56.11

Class 5
Gordon Morrison/Cullum McPherson Subaru Impreza 56.30

Championship points will be updated early this week.

Next round of the championship is the Pendragon stages Rally at the Warcop Ranges just off the A66 at the end of August.

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