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The Albar Kames Junior Rally at Kames Motorsport Complex on 24th September 2017 was the setting for the penultimate round of the 2017 Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge. 11 Juniors started – including 2 first timers – and 11 cars finished. Okay there was the odd scrape and spin but the conditions were very variable. However, there were no great dramas in the Junior ranks.

Ewan Tindall/Paul Hudson needed just 1 point to put them out of reach of anybody else and they did it in style with a victory that added an extra 7 points (after dropped scores) to their points total. This puts driver and co-driver comfortably in the lead for the Championship with one round to go. The Tindall team drove a very good steady rally in their Citroen C1 with Jude MacDonald/Michael Cruickshank keeping them on their toes for the first 10 stages. The crews were split by a second here and a second there and after stage 10, they were tied. But it was MacDonald in his Skoda Citigo who “blinked first” with a straight on at a junction losing them 16 seconds to Tindall. 16 seconds is a mountain to climb at Kames with the short stages and MacDonald sensibly eased back a wee bit over the final 4 stages to secure second place.

Lewis Haining/George Myatt (finished 3rd); Johnnie Mackay/Gordon Reid(finished 4th) and Andrew Blackwood/Gordon Winning (finished 5th) went at it hammer and tongs all day. McKay was out in his “old faithfull” Micra while his Suzuki is reshelled and he held a splendid third place for the first 8 stages. But Haining in his Aygo edged ahead by 3 seconds on stage 10 and then continued to pull away from Mackay. Mackay then came under pressure from Blackwood who was only 6 seconds behind in his ex Finlay Retson Citroen C1. After a big push on stages 13 and 14, Blackwood got in front of Mackay. But Blackwood got too excited and a wee “roundy/roundy” in the last stage dropped him back behind Mackay. So a very hard earned third, fourth and fifth places.

Taking up the rear at the start were the 2 newcomers Ollie Hunter (ex Hislop, ex O’Donnell, ex Barker Peugeot 107) and Fraser Anderson (ex DIGB Micra). Both have come from a karting background and it was Hunter who settled in quickest and showed great promise by finishing 7th on the day with “expert” Tom Hynd guiding him round. Anderson, being codriven by Championship Secretary Ian McRae, took a steadier approach and was having his own battle with Alice Paterson but a couple of bad stage times meant he ended up behind Alice. Hunter collected the Championship Novice Award at the end of the day.

And so to Anglesey on 25/26th November for final Championship round – the Pentreath Glyn Memorial Stages – to see how that will muddle up the final positions. A large Scottish contingent will be there for this very popular and challenging rally. Only the top slot in the Championship is secure so there is still room for plenty movement.

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