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Just 2 weeks after taking victory on Round 3 of the 2018 Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge, Johnnie Mackay/Gordon Reid (Suzuki Alto) repeated the success on Round 4 – The Summer Junior Stages Rally at Crail Raceway on 9th June. But they had to fight harder for the result. Going into the final stage – stage 5 – they were tied with Lewis Haining/George Myatt (Skoda Citigo) after the lead had swung back and fore over the first 3 stages – Haining by 3 seconds after stage 1; Haining by 2 secs after stage 2 and Mackay by 1 after stage 3!! But it was Mackay who took the advantage in the final stage and came out 2 seconds ahead. Another epic battle with both drivers giving it their all and crossing the finish line with their cars intact.

Glenrothes Motor Sport Club included a few format changes in the event. Firstly, the Juniors did a separate 5 stage rally – starting at 8.30am and finishing at 12 Noon. And two of the stages were the longest that our Juniors had ever done – over 10 miles each. But both moves worked well. Any concerns about the youngsters on the long stages went out the window when they just took it in their strides.

Over the first couple of stages, Ollie Hunter/Tom Hynd (Peugeot C1) stayed in touch with the top 2 – 5 seconds back after stage 2 – but an altercation with a chicane saw them drop some time on stage 3 and this allowed Andrew Blackwood/Tom Middlemiss (Citroen C1) to move into third place which they held until the end despite some heroic moments.

Fraser Anderson/Ian McRae (Nissan Micra) were holding fifth place up until the final stage when an over ambitious manoeuvre put a very large lorry tyre in their path and the resulting impact destroyed the front of the Micra. But the radiator – which was bent out of shape and pushed up against the engine – did not lose its water and they were able to finish the stage and only drop about 10 seconds to push them back into seventh, but still leading the Micras and the pre 2003 class.

This meant that Amy McCubbin/Stuart McBride (Skoda Citigo) took fifth place and Peter Beaton/Jacob Warlington (Peugeot 107) took sixth. But it was a miracle that Beaton completed the rally. Late recruit, and first time co-driver Warlington, discovered that he suffered from car sickness and was ill on almost every stage.

12 cars started the rally and 11 crossed the finish line. The sole retiral was Aaron Webster/Colin Baxter (Nissan Micra) who “buzzed” the engine in stage 2 and lost all compression.

There is now an 8 week gap until the next round – the annual “big event” the Solway Coast Junior Rally – when all 3 UK Junior 1000 Championships compete together over the military ranges near Kirkcudbright.

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