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Nine J1000 Ecosse crews made the long trip down to Anglesey racing circuit for the finale of the 2022 season. 2 days of competition lay ahead in every possible weather condition, from dry and sunny to wet and dark.

Taking a 1st win of the season Oliver Phillips & Barry Young started the event steadily, in and around 5th overall over the 1st 3 stages. Then they began to step it up climbing to 2nd by the close of day 1. Day 2 was sensational, a string of fastest times giving the Up! the overall and Scottish win by 22 seconds at the finish after Oliver’s strongest performance so far.

Jack Ryan & Robin Nicolson were one of the crews with both driver’s and navigator’s points to consider. A heavy landing on the 1st stage rearranged the sumpguard on the Volkswagen but thankfully no damage was done. They also had to contend with a blown exhaust, helpfully welded by Max Speed’s team in service, and the mother of all spins in the dark and rain at the end of day 1. Despite it all they were still in the battle for a podium on day 2 and despite the odd grassy moment they took 3rd overall and 2nd Scottish crew. This gave Jack 3rd in the championship points and Robin the navigator’s title.

The other crew in that championship battle, Rian Walker & Stuart McBride started well, swapping times with the Up! in the dry. An overshoot in stage 5 cost a bit of time but then their prayers were answered when the heavens opened. Rian is the acknowledged J1000 Rainmeister and ended day 1 with 2 excellent fastest times. Day 2 and there was an argument with some tires as Rian gave it everything. Unfortunately for them the rain didn’t reappear until the final stage where they set another fastest time. 3rd Scottish junior and 4th overall was another solid result to round out a season where things haven’t quite gone their way.

Anglesey was to be Evan Findlay’s final event as a junior competitor before he moves into the senior ranks, and he was determined to go out with a bang. With Graeme Meins alongside, Evan was pushing the 107 as hard as it would go. There was a small scare when the wipers failed in the dark but thankfully Marc McCubbin was there to quickly sort the issue. Day 2 saw another fright with the check engine light coming but the magic of duck tape sorted that. 4th Scottish crew was an excellent result from one of 2022s most improved drivers.

Getting the maximum out of their Micra once again, Pearson’s of Duns Trophy winners Thomas Milne & Neil Jeffrey couldn’t have done much more. Finding the uphill sections hard work in the Nissan they were making up for it on the downhill and the twisty sections. Highlight of the event, at least for Neil, was watching Thomas’s car control in the dark and wet at the end of day 1, balancing the wee car on the knife edge. 5th and another top Micra performance was the reward.

Alfie Letham & Alan Edwards were 2nd Micra home. Alfie is continuing to learn the rallying game, but his progress was obvious. The Nissan rescued from some seriously wild angles, especially on day 2. Alan another to be impressed by his young pilot’s abilities behind the wheel, only 5 rallies into his career.

Fraser Mack was another driver on his final junior event. With the car already sold he was under orders to keep things sensible but still managed to melt a set of tyres on the early stages. Things would go slightly awry with a wrong split in the dark at the end of day 1. Day 2 was hampered by an unfortunate collision with another car, Fraser doing a great job to get the car out of the saturated grass. Thankfully the damage was mainly cosmetic, and Fraser & Ted made it to the finish in 7th. Now he has the new challenge of senior rallying to look forward to with a Citroen C2 already in the process of being built.

Another candidate for most improved in 2022, Lucy Cree continued her good form from the previous round at Crail. Co-driver Chloe full of praise for her driving, especially in her 1st experience of the dark. Day 2 and they were the other half of that unfortunate collision and the consequences for them were slightly worse with a broken steering arm. The service crew quickly sorted that, and they finished 8th in the Scottish juniors. They can definitely be proud of the progress Lucy has made in her 1st season of rallying.

Rounding out the finishers, it was another tough event for Ruan Lowry & Ian McRae. A heavy landing combined with a mis-timed gear change on the Anglesey jump resulting in a broken gearbox in the Yaris. Marc McCubbin and the team doing an excellent job to change it and keep them in the rally. After that they showed good pace and made sure they saw the finish.

There was also the small matter of the Tunnocks Trophy competition, pitting Team Scotland vs Team England. Having taken the 1st round at Knockhill the Scottish crews did it again in Wales.

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