Rallying: Punctures blow Stokes' hopes of overall victory in Scotland

David Stokes in action at the RSAC Scottish Rally. Picture by Alan Scott Photography.

David Stokes in action at the RSAC Scottish Rally. Picture by Alan Scott Photography.

First published in Gloucestershire Sport

AFTER their success on the recent D-Mack Carlisle Stages, David Stokes and Guy Weaver ventured further North for the RSAC Scottish Rally, the latest round of the Mintex MSA British Historic championship

Over 100 crews gathered in the beautiful town of Dumfries as both the British Rally Championship and Scottish series were also held.

The historic event consisted of nine tests, totalling some 60 competitive miles on some of the toughest gravel roads in the UK.

Competition was fierce in the historics with hard-charging Irishman Stanley Orr in his mk1 Escort RS2000, Simon Tysoe, who had Cliffy Simmons on the notes in there Escort RS1600, former five-time British champion Jimmy McRae in a Vauxhall Frienza with Yate's Pauline Gullick alongside, Shawn Rayner in an RS1800, and Tour of Hamsterley winner Matt Edwards with Will Rogers on the notes in another RS1800.

The action started on Friday evening with a short superspecial at Heathall, which saw Stokes stop the clocks quickest overall on the short one-mile blast in the Draycott Bakeries/Ashmores backed Escort RS1600.

Saturday opened up with two classic Scottish tests in Twigless and Castle O'Er.

After a steady run through the first stage, Stokes set fastest times through Castle O'Er, followed by another on the short superspecial, aptly named Jocks.

Next up was the 6.5 miles of Windy Hill. Two miles from the end the duo sustained a puncture but still managed the second fastest time.

However, the time loss handed the lead of the event to Orr.

Two tests in the notoriously tricky Ae Forest were next on the agenda.

The first of these, Ae West, was 7.5 miles in length, where Stokes was second fastest to the flying Orr.

The tables were then turned on the long 14-mile Ae East stage and he closed the gap on Orr to just six seconds.

"It was rather tricky in there with no grip under the trees," said Stokes.

Crews then returned to Heathall for a final service halt with the event running so late all the tyre vans had left the service halt to return to the Dumfries finish.

This left Stokes to do the final two tests on rather well used second hand tyres.

The first of these was a re-run of Windy Hill and it's certainly a stage the duo will want to forget, as they sustained yet another puncture with three miles still to go.

This bent the rim and stuck against the brake caliper making the handling very difficult.

Stanley Orr extended his lead to 18 seconds with just the 7.5 miles of Ae West remaining.

Although Stokes pushed hard a half spin ended any hopes of overhauling the Irishman, who further extended his advantage to 20 seconds at the finish.

Finishing second overall and first in class, Stokes and Weaver still lead the British Historic championship heading onto the next round Harry Flatters Rally on the notorious Epynt ranges in August.

Weaver said: "It was a day of mixed emotions for us really, an event we could have won bar the punctures.

"The stages were very rough. I have a hole behind my seat you can put your fist in. The stages were very loose on the fast stuff as well but credit to Stanley and Brian on their victory.

"We're still leading the championship at the moment which is good."

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