ST BOSWELLS father and son crew Pete and Scott Hunter powered their way to an impressive second win in a row in the P.J. Planthire and Groundworks Charterhall Stages on Saturday.
The Borders duo in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 were fastest on four of the six special stages and eventually took victory by six seconds from Duns driver Dale Robertson and Tranent co-driver Paul McGuire in their Evo 9.
In third place, a further six seconds behind, were Dom Buckley and Barry Hogg in their Subaru Impreza.
The Hunters set the pace from the first stage and at the half way point led by 14 seconds with Robertson and McGuire hot on their heels. Robertson then staged a fightback but on one staged was hampered by another car costing him valuable seconds. In the end the Hunters held on to take a deserved win.
A puncture on the second stage cost Buckley his chance of victory but the yougster notched impressive times over the last three tests to take the final podium spot.
The day started badly for Duns crew Doug Brydon and Dave O’Brien in their Subaru Impreza with a gearbox failure on the first stage.
They managed to change the gearbow in double quick time during the first service but on the second stage they had problems with the Impreza’s throttle sticking open costing them more time. They eventually finished in sixth place.
Seventh were the Duns crew of Mike Horne and Robbie Mitchell in their rapid Ford Escort Mk2. They also took victory in their class.
Ayton’s Billy Cowe and his Chirnside co-driver Robert Patterson finished in 14th place after one or two minor ‘offs’ on the early stages. However, they fought back well with some excellent times.
One place behind, in 13th, were Coldstream driver Des Campbell and his co-driver Alex Orr from Hutton in their Peugeot 206. They also won their class.
Another class winner was Duns driver Garry Pearson, co-driven by Sean Liddell. They finished 14th overall in their Nissan Micra.
Leitholm’s Keiran Renton, co-driven by Johnny Miller from St Bosswells, won his class finishing 16th overall in a Ford Fiesta.
In 19th place and second in class, were the Duns father and daughter crew of Garry and Hollie Wilson in their Opel Manta which ended the day with some slight modifications to its bodywork!
Tommy and Andrew Heard finished 23rd overall in their Subaru Impreza, Bruce Hay and James Braithwaite took their Peugeot 205 GTi to 28th place and Ian Heard and Alistair Maxwell were 32nd overall in their Ford Escort.
Veteran Duns driver Jimmy Horne rolled the clock back with a welcome return to the wheel in another Ford Escort co-driven by Andy Thomson. After getting back into the swing of things Jimmy entertained the crowds on his way to 33rd overall.
The Duns crew of Graham Redpath and Alistair Young took their Peugeot 205 GTi to 36th overall.
As usual their was some spectacular action over the former airfield stages with one or two rolls and numerous spins resulting in 23 non-finishers.
The rally was also the opening round of the Brick and Steel Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge. Ten young drivers aged from 14 to 16 from Scotland and the north of England climbed into their 1000cc rally cars and, accompanied by their more senior co-drivers, drove up to launch their rally career.
After 6 stages it was 14-year-old Alexander Vassallo from Corbridge who recorded victory on this the first of six rallies the youngsters will compete in during 2012.
Alexander’s pace in his Citroen C1 was startling and he quickly moved up from sixth Junior car on the road to first and finished the day almost five minutes ahead of his nearest rival.
The Juniors compete on their own rally which runs side by side with a rally for “seniors”.
If Alexander had been in the “senior’s” rally, he would have been placed 31st out of 65 starters. A magnificent result. This was Alexander’s second rally.
But the other 9 crews had a very valid excuse. None of them had ever driven over 40mph in their rally cars and had never experienced anything above third gear. They were all pure first time novices. Everything was new.
Over the day more youngsters had their moments but they all finished safely apart from two. One went out with damaged suspension after hitting a big rut and the other had to retire when his clutch expired.