Welsh duo Osian Pryce and Dale Furniss had a perfect start to their 2014 MSA British Rally Championship season winning the Pirelli Carlisle RB Foundation Rally, wining by 46 seconds.
This made it four BRC wins on the trot as they continued their momentum from last season to dominate the event and lead the BRC’s new Gravel Cup and Citroën Racing Trophy. Pirelli Star Driver Daniel McKenna kept them just in sight on his first gravel rally of his prize drive season, Arthur Kierans keeping him on the straight and narrow throughout.
However, there was no dream start to the season for Duns driver Garry Pearson and his Ancrum co-driver Dave Robson.
This was the first time out in their new Peugeot 208 R2 and things started very brightly for the Borders duo. They put in some very impressive stage times to lead their class and were up to fourth place overall when they were forced to retire from the event.
It was midway through the third stage that the power steering pump on the Peugeot stripped its mountings which also caused the alternator to eject it’s belt and although they didn’t lose much time on the stage they only just made it to service at Carlise with Garry pushing the car the last 200 metres as the battery had given up by then.
Unfortunately there was no spare power steering pump so the service crew fixed the car up the best they could and sent it on its way.
Amazingly Garry held onto his class lead and fourth place overall over the next three stages back in Kielder Forest without any power steering although there was some hair raising moments.
At the end of the first day’s competition Garry said: “Fortunately I attend the Putton Mill Fitness Centre regularly and do weights at home otherwise there was no way I could have driven the car that far without power steering – I am totally exhausted as it is.”
Despite the help of many competitors and service crews trying to source a replacement power steering pump overnight the crew reluctantly took the difficult decision to retire the car in the morning.
Team manager Monty Pearson told us: “With no power steering for the second day it was going to be a mammoth task for Garry to finish the rally without putting the car off into the scenery and we agreed that the best thing to do was retire as the next round of the championship and our local event, the Jim Clark Rally, is only four weeks away.”
There was no luck either for St Boswells driver Ross Hunter, co-driven by Josh Davison. They were forced to retired on the second stage when their Peugeot lost a wheel.
Jim Clark Rally competitors in Duns for the recce on Sunday, May 25, are reminded that food will be availabnle at the Rally HQ in The Berwickshire High School from 9am to 12 noon. There will be hot and cold drinks, breakfast rolls, scones and cakes and snacks.
Picnic boxes for two containing two rounds of sandwiches, four drinks, crisps, sausage rolls and fruit will cost £10 and can be ordered by emailing the cook direct Angela.Goodwin@scotborders.gov.uk and collected when signing on for the recce.
Picnic boxes will also be available rally weekend please order if required.
A donation from the rally weekend will be given to the Air Ambulance.