The fourth round of the 2010 Kick Energy Fiesta SportTrophy UK Championship took place last weekend on the 40th annual Jim Clark Memorial Rally. Championship leader Elfyn Evans scored his fourth win of the year on the all Tarmac event but it was Scotsman John MacCrone who stole the show, posting seven fastest times from the eight stages on day two of the event.
The Duns based event started on Friday evening with a one and a quarter mile dash through the town centre. Rally Team Scotland driver, John MacCrone, 20 from the Isle of Mull, started the event in fine style winning the opening test by four and a half seconds ahead of fellow Scot John Boyd. Elfyn Evans, 21 from Machynlleth and Andrew Edwards were third less than half a second behind Boyd. Peter Taylor lost a minute when he had to stop just before the end of the opening stage due to petrol fumes entering the cockpit. It turned out to be due to an over-filled fuel tank and he and co-driver Andy Richardson were able to continue.
MacCrone and co-driver Stuart Loudon’s lead was short lived however, a broken driveshaft on stage two forced them out of the event and the chance of scoring their first FST UK victory. Normal service was resumed on SS2, the challenging 15mile Abbey St Bathans stage. Elfyn Evans took the stage victory and moved into the lead ahead of the freshly rebuilt Fiesta ST of John Boyd, 22 from West Linton and Craig Wallace. MacCrone’s misfortune promoted 18-year-old Peter Taylor onto the third podium position. Evans increased his lead by a further 34 seconds through SS3, Polwarth. Boyd was next through the stage and consolidated his second place finishing the stage just over five second ahead of Peter Taylor.
After a short refuel stop the crews headed off for a second run over the first three stages. Peter Taylor claimed his maiden FST UK stage victory on the second run through Duns. Less than one second covered the three remaining Fiesta runners. Evans claimed the second spot with John Boyd third. The second run through Abbey St Bathans produced a repeat of the result from earlier with Elfyn Evans taking the win 50seconds ahead of John Boyd. Despite the reduced visibility due to the falling light, Taylor in the sole remaining Fiesta R2 was able to improve on his earlier time by almost 15seconds.
The final stage of the night was Polwarth 2, Evans and Edwards took their fourth stage win of the night to increase their advantage over the similar Fiesta ST of John Boyd and Craig Wallace to over two minutes. Peter Taylor and Andy Richardson held third a further two minutes back. Returning to service at the end of day one the remaining crews were happy to have made it through some tricky stages. All reported the conditions to be somewhat tricky due to the changeable weather but had none the less enjoyed the nights rallying. With repairs in place on his Fiesta R2 MacCrone would be able to restart day two under super-rally.
Cool-dry conditions greeted the crews as returned to Kelso Racecourse for the start of day two. Tyre choice was still critical however as the high road mileages meant that conditions on the stages could be totally different to those at HQ. Day two of the event was made up of two loops of four stages once again around the Berwickshire area.
The opening test of the day was the 11-mile Wedderburn stage. With a sizeable advantage over Boyd, Evans could afford to relax on day two and cruise to the finish. This didn’t stop him posting his sixth fastest stage time of the event twelve seconds quicker than Taylor. MacCrone had restarted day two and posted the third fastest time despite recovering from a minor spin with Boyd a further four seconds back.
MacCrone scored his second stage win of the event on SS8, Edrom 1, posting a time ten seconds up on Evans. The stage was marred however by a heavy crash involving Peter Taylor and Andy Richardson. The pair went off the road at speed into a tree resulting in the stage having to be stopped, while emergency services attended the accident. While Taylor escaped injury Richardson wasn’t so lucky and had to be flown to hospital for emergency treatment. Richardson is thought to have aggravated a previous injury in the accident and is undergoing treatment at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.
The first run through Eccles saw Isle of Mull based John MacCrone once again take the stage win in his Rally Team Scotland Fiesta R2. MacCrone posted a time 14 seconds quicker than Evans who still led the FST event by almost three minutes over John Boyd. After being forced out of the event early on, MacCrone was clearly out to prove a point on his home event. MacCrone drew level with Evans in the Castrol Hard Charger Award for most stage wins on SS10, Swinton 1. By contrast Evans knew all he had to do to claim his fourth consecutive FST UK victory was drive steady and make it to the end of the event. He was performing that role perfectly and barely put a foot wrong on the demanding border stages.
MacCrone continued his run of stage wins on SS11 and 12, Eccles and Swinton 2. MacCrone’s confidence in his R2 was clearly growing as he posted times well inside the top 15 overall. Evans continued to increase his lead over Boyd, to head the field by over four minutes with just two stages remaining. Boyd was having a somewhat lonely event in second and was trying to build his confidence on Tarmac ahead of the next two challenging events, the Isle of Man and Northern Ireland International Rallies.
The final two stages saw MacCrone and Loudon increase their tally to eight stage wins from a possible 14 to claim the Castrol Hard Charger award for the event. MacCrone was left to wonder what might have been had it not been for the problems on SS2. It was championship leader Elfyn Evans who would secure the FST event victory and claim his fourth win of the season. Despite a scare on the final test, where he slid into a bank, Evans finished strongly to increase his championship lead over Boyd to 29 points. Boyd consolidated his second place in the standings with a measured drive to second.
Andy Richardson is currently in a stable condition at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Fiesta SportTrophy UK championship organisers would like to extend their best wishes to Andy and hope he makes a quick recovery.
The fifth round of the Kick Energy Fiesta SportTrophy UK championship takes place on 9-10 July 2010 with the Isle of Man International Rally based in Douglas. The challenging event takes in some of the most famous Tarmac stages in the world around the island, which has a renowned Motorsport heritage.