SCOTTISH rally crew Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton claimed second in the Malcolm Wilson Rally at the weekend as they prepared for the second Scottish event of the season.
Thorburn from Duns and his Inverness co-driver opened the Scottish Rally Championship with victory in the Snowman Rally and decided to head back to the Lake District and the British Trial & Rally Drivers Association (BTRDA) championship event, the popular Malcolm Wilson Rally, which they won last year.
They quickly encountered problems this time, however, when their Focus WRC lost hydraulic pressure which led to gears sticking and a spin. A quick patch was made in a remote service before stage two while an SOS was sent out to M-Sport for a vital spare part.
The pair held on to third spot using a manual gearbox but fell further behind home-based crew Paul Bird and Aled Davies before the part arrived at service ahead of stage four. Driver error then intervened as Thorburn strived to catch Bird and overshot a junction, which resulted in the loss of a further 11 seconds to stand 38 seconds off Bird.
However, the Scots roared back through the next four stages in the afternoon, but Bird - a Cumbrian poultry farmer and former SuperMoto racer - stayed out in front to pip the Scots by 13 seconds at the finish, with Thorburn’s fellow Scots David Bogie and Kevin Rae finishing in fourth to follow their BTRDA win in Wyedean Forest last month.
“At least I got some points on the board,” said a phlegmatic Thorburn at the finish.
“After the morning problems to finish second is good because there was just too much to make up on Paul in the afternoon, especially with many long straights on the last stage. I took two seconds off him but I just didn’t have the power to get any more.”
The next event for the team is the Border Counties rally which starts in Jedburgh on 22 March. It is the second round of the Scottish Rally Championship where Thorburn and Beaton will face stiff competition again from the reigning Scottish champions Bogie and Rae, and a host of other crews eager to peg them back.