Stevie Brown described the opening round of the Scottish Rally Championship, The Snowman Rally as the most difficult event the series has seen for many years. Treacherously slippery conditions greeted competitors who travelled to Inverness from across the
Stevie and new co-driver Jack Morton made a strong start to the opening stage, until at around the half way point in the six mile test the intercom system failed; meaning Brown could no longer hear the vital route notes to guide him through the narrow gravel track. A quick fix on the way to the second stage would fix the problem, and the NRP Sign Writing backed Subaru Impreza crew bounced back with 8th fastest.
When the MotoGF backed team reached the first service halt of the day, they had climbed back up the leader board from 21st to joint 11th. Stage four would present a new challenge for Stevie and Jack, as freezing temperatures and snow showers made the 13 mile stage treacherously slippy. Unable to buy the correct tyres for the conditions, Brown fought to keep the car on the narrow road, and in the rally. “We’re on completely the wrong tyres for these conditions, there’s just no grip. We were in a few ditches in there” explained Stevie at the end of the stage.
On the penultimate stage, and with no snow, the Global Web supported team showed that they still had the speed to challenge the top teams, completing the stage 11th fastest. “It was difficult to find the confidence in that stage having gone from a stage with such little grip to one where there was plenty, I suppose its all part of the learning” said Stevie competing in only his third rally in a four-wheel-drive-car.
With one final stage remaining, Stevie and Jack planned a last push to climb back in to the top ten positions. However with the stage being coated in a mix of slimy mud and icy slush, it proved to be too slippy. “As soon as we braked for the first corner the tyres were just sliding on the surface, they weren’t biting into the road like they should. At that point we knew we couldn’t push when there was so little grip” said the JRRC Fitness supported driver.
Stevie and Jack guided their Subaru home to 13th overall, a result Stevie says he’s happy to take. “I’m happy we got the car round with no damage when the conditions today were so difficult. It is however very frustrating because by using the wrong tyres we lost a lot of time, but we just didn’t have the budget to buy what we needed.”
Stevie continues, “The strength of competition in this years Scottish Rally Championship is fantastic, and the series seems to be going from strength to strength and that is reflected in the amount of spectators who attended the event. Hopefully we can get the budget together to contest the full series this year.”
Picture by Don Murray
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