ON A day when only 44 out of 66 senior crews could finish the Summer Stages Rally at Crail, 14 Junior 1000 crews started – and 14 juniors finished.
A magnificent reflection on how quickly the youngsters, aged between 14 and 17, are developing the skills to drive in the conditions that prevailed when so many experienced people fell by the wayside.
Added to this is the critical role played by the experienced co- drivers, who have to tame all that energy and enthusiasm.
Conditions during the day varied from bad to worse.
Standing water was the headache on the first two of six stages and then persistent rain made the track more like a skating rink than a high-speed rally stage.
Leading the 14 Junior 1000 crews home were Alexander Vassallo and Janice Moore, in their Citroen C1.
This was another almost perfect performance from Alexander – apart from admitting to a couple of spins on one of the stages – to add to his tally of four wins out of the last four rallies.
With three of the six events in the championship now over, Alexander has a commanding lead.
Second home were Ryan Weston and Phill Harrison, in a Toyota Aygo. Ryan had a bit of a disaster on the last event he did in Cornwall and the car needed several new panels and glass.
After two weeks in the body shop, the repaired car was returned three days before the rally and it was decided there was not enough time to complete the car so a replacement was found and Ryan rewarded them by taking that car to second.
Coming home third was "guest" driver Josh Cornwell from the Formula 1000 Junior 1000 Championship, in his Nissan Micra.
It all went down to the wire for our rising junior rally star Harry Marchbank, from Thornhill, accompanied by Newton Stewart’s Mark McCulloch in another Nissan Micra, who finished fourth overall in the rally but third in the Ecosse Challenge points.
It looked as if they had the measure of Josh and Ryan on four of the stages, but some bodywork and headlight re-arranging excursions on two later stages stole enough time from them to just miss third by a second and second place by 12 seconds.
The next round of the 2012 Brick & Steel Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge will be at Kames Motorsport complex, near Ayr, on July 15.