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Merrick Stages - 1 Sep 12

Posted: May 20, 2016 6:20 AM - 3994 Hits

Round 7 - 2012 Scottish Rally Championship


Posted: May 20, 2016 6:20 AM

David Bogie became the first driver to win four successive Scottish rally championshps with victory on the Ian Broll Merrick Stages, the penultimate round of the series. The 25-year-old from Dumfries, co-driven by Kevin Rae, completed the four stages in the Galloway forest – including one of nineteen miles – in a total time of 39 mins 39 secs behind the wheel of his Mitsubishi EVO 9. Runner-up Jock Armstrong was a further eleven seconds back in a Subaru Impreza, thirty-eight seconds ahead of last year's winner Mike Faulkner in an EVO 6.

Going into the last stage, Bogie was neck and neck with his nearest rival Euan Thorburn from Duns, but the Borderer was forced to retire his Ford Focus World Rally Car with gearbox-related problems.

"It's unreal. We've worked so hard all year to try to achieve this, we've put a lot of thought into this moment, and to come away from this event, with a round still to go, as Scottish champions and making history, it really is something", said Bogie at the finish in Wigtown.

He went on: “We had to drive three miles with a puncture on the long second stage. All we had to do was finish second and obviously Jock and Euan were pushing very hard. But we managed to stay in front of Jock, and Euan hit trouble, so for us it was a case of sticking to the plan, staying in the middle of the road and making sure we did the job". Thorburn blasted through the tricky and, in places, muddy opening 9-mile Craignell stage five seconds faster than Bogie, with Armstrong and navigator Kirsty Riddick a further four seconds back, five seconds ahead of BTRDA star David Wright from Lancaster in fourth. Faulkner was fifth quickest, another eight seconds adrift.

Stonehaven's Barry Groundwater was an early casualty. Fifth in the points going into the event, his Mitsubishi EVO 9 went off the road into a gully.

Thorburn and Paul Beaton were again quickest through the 19-miles of Glentrool, with Bogie and Rae ten seconds back – the last few miles with the aforementioned puncture – and Armstrong seven seconds down on the champions.

Bogie took the honours on SS3 Drigmorn – but only by two seconds from Armstrong. Faulkner and Peter Foy were another six seconds back, two seconds ahead of Donnie Macdonald and Andrew Falconer in their EVO 9. With developing gearbox problems – which were traced to an oil leak - Thorburn could only manage fifth fastest.

Armstrong had a one-second advantage over Bogie on the last stage Poultrybuiehill. However, by then the champion had secured another slice of rallying history, and disclosed afterwards that it was his last event in the Pro-Tec prepared EVO in which he has won all four Scottish titles, as well as last year's British crown.

"I came to the end of that last stage, and thought this car has done a lot of work, and brought us a lot of success. Perhaps it's time to put it into retirement and try something else on the McRae in October".

Armstrong was well satisifed with his third podium finish since returning to the championship in June after a ten-month lay-off.

"I was pushing David at the end there – I wouldn't say he was under pressure, but it was a good wee battle. We had some electrical gremlin on the second stage and the car dropped a lot of power – but it came back again and never troubled us. The stages were rough in places, you had to pick your lines, you had to be choosy in what you did, but there was plenty of grip on that last one".

Faulkner was relieved to be back on the podium after being "shut out" by the triumvirate of Bogie/Thorburn/Armstrong on the previous two rounds:
"We've driving really hard and the car has never missed a beat", said Faulkner: "Every stage was neat, tidy and quick – there is not much more that we could do. We're pleased to get a podium, although it was unfortunate for Euan, but it means that once again we go to the final round fighting it out with him for second in the championship". Invernessian Donnie Macdonald took an excellent fourth overall in his Mitsubishi EVO 9, alongside Andrew Falconer. It was Macdonald's best result of the season, and his fourth top six finish.

"It's been a great day for us – certainly worth the trip south", said Macdonald: "That long Glentrool stage (on which Macdonald was fifth fastest) was worth the journey in itself". Portlethen’s Chris Collie, co-driven by Lisa Watson from Alford, was also a happy man at the finish having recorded his best ever result in the SRC in his EVO.

"It's been a cracking day. To be honest I'm surprised to find ourselves in fifth. We had a puncture not long into the last stage", explained Collie: "I felt a bit of a bump and the car was tail happy for a few miles. I thought we'll just keep going – we had one big spin and a couple of moments but we made it to the end and got it changed. Hopefully we can carry on the form into the McRae".

John McClory and David Hood – sixth overall - took top Gp N honours in their Subaru N15. "We were a bit slow getting out of the blocks this morning, but after that everything was fine. I actually thought the last two stages were great, and the final one was the best of the day – it was just lovely".

Bruce McCombie, co-driven by Michael Coutts, recorded his fourth top ten finish of the 2102 campaign, four seconds ahead of fellow Subaru Impreza driver Alick Kerr, with Claire Mole on the notes.

Local farmer Craig McMiken brought his EVO 9 home in ninth overall – his best result on his local championship event since 2006 - alongside experienced navigator Craig Wallace, the two competing together for the first time.

"The first stage was a bit of a problem with the car cutting out a bit, but we had a great run through. They were good stages and Craig and I worked very well together – I was really able to commit to the notes", said McMiken.

The top ten was rounded off by Jimmy Christie and Iain Thorburn in a Mitsubishi EVO 6, just two seconds ahead of the the leading 2WD crew – Keith Robathan and Ian Nicoll in their Ford Escort Mk2.v
"We needed to make sure of maximum class points in the championship, and we've done that again today. We had to keep the car not too sideways to avoid punctures and we managed that so we're very pleased", said Robathan, whose main rival, David Wilson, was forced to retire his Mk2 with a cracked fuel line.

An early casualty among the 2WD competitors (Classes 1-7) - which ran at the head of the field - were 1600cc category leaders John Boyd and Chris Williamson in their Ford Fiesta R2. The first crew on the road, they were forced to retire on the opening Craignell stage - their first non-finish after five straight class victories.

The beneficiary was Graeme Schoneville, second in the points in Class 4 going into the event, who, with co-driver Michael Hendry, set the fastest time in his Honda Civic, 20 seconds clear of the Vauxhall Nova of Iain Haining and Mairi Riddick, with Lachlan Cowan and Stuart Bell third quickest in their Ford Fiesta ST.

However, it was all change on the 19-mile second stage. Hotly tipped young Northern Ireland driver, and eventual overall 2WD (Class 1-7) winner, Timothy Cathcart, with Barry McNulty on the notes, was fastest in his Ford Fiesta by fourteen seconds from Cowan. Craig Rutherford from the Isle of Mull was a further eight seconds back in his Honda Civic. Schoneville meanwhile had problems - he was hit by a back-left puncture two miles in and lost more than two minutes.

The Carluke competitor was back in business on SS3, fastest by three seconds over fellow Civic driver Grant Inglis, and was again fastest through the final test – breaking a drive-shaft as they crossed the finishing line. However, with so much time lost, Schoneville could only haul himself back to fifth place in Class 4 – 1m 47s behind Cathcart, and 49s behind the Civic of second-placed Graeme Smith from Crossford and navigator Laura Marshall from Newton Stewart.

Smith was delighted to get his campaign back on track after a non-finish on the previous round: "It was a great day, with few problems. We had a wee early scare with a distributor but we got it fixed and the car has continued to go well all day. To be honest, we were just taking it step by step. The second long stage was good, but the concentration started to go a bit after 13 or 14 miles, but Laura kept me right!". Rutherford, co-driven by Ross Hynd, went on to finish second overall to Cathcart amongst the Class 1-7 crews, and also made sure of victory in Class 7 by ten seconds from Cowan. "The first stage was absolutely horrendous for us – I just couldn't get going at all – but after that we speeded up a bit and took time out of Lachlan on the second stage and kept it going. That last stage was brill!"

Ayrshire's Blair and Alex McCulloch wrapped up Class 3 in the championship in their Vauxhall Nova with one round remaining. They ended the day ten seconds ahead of non-SRC registered Mark McCulloch in a Peugeot 205GTi, with Willie Stuart third, second in the points, in his Talbot Sunbeam, ahead of the 205 of Tom Hynd, who consolidated his second place in the championship.

Said Blair McCulloch: "It's been quite eventful for us. We had a puncture perhaps four miles from the end of the second stage, and the exhaust manifold broke as well, so we've been struggling to hear the notes above the noise. The clutch was also beginning to give us trouble, and the water-pump bearing is getting quite noisy but managed to hold together. It's great to wrap up the class, but we've still got the championship Revolution Wheels and the Morrison's Trailer awards to hopefully seal on the McRae". There were 21 retirements from a start list of 68 crews.

The final round of the 2012 MSA Scottish Rally Championship is the Colin McRae Stages, based in Aberfeldy, on October 6th.

For news of all SRC rounds, go to www.scottishrallychampionship.co.uk


Posted: July 5, 2013 9:02 AM

1st David Bogie (Dumfries)/Kevin Rae (Hawick) Mitsubishi EVO 9 39m 39s
2nd Jock Armstrong (Castle Douglas)/Kirsty Riddick (Haugh of Urr) Subaru Impreza 39.50
3rd Mike Faulkner (Aspatria)/Peter Foy (Bingley) Mitsubishi EVO 6 40.28
4th Donnie MacDonald (Inverness)/Andrew Falconer (Inverness) Mitsubishi EVO 9 41.23
5th Chris Collie (Portlethen)/Lisa Watson (Alford) Mitsubishi EVO 42.36
6th John McClory (Strathblane)/David Hood (Paisley) Subaru Impreza N15 42.41
7th Bruce McCombie (Banchory)/Michael Coutts (Torphins) Subaru Impreza 42.54
8th Alick Kerr (Bothwell)/Claire Mole (Kelso) Subaru Impreza 42.58
9th Craig McMiken (Newton Stewart)/Craig Wallace (Kirriemuir) Mitsubishi EVO 9 43.25
10th Jimmy Christie (Inverness)/Iain Thorburn (Elgin) Mitsubishi EVO 6 43.29

Top Ten Finishers 2WD (Classes 1-7) with total times:
1st Timothy Cathcart (Enniskillen)/Barry McNulty (Enniskillen) Ford Fiesta 45.02
2nd Craig Rutherford (Isle of Mull)/Ross Hynd (Inverbervie) Honda Civic 45.15
3rd Lachlan Cowan (Dunfermline)/Stuart Bell (Dunfermline) Ford Fiesta ST 45.25
4th Blair McCulloch (Ayr)/Alex McCulloch (Ayr) Vauxhall Nova 46.00
5th Graeme Smith (Crossford)/Laura Marshall (Newton Stewart) Honda Civic 46.01
6th Mark McCulloch (Newton Stewart)/Elliot Edmondson (Olney) Peugeot 205 Gti 46.10
7th Grant Inglis (Glasgow)/Robert Gray (Glasgow) Honda Civic 46.27
8th Malcolm Robertson (Roslin)/Katie Stimpson (Aylesbury) Talbot Sunbeam 46.31
9th Willie Stuart (Alford)/Neil Ewing (Largs) Talbot Sunbeam 46.41
10th Graeme Schoneville (Carluke)/Michael Hendry (Aberlour) Honda Civic 46.49


Posted: August 28, 2012 11:54 AM

Defending Scottish rally champion David Bogie and his main challenger Euan Thorburn resume their title fight over more than forty fast and challenging miles in the Galloway forest on Saturday.

The pair will line up in Wigtown for the Ian Broll Merrick Stages, along with last year's winner Mike Faulkner, and 2009 victor Jock Armstrong.

With four victories this season, Bogie has a six-point cushion over Thorburn going into the penultimate round of the MSA Scottish Rally Championship.

Thorburn, co-driven by Paul Beaton, has been ramping up the pressure on Bogie in his Ford Focus WRC, with a win on the previous round, the Speyside Stages, to add to a home victory on the Jim Clark Reivers earlier in the season. He has also been twice runner-up to the Dumfries driver.

Bogie and navigator Kevin Rae won the Merrick in 2010 in their Mitsubishi EVO 9, but missed out on the event last year to concentrate on their ultimately successful BRC campaign, having already secured a third Scottish crown.

Faulkner - third in the drivers' championship, just one point behind Thorburn - will be going all out to defend his Merrick title in his Mitsubishi EVO 6, alongside navigator Peter Foy.

"The Merrick stages are some of the best in the country with fast flowing roads that reward commitment", said Faulkner: "The eighteen mile second stage in Glentrool is one of the great challenges of the season".

He went on:
"Euan and David are stretching away as they battle for the championship. We've found a few things in the car and will be out to try and get closer, and with Jock in the mix in a high-class entry we will have to be 100 percent if we want to compete at the sharp end. The stages suit my style so we are confident we can push for a podium".

Since his return to the championship in June, Armstrong, co-driven by Kirsty Riddick, has notched up two third place finishes in his Subaru Impreza and, although not fighting for the championship, can take points away from the leading contenders.

John McClory (Subaru N15) and Barry Groundwater (Mitsubishi EVO 9) – who sit fourth and fifth in the drivers' standings respectively – will be pushing for a big points haul, along with Invernessian Donnie Macdonald (Mitsubishi EVO 9), who has had three top-ten finishes this season, and Portlethen's Chris Collie, also in an EVO, who finished sixth on the Merrick in 2011.

Banchory's Quintin Milne (Mitsubishi EVO 9) and Bruce McCombie (Subaru Impreza) will also aim to be in the mix - the latter with a third-place finish to his name this season.

McClory and co-driver David Hood go into the penultimate round also leading the Group N category, and with Highland driver John Morrison sitting out the event, the local crew of Fraser Wilson and Steven Broll have the chance to move into second place in their Mitsubishi EVO 6.

Former SRC front-runner Alick Kerr, who was fourth on the Merrick in 2010, has his second outing of the season in his Subaru Impreza, alongside experienced navigator Claire Mole.

Bishop Auckland's Tristan Pye in a Subaru Impreza, and David Wright from Lancaster driving an EVO 9, are among the non-SRC registered 4WD competitors targeting a top-ten finish. Meanwhile, Northern Ireland's Liam Regan returns to the event for the second year running in the eye-catching Mitsubishi-engined Peugeot 206 in which he took eighth overall twelve months ago.

The battle for Escort Mk2 honours will see Alford's Keith Robathan – who is eighth in the drivers' championship – again lock horns with David Wilson from Alness.

The pair have matched each other throughout the season, with three Class 8 victories apiece. Robathan currently has a ten point advantage over his young rival, who failed to finish the Speyside Stages after his car went off the road.

One of Northern Ireland's leading Mk2 drivers, Adrian Hetherington, will be making the ferry journey across for the Merrick with navigator Gary Nolan, and, although not eligible for points, will be in the hunt for class honours.

Fierce contests are likely in several of the other 2WD categories - not least in Class 7, where Borderer Sean Robson (Ford Fiesta ST) has a single-point lead over the Isle of Mull's Craig Rutherford in a Honda Civic, ahead of Fiesta pilots Kieran Renton from Coldstream, and Speyside class winner Lachlan Cowan of Dunfermline.

In the 1600cc class, West Linton's John Boyd and co-driver Chris Williamson from Fife will be looking to score their sixth straight victory of the season in their Ford Fiesta R2. They will be chased hard by the Honda Civic of Graeme Schoneville and Michael Hendry, who have had a win and three second place finishes this season, while Graeme Smith and Laura Marshall – also in a Civic - will be aiming to be in the points after drive-shaft failure halted their challenge on the Speyside.

Ayrshire's Blair and Alex McCulloch have built up a healthy lead in Class 3 in their Vauxhall Nova, but behind them Inverbervie husband and wife Tom and Sue Hynd, in a Peugeot 205GTi are just one point ahead of Iain Haining and Mairi Riddick, also in a Nova. Adrian Stewart from Aberdeen, with Richard Simmonds of Duns on the notes, is a further seven points adrift in his 205, while Willie Stuart from Alford will also be targeting a decent points haul in the Galloway forest in his Talbot Sunbeam.

Saturday's action will get underway at 0830 with the departure from Wigtown of three historic entries: championship class leader Tony Thompson in a Vauxhall Chevette; second placed David Killin in his Opel Kadett; and non-championship registered Andy Kelly in the Mk1 Escort in which he won the category on last year's event.

They will be followed by 2WD (Classes 1-7), with the 4-wheel drive competitors leaving the start line outside Wigtown town hall from 0930.

Seeded Entry List

Posted: August 28, 2012 11:53 AM

Plans to "revitalise" Merrick Stages

Posted: August 2, 2012 11:07 AM

Organisers of the Ian Broll Merrick Stages Rally in Dumfries and Galloway are ringing the changes this year in an attempt to attract more entries.

In line with several other rounds of the MSA Scottish Rally Championship, the lesser-powered two-wheel drive classes will run at the front of the main field on the Wigtown-based event, which will take place on Saturday 1st September.

"There are two main reasons for running classes 1-7 at the front", explained rally manager Allan Marshall:
"Firstly it's to re-focus the organisation of the event, and secondly there are strong financial reasons. With the Merrick being the penultimate round of the SRC, we've suffered for a number of years with a drop in entries. This move is aimed at revitalising the rally and boosting the entries, and, hopefully, it will put us on a better financial footing for the future".

"I know there are a lot of exciting drivers out there with 2WD cars - a lot of them in the local area with their cars parked up in sheds. With more emphasis on the smaller classes, I'm saying it's time they got them dusted down and back into the forests - where they belong!"

Competitors will face 42 miles of classic stages in the Galloway forest, with some eighty miles of road sections - making the Merrick one of the most compact events in the SRC calendar. However, the organisers have added a twist to this year's event:

"We've cut down the number of stages to four this year - but they are four stages of quality", said Mr Marshall: "We've taken the big decision to bring in the 19 miles plus of Glentrool, which will run as the second stage. Many years ago a Finnish competitor described it as the best stage outside his home country, and it'll certainly sort the men out from the boys. Our survey team has been round the stage in recent days and reported back that it’s in tip-top condition".

For the third year running, rally headquarters will be based at the town hall in Wigtown, with the cars being flagged off from the start line immediately in front of the building.

"The warm welcome extended by the people of Wigtown to the competitors, officials and spectators over the past two years has been absolutely tremendous, and we're excited about returning this September", said Mr Marshall: "The organisation of the rally is well ahead of schedule - all we need now is a full list of entries".

Details and updates will be posted on the event website.

Regulations / Details

Posted: August 2, 2012 11:05 AM

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