Ice cool Ahlin & Eriksen take top spot on the Borders
Posted: March 31, 2017 8:53 AM
Fredrik Ahlin and co-driver Torstein Eriksen won the Brick & Steel Border Counties Rally, the curtain-raising round of the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship this weekend (17/18 March). The Swedish/Norwegian pairing came out on top after nine hard-fought stages to open Britain's premier rallying series.
The 2017 Prestone MSA British Rally Championship has been one of the most eagerly-anticipated seasons in recent memory, with a star-studded entry list descending on the Scottish border town of Jedburgh for the first round. Nine speed tests and more than 55 slippery miles awaited for the 33 registered crews, all of whom were ready to fight for supremacy on the gravel stages of southern Scotland.
On Friday evening, a large crowd gathered for the Ceremonial Start in the heart of Jedburgh. To get the proceedings underway, cars were waved off by double British Touring Car Champion John Cleland, at the foot of the dramatic 12th century Jedburgh Abbey. Rally goers were treated to a feast of entertainment - with the Prestone Rally Simulator testing spectators' skills behind the wheel - and to bring the evening to a close, a spectacular firework display lit up the Jedburgh sky. BRC crews then travelled to the forest to tackle two adrenaline-fuelled, heart-pumping night stages. You can't win the event on the first night, but drivers were eager to throw down their marker, as time was to be had for the brave.
Bravest on stage one were local stars David Bogie and Kevin Rae in their Skoda Fabia R5, as the all-Scottish crew took the spoils with a chasing pack in hot pursuit. Tom Cave and James Morgan were the model of consistency in their Ford Fiesta R5, notching up two second-fastest times on Friday evening to grab a slender 2.8-second lead at the overnight halt. Ahlin and Eriksen held third as they got to grips with their new Fabia R5 in the darkness of Craik. Triple BRC Champion Keith Cronin with Mikie Galvin alongside stole the march on stage two to hold fourth overall going into the second day.
Wet and slippery conditions in the forests around Jedburgh played host to Saturday's action, with seven tricky stages waiting to catch out the unwary. The lead of the rally changed hands no fewer than five times throughout the event and out to grab it for good was Ahlin, who woke up in determined mood. The Swedish sensation was 5.3 seconds clear on the first stage of the day to snatch the advantage, before Cave wrestled it back on stage four.
Ahlin, however, was in emphatic form as he subsequently tallied two further stage wins to reclaim the overall lead. The Swede was flamboyant through the forestry tracks and cool, calm and collected out of the car. Ahlin last won a BRC round in May 2016, and hadn't struck gold since. A new year, new car, new co-driver and new approach saw the driver from Karlstad come out fighting, taking the top step by a healthy 38.6 seconds at the close of play.
Six different drivers clinched a fastest stage time with Marty McCormack/David Moynihan in a Fabia R5 storming to the top of the timesheets on stage five before retiring a stage later after hitting a rock. That same rock claimed many victims, including podium-hunter Bogie, who similarly had to end his event early.
Cave was the only man left who could take the fight to Ahlin. The Welshman struggled running first on the road after the departed Bogie, as he cleared the mud and stones for competitors behind. Giving it all he could, Tom couldn't catch Fredrik and maturely settled for second place while also playing his ?Joker' to earn an additional four points - positioning him perfectly for a 2017 title tilt. Cave will be swapping cars ahead of the next round as he brings the Hyundai i20 R5 into the BRC.
With Bogie retiring, up stepped Cronin and BRC returnee Osian Pryce, who had Dale Furniss calling the notes, in the scrap for the final podium spot. Former BRC rally-winner Pryce was straight back onto the pace on his return, showing his rivals a clean pair of boots on stage eight and enjoying an event-long duel with Cronin, with the Welshman ultimately gaining the upper hand over the Irishman. Cronin got his season off to a strong start, bagging fourth for the M-Sport BRC team while fellow Fiesta R5 driver Rhys Yates recorded his best BRC finish to-date, rounding out the top five with co-driver Carl Williamson.
In the Prestone Motorsport News Junior British Rally Championship, the action was fast and furious throughout with the latest crop of young talent putting on a brilliant display in their front-wheel drive machines.
The famous Solberg name immediately made an impact in the BRC, as Oscar Solberg and Patrik Barth claimed a hard-fought win on the Border Counties Rally in their Ford Fiesta R2T. Son of Henning and nephew of Petter, Oscar delivered a stellar run to take the championship lead as well as clinching the honour for fastest two-wheel drive car and a hard-earned outright BRC point.
Hot on the Scandinavian pairings' heels were a brace of Peugeot 208 R2s. Making his BRC comeback was Irishman Dean Raftery and new co-driver Tom Woodburn. Having not been in competitive BRC action for a few years, Raftery quickly brushed off the cobwebs to settle into the overall mix from the outset, netting second in the standings.
Surprising many was young William Creighton in another Peugeot 208 R2. The Northern Irishman had only entered a handful of gravel rallies before making his BRC debut, and he put the cat well and truly amongst the pigeons. With Liam Regan expertly guiding, the pair chalked up the fastest time on the first stage to lead the rally before being overhauled by the more experienced gravel drivers.
The newly-formed Cadet Cup is the perfect springboard for competitors stepping up from clubman rallying competition into the BRC. Leading from flag to champagne were Josh Cornwell and Richard Bliss in their Ford Fiesta R2. Despite suffering lampod issues on the opening stage, the Surrey-based star took the first win of the season in convincing style, eking out a 2m47s lead going into the Ceremonial Finish in Jedburgh. Second home after a tough two-day event was Fergus Barlow in a similar Fiesta R2 with Max Freeman sitting alongside, while rounding out the Cadet podium was the crew from Harper Adams University. James McDiarmed, Max Haines-Messenger and the team only finished the car the day before the event, having built their Ford Fiesta National from scratch. They were delighted to round out the top three.
In BRC4, World Mountain Bike Champion Gee Atherton was experiencing the BRC for the first time. With Keaton Williams alongside, the Red Bull athlete grabbed the advantage from the off in his new Ford Fiesta R2T - putting his mud and dirt experience into practice to take the class win from David and Matthew White. The father and son partnership overcame gearbox gremlins on the first night to make it to the finish, gaining much needed mileage in their new Ford Fiesta R2 before their trip to Corsica to contest the French round of the FIA World Rally Championship next month.
Donnie Macdonald got his first taste of R5 rallying machinery in the BRC, with the Scotsman picking up from where he left off last season - top of the timesheets in the National Rally Cup, with Andrew Falconer calling the notes. Spencer Wilkinson and Glyn Thomas enjoyed their BRC experience in the iconic Subaru Impreza, with the duo claiming Production Cup victory at the end of the demanding two-day test.
Quotes from Round One - Brick & Steel Border Counties Rally:
Border Counties First Overall - Fredrik Ahlin - Skoda Fabia R5
?It's been a very, very good weekend for us. We took it steady to begin with as I had a new car and new co-driver, but I am really happy with how today went and I think we showed that on stages five and six, when we increased the pace, David [Bogie] and Tom [Cave] were struggling a little bit. After taking a big chunk of time in the middle of the day, we just kept that gap and made sure we got to the finish.
There is lots to come from the car, which is really good as we are quite quick already. We will continue going forward with a smart approach, being neat and consistent and thinking about the championship. We couldn't have asked for a better start - it's going to be a good year."
Border Counties Second Overall - Tom Cave - Ford Fiesta R5
?We started brilliantly on the opening night. The second day was good as well, but we dropped a little bit of time on the first stage. We had to do some road sweeping as we ran first on the road when David [Bogie] went out, which really helped Fredrik. I am disappointed to have lost the time that I did, but we kept on pushing in some really tricky conditions when others made mistakes.
We have an exciting new car for the next round when we bring the Hyundai i20 to the championship - so I am really looking forward to getting into that and get back to fighting Fredrik and enjoying another good battle next time out."
Border Counties Third Overall - Osian Pryce - Ford Fiesta R5
?It was a really difficult weekend for us. It has been a long road to get us here and I sadly didn't get enough time to test beforehand. The opening night was okay; we were gutted to get a puncture but were determined to keep spirits high and fight on and keep learning. We managed to set a fastest stage time which was great, and to get a podium was a real bonus. If you had said a podium was on offer this weekend, I would have taken it with both hands. The team have done a tremendous job and everybody who got me here is over the moon - as am I."
Prestone Motorsport News Junior BRC First Overall - Oscar Solberg - Ford Fiesta R2T
?It's really good to have finished our first BRC rally, and if I am honest I am totally surprised we got the win. I got into a good rhythm really quickly which helped us, as the roads were incredibly difficult with so many stones and big rocks, meaning not getting a puncture is very important. I'm feeling really good with the car and looking forward to the rest of the series. We will try to drive as fast as we can and get more points on the next round."
Armstrong/Swinscoe defend Border Counties Rally title
Posted: March 31, 2017 8:53 AM
Defending champion takes victory in second round of Scottish Rally Championship
Jock Armstrong and Paula Swinscoe won their second consecutive Brick & Steel Border Counties rally this weekend and with it, round two of the 2017 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship (SRC).
The Subaru Impreza crew won the event by just under 20 seconds, taking the lead early on and holding onto their advantage throughout the day.
The defending champion mastered most of the tricky conditions that the Tweed Valley forest tests threw at him, with frequent rain showers and thick mud doing its best to catch out the unwary.
It wasn't a completely clean run for the Castle Douglas driver though. A near rally-ending moment in SS5 Elibank would have seen the orange Subaru head straight into the Scottish Borders countryside if not for a good bit of car control by Armstrong.
It's been a really good day today," said Armstrong. I thought the podium was realistic this morning but to take the lead and then stay in front to win the event from start to finish is amazing. Fair play to everybody today, we were pushed hard but I'm glad I've got my confidence back."
Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton backed up their podium on the Snowman rally with another on the Border Counties, taking second place in their Ford Fiesta R5.
In a repeat of his opening round pace, the Duns driver suffered a slow start and coupled with double punctures in stage six, cost him too much time to challenge Armstrong. Despite clawing some seconds back in the afternoon, it simply wasn't enough and second was small consolation.
They were tricky conditions out there today, but we got more miles in the car which is important" said Thorburn. We didn't put a spanner to the car all day so we're looking forward to building on this and pushing on in the next one. We just need to pull our finger out at the start!"
Pryce delighted with British Rally Championship podium on debut in new car
Posted: March 31, 2017 8:50 AM
Welsh rally star Osian Pryce made a near-perfect start to this year's Prestone British Rally Championship, taking a podium finish at the Border Counties Rally yesterday (Saturday March 18).
Pryce, winner of last year's World Rally Championship feeder series Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy, is blending a world programme with an assault on this season's BRC - a series he has twice finished runner-up in. But this season he has stepped up to a Hills Ford/Alphera-backed Fiesta R5 in his pursuit of domestic and global glory.
Osian and co-driver Dale Furniss kicked off their first season in a four-wheel-drive car at this week's Jedburgh-based Border Counties Rally. The Welshmen overcame three punctures and a broken track-control arm to score a solid third place on their first ever visit to Scotland's Tweed Valley stages.
Pryce arrived at the start of the event on the back of a successful pre-event test and admitted he was still feeling his way into the Spencer Sport-run Fiesta for the first half of the rally. A step-by-step approach worked perfectly and resulted in him scoring fastest time on the event's penultimate test, the second run through the Elibank stage.
I'm happy with this result," said Osian. If you consider that, just a few weeks ago, we were sitting with our sponsors Hills Ford and Alphera working out the best way to go about this season - and in the intervening time we've sourced the car and a team and scored a podium. That's a pretty good result as far as I'm concerned."
A puncture just a handful of corners into the second of two Friday night stages cost Osian dearly.
We lost the left-front tyre after about 10 corners," said Osian. There was a big cut in the sidewall, something had sliced it right open. That left us six miles or so to drive on a flat. We lost around 35 or 40 seconds. To be honest, that was where we lost the chunk of time. The other two punctures didn't cost us much time."
Despite a sixth-stage deflation, Pryce came out of the Yair stage grateful to still be in the rally. We hit the same rock as David Bogie, but it put him out of the event. It was a proper, football-sized boulder that was right on the line; it was going nowhere. There was a big bang when we hit it with the front-right. That did the tyre and the track-control arm, forcing us to do the last part of the stage with the wheel jammed back into the wheel arch. We'd also had an intercom problem in that loop - I couldn't hear Dale all of the time, I was snatching the odd note here and there. I was shouting back to him that I couldn't hear him, but he couldn't hear me!"
Spencer Sport fixed the car - and the intercom - at the ensuing Newtown St Boswells service, allowing Osian to go out and beat everybody in the last-but-one stage.
We'd been building the pace through the rally," said Osian. We had a really good pre-event test; we didn't do a whole load of miles, but we made change after change to the set-up. When we got to the start, I couldn't believe how good the car felt. To be honest, I didn't really trust that it could be that good and offer that much stability and traction. I drove one of these cars on Rally GB, but it wasn't anything like this. Credit has to go to Spencer Sport for preparing a fantastic Fiesta for us.
The priority for me on this rally was seat time. I made a deliberate decision not to go too hard too early. I don't have anything like the experience of these cars that the other guys have around me and I needed to get to the finish to build my confidence in the car. I built the speed as the event progressed and that meant we were able to go fastest in stage eight. I was happy with that.
There's more to come from me and from the car. Honestly, we're nowhere near where we can be with this thing which is why I'm really chuffed to be coming away from round one with good points on the board and a podium in the bag."
Cave shows class with second place in the Borders
Posted: March 31, 2017 8:48 AM
Having held an early lead in this weekend's Border Counties Rally, round one of the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship, Tom Cave together with co-driver James Morgan, proved they were a class act when they finished the Jedburgh-based event in second place. It was only in the latter stages and slippery conditions they were denied an early season victory.
With Tom (from Aberdovey) and James (from Hirwaun) set to contest round two - next month's Pirelli Rally - driving a New Generation Hyundai i20 R5, they acquired a Fiesta R5 (similar to the car they took to second place in the British Rally Championship last year with Spencer Sport) from Dom Buckley RSC specifically for this weekend's event. Following a successful test on Thursday and setting second-fastest times on the first two Friday night stages in Craik Forest, it was clear that the Welsh pair were straight back onto their 2016 pace.
Their performance in the early stages was good enough to see them head to the overnight halt leading the event by 2.8 seconds, ahead of Scottish driver David Bogie in a Skoda R5. Fired up to deliver more of the same on Saturday, they headed off for the first of the day's seven stages ready for battle and, after setting the fastest time on stage four, they maintained their position at the front of the field.
But behind them Swedish driver Fredrik Ahlin (also in a Skoda) was gathering pace and took the lead on stage five whilst Tom and David Bogie were struggling for grip by virtue of being the first cars on the road. Then, on stage six, Bogie suffered the consequences of clearing the surface for the rest of the field when he hit a rock that was right on the racing line, the impact damaging his car, sending him off the road and into retirement.
Tom however, missed the offending obstacle and, whilst the Scot's retirement meant he and James were now 44 seconds ahead of Osian Pryce in third, they were 21 seconds behind Ahlin. Not wanting to risk throwing away an impressive points haul that was to be bolstered by Tom playing his joker on this event, the strategy for the three remaining stages was to hold fast and therefore, be in a position to take advantage should anything happen to the leader.
As it turned out, nothing did happen to Ahlin and after a clean run through the final trio of stages, Tom and James returned to Jedburgh for the finish as runners-up. After the podium presentation, Tom said:
"Having led the event in its early stages, it proved we still have the pace to run at the front of the field, so I'm very happy with that. I'm also happy to finish second on an event that saw six different teams - including us - set a fastest time in one or more of the event's nine stages.
"Yes, of course, James and I wanted to win, but with a new car and a new team on an unfamiliar event, it's a very satisfying outcome. By playing our joker we scored another four points which means that we're on 22 against Fredrik's 25, with Osian in third on 15. So all in all it was as good a start to the season as we had hoped for and it sets us up nicely for round two."
Tom went on to thank: James for his continued support, the Dom Buckely RSC team for providing such a competitive and reliable car, DMACK Tyres who's products worked really well in the changing conditions and also Walero UK, Atech Racing and the Trefeddian Hotel for their support.
Tom and James now prepare for the next event, the Pirelli Rally that takes place on 29th & 30th April, when they swap to a New Generation Hyundai i20 R5 to give the car its first ever competitive outing in a British Rally Championship event.
Ahlin/Eriksen take rally victory in the Borders
Posted: March 31, 2017 8:46 AM
Sweden's Fredick Ahlin victorious in tough Border Counties Rally
After two days of intense competition in the forests surrounding Jedburgh, Sweden's Fredrick Ahlin and Norway's Torstein Eriksen took a confident victory at last weekend's Brick and Steel Border Counties Rally.
The all Welsh crew of Tom Cave and James Morgan took second place in their Ford Fiesta R5 with fellow countrymen Osian Pryce and Dale Furniss rounding out the top three in their similar machine.
The Hawick and Border Car Club and Whickham and District Motor Club organised event played host to the opening round of the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship for the first time, with the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship returning for its now traditional second round of the series.
The joining together of the two premier rally series brought competitors from around the world to the Borders for the two day event. The Scottish forests witnessed an epic battle as some of the best rally drivers in the business tussled for honours in tricky conditions during the Friday night and Saturday stages.
Ahlin was a dominant force in the muddy stages and despite being third after the opening leg on Friday night, he was never out of the top three all event long.
The Swede moved into top spot at the halfway point of the event and took his Skoda Fabia R5 to victory by almost 40 seconds from Cave.
A ceremonial start under the gaze of Jedburgh Abbey kicked off proceedings on Friday night as some 40 crews would endure a treacherous run through Craik forest for two passes of the stage.
Cave stamped his authority on the leader board early on and was the overnight leader with Dumfries driver David Bogie and co-driver Kevin Rae second in their Fabia R5 just two seconds adrift. Ahlin ended the leg third.
But as dawn broke in the Wauchope forest, Ahlin made his attack to leap out front on the opening test of the day. Cave and Bogie both dropped down the order but that was reversed on the next test with Cave once again back on top.
It was on the fifth stage where Ahlin really made his move and leapfrogged an ailing Cave and Bogie to hit the top of the leader board to first; a position he would never relinquish for the remainder of the day.
Tom Cave/James Morgan finished second in thier Fiesta R5. Image credit: Eddie Kelly Photography - click to download high res version
Behind the rapid Swede, the Scottish contingent would fall by the wayside on stage six after Bogie hit a sizeable rock, damaging the Skoda and forcing him to park up in the stage. This made way for Pryce who was now settling in to his Fiesta R5 after a season in the lesser powered Fiesta R2. He soon found the pace he was looking for and was pleased to finish the event third.
Irishmen Keith Cronin and Mikie Galvin were one of the pre event favourites for victory during the weekend but never quite mustered the pace to take a podium spot. Several appearances inside the top three during the day were a welcome sight for the M-Sport Ford pilot, but he would end the event in fourth.
Chesterfield driver Rhys Yates was overjoyed to finish fifth in just his second season in the British Championship. Co-driven by Carl Williamson, Yates took the Brettex Fiesta R5 to a useful position for his BRC campaign.
The Scottish Rally Championship provided just as much excitement as crews from the series joined the event on Saturday. Castle Douglas driver Jock Armstrong with co-driver Paula Swinscoe enjoyed a start to finish victory in their Subaru Impreza.
Despite a few near misses in the slippery conditions, the duo reported no real issues to take the win by just under 20 seconds from local hero Euan Thorburn in his Fiesta R5.
A battle all event long between the pairing was settled in Armstrong's favour when a double puncture for Duns driver Thorburn and co-driver Paul Beaton put paid to any charge up the leader board.
Mike Faulkner and Peter Foy rounded off the top three SRC crews in their Mitsubishi Evo IX. Rory Young and Allan Cathers were fourth in the SRC runners but take the final podium spot in the National B event due to Thorburn running as part of the BRC crews.
With around 120 crews starting the event, fewer than 95 made it back to the ceremonial finish with a pipe band to greet the lucky crews who returned to the finish celebrations under Jedburgh Abbey.
Posted: March 31, 2017 8:39 AM
1 Fredrik Ahlin (SWE)/Torstein Eriksen (NOR) Skoda Fabia R5 - 53:01.6
2 Tom Cave (GBR)/ James Morgan (GBR) Ford Fiesta R5 +0:38.6
3 Osian Pryce (GBR) / Dale Furniss (GBR) Ford Fiesta R5 +1:07.4
4 Keith Cronin (IRL) / Mikie Galvin (IRL) Ford Fiesta R5 +2:02.2
5 Rhys Yates (GBR) / Carl Williamson (GBR) Ford Fiesta R5 +3:08.8
6 Matt Edwards (GBR) / Darren Garrod (GBR) Ford Fiesta R5 +3:14.5
7 Jamie Anderson (GBR)/ Ross Whittock (GBR) Ford Fiesta R5 +3:21.3
8 Jonathan Greer (GBR)/ Kirsty Riddick (GBR) Citroen DS3 R5 +3:27.2
9 Euan Thorburn (GBR)/ Paul Beaton (GBR) Ford Fiesta R5 +3:27.2
10 Oscar Solberg (NOR) / Patrik Barth (SWE) Ford Fiesta R2T +7:36.2
Prestone Motorsport News Junior British Rally Championship
1 Oscar Solberg (NOR) / Patrik Barth (SWE) Ford Fiesta R2T
2 Dean Raftery (IRL)/ Tom Woodburn (GBR) Peugeot 208 R2
3 William Creighton (GBR)/ Liam Regan (IRL) Peugeot 208 R2
SS1 David Bogie/Kevin Rae (Skoda Fabia R5)
SS2 Tom Cave/James Morgan (Ford Fiesta R5)
SS3 Fredrik Ahlin/Torstein Eriksen (Skoda Fabia R5)
SS4 Tom Cave/James Morgan (Ford Fiesta R5)
SS5-9 Fredrik Ahlin/Torstein Eriksen (Skoda Fabia R5)
SS1 David Bogie/Kevin Rae (Skoda Fabia R5)
SS2 Keith Cronin/Mikie Galvin (Ford Fiesta R5)
SS3 Fredrik Ahlin/Torstein Eriksen (Skoda Fabia R5)
SS4 Tom Cave/James Morgan (Ford Fiesta R5)
SS5 Martin McCormack/David Moynihan (Skoda Fabia R5)
SS6 Fredrik Ahlin/Torstein Eriksen (Skoda Fabia R5)
SS7 Keith Cronin/Mikie Galvin (Ford Fiesta R5)
SS8 Osian Pryce/Dale Furniss (Ford Fiesta R5)
SS9 Fredrik Ahlin/Torstein Eriksen (Skoda Fabia R5)
Let battle commence! - Marty McCormack & Dave Moynihan Preview
Posted: March 17, 2017 5:14 AM
The 2017 British Rally Championship (BRC) gets underway this weekend with the Border Counties Rally in Jedburagh, Scotland. Marty McCormack and Dave Moynihan are hoping a new car and a new year will beckon the return of their winning ways!
2017 sees the Tiger Risk Rally Team change car to the Skoda Fabia R5, this should allow them to battle at the front at every round of the highly competitive championship. Marty is once again joined in the car by Dave Moynihan. Dave, who has navigated for Marty for many years is a calming influence in the car and the pairing work extremely well together. "I am delighted to have Dave back beside me this year, we get on really well and he has a great calming influence in the car, which makes it easy for me to push! The new TigerRisk Skoda is leagues ahead of the car we used last year, in terms of handling and power. It's exactly what we needed to push forward in the championship."
The Borders Counties Rally is substituting as round one of the BRC 2017, replacing Rally North Wales which was canceled earlier in the year. This is a new rally to most competitors which will level the playing field among the crews. Marty and Dave competed on the Willie Loughman Rally in Ireland as a warm up for the start of the season. It was a very successful day, trying out new settings and getting comfortable in the new car. A number of fastest times against some of their fellow BRC competitors like Keith Cronin and Desi Henry bodes well for the year ahead. "The Willie Loughman was a great test in the car, we tried a few different settings to see how the car would react and we have now have a good base setting going to Scotland. I am feeling really comfortable in the car now, the difference in power and handling over the S2000 Skoda is massive and it will be great to battle with the BRC regulars in equal machinery."
The Borders Counties Rally gets underway outside Jedburagh Abbey with an autograph signing at 4pm on Friday. This is followed by two runs through Craik Forest in darkness. It will be an arduous start to the event with the inclement weather sure to add too the difficulty. It will be key to have a clean run through these two tests and stay within striking distance of the leaders to have a chance at a victory on Saturday evening.
Saturday is where the rally really gets underway with over 50miles of stages on some of the best gravel roads the area has to offer. The winners will spray the Champagne back outside Jedburagh Abbey at approximately 4pm. Marty commented: "We are really looking forward to getting into the first round of the BRC and see where we are compared to the competition. We have a comprehensive test planned in the run up to the event and will be as prepared as we can be to battle at the front!"
You can keep up to date with Marty on Twitter @martymccormack and Facebook.com/marty.mccormack1. Marty is competing this season with the support of Tiger Risk Partners, P McCormack and Sons Ltd.
Border Counties Rally ready for biggest event yet
Posted: March 15, 2017 9:50 AM
Jedburgh based event hosts drivers from across the world in showcase of rally talent
Jedburgh will play host to some of the best drivers in the rallying world as the Brick and Steel Border Counties Rally takes place in the forests of the south of Scotland this weekend.
Bolstered by the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship (BRC) and ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship (SRC), the event will see around 120 competitors tackle stages in the Wauchope, Craik and the Tweed Valley forest complex during Friday 17th and Saturday 18th March. In an entry list bulging with talent from the UK, Ireland, Australia, Sweden and Norway the event is shaping up to be one of the biggest in the region for many years.
Leading the field away at car one will be 2010 British Rally Champion and five-time Scottish Rally Champions David Bogie/Kevin Rae in their Skoda Fabia R5. The Dumfries driver is fresh from a round one SRC win and with victory at last weekend's Malcolm Wilson Rally in Cumbria; he has further reinforced his chances of the Border spoils.
Tom Cave/James Morgan returns to the BRC at number two seed in a Dom Buckley Fiesta R5. A strong showing during the latter half of the 2016 season will mean Cave cannot be discounted. Swedish duo Fredrick Ahlin/Torstein Eriksen is the third seed in their Skoda Fabia R5 and head to Jedburgh as one of the favourites to clinch the 2017 BRC crown.
Three-time British Champion Keith Cronin is the first of two M-Sport run Fiesta R5 crews with co-driver Mikie Galvin and start at car four with Duns driver Euan Thorburn in a similar machine at six. Paul Beaton will co-drive. A trio of Irish drivers round out the top 10 with Desi Henri, Jonny Greer and Martin McCormack all keen to do well in the opening round of the British Championship.
First SRC crew away is reigning champion Jock Armstrong in his crowd pleasing Subaru Impreza. With co-driver Paula Swinscoe, the duo will be hoping to repeat last year's victory at the Border Counties. They are followed by the Mitsubishi Evo IX crew of Mike Faulkner/Peter Foy who will be aiming to tame their newly arrived steed into a decent result. Shaun Sinclair/Jamie Edwards will want to build on a strong opening round performance in their Subaru S14 WRC and start at 14.
The Hawick and Border Car Club and Whickham and District Motor Club organised event will start outside Jedburgh Abbey 6pm on Friday with an Autograph Session, Meet and Greet and family entertainment at Abbey Place in the town. Crews from the British Championship will cross the start ramp at 7pm that evening to head for two night-time stages in the Craik forest.
They will be joined on Saturday by competitors from the SRC, the Ecosse C2 Challenge, SG Petch ANECCC Stage Rally Championship and the HRCR Motoscope Northern Historic Rally Championship who all will tackle the entire day's stages.
After an action packed day in the Scottish Borders forests, the field will return to the finish ceremony in Jedburgh at around 4PM where the victors from both the British and Scottish championships will spray the champagne, once again watched over by the historic Jedburgh Abbey.
Fans will also be well catered for during the event, with opportunities to watch the action throughout the weekend. Spectators looking for action and atmosphere can head to Craik forest on Friday night for the BRC opening two stages, running at around 19.50 and then again at 20.50.
On Saturday, the field will welcome the remaining crews and Wauchope provides the first opportunity to see the action at around 9.15. Two stages at Elibank offer the chance to see crews twice, firstly at 11.40 and then again at 14.55.
The event reaches its finale back at Jedburgh at around 16.00 where a pipe band, will greet the lucky crews who return to the finish celebrations under the watchful eye of Jedburgh Abbey.
Spectator information, a full entry list and more information can be found on the Brick and Steel Border Counties Rally website at www.bordercountiesrally.co.uk alongside the event's social media feeds:
Epic Border Battle for Scottish Rally Championship
Posted: March 15, 2017 8:32 AM
The ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship (SRC) proved to be as thrilling as ever last month with the 2017 season opener in Inverness providing an action packed start to the season at the Snowman Rally. That titanic battle is set to continue on round two of the championship this weekend, the Brick & Steel Border Counties Rally (Saturday 18th March).
Over 80 crews will head south to Jedburgh and the Scottish Borders for 45 competitive stage miles in the Tweed Valley, which was the scene of the closest finish of the season last season with Jock Armstrong and Garry Pearson tying on overall times and Shaun Sinclair finishing just seven seconds back in third.
This year, the SRC's finest will be joined by the British Rally Championship as their season gets underway with 2017 SRC points leaders David Bogie and Kevin Rae leading the crews away as car number one.
Bogie will be ineligible to score Scottish Championship points as he will undertake a pre-event recce, leaving the door wide open for a new driver to top the championship table after the champagne has been sprayed alongside Jedburgh Abbey on Saturday afternoon.
Duns driver Euan Thorburn will compete in the BRC but has chosen not to complete the recce, meaning the Fiesta R5 pilot will score points for both the Scottish and British Rally Championships. The Snowman was all about seat time for Thorburn, but the Border Counties tests are classed as his local stages so he could well be the man to beat on round two.
Defending Scottish champion Jock Armstrong and Paul Swinscoe got their season off to a solid start in their Subaru Impreza, finishing two seconds shy of the podium on the Snowman. The Castle Douglas ace won his first ever Border Counties rally 12 months ago after a fast start and victory is undoubtedly not far away this season.
Mike Faulkner and Peter Foy adjusted to a new and upgraded Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX last month, finishing a lowly ninth after battling with teething issues and an incredibly strong entry list. Faulkner was on the pace though, so is looking for a strong result in the Borders.
Shaun Sinclair and co-driver Jamie Edwards proved to be a real dark horse on the Snowman rally, beating 2014 Scottish champions Thorburn and Beaton to second place in a Subaru Impreza S14 WRC. The Oban driver impressed last year in a Focus RS WRC so is sure to be in the mix in the Borders and for the rest of the season.
Rory Young and Allan Cathers made a welcome return to the championship on the Snowman after just one appearance in 2016, and took a strong top five finish in a Ford Fiesta R5. The Dumfries driver turned a few heads with that performance, and could do just as well in the Tweed Valley with his M-Sport machine likely to suit the stages around Jedburgh.
Mark McCulloch, along with Freddie Milne and Greg McKnight, got valuable seat time in preparation for the Border Counties on the Malcolm Wilson Rally (11th March), with all three men looking to improve on their Snowman Rally result. Steven Clark is another one to watch after a strong performance on the opening round. The Evo V driver was also out in Cumbria at the weekend to get more miles in the car.
Donnie MacDonald and Andrew Falconer will make their second outing in a Ford Fiesta R5, hoping to build upon the promise they showed on their home stages in Inverness.
Iain Wilson starts the Jedburgh event as top Challenger in his Subaru Impreza, but he will face tough competition from the likes of Simon Hay, Ross MacDonald and local man Michael Binnie.
Thomas Gray leads away the Juniors in the Borders, looking for a class win after coming so close on the Snowman. The Fiesta R2 driver became the first ever recipient of the SRC John Horton Star Driver Award in Inverness, so will be buoyed by this recognition with a special sun strip displayed on his car.
Dougal Brown will be looking to repeat the Scottish 2WD success he enjoyed on his home event, while Colin Baxter currently sits top of the tree in the battle for the www.usedcarparts.co.uk Subaru Cup.
The rally kicks off on Saturday morning for the SRC crews, before heading into the Craik and Wauchope forests for some challenging and flowing forest tests.
The 2017 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship is partnered by Pirelli Motorsport, Coltel Communications and Reis Motorsport Insurance.
The championship consists of seven forest events across the whole of Scotland, taking in over 300 competitive stage miles.
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Seeded Entry List
Posted: March 11, 2017 6:19 PM
No Driver/Co-Driver (Make Model) [Class]
1 David Bogie/Kevin Rae (Skoda Fabia R5) [BRC 1]
2 Tom Cave/James Morgan (Ford Fiesta R5) [BRC 1]
3 Fredrik Ahlin/Torstein Eriksen (Skoda Fabia R5) [BRC 1]
4 Keith Cronin/Mikie Galvin (Ford Fiesta R5) [BRC 1]
6 Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton (Ford Fiesta R5) [BRC 1]
7 Desi Henry/Liam Moynihan (Skoda Fabia R5) [BRC 1]
8 Jonathan Greer/Kirsty Riddick (Citro?n DS3 R5) [BRC 1]
9 Jock Armstrong/Paula Swinscoe (Subaru Impreza) 
10 Martin McCormack/David Moynihan (Skoda Fabia R5) [BRC 1]
11 Jamie Anderson/Ross Whittock (Ford Fiesta R5) [BRC 1]
12 Mike Faulkner/Peter Foy (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) 
14 Shaun Sinclair/Jamie Edwards (Subaru Impreza WRC S14) 
15 Matt Edwards/Darren Garrod (Ford Fiesta R5) [BRC 1]
16 Rory Young/Allan Cathers (Ford Fiesta R5) 
17 Rhys Yates/Carl Williamson (Ford Fiesta R5) [BRC 1]
18 Mark McCulloch/Michael Hendry (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) 
19 Steven Clark/Paul Brown (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 5) 
20 Donnie Macdonald/Andrew Falconer (Ford Fiesta R5) [NRC 7]
21 Freddie Milne/Chris Williams (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [NRC 6]
22 Alex Laffey/Dai Roberts (Ford Fiesta R5) [BRC 1]
23 Barry Groundwater/Neil Shanks (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X) [NRC 6]
24 Greg McKnight/Laura Marshall (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) 
25 Scott McCombie/Mark Fisher (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) 
26 Peter Stephenson/Patrick Walsh (Ford Focus WRC) 
27 Iain Wilson/Will Rogers (Subaru Impreza) 
28 Steve Bannister/Callum Atkinson (Ford Escort Mk2) 
29 Simon Hay/Calum Jaffray (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6) 
30 Fraser Wilson/Craig Wallace (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) 
31 John Morrison/Peter Carstairs (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [NRC 6]
32 Ross MacDonald/Matthew Johnstone (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8) 
33 Dougal Brown/Lewis Rochford (Ford Escort) 
34 John Wink/John Forrest (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) 
35 Ian Baumgart/Mike Dickson (Subaru Impreza) 
36 Michael Binnie/Claire Mole (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 5) 
37 Duncan Campbell/Gavin Chisholm (Subaru Impreza) 
38 Keith Morris/Martin Forrest (Mitsibushi Lancer Evo 6) 
39 Gordon Murray/David O Brien (Ford Escort MK2) 
40 Duncan MacDonald/Neil Ross (Ford Escort) 
41 Ian Forgan/Kathryn Forgan (Subaru Impreza) 
42 Matthew Thomson/Ian Graham (Subaru Impreza Gc8) 
43 John McClory/David Hood (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) 
44 Marty Gallagher/Dean O'Sullivan (Peugeot 208 R2) [Junior BRC]
45 Thomas Gray/Daneil Forsyth (Ford Fiesta R2) 
46 Meirion Evans/Jonathan Jackson (Peugeot 208 R2) [Junior BRC]
47 Dean Raftery/Tom Woodburn (Peugeot 208 R2) [Junior BRC]
48 Angus Lawrie/Paul Gribben (Vauxhall Corsa) 
49 Cameron Davies/Caron Tomlinson (Peugeot 208 R2) [Junior BRC]
50 Brian Watson/Caroline Will (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo) 
51 Alistair Ginley/Craig thorley (Ford Escort mk2) 
52 James Gibb/Jane Nicol (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo) 
53 Martin Craik/Steven Brown (Subaru Impreza) 
54 Carl Tuer/Rob Tuer (MG ZR S1600) 
55 Gee Atherton/Keaton Williams (Ford Fiesta R2T) [BRC 4]
56 William Creighton/Liam Regan (Peugeot 208 R2) [Junior BRC]
57 Garry Wilson/Hollie Wilson (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6) 
58 Callum Devine/Keith Moriarty (Ford Fiesta R2T) [Junior BRC]
59 Fergus Barlow/TBC (Ford Fiesta) [Cadet BRC]
61 Ben Cree/Andy Brown (Peugeot 205) 
62 Dave Forrest/Charlie Carter (Ford Mk2 Escort) 
63 Jim Robertson/Mike Curry (Citroen C2R2) 
64 Graham Waite/Gill Cotton (Toyota Corolla) 
65 Fraser MacNicol/Keith Boa (Ford Escort Mk2) 
66 Keith Riddick/Mairi Riddick (MG ZR) 
67 Colin Baxter/Donald John Campbell (Subaru Impreza G8) 
68 Ken Wood/Gordon Wood (Triumph Dolomite Sprint) 
69 David White/Mathew White (Ford Fiesta R2) [BRC 4]
70 Arron Windus/Aaron Johnston (Vauxhall Adam R2) [Junior BRC]
71 Paul McErlean/Niall Mckenna (Ford Escort) 
72 Mike Stuart/Sinclair Young (Ford Escort MK2) 
73 Josh McErlean/Damien Duffin (Citroen C2R2 Max) [Junior BRC]
74 Darren Martin/Martin Steele (Subaru Impreza N10) 
75 Spencer Wilkinson/Glyn Thomas (Subaru Impreza) [BRC Produc]
76 Neil Coalter/Hannah Cessford (Suzuki Ignis) 
77 Scott McQueen/Andrew MacKinnon (Peugeot 205) 
78 Andy Chalmers/Martin Maccabe (Peugeot 205 GTi) 
79 Robbie Beattie/Dave Findlay (Peugeot 205 GTi) 
80 Oscar Solberg/Patrik Barth (Ford Fiesta R2T) [Junior BRC]
81 Josh Cornwell/Richard Bliss (Ford Fiesta R2) [Cadet BRC]
82 Michael Robertson/Gary McDonald (Subaru Impreza) 
83 Luke McLaren/Phil Kenny (Ford Fiesta ST) 
84 David McLoughin/Graham Robertson (Peugeot 205 GTI) 
85 Alex Pirie/Frazer Skene (Citroen C2) 
86 Alexander Ian Milne/Chris Robertson (Ford Escort Mk2) 
87 Andrew Robinson/Kevin Wilson (Ford Escort) 
89 Steven Ross/Rowena Hay (Vauxhall Corsa) 
90 David Coatsworth/Chris Pattison (MG ZR) 
91 Niall Cowan Jnr/Thomas Bruce (MG ZR) 
92 Graeme Sherry/Richard Wardle (Citroen C2) 
93 Martin Crombie/Osian Owen (Peugeot 106 gti) 
94 Michael Renton/Kenny Foggo (Peugeot 306) 
95 Terry Cree/Richard Shores (BMW TII) 
96 Paul Rawson/Paul Wild (Ford Escort) 
97 Alex Waterman/Harry Thomas (Ford Fiesta R2) [Cadet BRC]
98 Tom Williams/Bryan Hull (Ford Fiesta) [Cadet BRC]
99 Max Redpath/Callum Redpath (Peugeot 205) 
100 Peter Humphrey/Douglas Humphrey (Opel Kadett Coupe) 
101 Mark Shaw/William Munro (Subaru Inpreza) 
102 Ross Hughes/Neil Ewing (Citroen C2 VTS) 
103 Gina Walker/Richard Simmonds (Citroen C2) 
104 Andy Struthers/Grant MacNiven (Citroen C2 VTS) 
105 Billy Falconer/Eric Falconer (Peugeot 205) 
106 Grant MacRae/Martin Bruce (Ford Fiesta ST) 
107 Charlie Blaney/Adrian Wilford (Ford Escort Mk2) 
108 Kevin Gray/Daniel Christie (Vauxhall Astra Gsi) 
109 John Rowan/Bridget Rowan (Talbot Sunbeam) 
110 Tommy Alexander Heard/Greg McCutcheon (Ford Escort Mk2) 
111 Nabila Tejpar/Charley Sayer-Pane (Ford Fiesta R2) [Cadet BRC]
112 James McDiarmid/Max Haines Messenger (Ford Fiesta) [Cadet BRC]
114 Ali Galbraith/Del Galbraith (Ford Escort Mk 2) 
115 John Brownie/Gordon Ritchie (Opel Kadett C) 
116 Ian Heard/Denny Calder (Ford Escort Mk2) 
117 Scott Boyd/Fraser Jones (Peuget 205 GTI) 
118 Darren Tennant/Kieran Robert Waite Collin (Mitsubishi Colt) 
119 Elvin Thomas Smith/TBA (Citroen C2 VTS) 
Excitement builds in the Borders
Posted: March 1, 2017 5:03 AM
Brick and Steel Border Counties Rally receives entries boost as both British and Scottish Championships head to Jedburgh
Two of the biggest rally series' in the country will descend on the Scottish Borders in March as the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship (BRC) and ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship (SRC) join together to contest the Brick and Steel Border Counties Rally.
The Jedburgh based two day event will play host to around 100 crews from across the world on the March 17th and 18th who will tackle stages in Wauchope, Craik and the Tweed Valley forest complex.
The event, sponsored by Glasgow based Brick and Steel Construction will, for the first time, be the opening round of the highly anticipated 2017 British Rally Championship and rally organisers Hawick and Border Car Club with Whickham and District Motor Club have devised a format which is worthy of its prestigious status.
The BRC crews will kick off the event under the gaze of Jedburgh Abbey at 6pm on Friday 17th March with an autograph and meet and greet session on Abbey Place in the town. With entertainment for all the family planned, it's sure to provide a fitting atmosphere as crews cross the start ramp at 7pm to head for two stages under the cover of darkness in the Craik forest.
After an exciting opening round in Inverness earlier this month, the hotly contested Scottish Rally Championship heads south for round two and around 70 series contenders from the championship will join forces with the BRC on Saturday 18th.
Adding to the mix, competitors from the www.c2rallyparts.co.uk Ecosse C2 Challenge, SG Petch ANECCC Stage Rally Championship and the HRCR Motoscope Northern Historic Rally Championship will also tackle Saturdays' stages ensuring spectators are in for a treat.
After an action packed day in the Scottish Borders forests, the field will return to the finish ceremony in Jedburgh at around 4PM where the victors from both the British and Scottish championships will spray the champagne, once again watched over by the historic Jedburgh Abbey.
Fans will also be well catered for during the event, with opportunities to watch the action in Craik forest on Friday night, then Wauchope on Saturday morning and two stages at Elibank later in the day.
Entries for the two day event have already surpassed the levels seen at this time in 2016 and the list is bolstered by a raft of British and Scottish Championship hopefuls. At the time of writing (28th February) organisers had received almost 70 entries, with more being received daily.
Event Clerk of the Course Clayton Lackenby is excited by this year's event and believes it could be one of the best yet.
"It's an honour to welcome the British Rally championship to the event for the first time and of course the Scottish Rally Championship too" he says.
"Having two of our greatest championships together in Jedburgh and the Scottish Borders is a fantastic prospect and there is a real buzz about the rally in the area. We have devised a challenging yet enjoyable format for the crews and the feedback we have so far is all positive."
But it's Friday 17th March which really has been the talking point.
"I don't think anyone can deny that rallying in the Borders at night time will be a truly unique experience and will certainly keep the British Championship contenders on their toes. We are working hard to put together an event which both fans and competitors will enjoy, we can't wait!"
Spectator information will be released closer to the event and more information can be found on the Brick and Steel Border Counties Rally website at www.bordercountiesrally.co.uk alongside the event's social media feeds below:
The organisers of the Brick & Steel Border Counties Rally are delighted by the offer from British Rally Championship to be the first round of their 2017 series.
Posted: January 8, 2017 12:19 PM
We fully sympathise with our fellow organisers at Newtown & District Motor Club, having been in their position some time ago.
The fact that we have been approached is testament to the high standards set by all the events in the Scottish Rally Championship and expected by all that championships competitors.
Our route planning is already at a well advanced stage and we will now work with the BRC to see how best to bring their competitors into that plan. Further details will be announced next week at Autosport.
The team from Hawick & Border Car Club and Whickham & District Motor Club have approached this in a positive fashion and look forward to the challenge ahead.