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Border Counties Rally - (Sat) 16 Mar 19

Posted: March 16, 2019 5:31 AM - 2040 Hits

Round 2 - 2019 Scottish Rally Championship

Live Results (Border Counties 2019) | Live Results by North East Rally Services

COUNTDOWN BEGINS AS SRC PREPARES FOR BORDER COUNTIES

Posted: March 11, 2019 10:30 AM

After the unfortunate cancellation of the Coogie Urquhart Snowman Rally last month, the Border Counties Rally in Jedburgh has become the new curtain-raiser for the 2019 KNC Groundworks Ltd Scottish Rally Championship (SRC).

Now in its 51st year, the Scottish Rally Championship is continuing to provide pulsating action that draws competitors and fans in alike, with the return to Jedburgh after last year’s enforced snowy lay-off the perfect way to kick off proceedings.

Six special stages covering around 42 competitive miles lie in between Scotland’s finest rally drivers and success, with no shortage of talent lined up to tackle the Scottish Borders event.

Two Borders drivers head to their home rally as early favourites for title success, but curiously neither man has ticked the Border Counties off of their winning list.

Double Scottish champions Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton are certainly the favourites on paper to put that right this weekend, as they start their second event in as many weeks in their Ford Focus WRC.

Questions were raised whether Thorburn would be match-fit heading into the season after a year out in 2018, but two superb victories in the BTRDA series have proved the 2014 and ’17 SRC champ hasn’t lost his touch.

The other Duns pilot with victory in his sights is Ford Fiesta R5 driver Garry Pearson and his co-driver Dale Bowen. Pearson came as close as it comes to a Border Counties win in 2016, and so nearly took that year’s title too.

Back in the SRC for a full-blown title assault in 2019, the Thorburn versus Pearson battle could become the narrative of the new season.

Jock Armstrong and Cameron Fair will be keen to make it a one crew tale however. Armstrong was the man that beat Pearson to the 2016 Border Counties victory and championship crown, and is always a threat in his Subaru Impreza.

The Castle Douglas ace had a disappointing season by his high standards last term, but is hungrier than ever to increase his tally of Scottish titles from two to three.

Donnie Macdonald and Andrew Falconer are the crew with the most recent title fight experience however, having battled last year’s victors Andrew Gallacher and Jane Nicol all the way to the end.

The pair are sure to be in the mix in their Ford Fiesta R5, while Mark McCulloch and Michael Hendry are another crew with sky-high potential in a similar machine.

John Wink and John Forrest capped off their finest season to date last year with third in the championship in their Hyundai i20 R5. While achieving something similar is a tall order, the Huntly man is more than capable of doing it having spent the last year and a half learning how to get the best from the car.

Bruce McCombie and Michael Coutts have made the switch to WRC power for 2019 having established themselves as the Mitsubishi Evo benchmark in previous years. Their Ford Focus WRC is similar to the one that Gallacher used to take the title last year, so all the tools are in place for a flat-out season.

Behind the heavy-hitters, Michael Binnie and Claire Mole’s Evo IX lead the Mitsubishi contingent with the returning Chris Collie, Scott Macbeth, Simon Hay and Thomas Gray providing stiff competition.

The Scottish 2WD Championship looks equally exciting with some new faces joining the fold in 2019. Iain Wilson and Chris Williams appear early favourites in their 2.3-litre Ford Escort Mk2, but the experienced Paul McErlean / Paul McGahon and Duncan MacDonald / Neil Ross will be snapping at their heels.

Luke McLaren and new co-driver Craig Wallace are a potent combination in an equally potent Honda Civic R3, rarely seen in Scotland since the iRC visited the country back in 2011.

Angus Lawrie and Paul Gribben are also out in a new car, having replaced the trusty Corsa with a Citroen C2 R2 MAX. There will also be a keen interest in Kevin Gray and Daniel Christie’s performance, as the pair make their long-awaited debut in a homebuilt Suzuki Swift.

The SRC Challengers is back for a fourth consecutive year in 2019, and this year is being sponsored by Albyn Garage Ltd. Previous champions include Scott McCombie, Michael Binnie and John Wink, so the pedigree of this championship is obvious.

Also returning is the SRC John Horton Star Driver Award, where one driver from each rally receives an entry into the hotly-contested end-of-season shoot-out with some invaluable driving tuition on offer to the winner.

The SRC Junior championship is also supported once again with a free entry into the Wales Rally GB National event and the same tuition that the Star Driver receives, making this a must-win title for any young driver.

All the action will be broadcast throughout the day on Facebook thanks to the support of Royal Aero. Driver’s emotions, reactions and results will be instantly available in the stage-end broadcasts while some in-stage footage will also be trialled, allowing the opening round of the SRC to be enjoyed by anyone across the world after just a few clicks.

The KNC Groundworks Ltd Scottish Rally Championship is supported by Royal Aero, Pirelli Motorsport, Moates Offshore Ltd, Albyn Garage Ltd, RAVENOL and Reis Motorsport Insurance.

Keep up to date with all the latest news via the championship's official website, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #SRC19.

Battle in the Borders: Scottish Rally Championship kicks off in Jedburgh

Posted: March 11, 2019 10:27 AM

The eagerly awaited Border Counties Rally will play host to the opening round of this years KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship this weekend as some of the quickest rally drivers in the country head to Jedburgh on Saturday (16th March).

Forced to take a sabbatical in 2018 due to severe weather across the North of the UK, the popular rally will welcome almost 80 crews to the region for 42 miles of competitive driving in the Kielder and South of Scotland forest stages.

Organised by Hawick and Border Car Club and Whickham and District Motor Club, the event has undergone a significant overhaul in 2019 which will feature new stages and format which will ensure both motorsport fans and competitors can enjoy a textbook day of rallying in some of the best forest stages in the country.

After the pre-event formalities on Friday 15th in Jedburgh, the rally will start under the town’s 12th Century Abbey at 8.30am on Saturday 16th March before crews head out to tackle six stages in the forests. In a change to previous years, the event will run the two-wheel-drive crews first on the road to allow them to take advantage of the best possible road conditions before the four-wheel-drive heavy hitters follow on behind.

After a full day in the forests, crews will begin to arrive in Abbey Place at around 16:00 with the now traditional Jedburgh Royal British Legion Pipe Band signalling the finish celebrations in the street.

Winning the National B event in 2017 allows two-time Scottish Rally Champion Jock Armstrong to have the coveted number one on the door this year. Joined by Cammy Fair, the Castle Douglas man will be aiming to take the hat-trick of titles this year and open his account with a repeat of two years ago in his Subaru Impreza.

The competition lining up to ruin that plan is impressive however, with Duns man Euan Thorburn being the favourite to un-hinge Armstrong. Two event wins so far this season in his Ford Focus WRC05 make him match fit and he will be guided by Paul Beaton, the pairing starting at car two.

Another Duns man, Garry Pearson, will be aiming his Fiesta R5 towards the front of the leader board at car three. Almost winning the event in 2016, Pearson only lost out to Armstrong on a tie-break so is no stranger to what is required to be at the head of the field on Saturday night. Welshman Dale Bowen sits alongside.

The WD40 team of Stephen Petch and Michael Wilkinson bring their potent Ford Fiesta WRC across the border from Durham, aiming to upset the apple-cart and nudge out the SRC runners to take victory. Three podiums on the event previously mean he is overdue that elusive victory.

Rounding out the top five are Donnie MacDonald and Andrew Falconer in their Fiesta R5. The Inverness based pairing make the trip south to the Borders and will be vying for the top spot in both the event and SRC standings.

A high-quality top ten contains 2015 podium spot crew Peter Taylor / Andrew Roughead in their Fiesta WRC, returning SRC challenger Mark McCulloch / Michael Hendry in their Fiesta R5. Recording his 13th start on the Border Counties Rally, Steve Bannister leads the two-wheel-drive contingent away but you`ll need to look down to 17th on the entry list to find him, such is the quality of the field.

Another notable entry comes from Alistair Brearley from Galashiels, co-driven by Paul Barbet in a Ford Escort MK2. Brearley won the event overall in 1973 & 1976 and was a popular sight on the stages of the Scottish Championship in a Vauxhall Chevette HSR and Metro 6R4.

Fans will have the opportunity to catch the action at two locations during the day. Near to Kielder Dam, SG Petch Pope’s Hill (Special Stage 2 and 4) takes place at 10 am and again at 12:47 pm. The Workwear Express Three Kings (Special Stage 3) takes place at 12:16 pm and can be accessed off the A68 near Byrness.

Seeded Entry List

Posted: March 11, 2019 7:20 AM

Competitors eager to sign up to new-look Border Counties Rally

Posted: March 7, 2019 4:20 AM

The popular Border Counties Rally will make its return to the British rallying calendar on 16th March, with many competitors eager to sign up to the event which was forced to take a sabbatical in 2018 due to severe weather across the North of the UK.

Jedburgh will once again play host to the Hawick and Border Car Club and Whickham and District Motor Club organised rally which sees an overhaul in 2019 including new stages and a different format for the 19th running of the event in the town.

The 12th Century Abbey will watch over the event as scrutineering, documentation and the ceremonial start take place under its shadow before crews head out to tackle six stages and 45 miles of competitive driving in the Kielder and South of Scotland forests.

Those fortunate to complete the event will be welcomed back to the Abbey with the now traditional pipe-band signalling their return for the finish celebrations.

In a shift to the running order from previous years, crews with two-wheel-drive cars will be able to sample some of the smoothest conditions in the Kielder forests as they will run first on the road before the main field follow closely behind.

Complimenting the shift in format, for the first time since 2014, the event will utilise stages in the north of the Kielder complex. The Forest Enterprise car park at Greenside will become the event service area and will be visited twice during the day.

The rally is the opening round of the 2019 KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship and they will be joined by the ANECCC SG Petch Rally Championship, C2 Ecosse Challenge, Border Challenge and HRCR Motoscope Northern Historic Rally Championship.

With entries open, a strong field of competitors has already committed to starting with many keen to sample some of the best stages in the North. As the only gravel rally based in the Scottish Borders, the Border Counties Rally provides a unique opportunity to compete in some iconic forests and two-time event winner Jock Armstrong has laid down his intentions early.

In a bid to secure a third Scottish title, Armstrong will bring his familiar Subaru Impreza to Jedburgh with co-driver Cammy Fair alongside.

Fellow double SRC champion and Duns resident Euan Thorburn has launched an early entry in his new Ford Focus WRC, co-driven by Paul Beaton whilst ANECCC Championship sponsor Stephen Petch will make the short trip north from Durham in his Ford Fiesta WRC, co-driven by Michael Wilkinson.

Some names from the past have also emerged on the list of entries so far, including Alistair Brearley who won the event twice in the 1970’s with an Opel Ascona and a ‘full house BDA’, returning with a Ford Escort Mk2 and Paul Barbet alongside.

Clerk of the course Clayton Lackenby is delighted to see the return of the rally in 2019.

“Of course, we were disappointed that we could not run the 2018 event due to the unprecedented wintery conditions we experienced in March, but safety is our number one priority,” he said.

“But we have created a fresh new look to the event this year and provide our crews with some fantastic stages and a great day’s rallying in some iconic forests. Jedburgh is the perfect host and we would like to thank all the townsfolk and businesses for embracing the rally once again. We will be delighted to welcome competitors and fans to the rally next month and everyone can be assured of a warm welcome in the Borders”.

Marshals are also required for the safe and smooth running of the event and Chief Marshal Guy Whickham would like to hear from anyone who is interested in volunteering either on or off the stages.

Entries Received / On Line Entry

Posted: February 7, 2019 4:03 PM

STATEMENT: BORDER COUNTIES RALLY

Posted: November 10, 2018 11:44 AM

The organisers of the Border Counties Rally have made the difficult decision not to continue as a round of the British Rally Championship in 2019. After successfully stepping in at short notice in 2017, the organisers planned a full BRC event over two days for 2018 however there was a shortfall in the number of entries received, resulting in the planned stage mileage being reduced. The event then suffered from severe weather which resulted in postponement and ultimately cancellation for 2018. The committee, from both organising clubs, Hawick & Border Car Club and Whickham & District Motor Club met to discuss the issues that arose during preparation for the rally and concluded that inclusion in the BRC was not the best fit for the event at this time. The organisers wish to thank the BRC for the opportunity of being included in the championship and wish them well for future. Plans are well advanced for next year’s event on 16th March and a full route survey has already taken place over stages in the south of Scotland and North Kielder forests. Roads are in excellent condition and the team look forward to welcoming crews from the SRC and many other championships to Jedburgh in 2019.

Event Website

Posted: November 10, 2018 11:44 AM

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