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Argyll Stages Rally - (Sat) 23 Jun 18

Posted: November 13, 2018 10:12 AM - 2041 Hits

Round 5 - 2018 Scottish Rally Championship

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Posted: November 13, 2018 10:12 AM


Posted: November 13, 2018 10:02 AM

Ross Hughes has been named the winner of the SRC John Horton Star Driver Award for round four of the 2018 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship (SRC), the Dunoon Presents Argyll Rally.

Hughes and co-driver Steven Brown were running inside the top 15 and second in their class before a gearbox issue ruled their Citroen C2 out of the event on the final stage. Despite competing in a vastly under-powered, their impressive stage times and determination to try and reach the end of the rally meant they were handed the fourth Star Driver Award of the season.

Hughes fought off competition from fellow nominees Ally Currie and Michael Binnie to join Paddy Munro, Marty Scott and Angus Lawrie in an end-of-season shoot-out for the chance to receive a day’s tuition alongside legendary British Rally champion Tapio Laukkanen.

“You don’t expect a prestigious award like this to come your way,” said a delighted Hughes.

“It was nice enough to be nominated at the Scottish, so I certainly didn’t expect this to come round again when you bear in mind who we are competing against, there are so many good drivers in the SRC.

“I am pleasantly surprised as we didn’t make the finish of the rally so it’s nice to see that our performance hasn’t been ignored. Everyone puts so much effort into this sport so it’s great to know that people are watching over our shoulders to see how we are getting on.

“It may be called the Star Driver Award but it’s so about so much more than the two names on the side of the car. Rallying is such a team sport with so much hard work going on behind the scenes, so a special thanks has to go to my co-driver Steven as you can’t go quickly without a good navigator. My mechanic Ian McCulloch also changed our driveshaft in 10 minutes at service which was unbelievable and we had lots of friends and family out supporting us so it was an amazing day.”

Hughes has only been competing for two and a half years, making his debut on the Border Counties Rally in 2016 with no real expectations. The opportunity to potentially receive tuition from anybody let alone a former national champion is therefore a rather appealing prospect.

“I’ve never been taught or shown any tips or tricks of how to go faster behind the wheel,” explained Hughes.

“To get somebody alongside you and tell you where you can improve can only push you onto that next step. We are always trying to go quicker but it’s getting harder and harder to find some more seconds without putting it in a ditch, so to get some tuition would be brilliant.”

Hughes wasn’t the only driver with plenty to celebrate after the Dunoon Presents Argyll Rally, with many others tasting success in the classes.

Despite picking up several punctures throughout the day, Niall Cowan Jr and Thomas Bruce brought their MG ZR home first in Class 1. Rivals Scott Sloan / Shannon Turnbull, Scott Peacock / Robin Neil and Steven Crockett / Martin Henderson all failed to make the end of what was a tough event.

Tom Howie and Charlie MacKenzie netted the Class 2 and Junior win in their Talbot Sunbeam, with Jamie Stewart and Kevin Mollison grabbing second in their Peugeot 106. Donald Peacock and Albert Connelly were pre-event favourites but retired after SS3 with driveshaft woes.

Keith and Kirsty Riddick took a dominant Class 3 win in their MG ZR, with Nikki Addison and Rachel Matheson taking a superb second in their Peugeot 106. Ross Hughes and Steven Brown were poised to take second in class only for their gearbox issues to stop them in the final stage.

Fraser MacNicol and Andy Brown took another Class 4 win in their Ford Escort Mk2, edging out the similar car of Jim Robertson and Mike Curry. Douglas Watt and Mark Grierson made it an all-Escort podium with third in class.

David and Douglas Cameron took the historic and Class 5 win in their Escort Mk2, beating last year’s Class champions Ian and Sandy Milne who finished second in their Ford after incurring a 14 minute penalty.

Ally Currie and Grant MacNiven were battling Grant MacRae and Martin Bruce for the Class 6 honours, but both Ford Fiesta STs failed to make the finish with Currie breaking a steering arm and MacRae leaving the road in SS5.

Paul McErlean and Niall McKenna put in a strong drive to take the Class 7 win in their Ford Escort Mk2. Steven and Mary Wood brought their unique rear-wheel-drive Ford Fiesta home in second with John Brownie and Gordon Ritchie rounding out the podium in their Opel Kadett.

Greg McKnight and Harry Marchbank sealed a dominant Class 8 victory in their Ford Escort, beating the similar car of Gordon Murray and David O’Brien by over three minutes. Keith Robathan and Phil Sandam grabbed third in their BMW M3.

Michael Binnie and Claire Mole stormed to the Class 9 win in their Mitsubishi Evo IX, ahead of the similar car of John McClory and David Hood. Ian Baumgart and Dave Robson secured third in their Subaru Impreza.

Bruce McCombie and Michael Coutts scooped up the Class 10 spoils as well as an outright podium with third overall. Scott McCombie and Murray Strachan took second while Alan Dickson and Martin Forrest ensured it was an all Mitsubishi Evo IX affair on the class podium with third.

Andrew Gallacher and Jane Nicol notched up the Class 11 win on their way to the overall rally win in their Ford Focus WRC. Donnie MacDonald and Jamie Edwards were a close second in their Ford Fiesta R5+ while Fred Milne and Abi Loudon took third in their Subaru Impreza S14 WRC.

The SRC now heads into its summer break with the overall championship and several other class battles finely poised ahead of the final two rounds in Banchory and Castle Douglas.

The 2018 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship is partnered by Pirelli Motorsport, Reis Motorsport Insurance and KNC Groundworks Ltd.

The championship consists of seven forest events across Scotland, taking in over 300 competitive stage miles.

The next round of the SRC is the Grampian Forest Rally on Saturday 11th August.

Keep up to date with all the latest news via the website, Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #SRC18.

Gallacher/Nicol win classic Dunoon Presents Argyll Rally battle

Posted: November 13, 2018 9:50 AM

The Dunoon Presents Argyll Rally (23rd June) sped into the region this weekend, as a titanic battle for victory developed in the forests surrounding Dunoon, eventually going to the Ford Focus WRC crew of Andrew Gallacher and Jane Nicol.

Inverness pilot Donnie MacDonald and co-driver Jamie Edwards took a mightily close second spot with Bruce McCombie (Banchory) grabbing a well earned final podium position in his ageing Mitsubishi Evo IX with Michael Coutts alongside.

A new format would greet some 60 competitors who made the trip to Argyll and Bute to contest round four of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship. With two-wheel-drive crews running first on the road, the overall victors would endure very different conditions to what they are used to and a big crowd assembled at Dunoon Pier on Saturday morning to watch the cars being flagged away from the start.

Organised by Mull Car Club and promoted by Dunoon Presents and local businesses, eight stages and 45 miles of special stages would lie ahead for assembled crews who had travelled from across the UK to contest the rally.

A loop of three stages in the Glenbranter area kicked off the event, with the Bishops Glen stage in Dunoon offering some great action for the thousands of spectators which lined the route to watch the action. Rally HQ, event service and the ceremonial finish would all be housed at Dunoon Stadium during the weekend.

First of the high-profile crews to depart from the fray were pre-event favourites Jock Armstrong (Castle Douglas) and Cammy Fair who failed to emerge from stage one after an off in their Subaru Impreza. This left Fiesta R5 driver Rory Young to take the lead of the rally after the opening test.

However, Young’s rally, like fellow Fiesta driver Mark McCulloch’s, would end on a tricky stage three leaving MacDonald and Gallacher to embark on an intense battle throughout the day for the top step of the podium.

Gallacher (Hurlford) took advantage of the misfortunes of several front-runners during the opening loop of stages to lead the event at the halfway point, before a nip-and-tuck battle developed between him and Ford Fiesta R5 pilot Donnie MacDonald (Inverness). MacDonald and co-driver Jamie Edwards fought tirelessly throughout the day, but a stall and a puncture hampered progress.

That would leave Gallacher to keep his nose clean and take a well-deserved Argyll Rally win, ensuring the Scottish Championship title chase remains wide open into the summer break.

“It was a real surprise to win here this weekend as the competition was so very strong but we just found a pace we were happy with and stuck to it” said Gallacher at the finish podium.

”The stages were great and had a real mix, some tight and twisty technical stuff and some flat out driving. But you really had to be inch perfect most of the day as you have quite easily come unstuck. I struggled to find my way on the first loop but we got it together and grabbed the win”.

McCombie was delighted with third overall, his first podium in well over a year but he would have to work hard for it. Such was the closeness of the day, Fred Milne and Abi Laudon’s late entry earned them an equal fourth overall, tied on times with John Wink and John Forrest in their Hyundai i20 R5. Each crew narrowly missing out on a podium during the final loop of stages.

Clerk of the course Chris Woodcock is overjoyed at the response from the weekend’s event.
“I’ve talked to the crews at the finish and they are still buzzing from the rally today, each and every one of them have loved the stages” he said.

“We tried a new format this year and have had a great mix of classic tests which echo back to the 70’s when they rallied here as well as some new ones and it really has been a great move. The drivers have had a real challenge this weekend, but they are also delighted with the hospitality from the town and residents too. I must say a huge thank you to Dunoon Presents for their support and of course the people of Dunoon. Hopefully next year we can bring even more competitors to the area to sample these amazing forests”.

The rally is backed by Dunoon Presents and the local community, all of which make the event possible. It is a qualifying round of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship, the Ecosse Challenge, the SD34 MSG Stage Rally Championship, the ANWCC Stage Rally Championship, the SG Petch ANECCC Stage Rally Championship and the SD34 MSG Inter Club League.


Posted: November 13, 2018 9:47 AM

Andrew Gallacher and Jane Nicol have returned to the top of the 2018 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship (SRC) standings with victory on round four of the series, the Dunoon Presents Argyll Rally.

Donnie MacDonald, who led the SRC standings heading to Argyll, finished just five seconds behind Gallacher’s Ford Focus WRC in second place with Bruce McCombie and Michael Coutts completing the podium with third.

The SRC was welcomed back to Dunoon for just the second time in the last decade, and the mix of classic tests and fresh challenges providing a stern test for the competitors as they battled with the changing levels of grip.

Rory Young, fresh from a podium on the RSAC Scottish Rally, was the first to establish an advantage, building up a 13 second lead after stage two in his Ford Fiesta R5. He and Allan Cathers wouldn’t emerge from SS3 however after getting stuck in a ditch and left with no choice but to retire from the event.

Young’s demise opened the door for several honours, and with pre-event favourite Jock Armstrong and Cameron Fair exiting the contest as early as stage one and Mark McCulloch and Michael Hendry also retiring on stage three as they battled with power steering failure, the battle for victory was blown wide open.

MacDonald and new co-driver Jamie Edwards took over the lead from Young but were soon trailing Gallacher and Nicol, MacDonald frustrated by losing time with an unexpected stall.

Gallacher was on a mission of his own however, consistently punching in quick times to hold the lead and never relinquish it. He headed into the final test just four seconds ahead of MacDonald’s Fiesta R5+ but extended that gap to five at the finish.

“We came here with Jock, Rory, Mark and the rest to beat so were expecting it to be a tough rally, but they had some bad luck and we never did so a good steady run got us here to the end,” Gallacher admitted.

“I struggled to get into the first three stages as we hadn’t done a test or anything before but by stage four we were more warmed up and ready to fight, and we managed to keep it together to the end.”

This result puts Gallacher provisionally top of the standings with two victories to his name. The turn of speed coupled to the misfortune for some of his rivals has put him in a strong position ahead of the final two rounds.

“After today it’s [the championship] certainly looking good. Jock and Mark were going for it and were probably good candidates but they seem to have run out of dropped scores, so it could be a good fight with Donnie and Bruce [McCombie] to the end.”

MacDonald’s second position was the best result of his season, but the Inverness driver was left disappointed after feeling he had thrown the rally away through minor errors.

“We stalled on the start line of the final stage, and only lost one second through the test,” MacDonald revealed.

“We should’ve won the rally by about 30 seconds, but it is what it is. This R5 and I didn’t get on last year but we are definitely getting there now which is very encouraging.

“I thought Mark [McCulloch] was the favourite going into today, but now I think the championship is going to be a straight fight between Andrew and I. We can’t get too caught up in all that talk though, so will approach each rally on an event by event basis.

“Jamie and I have got on really well today, he was superb. With Andrew [Falconer]’s commitments with the final two events we should have Jamie with us for the rest of the season.”

McCombie and Coutts enjoyed a good battle with the Hyundai i20 R5 of John Wink and John Forrest in their Mitsubishi Evo IX. The Banchory driver managed to avoid trouble and grab his first SRC podium since 2015 with a drive that keeps him well inside the championship hunt.

“Third isn’t too bad,” smiled McCombie at the finish.

“The car did very well as it took a lot of hits but the stages were quite nice to drive. The last stage was an absolute cracker as we could really attack it and that suits our kind of car. Some of the new ones were green which made it slippery but it was a great rally, and to grab a podium against the WRCs and R5s is fantastic.”

Fred Milne and Abi Louden took fourth overall after securing a late deal to drive a Subaru Impreza S14 WRC on the event. Switching from the S12B he has driven for the rest of the year, Milne was looking good for a podium only for a puncture to set him back, dropping him two seconds behind McCombie.

Wink and Forrest brought their Hyundai home fifth, equal on time with Milne but behind due to Milne being faster in the opening stage. They finished ahead of the battle of the SRC Challengers champions, with Michael Binnie and Claire Mole’s Evo IX sixth ahead of the similar machine of Scott McCombie and Murray Strachan coming home seventh.

Also in Evo IXs, John McClory and David Hood took eighth overall ahead of Alan Dickson and Martin Forrest, with the Subaru Impreza of Ian Baumgart and Dave Robson rounding out the top 10.

Greg McKnight missed out on a top 10 finish by just three seconds as he romped to Scottish 2WD win number four of the season. Co-driven by Harry Marchbank, the Ford Escort Mk2 headed a good fight between Keith and Kirsty Riddick (MG ZR) and Paul McErlean and Niall McKenna (Ford Escort Mk2). Riddick was ahead all day before dropping behind with a puncture, with a brilliant recovery drive netting him second by a mere three seconds.

John Wink’s fifth place secured him the win in the SRC Challengers, with Alan Dickson netting second place ahead of Paul McErlean.

Tom Howie topped the Juniors on the event in his Talbot Sunbeam after Ally Currie retired his Ford Fiesta ST, ahead of Niall Cowan Jr (MG ZR) and Nikki Addison (Peugeot 106).

Used Car Parts Subaru Cup honours went to John McIlwraith after chief rival Brett McKenzie retired in the wake of an off road excursion on stage four.

Two rounds remain in the 2018 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship, with the battle set to go down to the wire on the Galloway Hills Rally. Up next is the Grampian Forest Rally on Saturday 12th August.


Posted: November 13, 2018 9:46 AM

Seeded Entry List

Posted: June 21, 2018 6:43 AM

Dunoon Presents Argyll Rally is GO!

Posted: June 14, 2018 5:32 AM

Organisers of the 2018 Dunoon Presents Argyll Rally have confirmed the event will definitely go ahead on 23rd June despite not reaching the minimum number required to make the event financially viable.

Supported by Dunoon Presents, local businesses and residents, Mull Car Club has reinforced the message that the rally will run, in the hope of encouraging further entries to the region.

The event is the fourth round of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship and is also a qualifying round of the Ecosse Challenge, the SD34 MSG Stage Rally Championship, the ANWCC Stage Rally Championship, the SG Petch ANECCC Stage Rally Championship and the SD34 MSG Inter Club League.

The Dunoon based rally returned for the first time in 13 years in 2017 and continues to utilise forest stages which echo back to its extensive heritage. Eight tests will form the 45-mile route, taking in classic forest stages such as Glenbranter and Beinn Lagan, similar to those used back in the 1970’s when it was part of the British Championship. They will be complemented by some brand new stages as part of the route.

This year, competitors in two-wheel drive cars will be able to take advantage of some of the best road conditions, thanks to being able to run at the front of the field. The event will make history as the first in the UK to run all two-wheel drive cars at the head of the pack in a single field format since it was outlawed several years ago.

Despite adopting new stages, a cost-effective format and high-quality roads for 2018, the event has seen entries slow in the past few weeks and Clerk of the Course Chris Woodcock is eager to ensure competitors can be confident the event will be going ahead.

“We have listened to all the feedback from last years competitors and have done all we can to address those comments this year,” he says.

“Everything is lined up for a fantastic rally and the stages look amazing. We are disappointed with the level of entries, but we are totally committed to run the rally and ensure the competitors in the Scottish Rally Championship and other series can enjoy what we have to offer here in Argyll. I`d also like to extend our thanks to Dunoon Presents and the community for its continued support and we look forward to seeing everyone on 23rd June”.

ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship Chairman Gordon Adam is encouraged by the decision.

“It’s a real shame that more crews haven’t entered the Argyll Rally so far as they have a great event lined up, but we (the Championship) are delighted that Chris and the team are pressing ahead regardless and they have our full support,” he says.

“It’s a very difficult time for event organisers across the UK and entry levels are not just a focus of concern in Scotland. Mull Car Club have looked at that and worked hard to bring the two wheel drive's to the front in a bid to encourage entries but it’s still been a very slow take-up.

We would encourage anyone who was thinking of entering to support the event and get in touch with the organisers. The championship is shaping up to be a fantastic battle with just a handful of points separating the top five so we are excited to see what happens in Dunoon.”

Online entry is now available alongside event regulations on the website:

Entries Received / On Line Entry / Regulations / Details

Posted: May 12, 2018 4:23 AM

On Line Entry:

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