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Galloway Hills Rally - 30 Oct 11

Posted: February 21, 2012 2:49 PM - 7078 Hits


Posted: February 21, 2012 2:49 PM

Mark McCulloch celebrated his first ever outright rally win on the Armstrong Galloway Hills on Sunday, describing it as a "magic day" on one of his home events.

After three stages, the Newton Stewart driver was trailing rally sponsor Jock Armstrong by fifty-three seconds.

However, when the four times winner dropped out with turbo boost failure in his hired Mitsubishi Evo 9, it was left to McCulloch and co-driver Craig Wallace to keep it all together and aim for a victory.

They completed the five stages in a total time of 46m 06s, thirty-one seconds ahead of Stephen Petch Jnr and John Richardson in a Hyundai Accent WRC.

Third place - a further 48 seconds adrift - went to Newton Stewart's Craig McMiken and navigator Susan Shanks in a Mitsubishi Evo 9.

It was McMiken's third podium finish on the Galloway Hills, and his Elgin-based co-driver's first on any event - made all the more sweeter by the fact that she beat husband Neil who finished fourth alongside Chris Collie in a Subaru Impreza.

Following heavy rain the previous day, competitors were greeted by dry conditions, and even some blue sky, as they lined up in Castle Douglas for the start of the popular end of season event.

McCulloch pipped Armstrong on the first stage by a single second: the Castle Douglas man experiencing a "major moment" after missing a gear in his unfamiliar left-hand drive Evo, hired from Steve Petch. Third fastest time went to Petch Jnr, ahead of Irish gravel champion Pat O'Donnell in a Subaru Impreza.

Armstrong and navigator Kirsty Riddick were fastest through the second Cairn Edward stage but were then hit by a fuel pump problem coupled with a "smell of burning wiring". It resulted in the pair having to push the car from the street into service for some frantic repairs by the SGP Motorsport mechanics.

The Castle Douglas duo were 31 seconds faster than the rest through the third Dalbeattie stage, with McCulloch one of several competitors to lose time after picking up a puncture.

However, having built up a healthy lead, Armstrong's challenge was about to end: "We were heading out to Gatehouse, and as we turned off just a couple of miles before the stage the car started to misfire again, and we did another couple of miles on the road section and it stopped, and that was it".

It was now advantage McCulloch and Wallace and with victory in sight, they gave it their all.

"On the first stage this morning we thought we could do quite well because we were quicker than Jock by a second", said McCulloch: "I'm afraid that rather went to our heads because neither of us got going on the second stage and we set a terrible time. But we got it together and went into stage three and were going great and then got a puncture for three miles on the front and lost a barrow-load of time but the last two stages were perfect. We got a wee puncture on the rear in the last stage but believe me I didn't back off any. To do win on our third gravel event in this car is magic because it's a good home rally and it's been a good battle all day with a few guys round about us."

Petch Jnr brought his rather battered Hyundai back to the finish in Castle Douglas, disappointed that he was unable to capitalise on the drama at the front.

"It's been an entertaining day alright - we're lucky to be here to be honest', said Petch: ' I made two costly mistakes including a spin on the last stage which lost us 20 seconds. But hats off to the organisers - the stages were very enjoyable and fast flowing".

Craig McMiken, meanwhile, was well-pleased with his day's work. "It took the first couple of stages to settle in. We got through Dalbeattie alright, then had a great run through the last two. It's been a really enjoyable day ' a great event with fantastic stages. The sun has also been shining, which is something a bit different for the Galloway Hills".

Aberdeen's Chris Collie suffered two punctures which hindered his progress on his way to fourth: otherwise he was showing the kind of pace which has impressed in this year's Scottish Rally Championship.

Having finished eighth on the Merrick Stages on his first visit to Galloway, Northern Ireland's Liam Regan, co-driven by Damien Duffin, followed up with a fine fifth overall in his 4WD Mitsubishi Evo-powered Peugeot 206.

Richard Dickson and Sanny Dobie recorded their third top ten finish in as many years taking sixth overall, ten seconds ahead of the class-winning Toyota Starlet of Irish crew Shane McGirr and Steven O'Hanlon.

Kilmarnock's Andrew Gallacher, with Phil Sandham on the notes, was just a second further back at the wheel of his Subaru Impreza and also won his class, te gearbox problems towards the end.

Despite two offs, Allan McDowall and Gavin Heseltine finished ninth overall in their Opel Kadett, ahead of Iain Paterson and Jim Haugh in their Subaru Impreza, which earlier had suffered boost problems.

There were also class wins for Ayrshire's Blair and Alex McCulloch, who ended the day 16th overall in their Vauxhall Nova; Gareth White and Callum Atkinson in a Citreon C2R2 who were 20th; and Garry Smith and Mark Robertson in their VW Polo, who were 32nd out of 38 classified finishers.

It proved to be a day of high attrition ' with Armstrong and O'Donnell heading a list of twenty-one non-finishers.


Posted: November 28, 2011 10:50 AM

1 Mark McCulloch (Newton Stewart)/Craig Wallace (Kirriemuir) Subaru Impreza 46m 06s
2 Stephen Petch (Hamsterley)/John Richardson (Northallerton) Hyundai Accent WRC 46.37
3 Craig McMiken (Newton Stewart)/Susan Shanks (Elgin) Mitsubishi Evo 9 47.25
4 Chris Collie (Aberdeen)/Neil Shanks (Elgin) Subaru Impreza 47.27
5 Liam Regan (Belfast)/Damien Duffin (Rasharkin) Peugeot 206 47.55
6 Richard Dickson (New Abbey)/SannyDobie (Castle Douglas) Subaru Impreza 48.28
7 Shane McGirr (Fivemiletown)/Steven O'Hanlon (Ballygawley) Toyota Starlet 48.38
8 Andrew Gallacher (Kilmarnock)/Phil Sandham (Carnforth) Subaru Impreza 48.39
9 Allan McDowall (Tarbolton)/Gavin Heseltine (Gilberdyke) Opel Kadett 48.51
10 Ian Paterson (Dumfries)/Jim Haugh (Stranraer) Subaru Impreza 49.27
11 Mickey McGillin (Omagh)/Aaron Johnston (Finton) Ford Escort 50.11
12 Peter Stewart (Lochfoot)/Phil Shortt (Dumfries) Subaru Impreza 50.43
13 Brendan Campbell (Trillin)/Ciaran McAnespy (Derrylin) Ford Escort Mk2 50.54
14 Robert Adamson (Kilmarnock)/Dick Wardle (York) Ford Escort RS 1800 51.06
15 Richard Stewart (Lochfoot)/Carin Logan (Kelso) Subaru Impreza 51.25
16 Blair McCulloch (Drongan)/Alex McCulloch (Drongan) Vauxhall Nova 51.31
17 Derek Crossen (Comber)/Peter Martin (Co Antrim) Mitsubishi Evo 6 51.31
18 Lee Hastings (Collin)/Brian Findon (Dumfries) Subaru Impreza 51.36
19 Jimmy Donnelly (Enniskillen)/Fabian McAleer (Enniskillen) Subaru Impreza 52.05
20 Gareth White (Melrose)/Callum Atkinson (Lauder) Citreon C2R2 52.54


Posted: October 25, 2011 11:36 AM

A quality field, headed by four-times winner and event sponsor Jock Armstrong and co-driver Kirsty Riddick, will line up for the start of the Galloway Hills Rally in Castle Douglas on Sunday.

The popular end-of-season challenge, which has been brought forward from its traditional December date, has attracted leading competitors from Scotland, England and Ireland.

They will tackle five classic forest stages, totalling around 42 miles.

With his Subaru Impreza still sidelined after crashing out on the Speyside Stages in August, Armstrong will take to the wheel of an unfamiliar Mitsubishi Evo 9, as he aims to become the first driver to win the event five times.

The Castle Douglas ace has been lent the car by Yorkshire-based Steve Petch of SGP Motorsport, whose son Stephen starts second in a Hyundai Accent WRC, co-driven by John Richardson.

"I look forward to the Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally every year - it's my favourite event", said Armstrong: "With my own car still being re-shelled following the Speyside accident, Steve has very kindly lent me an Evo. It's left-hand drive, which should make things interesting for the first couple of miles! However, both Kirsty and I are really looking forward to the weekend – it would be hard to find smoother stages anywhere in Scotland".

Third seed Chris Collie has impressed in the MSA Scottish Rally Championship this season in his Subaru Impreza with four top-ten finishes. The Aberdeen-based drilling engineer, who'll be co-driven by the experienced Neil Shanks from Elgin, finished sixth in the overall drivers' standings.

Ex-Irish champion Pat O'Connell and co-driver Mark Wiley in a Mitsubishi Evo 9 head a twelve-strong Northern Ireland contingent who will make the ferry crossing to Stranraer thanks to continued support from Stenaline.

Two local drivers – Mark McCulloch from Newton Stewart and New Abbey's Richard Dickson – will be chasing a podium place in their respective Subaru Imprezas.

McCulloch and co-driver Craig Wallace have only contested three rallies in their ex-Sara Williams Impreza, but powered to an impressive ten overall on the Merrick Stages in September, after taking the runners-up spot on the Solway Coast the previous month.

Dickson, meanwhile, with navigator Sanny Dobie, has a strong record on the Galloway Hills: clinching the final podium spot last year following a fourth place finish in 2008.

Belfast's Liam Regan, co-driven by Damien Duffin, will be one to watch in his 4-wheel drive Mitsubishi-powered Peugeot 206. It proved to be one of the "star cars" of the Merrick Stages, where he finished a very creditable eighth overall on his first visit to Galloway.

Ian Paterson and Jim Haugh will be another local crew looking to mix it at the sharp end of the leaderboard in front of home support.

Paterson, who took his Subaru Impreza to fourth overall in 2010, starts one ahead of Newton Stewart's Craig McMiken – who in the past four years has finished second, third, fifth and seventh in his Mitsubishi Evo 9.

The top ten is rounded off by Port William crew Fraser Wilson and Steven Broll who have shown steady improvement in their Mitsubishi Evo 6 since switching to 4-wheel drive at the start of the 2011 Scottish championship campaign. It culminated with a twelfth overall and Group N honours on the final Colin McRae Stages round earlier this month.

The leading 2-wheel drive competitor – seeded eleventh - is Northern Ireland's Shane McGirr who finished sixth overall in 2009 in his 1600cc Toyota Starlet. With the engine now boosted to 2000cc, some good times are expected.

Jim Sharp from Stranraer goes into the weekend fresh from a fine fifth overall in his Subaru Impreza on last Sunday's UTS Cheviot Keith Knox Rally.

Meanwhile, 2010 Scottish Junior Champion Peter Stewart and dad Richard will be looking for a strong family finish in their respective Subaru Imprezas.

Peter and navigator Phil Shortt are seeded at No 15, while Richard, co-driven by Carin Logan from Kelso, starts a further eight places back, one ahead of the Impreza of Stuart Paterson and Colin Maxwell.

There are no fewer than thirteen Ford Escorts of varying spec in the line up – headed by experienced Irish crew Paul McErlean and Niall McKenna.

Among the local Escort competitors, Castle Douglas navigator Michael Baird will be on the notes for Dingwall’s Charlie Munro in a Mk 2, while Dumfries' Roy Eide-Johansen, with Mark Simpson from Moffatt navigating, will field his impeccable Mk 1.

Iain Haining and co-driver Mairi Riddick will be targeting class honours in their Vauxhall Nova, following an excellent championship campaign where they finished runners-up. However, they are likely to face stiff competition from Ayrshire's Blair and Alex McCulloch, also in a Nova, who took third place in the championship, while father and son Donald and Scott Peacock from Castle Douglas will also be aiming for a strong finish in the same class in their Peugeot 205.

Penpont's Jim Robertson, with daughter Claire on the notes, will again go head to head with fellow Citreon C2R2 competitor Gareth White from Melrose.

The pair have battled it out in Class 4 in the SRC all year, with White and navigator Mike Dickson winning the category, and Robertson having to settle for fourth after a couple of retirements. However, only seven points separated the two at season's end.

Callum and Ian Bendall from Castle Douglas will also be competing on their local event in a Ford Ka and Vauxhall Corsa respectively.

The rally, which is jointly organised by Solway, Machars and East Ayrshire car clubs, will start from the Market Hill in Castle Douglas at 08:31, before heading to the first stage THISTLE INN CROSSMICHAEL Glengap at 09:02.

That is followed by the MARCHBANK BAKERS THORNHILL Cairn Edward at 09:37.

Competitors will then return to Castle Douglas for a service break at the Market Yard from 10:20 - 11:00.

The R.EARSMAN LTD Dalbeattie stage will follow at 11:22, followed by a re-run of stages 1 and 2 at 12:34 and 13:09 respectively. All times are for Car 1.

Spectator information can be found on the event website

Seeded Entry List

Posted: October 24, 2011 1:54 PM

No Driver / CoDriver (Car) [Class]
1 Jock Armstrong / Kirsty Riddick (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo) [10]
2 Stephen Petch / John Richardson (Hyundai Accent WRC) [10]
3 Chris Collie / Neil Shanks (Subaru Impreza) [10]
4 Pat O'Connell / Mark Wiley (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [3]
5 Mark McCulloch / Craig Wallace (Subaru Impreza) [10]
6 Richard Dickson / Sanny Dobie (Subaru Impreza) [10]
7 Liam Regan / Damien Duffin (Peugeot 206) [10]
8 Ian Paterson / Jim Haugh (Subaru Impreza) [10]
9 Craig McMiken / TBA (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [10]
10 Fraser Wilson / Steven Broll (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6) [10]
11 Shane McGirr / Steven O'Hanlon (Toyota Starlet) [9]
12 Jim Sharp / TBA (Subaru Impreza) [3]
14 Paul McErlean / Niall McKenna (Ford Escort Mk II) [9]
15 Peter Stewart / Phil Shortt (Subaru Impreza) []
16 Jimmy Donnelly / Fabian McAleer (Subaru Impreza) [3]
17 Lee Hastings / Brian Findon (Subaru Impreza) [10]
18 Colin Gemmell / Paula Swinscoe (Subaru Impreza) [10]
19 Allan McDowall / Gavin Heseltine (Opel Kadett) [9]
20 Ronan Campbell / Paul Corry (Ford Escort Mk II) [9]
21 Entrant: Jordan Road Surfacing (Ford Escort Mk II) [9]
21 Barry Jordan / James Gratton-Smith (Ford Escort Mk II) []
22 Matthew Robinson / Nigel Hutchinson (Ford Escort Mk II) [10]
23 Richard Stewart / Carin Logan (Subaru Impreza) []
24 Stuart Paterson / Colin Maxwell (Subaru Impreza) [10]
25 Mickey McGillin / Aaron Johnston (Ford Escort) [10]
26 Ross Cree / Billy Gower (Subaru Impreza) [10]
27 Iain Haining / Mairi Riddick (Vauxhall Nova) [8]
28 Blair McCulloch / Alex McCulloch (Vauxhall Nova) [8]
29 Derek Crossen / Peter Martin (Mitsubishi Evo 6) [6]
30 Robert Adamson / Dick Wardle (Ford Escort RS 1800) [9]
31 Gareth White / Mike Dickson (Citroen C2R2) []
32 Brendan Campbell / Ciaran McAnespy (Ford Escort Mk II) [9]
33 Ross McFadzean / Scott Thomson (Subaru Impreza) [10]
34 Jim Robertson / Claire Robertson (Citroen C2R2) [4]
35 Callum Bendall / Richard Millener (Ford KA) [7]
36 Stephen Baxter / Paul Corry (Ford Fiesta R2) [4]
37 Greg Pollock / Michael Cruikshank (Ford Escort Mk I) [8]
38 George Bryson / Jacqueline Bryson (Ford Escort Twincam) []
39 Charlie Munro / Michael Baird (Ford Escort Mk II) [8]
40 Scott McMinn / Stephen Marshall (Subaru Impreza) [10]
41 Donald Peacock / Scott Peacock (Peugeot 205) [8]
42 Neil Wallace / John Wallace (Talbot Sunbeam) [8]
43 Andrew Ritchie / Gordon Ritchie (Ford Escort RS Mk II) [9]
44 Roland Wessel / Malcolm Vie (Lancia Delta Integrale) [10]
45 Ronald Horne / Wayne Horne (Subaru Impreza) [10]
46 Billy Thomson / Jim Little (Mitsubishi Evo 9) [3]
47 Alan Forrest / Christine Brown (Subaru Impreza) [10]
48 Ian Bendall / Richard Barber-Fleming (Vauxhall Corsa) [8]
49 Leroy Mills / Robert Fyffe (Vauxhall Corsa) [7]
50 Ian Henry / James McDermott (Peugeot 206) [4]
51 Douglas Watt / Donald Munro (Ford Escort) [8]
52 Michael Hunter / James McWhir (Lada Samara) [8]
53 Darren Martin / Martin Steele (Ford Escort Cosworth) [10]
54 Roy Eide-Johansen / Mark Simpson (Ford Escort Mk I) [9]
55 Garry Russell / Peter Linton (Peugeot 309 GTi) [9]
56 David Alexander / John Ireland Frew (Vauxhall Nova) [8]
57 David Coleman / Josh Davidson (Skoda Felicia) [7]

Entries Received

Posted: October 19, 2011 9:45 AM

Available on the event website:

Details from the Event Sponsor!

Posted: September 27, 2011 12:00 PM

"What are you doing on Sunday 30th October? Nothing…? Well come on down to Castle Douglas, for my favourite event of the year, the Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally!

There will be approximately 42 stage miles, all forestry, linked by less than 80 road miles, and at £435 it is the cheapest entry fee for a gravel event in Scotland this year! There are no other ‘hidden extras’ either – all Service and Management packs are free.

The rally will start and finish in Castle Douglas, where all pre-event checks and centralised servicing will take place too. Things will kick off at 08:30am, and will be finished by 2pm, so there will be no late finishes and we’ll all be in the pub / on the boat home / back in Inverness by teatime - HAPPY DAYZ!

Stenaline will once again be supporting the event by offering special ferry rates to Irish competitors. The compact nature of the event and early finish time means that crews from across the Irish Sea can catch either the 17:30 Navigator or 19:55 HSS sailings from Stranraer to Belfast.

My good friend Bill Sturrock of ‘Scotmaps’ will be providing Routenotes and DVD of the stages, and he has told me that the stages are in a “fantastic” condition.

Without being biased, the Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally is my favourite rally and I look forward to it every year. I spent nearly 10 years trying to win the event - usually ending on my roof or minus a wheel, and normally because my big sister Barbara was beating me! J Thankfully now, I am a bit more sensible… [Nobody mention the Speyside!! http://twitpic.com/6qzwzs ]

As proud sponsors for over a decade, my family and I are very fond of this rally and wouldn’t want to see it fall foul to a lack of entries as has happened on so many rallies lately. As this event isn’t in a championship, it needs your support. We all go to some other events in Scotland because we ‘have’ to – but it would be nice to think that people come to the Armstrong Galloway Hills because they ‘want’ to!

WRC star Kris Meeke won this event back in ’01 and ’02 and now someone has given him a MINI WRC to drive – and David Bogie won in ’07 and he is now a multiple BRC/SRC Champion - so you never know, come along and win on 30th October and the world’s your oyster!!

So don’t delay – enter today! "

Jock Armstrong
Sponsor, Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally

Regulations / On Line Entry / Ferry Deals

Posted: September 26, 2011 12:49 PM

Available at:

Flyer / Poster

Posted: September 13, 2011 4:39 PM

Event Website

Posted: September 13, 2011 4:38 PM

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