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Galloway Hills Rally - (Sat) 10 Sep 16

Posted: June 14, 2017 9:16 AM - 4195 Hits

Round 7 - 2016 Scottish Rally Championship

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Posted: June 14, 2017 9:16 AM


Posted: June 14, 2017 9:12 AM

The 2016 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship reached its conclusion on the Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally on 10 September, and it was defending champion Jock Armstrong who took his second consecutive Scottish Championship title.

The rally, based in Armstrong’s home town of Castle Douglas, took in 42 competitive stage miles in the Dumfries & Galloway forests, and was the sixth and final round of the 2016 Scottish Rally Championship.

Garry Pearson (Ford Fiesta R5) and Jock Armstrong (Subaru Impreza) headed to the southwest event 3 points apart in the Duns driver’s favour, and the battle lived up to the hype with the pair being separated by just seven seconds after the first batch of stages. Pearson was understandably the happier after the first loop, with Armstrong looking rather subdued, vowing to do all he could to stop the R5 driver.

Jock duly responded, as he and Paula Swinscoe opened up a 12 second lead following the 6.6 miles of SS5 Cairn Edward.

Tantalisingly the final test of the entire season, SS6, would ultimately prove decisive in who would be crowned the 2016 Scottish Rally Champion.

Armstrong held the lead but second for Pearson would be enough for him to win his first ever SRC title, but cruelly for Garry and co-driver Robbie Mitchell, their Fiesta which never let them down all year decided enough was enough, with the engine manifold breaking and melting the rocker cover in the M-Sport machine.

Jock, co-driven by Paula Swinscoe, was left unchallenged at the top of the leaderboard to take his eight win on the Galloway Hills Rally and his second consecutive Scottish title. At the finish in Castle Douglas, the now double champion said:
“It’s quite a nice feeling to be called a two-time Scottish Champion!
“It’s been pretty hard today and in fact all year with Garry, it’s been a good battle and it’s just a shame today he’s gone out with reliability problems, but to get the championship you’ve got to complete all the rounds.
“It’s been a fantastic pace today, had a really brilliant day despite a few moments but they’re nothing I can’t correct for next year.”

The new champion also promised he would be celebrating in style.
“I’ve got a party planned down the street; there’ll be plenty drink and if you want to eat, which is cheating, you can have something to eat as well!”

After Pearson’s demise before the final stage, everybody behind moved up a place, meaning Wigton driver Mike Faulkner and co-driver Peter Foy claimed a season best second overall in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX.

Mike was once again absolutely on it in the forests, and another podium was the perfect way to round off his 2016 season.

At the end of SS6, Faulkner said:
“It’s been good, nice stages today and we’ve finished best of the rest, which is the best we can do. It’s good to be on the podium.”

Coming home third and delivering on his promise of a podium before the season was out was local man Mark McCulloch with co-driver Michael Hendry in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX.

McCulloch had a relatively slow start after taking a while to “wake up” following late dramas prior to the event with the Mitsubishi misfiring and then suffering from a faulty injector, but he started to eat away at Faulkner’s advantage after service to finish just 11 seconds back in third.

Mark said at the end of the final stage:
“This afternoon’s been great, we’ve just missed out on beating Mike. We lost out this morning but I couldn’t have gone any harder. It was a good day.”

Bruce McCombie and Michael Coutts had another good day in the office on the Galloway Hills, grabbing fifth overall and fourth SRC crew at the finish.

It was a typical McCombie performance, netting a solid points scoring finish but being a little further from the front running pace than the Banchory driver would like.

McCombie said: “We weren’t quite so on it, maybe a bit too erratic trying too hard but we’ve enjoyed the stages and enjoyed the day.”

Andrew Gallacher and Jane Nicol missed the previous round up in Aberdeenshire, but returned for the final round of the season in an ex-Carlos Sainz Ford Focus WRC.

The Hurlford driver took his time to bed into the car after competing in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII this season, but fifth was a season best result for him and his Edinburgh codriver. Gallacher said:
“It’s been good, a good event in general. We stalled it a couple of times on the first and fifth stage, we were trying to get a hang of the launch control but overall no problems. “I’ve enjoyed driving the car, Jane’s probably taken a few more cuts than she should have!”

Quintin Milne and Sean Donnelly were back out in their Ford Escort Mk2, and took a fantastic sixth in the championship and seventh overall, just 11 seconds behind Andrew Gallacher’s WRC Focus.

The former SRC event winner had a solid day with no real problems to come home as top 2WD crew.

Grabbing a sensational seventh in the championship was Cornhill driver Michael Binnie and the experienced Duns co-driver Claire Mole in their older Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution V. Binnie is a relative newcomer to the rallying game, but his performance on the Galloway Hills certainly belied that as he took his first ever top 10 finish in tenth overall and with it the win in the SRC Challengers category.

That denied local Dalbeattie driver Iain Wilson and Haugh of Urr co-driver Keith Riddick their first Challengers win as they once again had to settle for second following their runnerup spot on the previous round.

The Subaru Impreza driver was very happy with the feeling of his car on the event, seeing him as high as eighth overall at the midday service break, but ultimately Wilson missed out on the Challengers win by a mere 4 seconds.

Alasdair Graham took ninth in his Evo IX with Alford co-driver Laura Stuart alongside. The duo once again took the Group N win, sealing that particular championship, but losing out on the Challengers trophy which went to Scott McCombie and Mark Fisher, despite the pair having a difficult day as they struggled for pace.

Rounding out the SRC top 10 was Hawick driver Ian Baumgart and Galashiels co-driver Mike Dickson in their Subaru Impreza, just 2 seconds ahead of McCombie and Fisher’s Evo IX. Following his maiden SRC win on the Grampian, a lot was expected of John MacCrone and stand-in co-driver Stuart Loudon on the Galloway Hills.

The event started well, with the Waterman’s backed Fiesta R5 claiming the second fastest time behind eventual champions Armstrong and Swinscoe on the day’s opening stage, but MacCrone wouldn’t make it out of SS2 a damaged wheel saw his MSL Motorsport Fiesta off the road, in a ditch and pointing the wrong way.

After over 200 competitive stage miles, the 2016 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship came down to the final stage of the final event, proving just what a competitive and exciting championship the SRC is.

Jock Armstrong may have ultimately come out on top, but flashes of brilliance from John MacCrone and an incredible season from Garry Pearson in his first season’s rallying in a four wheel drive car prove the 2017 SRC season is one not to miss.


Posted: June 14, 2017 9:08 AM

Gigantic battle set for the Galloway Hills Rally

Posted: September 7, 2016 10:57 AM

The ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship (SRC) will go down to the wire this weekend as the Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally plays host to the final-round battle for the title.

Organised by Solway, Machars and East Ayrshire Car Clubs, the Castle Douglas based event will see the fight between local hero and event sponsor Jock Armstrong and Duns resident Garry Pearson for the prestigious SRC honours. After five hard-fought rounds across Scotland, the two drivers are separated by just 10 points and the winner will be crowned champion at the finish ramp on Saturday (10th September).

Alongside the title fight, almost 90 crews from the UK and Ireland will compete on the popular rally and Pearson with co-driver Robbie Mitchell will lead the field away on Saturday morning in their Fiesta R5. Pearson will head into battle with Castle Douglas resident and seven time event winner Jock Armstrong in his familiar orange Subaru Impreza who starts at number two with regular co-driver Paula Swinscoe. Armstrong’s outstanding record on the event will undoubtedly be an advantage in the title race.

Whilst all eyes maybe on the top two seeds for SRC honours, last month’s Grampian Stages top points scorer John MacCrone (Dervaig) cannot be discounted for the rally win who starts at number three in his Ford Fiesta R5. MacCrone will be joined for this event by Stuart Louden.

The rapid duo of Mike Faulkner (Wigton) and Peter Foy are number four in their Mitsubishi Evo IX and are still in search of their first rally win of the year. 2011 Galloway Hills Rally winner Mark McCulloch (Dumfries) and Michael Hendry are currently third in the SRC and will start the event at five in their Mitsubishi IX. McCulloch will head to Castle Douglas with a chance of a championship podium and will go head-to-head with Faulkner for the coveted spot.

Another Mitsubishi pilot Bruce McCombie (Banchory) hopes to be fighting for a podium on the event and will start at car six with co-driver Michael Coutts. Wayne Sisson makes the trip from Cumbria in his unique R4 Mitsubishi with Inverness co-driver Neil Shanks and will start at car seven.

There is an exciting prospect for rally fans at eight, with Andrew Gallacher (Hurlford) bringing an ex-Carlos Sainz Ford Focus WRC to the event. Partnered by Jane Nicol, Gallacher’s parents are both past winners of the rally and he will be doing his best to etch the family name on the winner’s trophy for a third time in the rare machine.

Greg McKnight (Thornhill) and co-driver Laura Marshall continue to adapt to four wheel drive machinery in their Mitsubishi IX at nine with Scott McCombie (Banchory) and Mark Fisher rounding off the top ten in their similar machine.

The Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally has once again been awarded a prestigious £9000 grant from the Dumfries and Galloway Council Major Events Strategic Fund, which enabled organisers to offer free ferry crossings to crews from Ireland with event partners Stena Line. This successful incentive in 2015 brought a significant number of competitors across the Irish Sea and this year has seen another bumper entry from Northern and Southern Ireland.

Heading the contingent from Ireland is Seamus O'Connell and Sean Magee who bring their potent Ford Escort MK2 to the event. They also lead away the two wheel contingent at 11th seed. Robin and Laura Phillips from Northern Ireland are another notable entry with a Subaru Impreza WRC.

Alongside regular Scottish Rally Championship contenders, the event will welcome competitors from the Ecosse Challenge, a single make series for the Citroen C2, The Five of Clubs Rally Championship, Border Challenge and Motoscope Northern Historic Rally Championship.

The event consists of six competitive stages located to the north-west of Castle Douglas and spectators will get plenty of opportunity to watch the drama unfold in the forests and the cars up at close quarters. Rally HQ, pre event checks and Scrutiny will all be held in Castle Douglas on Friday 9th September and competitors will leave the start line in the town at 9.00am on Saturday 10th.

The R Earsman Ltd - Cairn Edward stage will kick off at 10.30am and offers two locations in which to watch the action with the cars returning at 13.20 for a second pass. Next up is the Jas P Wilson - Forest Machines Glengap stage at 11.00am and again at 14.00. The Molplant Ltd - Black Loch stage provides easy access for spectators and gets underway at 12.51.

There will also be a chance to see the cars in the Kirroughtree Visitor Centre service area at midday. Crews will arrive back at the ceremonial finish to spray the champagne at around 2.30pm in Castle Douglas.

Seeded Entry List

Posted: September 7, 2016 10:55 AM

Galloway Hills Rally opens its doors to flood of entries

Posted: August 25, 2016 5:50 AM

Regulations for the 2016 Galloway Hills Rally have opened this week and organisers have already seen a surge of interest from eager competitors who are keen to sample the popular stages surrounding the Castle Douglas rally base on Saturday 10th September. Sponsored by The Armstrong Group, the event has attracted the attention of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship and will be the final round of the series, further bolstering the now traditional final loose surface event of the season in the Dumfries and Galloway forests.

The event offers a compact route of six stages across 44 stage miles which are all located to the north-west of Castle Douglas. The Kirroughtree Visitor Centre will play host to the event service area which was first used in 2015, thanks to assistance from Forestry Commission Scotland. Rally HQ, pre event checks and Scrutiny will all be held in Castle Douglas on Friday 9th September and competitors will leave the start line in the town at 9.00am on Saturday 10th. Crews will arrive back at the finish at around 2.30pm and the format has been created by the organisers to encourage competitors from across the UK to enter the popular event. There will be plenty of opportunity for spectators to catch the action in the stage and more information on specific locations will be available soon.

Organised by Solway, Machars and East Ayrshire Car Clubs, the popular one-day gravel event has once again been awarded a prestigious £9000 grant from the Dumfries and Galloway Council Major Events Strategic Fund, allowing organisers to offer free ferry crossings from Ireland for a vehicle, car trailer and three people with event partners Stena Line. This successful incentive in 2015 brought a significant number of competitors across the Irish Sea and organisers of this year’s event are anticipating another bumper entry from Northern and Southern Ireland.

Councillor Colin Smyth, Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Events Champion said,
“After the excitement of the Tour of Britain in Castle Douglas, fast following in its slipstream is the Galloway Hills Rally. The Rally provides a wonderful, accessible opportunity to get out and see superb live sport in the Stewartry. There will be some great vantage points for spectators, as the Scottish Rally Championship 2016 goes right to the wire.”

Michael Riddick, Clerk of the Course for the event is anticipating one of the best rallies of the season in the region.
“As if the title fight for the Scottish Rally Championship isn’t enough of a draw for competitors and fans to the area, the fantastic offer for Irish competitors thanks to Dumfries and Galloway Council will ensure the Galloway Hills is one of the best in the rally calendar” he says. “It’s always been a popular event but enabling a high calibre of competitors from across the Irish Sea to contest the rally means we really do have a fantastic event on offer for all”.

After a season-long battle between Garry Pearson and local hero and event sponsor Jock Armstrong, the Scottish Rally Championship title is still wide open thanks to an inaugural win by John MacCrone at the recent Grampian Stages. The title fight will now go down to the wire and will be decided at the Galloway Hills. Alongside regular SRC contenders, the event will welcome competitors from the Ecosse Challenge, a single make series for the Citroen C2, The Five of Clubs Rally Championship, Border Challenge and Motoscope Northern Historic Rally Championship.

Organisers are also encouraging entries from far and wide with some free entry incentives for mainland competitors, details of which will be released shortly.

Entries Received / On line Entry / Regulations / Event Website

Posted: July 29, 2016 7:02 AM

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