Galloway Hills - (Sat) 9 Sep 17

Posted: August 16, 2019 9:45 AM - 3678 Hits

Round 7 - 2017 Scottish Rally Championship

Champions crowned at Galloway Hills Rally

Posted: August 16, 2019 9:45 AM

The 2017 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship (SRC) concluded on the Galloway Hills Rally, Castle Douglas, last weekend (9th September).

Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton claimed the overall title for the second time in their careers in their Ford Fiesta R5, but the vast majority of the class titles were still up for grabs on the final round of the season.

Neil Coalter and Hannah Cessford had already sewn up Class 1 in their Suzuki Ignis thanks to five class victories, so opted to sit out the Galloway Hills. That paved the way clear for local driver Niall Cowan Jr and co-driver Thomas Bruce to take the win in their MG ZR.

Robbie Beattie and David Finlay led Class 2 before the Galloway, but wouldn’t make it past SS3 on the event in their Peugeot 205. Max Redpath and Callum Redpath took advantage in their similar machine, taking the class win ahead of Donald and Scott Peacock. Not only was this the Duns’ crew first Class 2 victory, it drew them level with Beattie and Finlay in the championship. Beattie and Finlay however take the title on countback courtesy of their second place on the Snowman Rally.

Class 3 was one of the tightest battles heading into the weekend. Alex Pirie (Citroen C2) headed Angus Lawrie (Vauxhall Corsa) by just one point who in turn had a two point cushion over Keith Riddick (MG ZR). The battle turned into a two horse race when Pirie’s suspension failed on SS1, with Lawrie and Paul Gribbin seizing the initiative to take the class win and the title with Riddick and Steven Clark just 15 seconds behind. Ross Hughes and Neil Ewing completed the class podium.

Fraser MacNicol and Keith Boa have been the ones to beat in Class 4 having already taken the title on the previous round in their Ford Escort Mk2, but the pair were forced to pull over on the final stage of the season, leaving Douglas Watt and Paddy Munro to take the class win in their Mk2 Escort.

Steve Bannister and Callum Atkinson returned to SRC action for the third time this year, and took their third straight Class 5 win in their white and red Escort. Ian Milne and Sandy Brown took fourth overall and second SRC in the class, with Milne already having wrapped up the title prior to the event.

Class 6 was a tense affair, with Luke McLaren and Phil Kenny dominating the first five rounds before putting up their Ford Fiesta ST for sale. Michael Renton and Kenny Foggo were still in mathematical contention in their Peugeot 306, but mechanical issues scuppered his chances, meaning the Class 6 title went to McLaren.

Dougal Brown, Duncan MacDonald and Mike Stuart all had a shot at taking the Class 7 title in their Escort Mk2’s heading into the Galloway forests. MacDonald and Neil Ross took their third consecutive class win on the bounce but it wasn’t enough for the title. Stuart and Sinclair Young came home second to take third in the championship on Stuart’s returning year to rallying, with third giving Brown and Lewis Rochford the points they needed to clinch the Class 7 championship.

Ken Wood had already sewn up the Class 8 championship after some impressive performances in his Triumph Dolomite Sprint. He didn’t make the trip to Castle Douglas, leaving David Bogie and Kevin Rae to take the Class in sixth overall in their Mk2 Escort. However, the winner of the Snowman, Speyside and Grampian rallies this year didn’t take any championship points.

Fraser Wilson and Craig Wallace came to the Galloway Hills as Class 9 champions after a solid season in their Mitsubishi Evo IX. They had company in the class from SRC returnees Ally Graham and Laura Stuart who pipped Wilson and Wallace by just four seconds, but as they were using the rally as a test session for Rally GB, they too opted not to score.

Class 10 was another championship that was too close to call after six rounds, with Michael Binnie, Simon Hay and Iain Wilson all still able to take the crown. Binnie and co-driver Claire Mole responded to the pressure and took the class win ahead of Wilson and Chris Williams’ Impreza. John McIlwraith and Scott Young took third in their older Subaru. Hay and co-driver Calum Jaffray were second heading into the final stage, but in an effort to overhaul Binnie and Mole, crashed their Evo VI.

Jock Armstrong and Cameron Fair bagged the overall win and thus took the Class 11 win in their Subaru Impreza. Mark McCulloch and Michael Hendry finished second in class in their Evo IX ahead of Scott McCombie and Sean Donnelly’s similar car, but it was Mike Faulkner and Peter Foy who took the championship despite ditching their Mitsubishi in the final test.

Shaun Sinclair and Jamie Edwards won Class 12 with Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton electing not to score points. The Impreza WRC took third overall ahead of Rory Young and Allan Cathers’ Fiesta R5 that took second in class. Donnie MacDonald and Andrew Falconer took third in another Fiesta, and took enough points across the season to take the Class 12 title ahead of David Bogie and Rory Young.

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.

Armstrong/Fair storm to Galloway Hills Rally victory

Posted: August 16, 2019 9:43 AM

Castle Douglas rally ace Jock Armstrong took a record ninth Galloway Hills Rally win this weekend (9th September), powering his familiar orange Subaru Impreza to a narrow victory over current ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Champion Euan Thorburn.

Shaun Sinclair made a strong bid for his first win of the season but couldn’t overhaul the charging Armstrong and Thorburn, rounding off the podium in third.

Armstrong not only sponsored the event but started as a pre-event favourite as over 80 crews left the Threave Garden and Estate ceremonial start on Saturday morning for the 44th running of the rally. He, along with newly partnered co-driver Cameron Fair duly returned victorious for the finish celebrations after five hard-fought stages in the Galloway Forests.

Organised by Solway, Machars and East Ayrshire Car Clubs, the highly regarded stage rally had attracted a top quality field from both the UK and Ireland to the region and rally fans were in for a real treat throughout the day.

With 44 miles of classic forest tests in store, Armstrong made his mark from the off, setting the fastest time in the opening Barney Water stage. In fact, he wouldn’t be beaten on the three stages before the midpoint service halt, opening up a lead of 23 seconds for the final two stage blast to the finish.

Rally done then? Not at all.

By his own admission, Thorburn was a slow starter and forgetting to turn on the anti-lag of his Ford Fiesta R5 would only hamper progress in the morning loop. But after service, Thorburn and co-driver Paul Beaton came alive, taking two fastest stages times to close in on Armstrong, edging the gap down to just three seconds at the finish. But it wasn’t enough and Armstrong was elated at yet another home win.

“There is nothing like the feeling of winning your home rally,” said Armstrong.

“The support from everyone has been great today and we had a really strong opening loop of stages. It took Cameron and I a wee while to get settled in but we had the measure of the stages today and everything worked well. Nine time Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally winner, sounds good doesn’t it?”

The battle for the final podium spot was less of a done deal however. Sinclair and co-driver Jamie Edwards powered their Subaru Impreza WRC to a confident start and headed into service in second spot and although a way down on Armstrong’s lead, was in a prime position to take advantage of any mishaps. Thorburn's increase of pace in the afternoon demoted Sinclair to third by the finish

Equally, Mike Faulkner and Peter Foy were in firm contention to do the same in their Mitsubishi Evo IX, challenging Sinclair all day long. But broken rear suspension after stage four and a subsequent trip into a bog on the final test meant that they wouldn’t see the end of the rally.

Returning to the Scottish Championship for the first time since the Scottish Rally in May, Rory Young and Allan Cathers took their Ford Fiesta R5 to a very respectable fourth spot. With Thorburn not scoring series points, it meant Young took his first ever podium in the championship and professed to “loving” the stages on the event.

Dumfries driver Mark McCulloch classes the Galloway Hills Rally as his “home” event and despite a slow start to the day, returned a solid drive to fifth in his Mitsubishi Evo IX with Michael Hendry alongside.

Five-time Scottish champion David Bogie wheeled out a Ford Escort MK2 for the event with regular co-driver Kevin Rae. Bogie had previously campaigned his Skoda Fabia R5 this season but decided to bring his crowd pleasing Escort to the Galloway Hills. Despite admitting to learning the car during the event, Bogie took an impressive sixth spot at the end.

Andrew Gallacher and Jane Nicol took seventh in their Ford Focus WRC, with Michael Binnie and Clair Mole grabbing eighth in their Mitsubishi Evo IX. Donnie Macdonald and Andrew Falconer took ninth in their Ford Fiesta R5 whilst Iain Wilson and Chris Williams rounded off the top ten in their Subaru Impreza.

Thanks to a prestigious grant from Dumfries and Galloway Council Major Events Strategic Fund, the rally has appealed to a significant number of entries from across the Irish Sea which ensured the event boasted one of its strongest entries for many years.

Brendan Cumiskey and Ronan O’ Kane were the first crew home from across the water, bringing their brand new M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5 home in 11th overall.

Clerk of the Course Michael Riddick is delighted with how the event has gone.

“It’s been a truly fantastic day and I`d like to thank all the hard working and dedicated volunteers that helped make the event such a true success,” he said.

“The rally has brought so many people to the region this weekend and the spectator areas were as full as I've ever seen them. Huge thanks must also go to our sponsors The Armstrong Group as well as Dumfries and Galloway Council, Threave Garden and Estate and Forestry Commission Scotland for their support. We look forward to seeing everyone again next year for our 45th event”.


Posted: August 16, 2019 9:41 AM

Quality entry heads for the Galloway Hills

Posted: September 7, 2017 9:54 AM

Local favourite and event sponsor Jock Armstrong will head away an 80 strong field from Threave Garden and Estate on Saturday (9th September) as the 44th Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally gets underway in Castle Douglas.

Organised by Solway, Machars and East Ayrshire Car Clubs, the highly regarded stage rally has attracted a top quality field from both the UK and Ireland to the region, as crews will tackle 44 miles of high-quality stages in the Galloway forests.

Sponsored by local construction and waste management solutions firm The Armstrong Group, the event is once again the final round of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship which has ensured an impressive array of cars will contest the now traditional end of season bash.

Thanks also to a prestigious grant from Dumfries and Galloway Council Major Events Strategic Fund, the rally has appealed to a significant number of entries from across the Irish Sea which has ensured the event will boast one of its strongest entries for many years.

Starting as car one, eight-time event winner Jock Armstrong will be bidding to add to his already impressive tally as he leads the field away on Saturday morning with new co-driver Cameron Fair alongside in his familiar Subaru Impreza. Whilst the Scottish Championship title is now out of reach for the Castle Douglas pilot, Armstrong will undoubtedly want to ensure the winner's trophy stays in the area this time around. But it won't be easy.

Despite being a late entry with a start number to be confirmed, 2017 Scottish Rally Champions Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton will be looking to take one final win of the season in Castle Douglas. Beating Armstrong to the title, Thorburn has enjoyed an on-form season behind the wheel of his Fiesta R5 and without championship points to worry about, can enjoy the event without pressure.

Starting at number two seed, Oban’s Shaun Sinclair will be doing everything he can to take his first forestry win this season in his Impreza WRC. With four podiums in the Scottish Championship throughout the year, Sinclair and co-driver Jamie Edwards will use the event as a last ditch attempt to take the top spot.

Mike Faulkner and Peter Foy are another crew looking to take away their first win of 2017 at the Galloway Hills and will start at three in their Mitsubishi Evo IX with Rory Young and Allan Cathers bringing their Ford Fiesta R5 to Castle Douglas at four.

Dumfries ace Mark McCulloch rounds off the top five in his Mitsubishi Evo IX, co-driven by Michael Hendry. McCulloch always goes well on his “home” event and will be one to watch for overall honours on Saturday.

The much talked about entry from five-time Scottish Champion David Bogie emerged late last week with the news that the Dumfries driver would use his Ford Escort MK2 on the event. Sure to be a crowd pleasing favourite, Bogie could well be seen towards to top end of the leader board during the event. Kevin Rae will take up his usual co-drivers seat at car six.

Bruce McCombie and Daniel Forsyth start behind Bogie in their Mitsubishi Evo IX with Donnie MacDonald and Andrew Falconer at eight in their Ford Fiesta R5. Fred Milne returns to a Mitsubishi after an outing in a World Rally Car last time out in Aberdeen with Neil Shanks alongside at car nine.

Rounding off the top ten, Andrew Gallacher makes a welcome return to the sport with a rare ex-Mark Higgins Ford Focus WRC. The Hurlford driver hasn’t been out since this event last year but will undoubtedly wow the fans in the potent machine. Jane Nicol sits alongside.

Such is the strength of the entry; you have to look down at car 16 for the first of the Irish contingent to make the trip across to Castle Douglas. Brendan Cumiskey and Ronan O'Kane will debut their new Fiesta R5 on the event and will use the high-quality stages as a test bed for further outings.

Tommy O’Connell and Emmet Sherry, along with Paul McErlean and Niall McKenna also make the trip across the water and will start inside the top 30, both piloting Ford Escort MK2’s.

Organisers of this year's event have ensured that there are plenty of opportunities to both catch the action and see the cars at close quarters.

Friday 8th September sees the event documentation and scrutiny get underway at locations across Castle Douglas from 4.00pm.

On Saturday 9th, the magnificent Threave Garden & Estate will play host to a rally for the very first time and provides a stunning back drop for the event ceremonial start and finish venue. Crews will be flagged away from the grounds at around 9.00am before heading out to tackle classic stages in the region.

Spectators can catch the action at a variety of spots in the Galloway forests. The Signright Graphix Black Loch stage provides fans with two chances to watch the field through, with runs at 10:18 and 12:53.

The Kirroughtree visitors centre in Wigtownshire offers the opportunity to see the cars and crews at close quarters for the service halt around midday before crews head back out for another loop of stages in the forests.

The Jas P Wilson Forest Machines Cairn Edward stage at 13:25 will be the final chance to see the cars in full flight before heading back to the Threave Garden & Estate ceremonial Finish and champagne spray just before 3.00pm.

Entry to Threave for the start and finish ceremonies will be free, and the popular Café inside Threave Visitor centre will be open all day, offering bacon rolls, lunches, drinks and cakes.

Scottish Rally Championship heads for the Hills

Posted: September 7, 2017 9:49 AM

Numerous championships still to be decided ahead of the final round of the Scottish Rally Championship at this weekend's Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally

The 2017 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship (SRC) reaches its conclusion this weekend (9th September) as the series heads to Castle Douglas for the traditional end of season finale.

The event consists of over 40 stage miles with just one service break adding an extra challenge to the day’s rallying, with the cars leaving the beautiful Threave Garden and Estate just outside the rally base at around 9am, before returning around six hours later.

Eight time winner of the event Jock Armstrong will be first into the stages on Saturday. The local man has Cameron Fair alongside him, replacing long-term co-driver Paula Swinscoe, but he will be pushed hard by newly crowned champions Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton in their Ford Fiesta R5.

Shaun Sinclair and Jamie Edwards have been contenders all year long but are yet to score their first SRC win of the season. The pair start at two in their Subaru Impreza S14 WRC, and will be determined to end the season on a high.

Mike Faulkner and Peter Foy will also be looking for a strong result to end their season, with the Evo IX crew in a tight battle with Sinclair and Edwards for third spot in the championship.

Rory Young and Allan Cathers return to the SRC in their Ford Fiesta R5 for the first time since the Scottish Rally in May, ahead of Mark McCulloch and Michael Hendry who have shown sublime pace on the last few rounds. The Mitsubishi pairing could be an outside bet for the podium.

David Bogie and Kevin Rae are back in the SRC for the fourth time this season, but not behind the wheel of their Skoda Fabia R5. Instead the five time champions are debuting their Ford Escort Mk2 on gravel, and start at six in their Millington powered machine.

Bruce McCombie has Daniel Forsyth alongside him for the first time and starts at seven, ahead of the right hand drive Fiesta R5 of Donnie MacDonald and Andrew Falconer.

Fred Milne will debut his new, lighter Mitsubishi Evo IX with a fifth different co-driver of the year beside him in Neil Shanks. Andrew Falconer will start his first SRC event of the year alongside Jane Nicol in the ex-Mark Higgins Ford Focus WRC.

Michael Binnie, Simon Hay and Iain Wilson line up next, with the trio involved in a huge battle of supremacy for the SRC Challengers championship and Class 10 honours.

Just one second separated Binnie and Hay on the last round up in Aberdeenshire; an advantage that would prove vital to the Cornhill driver who heads to Castle Douglas with a two point lead over Hay.

Victory for Binnie would seal him the championship, while a win for Hay with Binnie third or lower would hand the Aberdeen driver the title. Iain Wilson can still win the title in his Subaru Impreza, but is four points adrift and is realistically needing his Mitsubishi rivals to hit trouble.

Things are a little clearer cut in the Scottish 2WD Championship. Dougal Brown heads to Dumfries & Galloway with a 17 point advantage, knowing he only needs to beat his rivals Duncan MacDonald and Mike Stuart to take the championship.

That will be easier said than done however with the recent form of MacDonald, who won both the Argyll and the Grampian. He is currently third, just behind the impressive Mike Staurt, with all three Escort drivers likely to be challenged for the event win by David Bogie.

Andy Struthers, Max Redpath and Gina Walker will all start the Galloway Hills Rally aiming to take the SRC Juniors title and the free entry into the Wales Rally GB National Rally that comes with it.

Struthers has been a model of consistency but trails the Peugeot 205 of Max Redpath by a single point ahead of round seven. That means victory for either driver would net them the title, with Gina Walker needing to win and have another driver separate her from Struthers and Redpath to become Junior Champion.

Seeded Entry List

Posted: September 4, 2017 6:16 AM

Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally set for 'best yet'

Posted: August 24, 2017 4:20 AM

The ever popular Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally enters its 44th year in 2017 and organisers of the Castle Douglas based rally are anticipating one of the 'best events ever' on Saturday 9th September.

Sponsored by local construction and waste management solutions firm The Armstrong Group, the event is once again the final round of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship and competitors from across the UK and Ireland will descend on the town to contest over 40 miles of classic stages in the Galloway forests. Thanks to a host of incentives for competitors on both sides of the Irish Sea, rally organisers are hoping for a bumper entry for the now traditional end of season bash.

Organised by Solway, Machars and East Ayrshire Car Clubs, the highly regarded one-day gravel event has once again been awarded a prestigious grant from Dumfries and Galloway Council Major Events Strategic Fund, allowing organisers to encourage more people to travel to the region by offering free subsidised ferry crossings from Ireland for a vehicle, car trailer and three people with event partners Stena Line.

Since its inception in 2014, this successful incentive has brought a significant number of competitors across the Irish Sea. Organisers are anticipating another quality entry from both Northern and Southern Ireland, all eager to sample the high quality stages on offer in the region.

To further bolster entries from across the UK, there will be a prize draw for competitors with the chance to win a substantial £250 refund on their entry fee. With a draw taking place with every 10 entries received, early entries will be rewarded with a greater opportunity to win almost half the entry fee back.

Rally HQ, pre-event checks and documentation will take place at locations around Castle Douglas on Friday 8th September. The event proper kicks off on Saturday 9th with the ceremonial start just outside Castle Douglas from 9.00am.

Crews will then head west out into the forests, with Kirroughtree in Wigtownshire playing host to the event service halt around midday. After 44 miles of action in the stages, leading crews will arrive at the finish at around 2.30pm in Castle Douglas.

Alongside the Scottish Rally Championship, the event forms the final and deciding round of the RSAC Ecosse Challenge, a single-make series for the popular Citroen C2, as well as a counting round of The Border Challenge and HRCR Motoscope Northern Historic Rally Championship.

Michael Riddick, Clerk of the Course is confident 2017 could see one of the best events ever for the Galloway Hills Rally.

“The team have worked really hard to pull together a fantastic event and one that we hope will appeal to competitors across the country and the water” says Riddick.

“The incentives on offer are pretty substantial and I don’t know any other event that offers free ferries, or the chance of huge entry fee refunds, like the Galloway Hills. We have always tried to put the competitors first, and that is why our whole Council grant goes into our incentives, to entice people to our rally and into Dumfries and Galloway, and none of it is used for general expenditure.

Of course, it’s disappointing that Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton have already been crowned overall Scottish Rally Champions and it hasn’t gone down to the wire on event, but there are still many overall positions and class battles to be decided on the final round, and I believe we will have a fantastic spectacle for rally fans and crews alike in September. We look forward to welcoming spectators, competitors, and hopefully even the 2017 Scottish Champions to Castle Douglas and the surrounding area for the rally”.

Entries Received / On Line Entry / Regulations / Event & Club Websites

Posted: June 14, 2017 9:06 AM

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