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Speyside Stages - (Sat) 20 Apr 19

Posted: March 7, 2020 4:54 PM - 1282 Hits

Round 3 - 2019 Scottish Rally Championship

Results: flyingfinish.co.uk

THORBURN DOUBLES UP WITH SPEYSIDE SUCCESS

Posted: March 7, 2020 4:54 PM

Two-time KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship (SRC) champions Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton continued their perfect start to the season with victory on the McDonald & Munro Speyside Stages on Saturday (20th April).

Driving their Ford Focus WRC05, the pair backed up their Border Counties win with success on the Morayshire stages, eventually earning a winning margin of 41 seconds over Jock Armstrong and Cameron Fair.

Despite the comfortable margin, Thorburn was made to work hard for his victory with five-time champion David Bogie and Fiesta R5 pilot Garry Pearson taking up the charge early on.

As Elgin basked in unseasonably warm sunshine, Bogie and co-driver John Rowan opened up an early two second lead in the opening spectator stage double header around Cooper Park.

However when the action headed into the forests, Thorburn had stolen that time back, drawing level with the Skoda Fabia R5 driver at the end of stage three.

Bogie then responded and eked ahead in stage four to maintain a gap of around 10 seconds heading into the afternoon, only for his steering rack to break in stage eight.

Bogie, who was chasing a 10th Speyside win, was forced to retire on the spot, leaving Thorburn clear to take his fifth win from as many starts in his new car.

“We thought we had the chance to win, but obviously David [Bogie] knows this rally like the back of his hand and he’s won it so many times,” said a delighted Thorburn.

“We had problems this morning with the brakes and once we got those cured we had a bit of a push. We got a puncture in stage seven but we kept the pressure on and were there to pick up the pieces.

“The car was amazing, it’s just a privilege to drive. And the stages were amazing like they always are up here.”

Speaking about his 100% win record so far in 2019, Thorburn said: “When we started the year we didn’t expect to win a rally so quickly, so to have five in a row is quite unprecedented, but obviously we’ll take it!”

Armstrong and Fair had been running fourth for most of the day, but profited from Bogie’s late drama and problems for Pearson too.

Pearson and co-driver Dale Bowen had been running third, with a fastest time on stage five, only to crash out two stages later.

Armstrong was happy to pick up second place, despite not being able to challenge Thorburn on outright pace.

“We’re a second a mile slower than Euan, but with the comparison between our cars that’s not too bad,” Armstrong said.

“Euan’s on a roll. He’s contesting the BTRDA currently and doing well down there too so he’s flying the flag for Scotland that’s for sure. I’m quite happy to be second to him.”

Freddie Milne took third for the second consecutive rally, fending off Michael Binnie for the spot in what was déjà vu to the Border Counties.

Milne and Patrick Walsh found more speed throughout the afternoon after fixing a flattened exhaust, eventually pipping Binnie and Claire Mole by just five seconds.

“We’re absolutely delighted. Really, really happy,” exclaimed Milne.

“It’s just a shame we’re not getting it [the podium] naturally, we’re profiting from others misfortunes. We were trying on that last one, so Michael must have really been trying as we got equal times. But it was good fun.”

Binnie meanwhile quipped on his own performance: “That’s not bad for a farmer!”

John Wink and John Forrest scored some solid championship points with fifth overall in their Hyundai i20 R5 following their retirement on the Border Counties. The local crew were just six seconds shy of Binnie’s Mitsubishi.

Bruce McCombie and Michael Coutts guided their Ford Focus WRC to its first ever finish with sixth overall on the Speyside. The pair battled with start-line issues all day however with several stalls, unsure if there was something amiss with the clutch or if McCombie just wasn’t quite used to the WRC.

Chris Collie and Gary McDonald took their first SRC top 10 since their four-wheel-drive return, picking up seventh in their Mitsubishi.

Thomas Gray and Harry Marchbank picked up where they left off on the Border Counties with another eighth place overall in their Evo IX, a narrow three seconds ahead of the returning Marty Scott and Daniel Forsyth.

Scottish 2WD Championship honours went the way of Duncan MacDonald and Neil Ross, with a superb drive to 13th overall in their Ford Escort Mk2.

Keith Robathan and Steven Brown netted second in their BMW M3, ahead of Mark McCulloch and Michael Hendry who were making their rear-wheel-drive debut in another BMW.

Thomas Gray was the victor in the Albyn Garage Challengers series, fending off the advances of Marty Scott’s similar Evo IX. Morris completed the podium.

Jude MacDonald was the top SRC Junior finishing a superb 23rd overall in his Skoda Fabia R2, ahead of Linzi Henderson’s Ford Fiesta R2T and Johnnie MacKay’s Fiesta ST.

Used Car Parts Subaru Cup honours went the way of Matthew Thomson. He finished a clear three minutes ahead of Max Redpath with Mike Moates completing the category podium.

With two rounds completed, Euan Thorburn has opened up an early championship lead thanks to wins on both rounds. However, with four rallies still remaining it is all still very much to play for as the SRC speed into Lockerbie for the RSAC Scottish Rally next month.

Results

Posted: March 7, 2020 4:50 PM

SPEYSIDE STAGES SET FOR SCINTILLATING SRC SCRAP

Posted: April 18, 2019 9:22 AM

The KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship (SRC) returns this week (Saturday 20th April) with a typically stunning entry confirmed to contest the second round of the season, the McDonald & Munro Speyside Stages.

A gruelling 10 special stages comprise the Speyside Stages, which is unique to the SRC in holding the only two Tarmac stages of the championship in Cooper Park.

Once Scotland’s finest have tackled these two spectator specials that kick-off the day, it’s off to the forests around Elgin for eight short and fast stages that will be the battleground for what is certain to be a titanic scrap for honours.

Five-time Scottish Rally Champion David Bogie heads the entry list as he bids to claim his 10th victory on this event, but all eyes will be on the trio behind the Skoda Fabia R5 on the entry list.

Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton are the crew with the target on their backs after their stunning victory last time out on the Border Counties Rally.

After a sabbatical in 2018, Thorburn has been in irresistible form this season in his recently-acquired Ford Focus WRC, wrapping up the opening win of the season by over 30 seconds.

The Duns driver has remained sharp by contesting the BTRDA alongside his SRC campaign, winning the opening three rounds of that series too to give him four out of four in total and a 100% win rate in his brand new car.

Toppling the 2014 and ’17 champion will therefore be no easy task, but Jock Armstrong and Cameron Fair are a crew desperate to do so.

The Subaru Impreza duo would have finished third last month were it not for an admin error, and will therefore be confident of challenging for victory on an event Armstrong is yet to win.

Garry Pearson has a love-hate relationship with the Speyside. He took his first ever SRC win in 2016 but crashed out of the event last year. The Ford Fiesta R5 pilot starts at four in 2019 with Dale Bowen alongside, eager to challenge Thorburn and Armstrong in his quest for the SRC title.

Last year’s championship runner-up Donnie Macdonald and co-driver Andrew Falconer head to the Speyside on the back foot after a non-finish on the Border Counties. The Ford Fiesta R5 crew will therefore have a finish firmly on their minds when they wade into action this weekend.

The same could be said of Bruce McCombie and Michael Coutts, who didn’t even complete one full stage on round one. The pair are still learning their Ford Focus WRC, but the car is proven, as Andrew Gallacher took a similar machine to the title last year.

Freddie Milne was mightily impressive on the Border Counties as he took third place in his Mitsubishi Evo. With Patrick Walsh back alongside for the Speyside, Milne will be hopeful of a similar giant-killing result in his bespoke machine.

John Wink and John Forrest were another crew to be caught out in Jedburgh, but are more than capable of bouncing back in style this weekend in their Hyundai i20 R5. The pair will be looking to rediscover their podium challenging form from the end of last season.

Michael Binnie and Claire Mole were cruelly denied a maiden SRC podium by just a handful of seconds on the Border Counties after a superb battle with Milne, but the pair continue to outperform themselves in their Evo IX.

Ian Bainbridge and Mark Fisher are another crew to watch as Bainbridge beds themselves into SRC competition. The Darlington driver starts at 10 in his Subaru Impreza.

The Albyn Garage Aberdeen Ltd SRC Challengers produced a nail-biting finale on the Border Counties, with Scott MacBeth and Thomas Gray’s fight for the win coming down to the final stage.

In the end MacBeth came out on top, and scooped the SRC John Horton Star Driver Award for his efforts.

Alan Dickson and Martin Forrest start the Speyside as top seeds however, just ahead of MacBeth and Gray, with Marty Scott also expected to impress after a sublime top 10 finish on this event last year.

All four drivers will pilot Mitsubishi Evo IX’s.

Iain Wilson and Chris Williams start as favourites in the Scottish 2WD Championship in the cockpit in their Ford Escort Mk2, despite not sealing victory on the opening round.

That honour went to Paddy Munro in his smaller-engined Escort. However with the weather expected to be far more neutral than the wintry Jedburgh event, Munro could struggle to pull off a similar result.

Paul McErlean / Aaron Mawhinney and Duncan MacDonald / Neil Ross are tipped to be Wilson’s biggest threats, while Gordon Murray and Steven Wood are sure to be in the mix too.

Carl and Rob Tuer are another crew looking to spring a surprise in their Suzuki Swift Maxi 2000 as the top front-wheel-drive seed by some distance.

Fraser Smith and Linzi Henderson were the only finishers in the SRC Juniors on the Border Counties, and find themselves seeded together in 63rd and 64th respectively.

Smith took the win in his Honda Civic but Henderson is growing increasingly confident in her new-for-2019 Ford Fiesta R2T.

Other drivers to look out for include Johnnie MacKay in his Ford Fiesta ST.

Alex Pirie’s switch to the Used Car Parts Subaru Cup paid dividends for 2019 as he scooped up the opening win of the season.

He starts the Speyside as top seed but will be pushed hard by 2017 SRC Junior Champion Max Redpath and associate sponsor Mike Moates.

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.

Seeded Entry List

Posted: April 12, 2019 8:04 AM

Entries Received / On Line Entry

Posted: March 20, 2019 8:11 AM

Regulations / Rally Website

Posted: March 9, 2019 4:35 AM


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