Galloway hosts Scottish championship showdown

Pictured are sponsor Barbara Armstrong, event secretary Kirsty Riddick, councillor oclin Smyth and organiser Norman Gowans
Pictured are sponsor Barbara Armstrong, event secretary Kirsty Riddick, councillor oclin Smyth and organiser Norman Gowans

The 2016 Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally will play host to the final round of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship on Saturday 10th September and will see an epic battle for the prestigious title at the Castle Douglas based event.

Whilst all eyes maybe on the title fight at the head of the field, the event is anticipating around 100 crews from across the UK and Ireland, all eager to sample the now traditional final loose surface event of the season in the Dumfries and Galloway forests.

Local hero and event sponsor Jock Armstrong (Castle Douglas) will be going head to head with Duns based Garry Pearson who is currently leading the championship, in a bid to take the Scottish Championship title at the season finale.

Armstrong, who was runner up on the event in 2015 trails Pearson by just ten points, but once the dropped scores are put into play, the championship is wide open.

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, said: “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.

“It is sure to be an entertaining day in the forests for motor sport fans”.

The event consists of six competitive 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.

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.