Two local rally teams will be looking to kick-start their respective championship campaigns in the Border forests this weekend.
Newton Stewart’s Craig McMiken and Port William duo Fraser Wilson and Steven Broll are among more than 80 crews entered for Saturday’s Jedburgh-based Brick & Steel Border Counties Rally, the second round of the MSA Scottish Championship.
Despite a broken drive shaft early on, McMiken, co-driven by Susan Shanks from Elgin, was on course for a strong finish in his Mitsubishi EVO 9 on last month’s season-opener in Inverness. Running thirteenth overall with two stages remaining, his challenge ended when the car lost power.
Wilson and Broll were also making good progress and targeting a top twenty finish, but instead their Group N class EVO 6 ended up in a ditch in the treacherous conditions, made worse by sleet and snow showers.
Current Scottish and British champion David Bogie from Dumfries will again be the man to beat at the wheel of his EVO 9 as he target’s a second successive victory on the Borders event, and win No 2 of the new season.
With fellow champion Kevin Rae co-driving, Bogie dominated the Snowman Rally, despite several “big moments” which could have ended in disaster.
In the two-wheel drives, which will run at the front of the field this weekend, Newton Stewart navigator Laura Marshall will be on the notes for young Lanarkshire driver Graeme Smith in his Honda Civic. They secured a fine second in class on the season opener in the competitive 1600 category.
Meanwhile, Laura’s uncle, Stephen Marshall, will again co-drive for Aberdeenshire competitor Rob Ashwell in his Citreon C2GT. The pair will be glad of a finish, after they were forced to retire with driveshaft failure on the opening stage of the Snowman.
The Border Counties is celebrating 40 years since it first ran in 1972, and organisers have brought into play a stage at Craik Forest west of Hawick which hasn’t been used since the 1980’s. The remaining four stages take competitors to the more familiar, but no less daunting, Wauchope and Kielder Forests.
Further details and a full entry list can be found at www.bordercountiesrally.co.uk <http://www.bordercountiesrally.co.uk/>
For news and updates on all SRC rounds, go to www.scottishrallychampionship.co.uk <http://www.scottishrallychampionship.co.uk/>
Border Counties Rally – Dumfries and Galloway competitors, with car no:
1 David Bogie (Dumfries)/Kevin Rae (Hawick) Mitsubishi EVO 9
7 Rory Young (Kirkgunzeon)/Allan Cathers (Carlisle) Mitsubishi EVO 6
24 Craig McMiken (Newton Stewart)/Susan Shanks (Elgin) Mitsubishi EVO 9
29 Fraser Wilson (Port William)/Steven Broll (Port William) Mitsubishi EVO 6
32 Peter Stewart (Dumfries)/Phil Shortt (Dumfries) Subaru Impreza
34 Richard Stewart (Dumfries)/Carin Logan (Kelso) Subaru Impreza
45 Roy Eide-Johansen (Dumfries)/Mark Scott Simpson (Dumfries) Ford Escort Mk1
108 Iain Haining (Dumfries)/Mairi Riddick (Haugh of Urr) Vauxhall Nova
110 Graeme Smith (Carluke)/Laura Marshall (Newton Stewart) Honda Civic
114 Greg McKnight (Penpont)/Chris McKnight (Penpont) Vauxhall Nova
118 Jim Robertson (Penpont)/Colin Maxwell (Dumfries) Citreon C2 R2
128 Rob Ashwell (Turriff)/Stephen Marshall (Newton Stewart) Citreon C2 GT
137 Scott Peacock (Castle Douglas)/tba Peugeot 205.