Rally crews ready for Border challenge

Mark McCulloch and co-driver James Haugh

Mark McCulloch and co-driver James Haugh

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Local rally crews head to the Scottish Borders this weekend to tackle the fast and flowing stages of the Kielder Forest.

They will be looking to build on positive results from last month’s opening round of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship in Inverness.

Saturday’s Brick & Steel Border Counties Rally, based in Jedburgh, has attracted a quality field of nearly 100 entries.

They include Newton Stewart drivers Mark McCulloch and Craig McMiken, Port William’s Fraser Wilson, and Jim Sharp from Stranraer.

McCulloch and Sandhead co-driver Jim Haugh competed together for the first time on the Snowman, and despite some problems with the Subaru Impreza, came away with a 10th-place overall.

“Another top 10 this weekend would be perfect, along with some more miles in the car for Jim and myself,” said McCulloch. “The last two stages were good at the Snowman, apart from a suspension issue which held us back all day. Hopefully, we can maintain that pace again at the Border Counties.”

McMiken, who, with navigator Craig Wallace from Kirriemuir, finished 14th overall on the season opener, will line up his Mitsubishi EVO 9 one place ahead of that of Wilson, and his new co-driver Jane Nicol.

Despite an early steering problem, and some time lost negotiating chicanes, the pair ended the day in 12th place overall and, importantly, third in the Group N category – a result which, as Wilson observed, “sets us up nicely for Jedburgh”.

Jim Sharp, also in an EVO, will take to the Border stages accompanied by McCulloch’s former co-driver, Elliot Edmondson from Buckinghamshire.

Among the 2WD competitors, who run at the front of the field, Alex Curran from Newton Stewart makes a return to the Scottish championship in his Vauxhall Corsa. He will be co-driven by Ross Williams, originally from Mull, but who now works for world rally car specialists M-Sport in Cockermouth.

Laura Marshall from Minnigaff will be back on the notes for Ayr’s Derek Connell in his Corsa. Their first outing together on the Snowman resulted in a fourth in class.

In the fight for overall victory, multiple Scottish champion David Bogie from Dumfries will be looking to win the event for the third time in his Ford Focus WRC. A puncture put paid to any chance of maximum points in Inverness, but with four out of five quickest stage times, he was more than happy with his pace.

Meanwhile, Jock Armstrong’s Snowman challenge came to an end on the second stage, when his Subaru Impreza was hit by transmission problems. The Castle Douglas competitor, who will again have Paula Swinscoe on the notes, is looking to kickstart his campaign this weekend, but has not fared well on the Border Counties in recent years. He went off in the ice and snow on the first stage last year, following previous DNF’s in 2010 and 2011.

Full event details can be found at www.bordercountiesrally.co.uk.

For news and updates of all SRC events, go to www.scottishrallychampionship.co.uk.

Border Counties Rally – Dumfries & Galloway 4WD competitors, with car no:

2 David Bogie (Dumfries)/ Kevin Rae (Hawick) Ford Focus WRC

4 Mike Faulkner (Kirtlebridge)/ Peter Foy (Bingley) Mitsibushi Lancer Evo IV

5 Jock Armstrong (Castle Douglas)/ Paula Swinscoe (Chorley) Subaru Impreza

14 Rory Young (Kirkgunzeon)/Allan Cathers (Brampton) Mitsubishi Lancer

18 Mark McCulloch (Newton Stewart)/James Haugh (Sandhead) Subaru Impreza

20 Craig McMiken (Newton Stewart)/Craig Wallace (Kirriemuir) Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9

21 Fraser Wilson (Port William)/Jane Nicol (Edinburgh) Mitsubishi EVO 9

28 Lee Hastings (Collin)/Drew Sturrock (Brechin) Subaru Impreza

30 Robert Harkness (Stewarton)/Mike Curry (Lockerbie) BMW 316i

38 Jim Sharp (Stranraer)/Elliot Edmundson (Milton Keynes) Mitsubishi Lancer EVO

43 Tommy Heard (Jedburgh)/Amanda Burney (Kirkcudbright) Subaru

D&G 2WD entries – with car no:

108 Iain Wilson (Dalbeattie)/Keith Fremantle (Dalbeattie) Vauxhall Nova

109 Andy Kelly (Greenock)/Roger Herron (Dumfries) Ford Escort RS 2000 MK1

111 Greg McKnight (Thornhill)/Chris McKnight (Thornhill) Ford Escort Mk 11

114 Peter Stewart (Dumfries)/Kenneth Marchbank (Thornhill) Ford Fiesta

121 Jim Robertson (Penpont)/Colin Maxwell (Dumfries) Citroen C2R2

123 Callum Atkinson (Lauder)/Keith Riddick (Haugh of Urr) Ford Fiesta ST

125 Charles Blair (Dumfries)/Mark Roberts (Dumfries) Peugeot 205Gti

126 Scott Peacock (Bridge of Dee)/Sue Hynd (Inverbervie) Peugeot 205Gti

131 Alex Curran (Newton Stewart)/Ross Williams (Cockermouth) Vauxhall Corsa

136 Angus Lawrie (Castle Douglas)/George Myatt (Dumfries) Vauxhall Nova

139 John McIlwraith (Canonbie)/Ross Jarrett (Dingwall) Ford Escort RS

140 Derek Connell (Ayr)/Laura Marshall (Minnigaff) Vauxhall Corsa

143 Scott Sloan (Dumfries)/David Sloan (Dumfries) Vauxhall Corsa

144 Donald Peacock (Bridge of Dee)/Rory Bruton (Haugh of Urr) Peugeot 205GTi

154 Iain Haining (Locharbriggs)/Mairi Riddick (Haugh of Urr) Vauxhall Nova