Solway Coast goes from strength to strength

Last year’s winner Mark McCulloch heads an impressive line-up of more than 60 crews for Saturday’s usedcarparts.co.uk Solway Coast Rally, held at the military ranges at Dundrennan, near Kirkcudbright.

The Newton Stewart driver, who comes off the back of a top-fifteen finish on the Speyside Stages at the weekend, will face strong competition from, among others, David Hardie - co-driven by Mark’s dad John - and Ian Paterson, who has been runner-up for the past two years.

Others targeting a strong finish include Alistair Inglis, one of the country’s leading exponents of tarmac rallying; 2007 Scottish champions Gary and Gordon Adam; and Ayrshire’s Andrew Gallacher, who was in action on Speyside in the Group N category.

The event is a qualifying round of the Five of Clubs Rally Championship, Scottish Tarmack Rally Championship, North of England Tarmacadam Championship and the Border Championship.

There has also been a bumper entry for Sunday’s Junior Rally, which will see around thirty talented 14 to 17-year-olds from the UK and Ireland battle it out for honours.

For the first time, competitors from all three Junior championships - the Brick & Steel Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge, the McGrady Insurance Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland, and the Kick Energy Junior 1000 Rally Championship - will compete against each other at the same single venue.

To top it off, rallying legend Jimmy McRae will be behind the wheel of the course opening car for Sunday’s event.

The five-time British champion is due to drive a Nissan Micra belonging to former “junior” Harry Marchbank from Thornhill, who has now stepped up to the senior ranks. He will

compete in the distinctive orange Micra on Saturday, before swapping seats the following day to call the notes for his distinquished driver.

Clerk of the Course Sanny Dobie says he’s been overwhelmed by the response to the event and the support received in preparing the rally route: “It’s been a great effort by everyone at Solway Car Club. Donald Peacock and his team have worked hard to ensure the stages are in tip-top condition, and there are many others who’ve given of their time. The event continues to go from strength to strength. When you think that only a few years ago we were getting around 30 entries, and now we’re double that plus reserves”.

He went on: “I’m also very grateful to Richard Stewart and family who have sponsored the event for the past 34 years - the support we get from them year after year is absolutely fantastic”.

Event details – including a full entry list – can be found at www.solwaycarclub.co.uk

Solway Coast Rally: Dumfries & Galloway competitors with car no:

1 Mark McCulloch (Newton Stewart)/Jim Haugh (Sandhead) Subaru Impreza

2 David Hardie (Dumfries)/John McCulloch (Newton Stewart) Subaru Impreza

4 Ian Paterson (Dumfries)/Helen Brown (Auldgirth) Subaru N10

6 Lee Hastings (Dumfries)/tba Subaru Impreza

7 Jim Sharp (Stranraer)/Sasha Heriot Mitsubishi EVO

9 Richard Dickson (New Abbey)/Roger Alcorn (Castle Douglas) Subaru Impreza

11 Stuart Paterson (Dumfries)/Allan W Paterson (Dumfries) Subaru Impreza

20 Iain Wilson (Dalbeattie)/David Kirkpatrick (New Galloway) Vauxhall Nova

21 Stephen Thompson (Kirkcudbright)/David Crosbie (Thornhill) Ford Escort Mk2

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

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

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

35 Murray Coulthard (Twynholm)/John Frew (Tarbolton) Vauxhall Nova

38 Hugh Murdoch (Stranraer)/Ewan Murdoch (Stranraer) Ford Escort

45 Keith Riddick (Haugh of Urr)/Bob Green MG ZR

48 Jamie McDowall (Creetown)/Charlotte McDowall (Creetown) Ford Focus

58 William Paul (Castle Douglas)tba Vauxhall Nova

59 Harry Marchbank (Thornhill)/Alan Todd Nissan Micra