There were mixed fortunes for Wigtownshire crews on what proved to be a particularly challenging RSAC Scottish Rally on Saturday.
Newton Stewart’s Mark McCulloch, with Jim Haugh of Sandhead navigating, was an early casualty, his Subaru Impreza crashing out on the third stage in Ae Forest.
Craig McMiken fared better and ultimately brought his Mitsubishi EVO 9 back to the finish in Dumfries in tenth place overall, eighth in the points in the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship.
“We got quicker as the day wore on and the last two stages were very good. There was a lot of dust though, in the dry conditions”, said McMiken, who was co-driven by Craig Wallace of Kirriemuir.
Port William’s Fraser Wilson, with Jane Nicol from Duns on the notes, battled through a difficult day to take top honours in the Group N category in his Mitsubishi EVO 9.
Having seen his main rival roll his car on the opening stage, it was a case of “last man standing” for Wilson by the time he had completed the seven stages, including two spectator specials at Dalbeattie and Heathhall.
“Thank God that’s finished!”, Wilson declared, as he brought his EVO home in 30th overall, after driving much of the penultimate Twiglees test with a front puncture, which shredded the tyre on the rim.
In the 2WD classes, Acky Curran from Newton Stewart, alongside Cumbrian navigator Heather Grisedale, ended the day in 25th place in his 1600cc Vauxhall Corsa. However, it proved to be a costly event:
“I had to buy four tyres rather than my usual two. I was taking the tread off them”, explained Curran: “There was much more commitment today – and Heather did a great job on the notes. As for the dust which was getting into the car, I think I discovered the problem – the tail-gate was slack and it was seeping in there. But it was a good finish for us – I needed it”.
Newton Stewart navigator Laura Marshall and Ayr driver Derek Connell – who won Class 2 on the Granite City Rally in May - limped back to Dumfries in 32nd place overall in a stricken Corsa: “It’s barely pulling away in first gear, it’s not picking up at all”, said Marshall.
At the top end of the leaderboard, David Bogie chalked up a debut win in his brand new Ford Fiesta R5+ in which he plans to contest the final round of the world rally championship, Wales Rally GB, in November.
The Dumfries driver, with Kevin Rae navigating, was fastest through five of the seven stages to finish just 3.5 seconds ahead of last year’s “Scottish” winner Euan Thorburn in a Ford Focus WRC.
Bogie had gone into his home event – which he has now won three times - unsure of the true pace of the R5+ compared to that of his main rivals.:
“Some people were expecting amazing things from this car, and others were a bit more realistic. I wouldn’t say it’s an easy car to drive by any means, certainly on the looser sections, the more technical sections, my previous Focus WRC would have been an easier car, with the active diffs. So knowing that, I’m quite pleased with myself, and how we’ve finished up”.
Jock Armstrong, co-driven by Paula Swinscoe, took the final podium spot, in his Subaru Impreza.
The Castle Douglas driver got into his stride on the final two stages – posting the third fastest time through Twiglees, and the same again on Castle O’er:
“We’ve got a result and we’ve got some decent points”, said Armstrong: “I made a mistake on the second last, and we were careering sideways on some loose gravel. We hit a tree stump, and it flicked us round the other way, so we got away with it thanks to a little bit of luck. All in all I’m quite happy with the outcome”.
The next round of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship is the McDonald & Munro Speyside Stages in Elgin on Saturday, August 2nd.
For news and updates of all SRC rounds, go to www.scottishrallychampionship.co.uk
RSAC Scottish Rally – Dumfries and Galloway finishers with total times:
1st David Bogie (Dumfries)/Kevin Rae (Hawick) Ford Fiesta R5+ 41 min 33.8 sec
3rd Jock Armstrong (Castle Douglas)/Paula Swinscoe (Chorley) Subaru Impreza 43.46.4
5th Mike Faulkner (Kirtlebridge)/Peter Foy (Bingley) Mitsubishi EVO 9 44.08.2
10th Craig McMiken (Newton Stewart)/Craig Wallace (Kirriemuir) Mitsubishi EVO 9 46.36.8
12th Greg McKnight (Penpont)/Chris McKnight (Dumfries) Ford Escort Mk2 48.55.1
13th Robert Harkness (Stewarton)/Mike Curry (Lockerbie) BMW 316i 49.09.2
17th Peter Stewart (Dumfries)/Kenneth Marchbank (Thornhill) Ford Fiesta 50.23.1
21st Scott Peacock (Bridge of Dee)/Craig Service Peugeot 205GTi 50.50.2
23rd Jim Robertson (Penpont)/Colin Maxwell (Dumfries) Citroen C2R2 51.01.7
24th Charles Blair (Dumfries)/Mark Roberts (Dumfries) Peugeot 205GTi 51.14.5
25th Acky Curran (Newton Stewart)/Heather Grisedale (Seaton) Vauxhall Corsa 51.28.1
27th Angus Lawrie (Castle Douglas)/George Myatt (Dumfries) Vauxhall Nova 52.01.6
30th Fraser Wilson (Port William)/Jane Nicol (Duns) Mitsubishi EVO 9 52.38.8
31st Keith Riddick (Haugh of Urr)/Kirsty Riddick (Haugh of Urr) MG ZR 53.28.1
32nd Derek Connell (Ayr)/Laura Marshall (Newton Stewart) Vauxhall Corsa 53.41.5
40th Scott Sloan (Dumfries)/David Sloan (Dumfries) Vauxhall Corsa 1:12:48.6