DAVID Bogie from Dumfries became the first driver to win four successive Scottish rally championshps with victory on Saturday’s Ian Broll Merrick Stages, the penultimate round of the series.
There were also strong results for competitors from the local area – with Craig McMiken finishing ninth overall; Fraser Wilson securing another top fifteen result; and Mark McCulloch taking a second in class. Co-driver Laura Marshall also celebrated class success.
At the top end of the leaderboard, Bogie co-driven by Kevin Rae, completed the four Galloway forest stages in a total time of 39 mins 39 secs behind the wheel of his Mitsubishi EVO 9. Runner-up Jock Armstrong from Castle Douglas was eleven seconds back in his Subaru Impreza, with last year’s winner Mike Faulkner taking the final podium place in his EVO 6, a further thirty-eight seconds behind.
Going into the last stage, Bogie was neck and neck with his nearest rival Euan Thorburn from Duns, but the Borderer was forced to retire his Ford Focus World Rally Car with gearbox-related problems.
“It’s unreal. We’ve worked so hard all year to try to achieve this, we’ve put a lot of thought into this moment, and to come away from this event, with a round still to go, as Scottish champions and making history, it really is something”, said Bogie at the finish in front of the county buildings in Wigtown.
Among the Wigtownshire-based competitors, Craig McMiken brought his EVO 9 home in ninth overall – his best result on his local championship event since 2006. He was co-driven by experienced navigator Craig Wallace from Kirriemuir, the two competing together for the first time.
“We’re very pleased with the result, given we had a few problems on the previous day’s shakedown – most of which we got fixed. The car was cutting out a bit on the first stage, but apart from that we had a great run through. They were great roads, good stages and Craig and I worked very well together – I was really able to commit to the notes”, said McMiken.
Port William’s Fraser Wilson and Steven Broll ended the day fifteenth overall, and third in the Group N production-class in their Mitsubishi EVO 6.
“It’s been quite a trying day”, said Wilson: “We got a puncture five minutes from the end of the second stage and dropped a bit of time, but a lot of others were picking up punctures as well. I probably enjoyed the last stage the best – it was brilliant. We certainly can’t complain about where we’ve ended up, and the hope now is for another good result on the McRae Stages”.
In the 2WD classes (1-7), which ran at the head of the main field, Newton Stewart navigator Laura Marshall and driver Graeme Smith from Crossford scored maximum championship points in the 1600cc category in their Honda Civic.
The pair were delighted to get their campaign back on track in such positive fashion after a non-finish on the previous round: “It was a great day, with few problems”, said Smith: “We had a wee early scare with a distributor but we got that fixed and the car has continued to go well all day. To be honest, we were just taking it step by step. The second long stage was good, but the concentration started to go a bit after 13 or 14 miles, but Laura kept me right!”.
Mark McCulloch from Newton Stewart was runner-up in Class 3, and leading Peugeot 205 competitor, alongside co-driver Elliot Edmundson from Oxfordshire.
“It’s absolutely spot-on”, said McCulloch: “I felt I’d driven really badly in the first half of the first stage and we got going after that. We had a really big push through Glentrool and we managed to eke out about a minute’s lead in the 205’s. Over the last two stages, we pushed on hard, but at the same time made sure we maintained our advantage and didn’t do anything silly”.
Later, at the prize-giving ceremony in Wigtown county buildings, rally manager Allan Marshall thanked Ian and Fiona Broll for their sponsorship of this year’s event, adding: “I’d also like to thank our stage sponsors, the marshalls, and, not least, the people of Wigtown for their continuing support”.
Among the special award-winners were the Rally2Raise charity crew of Rachel Medich and Katherine Begg, who were the last to finish the rally in their 1000cc Nissan Micra. Rachel had driven the car all the way down from Aberdeen and was preparing for the return journey.
Laura Marshall won the Myra Huddlestone Trophy as the first Junior Female Competitor, while Fraser Wilson and Steven Broll took the award as first Machars Car Club crew.
The final round of the 2012 MSA Scottish Rally Championship is the Colin McRae Stages, based in Aberfeldy, on October 6th.
For news of all SRC rounds, go to www.scottishrallychampionship.co.uk
Ian Broll Merrick Stages – Dumfries and Galloway finishers with total times:
1st David Bogie (Dumfries)/Kevin Rae (Hawick) Mitsubishi EVO 9 39m 39s
2nd Jock Armstrong (Castle Douglas)/Kirsty Riddick (Haugh of Urr) Subaru Impreza 39.50
3rd Mike Faulkner (Kirtlebridge)/Peter Foy (Bingley) Mitsubishi EVO 6 40.28
9th Craig McMiken (Newton Stewart)/Craig Wallace (Kirriemuir) Mitsubishi EVO 9 43.25
19th Lee Hastings (Collin)/Brian Findon (Dumfries) Subaru Impreza 45.40
21st Graeme Smith (Crossford)/Laura Marshall (Newton Stewart) Honda Civic 46.01
22nd Mark McCulloch (Newton Stewart)/Elliot Edmondson (Olney) Peugeot 205 Gti 46.10
38th Roy Eide-johansen (Dumfries)/Mark Simpson (Moffat) Ford Escort Mk1 49.34
40th Scott Peacock (Castle Douglas)/Keith Riddick (Haugh of Urr) Peugeot 205 49.56