Dalbeattie will play a pivotal role in the 46th Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally this Autumn.
The popular motorsport event is moving its HQ to Jas P Wilson on the outskirts of the Granite Town.
And, after a hiatus of five years, the event will also make a return to the forest stage of the same name to open the competitive action on Saturday, September 14.
The rally, traditionally based in Gatehouse of Fleet in the ‘80s and ‘90s, has been based in Castle Douglas since 1999.
The move, just a couple of miles down the Urr Valley to Dalbeattie, will be beneficial to the event, as all pre-event checks and rally headquarters will be based at Jas P Wilson’s newly-extended campus, ensuring a compact format to the weekend’s proceedings.
Spectators will be very welcome at Jas P Wilson on Friday late afternoon to watch the scrutineering safety checks of the rally cars inside the newly-built showroom, and again on Saturday morning to see the cars leave the Ceremonial Start from 8am.
From there, it’s just a short trip over the A710 to Dalbeattie Forest, where both the National ‘A’ and ‘B’ events will tackle the Dalbeattie test before they head off to stages in the west of the region.
Organised by Solway, Machars and East Ayrshire Car Clubs, the Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally not only plays host to the now traditional final round of the KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship, but for the first time will also form the final round of the British Rally Championship.
Clerk of the course Michael Riddick said: “We were approached by Iain Wilson in the spring about the possibility of bringing the rally to Jas P Wilson, and we didn’t take long to take him up on his offer.
“The benefit of basing the event here is that the size of the facility means that everything will be on one site. We are very grateful to Billy and Iain Wilson and their staff for welcoming us to Jas P Wilson.”
He continued: “The move to Dalbeattie will also allow us to re-introduce an old favourite to the event, in the form of the Dalbeattie stage.
“When I was competing, it was one I always looked forward to, and it will be a real wake up call for our competitors on Saturday morning.”
Iain Wilson of Jas P Wilson said “There are certainly strong links between the forest machinery industry and rallying so we are delighted to be supporting the Galloway Hills Rally and the associated championships this year.
“The area in which we are based is steeped in rallying history and we have a brand-new facility that really lends itself to providing a great location for an event such as this.
“It’s that close to the stages, you can potentially walk from our yard into the stage. We look forward to welcoming competitors and spectators to our premises next month”.
On hearing the news of the return of the Dalbeattie stage, event sponsor Jock Armstrong of The Armstrong Group said: “Awesome news. I won my first Galloway Hills Rally in 2006 after a storming drive through the final test in Dalbeattie, which is one of my favourite stages in the whole country.
“It’s only six or seven miles, but with so many corners and crests, it will probably the most challenging gravel stage in the British Championship.”