Rally crews battle snow and ice

Mark McCulloch
Mark McCulloch

Local rally crews were faced with Arctic conditions of ice and snow on Saturday’s Brick & Steel Border Counties Rally.

Newton Stewart’s Mark McCulloch and Port William’s Fraser Wilson and Steven Broll made it through the four special forest stages on a day when just completing the Jedburgh-based event was a major achievement.

In the interests of safety, the organisers cancelled the third Craik stage near Hawick because of snow and access problems.

McCulloch, co-driven by Elliot Edmondson from Buckinghamshire, finished in 19th place overall in his Subaru Impreza.

Wilson and Broll, who on Friday had had a nightmare journey of nine hours through the snow just getting to Jedburgh, were 26th overall, and third in the SRC Group N points, in their Clone Motorsport Mitsubishi EVO 8. Their best run of the day was a seventh quickest time through SS4 Bewshaugh. The pair could have been further up the leaderboard at the finish but had to carry a one-minute penalty for being too early at the first time control.

There was frustration for Newton Stewart navigator Laura Marshall and Lanarkshire driver Graeme Smith, who at one stage had a 90-second advantage among the Honda Civic competitors, and were just a second shy of taking the lead in the 1600cc category. However, it all went wrong on the fourth stage, when they went off on sheet ice at a corner and ended up in one of the notorious Kielder Forest ditches. The pair managed to get the car out eventually, and completed the rally but were over the time limit.

Defending Scottish champion and two times Border Counties winner David Bogie from Dumfries finished fourth overall, third in the SRC points, in his Ford Focus WRC. He had regrets about early tyre choice, which was a critical factor given the changeable surface conditions.

Not so lucky was Castle Douglas ace Jock Armstrong, co-driven by Kirsty Riddick, who came to grief on the first stage in his Subaru Impreza.

There was a class win for Locharbriggs’ Iain Haining and Mairi Riddick from Haugh of Urr in a Vauxhall Nova, while Iain Wilson and Keith Fremantle from Dalbeattie were third in the 1600cc category, also in a Nova.

Bridge of Dee’s Scott Peacock, with Keith Riddick on the notes, also made it safely home in his Peugeot 205GTi.

Meanwhile Sandhead’s Jim Haugh, who was due to navigate for Dumfries Subaru Impreza driver Ian Paterson, had to call off as roads became impassable in the worsening blizzards on Friday.

Full results can be found at www.flyingfinish.co.uk.

For news of all SRC rounds, go to www.scottishrallychampionship.co.uk.

Border Counties Rally results for Dumfries and Galloway competitors, with total times:

4. David Bogie (Dumfries)/Kevin Rae (Hawick) Ford Focus WRC 40 mins 08 secs

19. Mark McCulloch (Newton Stewart)/Elliot Edmondson (Olney) Subaru Impreza 45.34

24. Iain Wilson (Dalbeattie)/Keith Fremantle (Dalbeattie) Vauxhall Nova 47.20

26. Fraser Wilson (Port William)/Steven Broll (Port William) Mitsubishi EVO 8 47.27

27. Iain Haining (Locharbriggs)/Mairi Riddick (Haugh of Urr) Vauxhall Nova 47.28

31. Robert Harkness (Stewarton)/Mike Curry (Lockerbie) BMW 316 i 48.37

38. James Robertson (Thornhill)/Colin Maxwell (Dumfries) Citreon C2 R2 51.25

44. Scott Peacock (Bridge of Dee)/Keith Riddick (Haugh of Urr) Peugeot 205GTi 54.11

52. Scott Sloan (Dumfries)/David Sloan (Dumfries) Vauxhall Corsa 58.59

56. Blair Brown (Powmill)/Steven Clark (Gretna) Peugeot 205GTi 1.02.46