Jun 29 2012 Dumfries Standard Friday
THE MSA Scottish Rally Championship is finely poised as it enters the second half of the season with six points covering the four leading drivers.
More than a hundred crews will line their cars up in Dumfries town centre tomorrow Saturday, June 30, for the RSAC Scottish Rally, which is marking its 80th anniversary.
Ahead of them lie more than 40 miles of classic stages in the forests to the north and east of the town, as well as two blasts through the special spectator stage at Heathhall.
Defending Scottish champion David Bogie – who currently shares the lead in the drivers’ standings with Stonehaven’s Barry Groundwater – is top seed for his home rally.
The Dumfries driver is aiming to get his campaign back on track after a non-finish on the Jim Clark Reivers earlier this month when the gearbox failed on his MG Metro 6R4.
The 24-year-old will be behind the wheel of his Mitsubishi EVO 9, as he targets his fourth victory of the season alongside co-driver Kevin Rae.
“The EVO is getting a bit long in the tooth, but it can still do the business” said Bogie.
“We have replaced a few parts coming into the rally, just general maintenance, and by keeping on top of the car that way, hopefully it will ensure results. But obviously the competition, and the pace, is going to be fierce.
“They’re high speed stages, so punctures aren’t so much of a problem – though we were hit by one last year, which put us back to third. At the end of the day it really is an event where the fastest man wins.”
Last year’s Scottish winner Jock Armstrong, co-driven by Kirsty Riddick, is due to be back in action in his rebuilt Subaru Impreza, for what will be his first championship outing of the season.
The Castle Douglas-based competitor had hoped to compete on the Reivers but was hit by last minute problems with the car.
Third seeds Mike Faulkner from Kirtlebridge, and Bingley navigator Peter Foy (who is tied at the top of the co-drivers’ standings with Kevin Rae) won the Scottish in 2009, and have been runners-up for the past two years.
They also had a second-place finish on the Reivers – their third of the season, and Faulkner is relishing the forthcoming challenge at the wheel of his Mitsubishi EVO 6.
Faulkner, who sits one point behind Bogie and Groundwater, said: “We were both really pleased with our run on tarmac, but are now really fired up to be back on gravel, and can’t wait to get stuck in.
“As we go into the second half of the season, the pressure on David is as strong as ever. Euan (Thorburn) is on a roll with a win on his home event in Duns and is getting quicker all the time as he adapts to his Ford Focus WRC, so it’s going to be tough.
“The Scottish is a good event for us with some great drivers’ stages. As ever, we’ll be pushing 100 percent to try to stay in touch, but such is the pace of the championship, there are half a dozen guys who’ll be pushing for a podium.”
Kirkgunzeon’s Rory Young kicked off his 2012 championship campaign with two fourth place finishes, alongside navigator Allan Cathers. However, there was double disappointment over the Jim Clark weekend when Young was forced to retire his EVO 5 on both the National Rally, and the Reivers, where he had been running as high as fourth overall.
He said: “The car has undergone some fairly major work since the Jim Clark to the engine and gear-box. It will be ready to go this coming weekend and I’m hoping to be able to fight my way into the top six, but looking at the entry list, that’s not going to be easy.”
Although not competing for championship points, Mouswald’s Ian Paterson, co-driven by Jim Haugh, will be looking for a strong finish in front of home support in his Subaru Impreza N10.
Richard Stewart from Lochfoot, and Collin’s Lee Hastings, with Brian Findon of Dumfries on the notes, will both be in action in their Subaru Imprezas, while Richard’s son Peter is entered in his Ford Fiesta ST in Class 7.
Among the other 2 WD competitors, Iain Haining from Locharbriggs will be targeting a home win in Class 3 in his Vauxhall Nova, alongside navigator Mairi Riddick. The pair missed out last year when the clutch went on the final stage.
Meanwhile, Penpont’s Greg McKnight, co-driven by dad Chris, has the chance to tighten his grip on Class 2 in his Vauxhall Nova, after two victories and two retirements so far this year.
Two local drivers will field Ford Escort’s: Roy Eide-Johansen, co-driven by Mark Simpson from Moffat, will be out in his immaculate Mk1, while Robert Paterson, also from Dumfries will be in a Mk2.
Two of the more unusual cars competing will be the Volkswagen Polo of Auldgirth’s Gary Smith, co-driven by Mark Roberts of Torthorwald, and the Lada Samara of Michael Hunter from Dumfries, who will be partnered with Carlisle’s James McWhir.
The action gets underway at 8.30am tomorrow, on Saturday, when the first of the historic cars leaves Dumfries town centre. The rest of the field, starting with 2WD Classes 1-6, follows on from 9am.
Further details can be found at www.scottishrally.co.uk
For news and updates on all SRC rounds, go to www.scottishrallychampionship.co.uk.
RSAC Scottish Rally – 4WD Dumfries and Galloway competitors with car no:
1 David Bogie (Dumfries), Kevin Rae (Hawick) Mitsubishi EVO 9; 2 Jock Armstrong (Castle Douglas), Kirsty Riddick (Haugh of Urr) Subaru Impreza; 3 Mike Faulkner (Kirtlebridge), Peter Foy (Bingley) Mitsubishi EVO 6; 7 Rory Young (Kirkgunzeon), Allan Cathers (Little Corby) Mitsubishi EVO 5; 23 Craig McMiken (Newton Stewart), Christine Sanderson (Berwick on Tweed) Mitsubishi EVO 9; 26 Fraser Wilson (Port William), Steven Broll (Port William) Mitsubishi EVO 6; 28 Ian Paterson (Mouswald), Jim Haugh (Sandhead) Subaru Impreza N10; 32 Richard Stewart (Lochfoot), TBA Subaru Impreza; 35 Billy Thomson (Glenlochar), Ian Windress (North Allerton) Mitsubishi EVO 9; 37 Lee Hastings (Collin), Brian Findon (Dumfries) Subaru Impreza; 38 Greg Pollock (Cumnock), Kenny Marchbank (Thornhill) Subaru Impreza; 41 Roy Eide-Johansen (Dumfries), Mark Simpson (Moffat) Ford Escort Mk1.
Two wheel drive Dumfries and Galloway competitors with car no: 74 Graeme Smith (Crossford), Laura Marshall (Newton Stewart) Honda Civic; 77 Iain Haining (Locharbriggs), Mairi Riddick (Haugh of Urr) Vauxhall Nova; 79 Mark McCulloch (Newton Stewart), TBA Peugeot 205 Gti; 82 Greg McKnight (Penpont), Chris McKnight (Penpont) Vauxhall Nova; 85 Peter Stewart (Dumfries), TBA Ford Fiesta; 89 Tam Brown (Boreland), Mike Curry (Dumfries) Peugeot 205; 90 Alec Curran (Newton Stewart), David McGeoch (Dumfries) Vauxhall Nova; 91 Scott Peacock (Bridge of Dee), Robert Alcorn (Castle Douglas) Peugeot 205; 94 Rob Ashwell (Fyvie), Stephen Marshall (Minnigaff) Citreon C2R2; 96 Robert Paterson (Dumfries), Neil Richardson (Kingston upon Thames) Ford Escort Mk 2; 102 Gary Smith (Auldgirth), Mark Roberts (Torthorwald) Volkswagen Polo; 104 Mark McCleary (Castle Douglas), Duncan Hastings (Castle Douglas) Vauxhall Nova; 105 Iain Wilson (Dalbeattie), Keith Fremantle (Dalbeattie) Vauxhall Nova; 111 Michael Hunter (Dumfries), James McWhir (Carlisle) Lada Samara; 112 Ian Bendall (Castle Douglas), Ruari Barbar-Fleming (Castle Douglas) Vauxhall Corsa.