Thorburn wins on Bogie’s home turf
Euan Thorburn got his campaign back on track with a decisive win on Saturday’s fourth round of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship in Dumfries, while series leader David Bogie had to settle for the runners-up spot on his home event.
The Borderer led the RSAC Scottish Rally from start to finish in his Ford Focus WRC, completing the five special stages 19.5 seconds ahead of the defending champion, who was also in a Focus. Banchory’s Quintin Milne snatched the final podium spot in his Mitsubishi EVO 9 to consolidate his second place in the drivers’ standings, eight points behind Bogie.
Thorburn, co-driven by Paul Beaton from Inverness, had been determined to push for the win after losing out to Bogie on his local rally, the Jim Clark Reivers in Duns, at the beginning of June.
“We had a big push in Ae forest in the morning and got a good time, so it was all about consolidating that during the afternoon stages”, said Thorburn at the finish in Dumfries town centre: “We kept the pace up and made sure we were in front of David, but there were some big stones and rocks to watch out for, so it was also a case of keeping it tidy and avoiding punctures. We came here for the victory today, so we’re obviously delighted – we just need to go out and win the rest now!”.
For their part, Bogie and Hawick co-driver Kevin Rae had gone into the “Scottish” looking for a third win on the Dumfries event, and their third back-to-back success of the current season:
“I felt I was driving pretty well, my braking points were good, my high speed commitment was good, it was just one of those days that leaves you baffled”, said the four-times champion: “Over the last few years, I’ve been pretty consistent and quick on this event, but Euan raised his game today. It could have been better, but we should be pleased with second, and it keeps us ahead in the championship”.
Going into the final Loch Grannoch stage, Milne, co-driven by Martin Forrest from Aberdeen, was lying fourth behind Thorburn, Bogie, and Dave Weston in a Subaru Impreza WRC. However, the non-SRC registered Weston suffered a rear-wheel puncture, dropping three places. Milne inherited third overall after a day-long battle with Jock Armstrong, who finished less than two seconds further back:
“I’m delighted to be able to swap times with Jock. I rate him hugely”, said Milne, who, with the leading pair and Armstrong, beat the bogey time on the final test: “The top ten is very competitive and to be able to trade times with him today, and finding a little bit of time myself and finish third is a fantastic result. David and Euan are cracking drivers in their world rally cars and almost in a different league. So the rest of us battle it out, and I feel as though I’ve won the rally myself”.
Milne had got the better of Armstrong over the first two stages of the rally, with the Castle Douglas-based Subaru Impreza driver upping the pace in the afternoon, alongside co-driver Kirsty Riddick:
“We were happy with the performance in the afternoon where we had a couple of clean runs and took time out of Quintin. However, at the end of the day I’d lost too much time on the morning stages”, said Armstrong: “I didn’t get in the groove straight away, and with it being such a short rally – four stages and the spectator super-special – you have to be on the button straight-away, and we weren’t today”.
Stonehaven’s Barry Groundwater, with Neil Shanks of Elgin on the notes, maintained his third spot in the championship with a strong fifth place overall at the wheel of his EVO 9:
“That last stage was quick. We were doing 127mph – the red light was on for longer than I would have liked”, said Groundwater: “There were one or two rough bits on the stages, but we got through fine, while others were getting punctures. So all in all it was a good day for us”.
2006 Scottish champion Weston, who had not competed in a rally car for two and a half years, ended the day less than half a second adrift of Groundwater. He was co-driven by Jedburgh’s Dave Robson, with whom he won the “Scottish” in 2008:
“It was all about trying to get back in the groove after such a long time away”, said Weston: “The first stage was a steep learning curve, the second stage we were starting to push on a bit. The fourth test we had a massive moment in the middle of it, which lasted for hundreds of yards – and that gave me a real fright – and then we were going well on the last stage before we picked up the puncture”.
It was a difficult event for Mike Faulkner and Peter Foy in their Mitsubishi EVO 9, finishing seventh overall, sixth in the points, half a second behind Weston. They had already had a series of incidents to cope with the previous day, including a broken windscreen and a blown turbo, and the problems continued on the rally:
“We broke a wheel on the opening stage, and lost valuable time, and then there was a diff setting issue on the second stage”, said Faulkner: “The first afternoon stage was a lot better, and we had a real push in the last one – they were really fast stages and the times were so close. We caught some dust near the end of the final stage and lost a couple of seconds. We were quite relaxed about it, but then realised afterwards we were less than a second off Barry’s overall time, so that was a bit frustrating”.
Erstwhile BRC competitor Peter Taylor, with Andrew Roughead on the notes, was back at the wheel of his Ford Focus WRC after winning the DMACK Carlisle Stages the previous weekend. The pair who were not eligible for championship points, finished eighth overall, with Taylor admitting he was still getting used to the Scottish pacenotes, as opposed to the format of the British series.
Aberdeenshire crew Chris Collie and Lisa Watson survived a challenging day to bring their EVO 6 back to Dumfries in ninth place, seventh in the SRC points:
“We made it just. We had a puncture and snapped the drive shaft about four miles from the end and on that speed of stage we just lost so much time”, said Collie: “It was my own fault – Lisa called the notes, it was a chicane with a bump on the outside and I was just too fast, ran wide and bang we had a puncture and snapped the shaft. It’s a pity because were lying fifth or sixth going into the stage”.
Another non-SRC registered driver, Jon Burn, who was the Scottish champion in 1999, rounded off the overall top ten in his distinctive yellow Subaru Impreza WRC, alongside Alan Stark.
Andy Horne and Jim Howie survived three punctures to make it home in eleventh place, eighth in the points, in their DAM 4100gti. “I don’t know why we picked up the punctures, perhaps we were on the wrong compound, it wasn’t because we were hitting anything”, said Horne: “Certainly the first one, the road was pretty rough, but the last two weren’t, they just seemed to happen”.
Dougal Brown and Lewis Rochford from Inverness were ninth amongst the SRC competitors in a Mitsubishi EVO 9, with tarmac specialists Alistair and Colin Inglis (“we had a front-wheel puncture on the second stage and dropped quite a lot of time”) tenth in their EVO 5.
Group N honours went to John McClory and David Hood, who finished seventeenth overall in their Subaru Impreza, just 2.3 seconds ahead of the Mitsubishi EVO 9 of John Morrison and Peter Carstairs:
“We were really on the pace today. It’s been a good battle with John and David, and the result carries on the good form from the Jim Clark where we won the class”, said Morrison.
In the 2WD classes, Alasdair S.Graham from Paisley, co-driven by Laura Stuart of Alford, picked up his second consecutive victory in the 1600cc category in a Vauxhall Corsa, finishing a second ahead of Graeme Smith and Laura Marshall, who were the leading Honda Civic crew.
Iain Haining from Locharbriggs celebrated his fourth straight win in Class 3 in his Vauxhall Nova, alongside co-driver Mairi Riddick from Haugh of Urr – the event marking their fifth anniversary together in the car:
“Today got off to a bit of a shaky start – we broke a clutch cable on the way to the first stage. Thankfully a competitor behind gave us a spare and we got on our way. We had no dramas on the stages, so it all went to plan”, said Haining.
Aboyne’s Stewart Davidson, with Breagha Dobney from Inverness on the notes, took the Class 5 victory in his Ford Escort, while Ayrshire’s Robert Harkness and Lockerbie co-driver Mike Curry were the sole entrants – and winners – in Class 9 in a BMW 316i. Stuart Glendinning from Glasgow, with Craig Robb of Inverness on the notes, made sure of Class 8 in his Ford Puma R2000, while the victors in Class 2 were Scott Macbeth from Rosemarkie and Inverness navigator Callum Macleod in a Vauxhall Nova.
The fifth round of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship is the McDonald & Munro Speyside Stages on August the 3rd.
Top Ten Finishers with total times:
** denotes not SRC-registered
1st Euan Thorburn (Duns)/Paul Beaton (Inverness) Ford Focus WRC 35 mins 44.6 secs
2nd David Bogie (Dumfries)/Kevin Rae (Hawick) Ford Focus WRC 36.04.1
3rd Quintin Milne (Banchory)/Martin Forrest (Aberdeen) Mitsubishi EVO 9 36.55.4
4th Jock Armstrong (Castle Douglas)/Kirsty Riddick (Haugh of Urr) Subaru Impreza 36.57.1
5th Barry Groundwater (Stonehaven)/Neil Shanks (Elgin) Mitsubishi EVO 9 37.57.4
6th Dave Weston (Aberdeen)/Dave Robson (Jedburgh) Subaru Impreza WRC 37.57.6 **
7th Mike Faulkner (Kirtlebridge)/Peter Foy (Bingley) Mitsubishi EVO 9 37.58.1
8th Peter Taylor (Carlisle)/Andrew Roughead (Newcastle) Ford Focus WRC 38.02.5 **
9th Chris Collie (Aberdeen)/Lisa Watson (Alford) Mitsubishi EVO 6 38.05.8
10th Jon Burn (Hamilton)/Alan Stark (Lenzie) Subaru Impreza WRC 38.20.7 **