Bogie sprints to fifth Speyside win
David Bogie from Dumfries increased his lead in the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship with a seventeen second victory over Borders rival Euan Thorburn on Saturday’s McDonald & Munro Speyside Stages.
The four-times Scottish title-holder, with co-driver Kevin Rae from Hawick, was fastest through seven of the nine short Moray forest stages in his Ford Focus WRC to take his fifth victory on the Elgin-based event. Banchory’s Quintin Milne snatched the final podium spot in his Mitsubishi EVO 9, finishing nearly ninety seconds further back.
Bogie, who had lost out to Thorburn on the previous round in Dumfries, was delighted to be back to winning ways:
“I really wanted to get as many fastest times as possible, so I’m more than happy to get seven out of nine”, said Bogie: “The car has been absolutely spot on, in fact, it’s the most comfortable I’ve felt in it all season. When it’s as close as it is with Euan it makes it more enjoyable – you’re pushing all the time, and at the end of the stage you’re desperate to hear what time he’s done. On the last stage he stalled on the start line and maybe dropped five seconds, and it actually made the job harder because I wasn’t quite sure what pace to drive at. But we managed to take nine seconds out of him at the end – and make sure of the win”.
For his part, Thorburn, also in a Focus, and co-driven by Paul Beaton from Inverness, rued what might have been:
“We came here to win, but it’s not been an easy event for us”, admitted the Duns-based driver: “We’ve had problems all day with the damper, and it’s been under-steering a fair bit. We got some time back from David during the afternoon stages and were fastest through two of them, but it wasn’t enough, and then we had a stall on the start line of the final stage, followed by fuel pressure problems. We’ll try to keep pushing David but there are only three rounds left, so we’re running out of time”.
It was “nip and tuck” all day between Milne, co-driven by Martin Forrest, and Jock Armstrong and Kirsty Riddick in a Subaru Impreza. In the event, Milne secured his third place by four seconds from the Castle Douglas pair, and remains second in the championship, eleven points behind Bogie.
“It’s been a close fought battle with Jock – just as it was on the Scottish – but I’m delighted to be back on the podium. We had a few lucky moments on the last stage when the “kill switch” on the car got hit by a tree – it fired up again thankfully – and then we ran wide at a hairpin. But we took two seconds out of Jock as well”.
Armstrong had to recover from an early scare: “Some loose gravel caught me out and we went off into a ditch which nearly ended our rally straight away. We got back on and started to build up a good rhythm. We’ve been on a harder tyre than everyone else today and it’s worked very well on stages where it’s been under the trees and there’s been more grip. However, it’s not been so good on the drier stages when it seems to pull the stones out quite a lot and make it very marbly and loose. No complaints though, it’s been a close battle with Quintin and well done to him”.
Aberdeen’s Dave Weston Snr continued his return to regular SRC competition after a two and a half year absence with a hard-earned fifth place behind the wheel of a Paul Benn Ford Focus WRC. Co driven by Dave Robson from Jedburgh, Weston, who has now registered for the championship, was sitting third behind Bogie and Thorburn over the first five stages. However a developing problem thwarted his challenge as the day wore on:
“We’ve effectively had no front diff all afternoon and we lost quite a lot of time because of it. Otherwise though I really enjoyed the event. I’m back in the groove and slowly gathering pace, so I’m looking forward to the last three rounds”.
Meanwhile, Dave Weston Jnr – while not eligible for championship points – finished a further twenty seconds back in a Subaru Impreza N11 WRC alongside Phil Clarke. A stall at the start of the last stage lost the pair valuable seconds, otherwise the final result between father and son could have been much closer.
Donnie Macdonald and Andrew Falconer were seventh overall, sixth in the points, in an EVO 9. The result means they move to fourth in the drivers’ and co-drivers’ points respectively, and MacDonald was more than happy with the day’s work:
“Best rally of the year, definitely. Great format, great stages, and no delays. The best stage for us was the second run through Gartly. I took ten seconds off my first time through it, and I’d have taken another ten if there’d been a third run – absolutely brilliant”.
Mike Faulkner and Peter Foy ended the day eighth overall in his Mitsubishi EVO 9,alongside navigator Peter Foy:
“We had problems during the morning, but changed the diff control for the later stages and it was much better. Then on the last stage it cut out at a hairpin and wouldn’t restart – which was frustrating as we were getting into the flow by the end. But we had no mechanical issues and more mileage in the car, so that’s a positive”.
Banchory’s Bruce McCombie, who had Michael Coutts on the notes, was making his second SRC outing of the season in his Subaru Impreza, and was satisfied with his ninth-place finish: “The stages were excellent – I like the technical stuff, it really tests you. We had a wee spin here and there but no major dramas”.
Twenty-seven seconds further back in tenth, Barry Groundwater from Stonehaven had had a slightly more eventful day in his EVO 9 – hitting a log early on – but nevertheless “declared it a good day”. He was co-driven by Daniel Paterson.
Twelfth-placed Andrew Gallacher, with Phil Sandham navigating, won overall Group N honours in his EVO 9.
Calum Mackenzie, co-driven by Allan Clark, led home the 2WD competitors in his Ford Escort Mk2, having seen main rival Steve Bannister bow out with a rare mechanical failure when a prop-shaft broke on the first stage.
Among the SRC-registered competitors, there was a second Class 2 victory of the season for Alex Pirie and David Law in a Toyota Yaris. Ken Wood/Mike Cruickshank were the winners of Class 9 in their Triumph Dolomite, while Caroline Carslaw and John Duke took the Class 7 honours in a Ford Fiesta ST. Meanwhile, Stewart Davidson/Breagha Dobney took maximum points in Class 5 in their Ford Escort Mk2.
Leitholm’s Kieran Renton and Kelso navigator Carin Logan were the best of the 1600cc category competitors in their Ford Fiesta R2, while Iain Haining and Mairi Riddick had a late scare, but nevertheless made it five Class 3 wins out of five in their Vauxhall Nova:
“We had a great start to the day”, said Dumfries-based Haining: “Then when we came out of second service the car wouldn’t start. Turns out the starter had failed. We coped with that, just had to push it. But then on the second-last stage, the longest of the day, we clipped a rock and drove about six miles with a left-rear puncture until the tyre finally came off the rim about a mile from the end. It lost us time, but thankfully not enough to knock us from the top spot”.
The sixth round of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship is the GWF Energy Merrick Stages in Wigtown on September 7th.
Speyside Stages: Top Ten results with total times:
1st David Bogie (Dumfries)/Kevin Rae (Hawick) Ford Focus WRC 42.25
2nd Euan Thorburn (Duns)/Paul Beaton (Inverness) Ford Focus WRC 42.42
3rd Quintin Milne (Banchory)/Martin Forrest (Aberdeen) Mitsubishi EVO 9 44.09
4th Jock Armstrong (Castle Douglas)/Kirsty Riddick (Haugh of Urr) Subaru Impreza 44.13
5th Dave Weston Snr (Aberdeen)/Dave Robson (Jedburgh) Ford Focus WRC 44.23
6th Dave Weston Jnr (Aberdeen)/Phil Clarke () Subaru Impreza N11 WRC 44.43
7th Donnie Macdonald (Inverness)/Andrew Falconer (Inverness) Mitsubishi EVO 9 45.14
8th Mike Faulkner (Kirtlebridge)/Peter Foy (Bingley) Mitsubishi EVO 9 45.35
9th Bruce McCombie (Banchory)/Michael Coutts (Torphins) Subaru Impreza 45.38
10th Barry Groundwater (Stonehaven)/Daniel Fraser (Stonehaven) Mitsubishi EVO 9 46.05