Stage set for close-fought Border Counties
Last year’s winners Quintin Milne and co-driver Martin Forrest head a quality field of nearly one hundred crews for next Saturday’s second round of the 2014 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship in Jedburgh.
Twelve months ago, Milne battled snow and ice on the Kielder stages to take victory on the Brick & Steel Construction Border Counties in his Mitsubishi EVO 9.
The Banchory driver currently sits second in the points after finishing as runner-up to Duns-based Euan Thorburn on the season-opener in Inverness.
Thorburn, co-driven by Paul Beaton, will line up his Ford Focus WRC behind that of defending Scottish champions David Bogie and Hawick navigator Kevin Rae – twice winners of the Border Counties.
A puncture put paid to Bogie’s hopes of victory on the Snowman, but, that aside, the five-time title holder from Dumfries was happy with his form:
“We were fastest through four of the five stages, so the pace was certainly there – and that bodes well for the rest of the season. If we can go into the Border Counties with the same pace, then I see no reason why we can’t take the win. It’s a rally which requires big commitment, but I’m feeling comfortable and confident in the car, and thoroughly looking forward to the event”.
Mike Faulkner, with Peter Foy on the notes, was also satisfied with the pace on the opening round – steering his EVO 9 to the final podium spot, just three seconds adrift of Milne. The fast flowing Kielder stages suit Faulkner’s driving style, and he aims to pick up where he left off in Inverness:
“We can look forward to another tussle with Quinton, and hopefully Jock (Armstrong), after his bad luck on the Snowman. We’ll be fighting to stay as near to Euan and David as possible. They’ll be difficult to beat, but, as the Snowman proved, if either have problems, then we need to be close enough to capitalise. In truth, there’s a host of other drivers capable of being in the mix – so it looks like being another close-fought Scottish Championship round – which is just what we want”.
Armstrong’s Snowman challenge came to an end on the second stage, when his Subaru Impreza succumbed to transmission problems. The Castle Douglas competitor, who will again have Paula Swinscoe on the notes, is looking to kick start his campaign on the Border Counties, but has not fared well on the event in recent years. He went off on the first stage last year, following previous DNF’s in 2010 and 2011.
In contrast, sixth-seed Barry Groundwater has finished in the top eight since 2009 in his Mitsubishi EVO. He was fourth overall in 2012, and last year took the runners-up spot alongside navigator Neil Shanks from Elgin.
Meanwhile, the County Durham crew of Stephen Petch and Michael Wilkinson, while not in the chase for Scottish championship points, will be looking to better their third place finish of last year.
SRC regular Chris Collie sat out the opening round, but will be back in action in his Mitsubishi EVO 6. The Portlethen competitor, co-driven by Mark Fisher, ended the day sixth overall in Jedburgh in 2013.
Donnie MacDonald, with fellow Invernessian Andrew Falconer navigating, will be hoping for a clean run in his recently acquired EVO 9. He was eyeing a top-seven spot on the Snowman, but an electrical problem forced him to call it a day on the final stage. He will be followed off the start-line by the winners of last month’s Riponian Stages Rally, Peter Wilkinson and Ian Windress, in a Ford Focus. Like Petch, they will be aiming to mix it with the leading SRC competitors.
Bruce McCombie heads to Jedburgh off the back of an impressive seventh overall on the Snowman in his new-for-2014 EVO 9 – the Banchory man co-driven by Michael Coutts.
Former Scottish champion Jon Burn and navigator Alan Stark start twelfth in their Subaru Impreza WRC, while Rory Young, with Allan Cathers alongside, will want to make amends for a non-finish last time out in his EVO 5.
The Group N challenge will be led by Andrew Gallacher, who also debuted a new EVO 9 on the opening round. Before the event, the car was shown to be down on power, but the Kilmarnock driver, with Phil Sandham navigating, said they would be looking to “get more out of it” come the Border Counties.
Event sponsor John McClory, who, with David Hood, won GpN and finished seventh overall in 2013, will return to the fray in his Subaru Impreza N15.
Inverness duo Dougal Brown and Lewis Rochford will aim to keep up the momentum after finishing sixth overall on their home event in an EVO 9, and Wigtownshire crew Mark McCulloch and Jim Haugh will also be targeting a strong points finish in their Subaru Impreza.
After one round, John Morrison from Conon Bridge sits tenth in the overall drivers’ standings and second in GpN in his Mitsubishi EVO, one point ahead of Port William’s Fraser Wilson. Fellow Wigtownshire competitor Craig McMiken, co-driven by Craig Wallace, also starts in the top-twenty in his EVO.
With classes 1-7 running at the front of the field, the first competitive car into the stages will be the historic-spec Ford Escort Mk2 of Steve Bannister and Louise Sutherland. The pair have been the event’s leading 2WD competitors on three occasions in the past four years, but are likely to face strong competition for overall honours from Mull ace John MacCrone, co-driven by Stuart Louden, in his Ford Fiesta R200.
Among the SRC competitors, Colin Aitchison, co-driven by fellow Duns man Garry Pearson, currently leads the historic class in his Vauxhall Chevette.
Bothwell’s Graeme Schoneville, with Michael Hendry alongside, will be eyeing maximum points in Class 7 in his Honda Civic Type-R, as will Lauder’s Callum Atkinson, co-driven by Keith Riddick, in a Ford Fiesta RT.
The 1600cc category again promises to be an intriguing tussle. Peter Stewart from Dumfries, with Kenneth Marchbank on the notes, will look to extend his advantage after taking the win on the Snowman in his Ford Fiesta, ahead of the Honda Civic of Duncan Campbell and Gavin Chisholm. 2013 class champions Iain Wilson and Keith Fremantle from Dalbeattie will be back in action in their Vauxhall Nova, after crashing out on round one, while Kieran Renton and Dave O’Brien, from Leithholm and Duns respectively, will have home support in their Ford Fiesta R2. Others to watch out for include last year’s class winners, Carl and Rob Tuer in an MG ZR S1600; Alasdair S.Graham and Laura Stuart in a Vauxhall Corsa, and Greg and Chris McKnight from Dumfriesshire in their Mk2 Escort.
Scott Peacock, co-driven by Sue Hynd, currently leads the way in Class 3, after taking full championship points on the Snowman, ahead of fellow Peugeot 205 competitors Simon Hay and Blair Brown. However, Iain Haining and Mairi Riddick, who won all eight rounds last year, will be back in action in their Vauxhall Nova, after engine problems in Inverness. Charles Blair and Mark Roberts will also be targeting a good finish, following a DNF last time out.
Scott MacBeth (Vauxhall Nova) has his nose in front in Class 2, with Linzi Henderson (MG ZR) two points further back, ahead of Vauxhall Corsa drivers Scott Sloan and Derek Connell.
The first car leaves Abbey Place in Jedburgh at 8.30 on Saturday morning, with the leading competitors returning around 2.30 in the afternoon.
Full event details can be found at www.bordercountiesrally.co.uk
Border Counties Rally – 4WD entries, with car no:
1 Quintin Milne (Banchory)/ Martin Forrest (Aberdeen) Mitsubishi Evo 9
2 David Bogie (Dumfries)/ Kevin Rae (Hawick) Ford Focus WRC
3 Euan Thorburn (Duns)/ Paul Beaton (Inverness) Ford Focus WRC ’01
4 Mike Faulkner (Aspatria)/ Peter Foy (Bingley) Mitsibushi Lancer Evo IV
5 Jock Armstrong (Castle Douglas)/ Paula Swinscoe (Withnell) Subaru Impreza
6 Barry Groundwater (Stonehaven)/ Neil Shanks (Elgin) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9
7 Stephen Petch (Bishop Auckland)/ Michael Wilkinson (Tow Law) TBA
8 Chris Collie (Portlethen)/Mark Fisher (Seaton) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6
9 Donnie MacDonald (Inverness)/Andrew Falconer (Inverness) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9
10 Peter Stephenson (Kepwick)/Ian Windress (Northallerton) Ford Focus WRC
11 Bruce McCombie (Banchory)/Michael Coutts (Torphins) Mitsubishi Evo
12 Jon Burn (Hamilton)/Alan Stark (Lenzie) Subaru WRC
14 Rory Young (Kirkgunzeon)/Allan Cathers (Brampton) Mitsubishi Lancer
15 Andrew Gallacher (Hurlford)/Phil Sandham (Carnforth) Mitsubishi Evo 9
16 John McClory (Strathblane)/David Hood (Elderslie) Subaru Impreza N15
17 Dougal Brown (Inverness)/Lewis Rochford (Inverness) Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9
18 Mark McCulloch (Newton Stewart)/James Haugh (Sandhead) Subaru Impreza
19 John Morrison (Conon Bridge)/Peter Carstairs (St Andrews) Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9
20 Craig McMiken (Newton Stewart)/Craig Wallace (Kirriemuir) Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9
21 Fraser Wilson (Port William)/Jane Nicol (Edinburgh) Mitsubishi EVO 9
22 Dale Robertson (Duns)/Paul McGuire (Tranent) Mitsubishi Evo 9
23 John Rintoul (Leven) Ross Hynd (Inverbervie) Hyundai Accent WRC
24 Timothy Cathcart (Enniskillen)/Dai Roberts (Carmarthen) Citroen DS3 R3
25 Alasdair Anderson (Fortrose)/Danny Sutherland (Brora) Subaru Impreza
26 James Brims (Thurso)/ Iain Macdonald (Thurso) Subaru Impreza
27 Fraser MacNicol (Ullapool)/ Lorn Hughes (Ullapool) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6
28 Lee Hastings (Dumfries)/Drew Sturrock (Angus) Subaru Impreza
29 Garry Wilson (Duns)/Hollie Wilson (Duns) Mitsubishi Evo 5
30 Robert Harkness (Stewarton)/ Michael Curry (Lockerbie) BMW 316i
31 Martin Craik (Methven)/Steven Brown (Fort William) Subaru Impreza
32 Gordon Murray (Perth)/Phil Coulby (Aberdeen) Ford Escort Mk 2
33 Billy Miller (Buckie)/Ian Imlach (Buckie) Mitsubishi Lancer
34 Geoff Goudie (Lerwick)/Christopher Robertson (Glasgow) Subaru Impreza
35 Roland Wessel (London)/Malcolm Vie (Montrose) Subaru WRX
36 Colin Grant (Kiltarlity)/Michael Cruikshanks (Perth) Subaru Impreza
37 Darren Martin (Longtown)/Martin Steele (Longtown) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9
38 Jim Sharp (Stranraer)/Elliot Edmonson (Olney) Mitsubishi Evo
39 Ellya Gold (Aberdeen)/Jean Hay (Peterhead) Subaru Impreza
40 Calum Strachan (Buckie)/Leslie Craib (Buckie) Mitsubishi Evo 4
41 Paul Hudson (Harrogate)/Colin Stockil (Harrogate) Ford Escort
42 Kevin Robertson (Insch)/Murray Strachan (Banchory) Mitsubishi Evo 8
43 Tommy Heard (Jedburgh)/Amanda Burney (Kirkcudbright) Subaru
44 Michael Robertson (Letham)/Gary McDonald (Aberdeen) Subaru Impreza
101 Steve Bannister (Malton)/Louise Sutherland (Southdean) Ford Escort Mk 11
102 Matthew Robinson (Ripon)/Sam Collis (Chesterfield) Ford Escort Mk 11
103 John MacCrone (Dervaig)/Stuart Louden (Larkhall) Ford Fiesta R200
104 Carl Tuer (Alnwick)/Robin Tuer (Alnwick) MG ZR S1600
105 Charlie Taylor (Northallerton)/Steve Bielby (Malton) Ford Escort
106 Graeme Schoneville (Bothwell)/Michael Hendry (Archiestown) Honda Civic Type R
107 Tom Hewick (Boroughbridge)/Mick Johnson (Thirsk) Ford Escort Mk 11
108 Iain Wilson (Dalbeattie)/Keith Fremantle (Dalbeattie) Vauxhall Nova
109 Andy Kelly (Greenock)/Roger Herron (Dumfries) Ford Escort RS 2000 MK1
110 Alasdair S Graham (Paisley)/ Laura Stuart (Alford) Vauxhall Corsa
111 Greg McKnight (Thornhill)/Chris McKnight (Thornhill) Ford Escort Mk 11
112 Marcus Noble (Langwathby)/Helen Hall (Langwathby) Ford Escort Mk 11
114 Peter Stewart (Dumfries)/Kenneth Marchbank (Thornhill) Ford Fiesta
115 Malcolm Robertson (Roslin)/Katie Stimpson (Aylesbury) Talbot Sunbeam
116 Kieran Renton (Coldstream)/ Dave O’Brien (Duns) Ford Fiesta R200
117 Grant Inglis (Glasgow)/Robert Gray (Stepps) Honda Civic
118 Peter Smith (Driffield)/Patrick Walsh (Aberystwyth) Opel Ascona
119 Duncan Campbell (Ballochmyle)/Gavin Chisholm (Kilmarnock) Honda Civic
120 Matthew Kesson (Dunblane)/ Ronald Roughead (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Ford Fiesta R2
121 Jim Robertson (Penpont)/Colin Maxwell (Dumfries) Citroen C2R2
122 Ian Watson (Kelso)/Mike Dickson (St Boswells) Ford Escort RS
123 Callum Atkinson (Lauder)/Keith Riddick (Haugh Of Urr) Ford Fiesta ST
124 Scott Macbeth (Rosemarkie)/Ashleigh Will (Kintore) Vauxhall Nova
125 Charles Blair (Dumfries)/Mark Roberts (Dumfries) Peugeot 205 GTI
126 Scott Peacock (Bridge of Dee)/Sue Hynd (Inverbervie) Peugeot 205 GTI
127 Adrian Stewart (Aberdeen)/Tom Hynd (Inverbervie) Peugeot 205 GTI
128 Andy Stretton (Nottingham)/Ian Harden (East Twickenham) Peugeot 205 GTI
129 Steven Smith (East Kilbride)/Daniel Johnstone (Inverness) Ford Escort Mk1
130 Phil Jobson (Carlisle)/Caroline Jobson (Carlisle) Ford Escort Mk1
131 Alex Curran (Newton Stewart)/Ross Williams (Cockermouth) Vauxhall Corsa
132 Duncan Ferguson(Dalmellington)/Janice Ferguson (Dalmellington) Ford Escort
133 David Goose (Spalding)/Cameron Fair (Stewarton) Ford Escort Mk2
134 Blair Brown (Kinross)/Richard Simmonds (Duns) Peugeot 205 GTI
135 David Cameron (Oldkilpatrick)/Douglas Cameron (Oldkilpatrick) Ford Escort Mk2
136 Angus Lawrie (Castle Douglas)/George Myatt (Dumfries) Vauxhall Nova
137 Simon Hay (Aberdeen)/Calum Jaffray (Torphins) Peugeot 205 GTI
138 Dave Forrest (Shipley)/Charlie Carter (Cleckheaton) Ford Escort Mk2
139 John McIlwraith (Canonbie)/Ross Jarrett (Dingwall) Ford Escort RS
140 Derek Connell (Ayr)/Laura Marshall (Newton Stewart) Vauxhall Corsa
141 Colin Aitchison (Duns)/Garry Pearson (Duns) Vauxhall Chevette
142 Brian Middlemas (St.Boswells)/Kevin Mathers (Newtown St.Boswells) Hillman Avenger
143 Scott Sloan (Dumfries)/ David Sloan (Dumfries) Vauxhall Corsa
144 Donald Peacock (Bridge of Dee)/Rory Bruton (Haugh of Urr) Peugeot 205 GTI
145 Donald MacNeill (Furnace)/Cara MacNeill (Furnace) Talbot Sunbeam
146 Peter Humphrey (Dunbar)/Dougie Humphrey (Dunbar) Opel Kadett Coupe
147 Steven Bellshaw (Ullapool)/Sandy Urquhart (Ullapool) Peugeot 205 GTI
148 Tony Thompson (Morpeth)/Paul Hudson (Darlington) Vauxhall Chevette
149 Linzi Henderson (Carnwath)/ Gordon Chalmers (Inverness) MG ZR
150 Andy Chalmers (Fyvie)/Martin Maccabe (Glasgow) Peugeot 205 GTI
151 Iain Heard (Ancrum)/Alistair Maxwell (Ancrum) Ford Escort Mk2
152 Douglas Watt (Inveraray)/ Donald Munro (Glenrothes) Ford Escort Mk 2
153 M. Thaarique Fazal (Glasgow)/ Paul Wood (Jedburgh) Peugeot 205 GTi
154 Iain Haining (Dumfries)/ Mairi Riddick (Castle Douglas) Vauxhall Nova
155 David McLoughlin (Ellon)/Michael McLoughlin (Aberdeen) Peugeot 205 GTI