Speyside Stages Classes Review
All the latest news from the classes within the Scottish Rally Championship after round three in Elgin
The McDonald & Munro Speyside Stages hosted round three of the 2017 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship, with Dumfries ace David Bogie taking the outright win at the wheel of his Skoda Fabia R5.
But the five-time Scottish Champion wasn’t the only victor in the Moray and Aberdeenshire forests outside the host town of Elgin, with action up and down the classes in the series.
Sauchen pairing Neil Coalter and Hannah Cessford continued their perfect start to the season with their third win from three starts in class one, piloting their ex-James Wozencroft Suzuki Ignis. Aberdeen driver Steven Crockett brought his Peugeot 205 home in second with Newmacher’s Martin Henderson calling the notes.
Class two was all about Dundee driver Robbie Beattie and Blairgowrie co-driver David Findlay who took their second consecutive class win in their Peugeot 205. It was a close run contest though with Andy Chalmers (Turriff) and Martin MacCabe (Glasgow) finishing just 13 seconds back in second ahead of Donald and Scott Peacock who completed the Peugeot dominated podium.
Class three saw arguably the best battle of the weekend with a healthy entry littered with quality. Inverness pilot Scott MacBeth and Elgin co-driver Daniel Forsyth took the spoils on MacBeth’s forest debut in his Citroen C2 R2 Max. A mere two seconds back, Angus Lawrie (Castle Douglas) and Paul Gribben (Annan) stole second in their Vauxhall Corsa from the grasp of Irish crew Marty Gallagher and Dean O’Sullivan’s Peugeot 208 R2 finishing just one second ahead. The Letterkenny crew did however take advantage of the SRC Overseas Support Scheme, receiving £100 towards the cost of shipping their car across the North Channel.
Ullapool duo Fraser MacNicol and Keith Boa made it a hat trick of class four wins in 2017 at the wheel of their 8 valve Ford Escort Mk2. After missing the Border Counties, Kyle of Lochalsh driver Paddy Munro scored second with Portree’s Chris Munro in the navigators’ seat. Scott McQueen (Daviot) and Andrew MacKinnon (Dores) completed the podium in their Peugeot 205.
Brechin crew Alex and Sandy Milne once again took the class five win in their historic specification Ford Escort Mk2, entertaining fans on their way to 72nd overall.
Luke McLaren from Blanefield and his South Hylton co-driver Phil Kenny took a dominant class six win in their Ford Fiesta ST to complete the hat trick of class wins. Inverurie pairing Scott Burness and Jodi Devine brought their similar car home second in class with Michael Renton (Bonar Bridge) and Kenny Foggo (Inverness) rounding out the class podium in third after a difficult day in their Peugeot 306.
Local crew Quintin Milne (Banchory) and Sean Donnelly (Elgin) stormed to the class seven victory in their Ford Escort Mk2, battling Forres’ Dougal Brown and Alford’s Lewis Rochford hard in a similar Escort resuming their 2016 tussle. The contest was just as close but disappointingly for Brown and Rochford the result was the same for the second year in a row, taking second spot once again. Another local driver, Alford’s Michael Stuart put in a great performance to complete the Escort Mk2 dominated podium with Sinclair Young (Lairg) calling the notes.
Insch driver Ken Wood and Huntly co-driver Gordon Wood took their striking Triumph Dolomite Sprint to the class eight win on their home event, becoming the fourth crew this season to win the opening three rallies in their respective class.
Fraser Wilson (Portree) and Craig Wallace (Kirriemuir) brought their Mitsubishi Evo IX home in 23rd overall, taking the class nine and Group N win in the process.
The class ten battle went right down to the wire, with local Huntly driver John Wink stealing the win by a slender two seconds in his Mitsubishi Evo IX with Rothienorman’s John Forrest sat alongside. The pair’s late charge was at Michael Binnie (Cornhill) and Claire Mole’s (Duns) expense with the Evo V crew settling for second. However Binnie received the SRC John Horton Star Driver nomination for the event which offered plenty of consolidation for his efforts. Aberdeen pilot Simon Hay and Torphins navigator Calum Jaffray took third in an Evo VI.
Class 11 belonged to Aspatria man Mike Faulkner with Bingley’s Peter Foy calling the notes. The Mitsubishi Evo IX crew took their first class win of the year ahead of Banchory pilot Bruce McCombie and Torphins co-driver Michael Coutts. Greg McKnight (Thornhill) and Laura Marshall (Tarbolton) completed the class podium in another Evo IX.
David Bogie took the class 12 win courtesy of winning the overall event by over 40 seconds in his Skoda Fabia R5. Euan Thorburn took second in his Ford Fiesta R5 to retain the class lead and in the process overhaul Jock Armstrong at the top of the overall championship. Shaun Sinclair claimed third in class in his Subaru Impreza S14 WRC.
The ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship is partnered by Pirelli Motorsport, Coltel Communications and Reis Motorsport Insurance.
Scotland’s premier rallying championship takes in over 300 competitive stage miles across seven events along the width and breadth of the country.
The next round of the series is the RSAC Scottish Rally on Saturday 20 May.
Previous Scottish champion Ken Wood entertained on his way to the class eight win – Image: Lindsay Photo Sport