All Systems Go for the 2022 Scottish Rally Championship.
The 2022 KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship has a lot to live up to as 2021 was a cracker. The championship battle coming down to the final stage, with Garry Pearson & Niall Burns wrapping up the 1st of 4 national rallying titles of an incredibly successful year.
2022 sees the championship return to an 8-round format after 2021’s truncated 5 rounds. 6 gravel rallies and 2 tarmac providing a proper mixed surface challenge for the teams once again.
So, who could be the ones to watch this year?
David Bogie. 2021 Scottish Rally
One of the big headlines for the A.M. Phillip Trucktech Snowman is the return of the SRC’s most successful team. 5 times champions David Bogie & Kevin Rae are back together in the MINI WRC that David took to victory twice in 2021. With 5 Scottish and 1 British championships between them they’ll be hard to beat.
Jock Armstrong / Cammy Fair. 2020 Snowman Rally
Championship runners up in 2021, Jock Armstrong & Cammy Fair really impressed in their 1st season in a Fiesta Rally 2. For 2022, however, they return to the iconic orange Impreza that has brought Jock so much success over the years.
Argyll winners Freddie Milne & Patrick Walsh endured a season of blinding pace and bad luck in 2021. If they can persuade lady luck to be on their side the rest of the field better watch out.
Ian Forgan & Chris Lees were another crew to impress on their inaugural Fiesta season, leading the championship midway through the year. Refreshed parts are on the way from M-Sport as they continue to up their pace.
Scott Beattie / Paula Swinscoe. 2021 Galloway Hills Rally
2021 was also the season that saw the resurgence of the Evo with Scott Beattie/Paula Swinscoe and 2020 Snowman winners Michael Binnie/Claire Mole both taking the fight to the R5s. They’re going to be joined by the returning Angus Lawrie, Ross MacDonald and Scott Macbeth. All young chargers capable of putting in some great stage times. They’re also likely to be joined in the Evo battle by the ever- improving Willie Paterson, fresh from a top 10 finish on the final round of 2021.
The 2016 Snowman was decided on the final stage in a battle between Donnie Macdonald & Mark McCulloch. Winner that day, Donnie is hoping to bounce back from a disastrous 2021 with long time navigator and new dad Andrew Falconer back in the hotseat. In contrast 2021 couldn’t have gone better for McCulloch & co-driver Michael Hendry, dominating the 2wd championship. For 2022 they return to 4wd in a home designed and engineered Proton. A leap into the unknown and no one knows how competitive the new car will be.
Bruce McCombie / Michael Coutts. 2020 Snowman Rally
Bruce McCombie & Michael Coutts’s 2021 season was spent battling various small gremlins with their Focus WRC. When the car works they are still a force to be reckoned with, the big question is whether the car will play ball.
John Wink & Neil Shanks had a year to forget in 2021, ploughing a lonely furrow in Scotland’s only i20 R5. For this year they will be joined by fellow Hyundai competitors, Irish crew Alan Carmichael & Ivor Lamont. Hopefully both crews can take it to the other R5s this year.
Also struggling last year, John Rintoul & Ross Hynd are looking to step things up this season. Known for his tarmac skills, a 2nd sealed surface event has fired John up. They plan on tackling the gravel in their well-used Fiesta, and the tar in their recently acquired WRC MINI.
Kilmarnock’s Bob Adamson finished 10th overall in last year’s Championship in his Fiesta R5 and will be looking to build on that experience. He will be without regular co-driver and 2018 Champion Jane Nicol this year as she recovers from an operation but has the highly experienced Welshman Jamie Edwards alongside him for the 1st round.
Having swapped his venerable Evo 9 for an R5 in 2020, local man John Morrison will contest the Snowman alongside regular co-driver Peter Carstairs and if conditions are slippery then expect John to feature well.
Fresh from a win on the recent sealed surface Kinloss Stages, the Fiesta of Hugh Brunton and Drew Sturrock will be hoping to make an impression on the loose, and after a notable drive on the 2020 Snowman local driver Kier Beaton is on the entry list once again, but he is swapping his Mk2 Escort for … something else. Cards are being kept close to chests but rumours are it will be a 4 wheel drive car.
Michael Renton / John Shepheard. 2021 Argyll Rally
Reigning Subaru Cup champions Michael Renton & John Shepheard have made the step up to M7 class, upgrading to a sequential gearbox in their Impreza. Carlisle saw them battling with the newer Impreza of Duncan Campbell & Michael Cruickshank. 2021 was a breakthrough year for Duncan, some setup changes mid-year revitalising the car and really helping Duncan to up his pace.
Peter Stewart. 2021 Carlisle Stages
Looking to the 2wds, 2022 could be the first year since the days of Andrew Wood’s rapid Astra that a front wheel drive car could dethrone the Escorts. Challenger’s champion in 2021, Peter Stewart has already showed how incredibly fast his 208 R4 can be. It will be very interesting to see how far up the overall standings he can take the 1200cc turbocharged fwd flier.
They’ll have to contend with the rapid rear wheel drive Fiesta of Steven & Mary Wood. New suspension at the start of 21 changed how the car handled. Unfortunately luck wasn’t with them and they suffered from accidents and mechanical issues. Hopefully their issues are now resolved.
Hoping to challenge Stewart, Keith & Mairi Riddick are back in their screamer of an MG ZR. Keith says he hasn’t had a proper attack on the Scottish Championship and is keen to give it a really good go in 2022.
Also looking to have a go this year, fellow MG pilot Scott Peacock is back with a new more powerful engine and a new co-driver. The Captain is teaming up with the very experienced Craig Wallace for the 2022 season.
Back out on his local event for the first time since 2012, it will be interesting to see how quickly Alness driver David Wilson gets to grips with his newly acquired BMW. No stranger to rear wheel drive, David was one of the top Juniors in the SRC in his time.
Ashleigh Morris. 2021 Argyll Rally
The Ladies title was another to go down to the wire in 2021. Ashleigh Morris & Aileen Forrest fighting all the way to the final round. Both drivers are back to battle once again and are joined by both Meghan O’Kane in her 1st full season as a driver and the 2018 ladies champion Nikki Addison. Nikki navigated as always by Rachel Matheson in their wee 106. That 4-way contest could be one to watch on the stages.
Championship sponsor Kevin Crawford returns in his Evo, looking to continue to build his pace after an up and down 2021. Juniors sponsor Mike Moates is back again in his Subaru Cup Impreza, hoping to go one better than last year and take the category win. Super Seniors creator Ernie Lee is one of the top historic seeds in his glorious sounding BMW. Keep an ear out for that in the stages.
Ernie & Patricia Lee. 2021 Carlisle Stages
2022 also sees the return of the SRC Clubman Incentive to encourage less modified cars into the Championship, with on-event awards being funded through generous donations from a whole host of competitors past and present. Details of the on-event awards for this innovative initiative will be announced prior to Round 1 of the 2022 SRC.
With around 90 crews taking part, round 1 of the Championship, the AM Phillip Trucktech Snowman Rally, takes place on Saturday 5th March. First car is away from the start at the Black Isle showground at 9am with stages near Drumnadrochit, Kiltarlity and Munlochy. Seeded entry list and details of the event timetable and where to buy a programme for the event can be found at the event website, www.snowmanrally.co.uk, with results available through www.flyingfinish.co.uk.
Keep up to date with the 2022 Championship on the website – scottishrallychampionship.co.uk – and the facebook page – facebook.com/ScottishRallyChampionship – which will include live in-stage action from every round.