Armstrong Galloway Hills Overall Review
The 2022 Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally began with a beautiful bagpipe lament performed by local competitor Scott Sloan followed by a 2 minute silence, all broadcast across the events radio network to allow the whole rally family to participate in a moment of remembrance.
Out on the stages it was a historic 1st SRC win for David Henderson & Chris Lees. The Rally 2 Fiesta sitting 2nd overall after 2 stages. A change of tyre compound at service was the right choice and they charged over the remaining 4 stages to take a popular victory by 35 seconds at the finish. Chris now moves to the top of the overall co-drivers standings but there are still potentially 3 other co-drivers who could pip him to the title on the final round next month.
David Bogie & John Rowan lead the rally by 7 seconds after 2 stages. A change of car setup for the 2nd loop turned out to be the wrong move and they slipped back to 2nd. Then the news of the retirement of championship rival Michael Binnie filtered through and they backed off, cruising to 2nd at the finish. Regardless of what happens at the final round this result guarantees David a 6th Scottish title.
Event sponsor Jock Armstrong & Cammy Fair took 3rd in their Impreza. Jock, clearly up for it, challenging the Rally 2 cars early on despite a dodgy sensor dropping the car briefly into limp mode when it got too hot. They figured out a work around for that but were then delayed with a front puncture in stage 5. 3rd at the finish was a nice comeback after their Grampian retirement.
Taking a fantastic 4th on his home event and wrapping up the Albyn Garage Challengers title it was a dream day out for Angus Lawrie & co-driver Paul Gribben. Always quick in these forests the Evo pilot was absolutely flying all day, making many people in more modified machinery stand up and take notice.
9th overall, Stuart Egglestone & Brian Hodgson did exactly what they needed to do to keep their Autoshop.co.uk 2 wheel drive championship hopes alive. The MK2 crew going against the grain, running a harder tyre compound than most of the other RWD competitors but clearly it worked, taking the 2 wheel drive win by 27 seconds from championship rivals Peter Stewart & Harry Marchbank.
20th overall, Orrin McDonnell & Eoghan Anderson did exactly what they needed to do to keep their 5 Star Vehicle Deliveries Subaru Cup challenge alive. The Orange Impreza crew flying all day despite worries over the turbo solenoid. Their task was made easier when rivals Mike Moates & Gary McDonald discovered they hadn’t turned their diffs on for the 1st loop.
In the Moates Offshore Juniors category Justin Gunning & Steven Clark finally turned their bad luck around, taking the win on the event by 8 seconds in their R2 Fiesta.
That wasn’t enough though to prevent Robert Proudlock taking the Moates Offshore Junior title for 2022. With Andrew Falconer alongside this time out the Adam pilot was under strict orders to finish and guarantee the title and was taking no risks. Not an easy thing for a young charger to do but he kept it together, much to the relief of Dad Malcolm.
After a soul destroying Grampian where they managed a whole 400 yards before the clutch failed Jim Robertson & Mike Curry were determined to finish on home territory in their MK2 Escort. They managed just that and took their 1st Haddo Energy Super Seniors win of the year after early leaders Steve Bannister & Callum Atkinson slipped off the road.
The Ladies contest produced some of the highest drama in the entire event. After rolling out of the Grampian, points leader Aileen Forrest was out in the ex-Kevin Downes Evo 8. Quickly adapting to the new car she had a 4 second lead over Ashleigh Morris after 2 stages before being forced out when the engine blew. That left Morris in the lead by 28 seconds with 2 stages to go before she would unfortunately roll her Fiesta into retirement, thankfully without injury to her or co-driver Martin Haggett.
That left Grampian winner Meghan O’Kane to take a 2nd win of the season. With a new intercom installed Meghan was driving the wheels off her underpowered Fiesta, despite co-driver John being slightly carsick in the morning. They were then delayed with a puncture in the middle loop but were in the perfect position to capitalise when the others hit trouble.
images courtesy of GF Rally Images