Fascinating Battles in Prospect for 2023 Part 2 – 4WDs
While the masses of Pro 4 cars are grabbing the headlines on the A.M.Phillip Trucktech Snowman Rally there are still plenty of crews in 4 wheel drive cars who can take the fight to the top spec machines.
Topping the entries, 2-time Snowman winners Michael Binnie (Cornhill) & Claire Mole (Duns) will be carrying number 1 on their Evo 9. Despite rumours of a new car flying around over the close season Michael has instead been doing “adulting” and bought a house. Still rebuilding confidence after a difficult 2nd half of 2022 they’ll be using the Snowman to try and find the incredible pace they showed in the 1st half of last year.
Jock Armstrong (Castle Douglas) returns in his iconic Impreza but there have been a few changes behind the scenes for the former champion. With regular navigator Cammy Fair tied up with family and work commitments Newstead’s Hannah McKillop steps into the hotseat for round 1. The big change for Jock however is in tyre manufacturers, making the switch to MRFs. There will be plenty of parties interested to see how the new rubber performs.
Angus Lawrie (Castle Douglas) & Paul Gribben (Annan) rounded off 2022 with a fantastic podium on the Carlisle Stages. The black Evo has been refreshed and rebuilt over the winter and was looking very sharp at the pre-event test in New Galloway.
Mark McCulloch (Dumfries) & Michael Hendry (Aberlour) head into the 2nd season with their Proton Satria Evo. With lessons learned in 2022 some changes have been made to both the engine and running gear to improve the car, especially on the loose.
Also likely to be in the mix, Scott Beattie (Alford) & Peredur Davies (Pwllheli) are back in the ex-Freddie Milne Evo. Chris Collie (Stonehaven) & Ricky Finlayson (Inverness) switch back to Impreza power as does Mull winner Paul Mackinnon. Paul is back in the woods for the 1st time since his 205 days.
Duncan Campbell (Ayr) & Michael Cruickshank (Crieff) return in their quietly quick Impreza and local man Ross Macdonald (Conon Bridge) will be hoping for more luck with his Evo in 2023.
Stonehaven’s Barry Groundwater’s return to the loose continues in his normally aspirated 4wd Polo. The car drives totally differently to anything Barry has ever driven and will definitely be a big hit with the spectators out in the woods – just the noise alone makes it something special.
The Albyn Garage Challengers division looks like a cracker. John Easson Award winner Johnnie Mackay (Newburgh) steps out of his Fiesta and into an Evo 7, partnered on round 1 by Ian Parker (Lochgilphead). They’ll be looking to battle with another Evo newcomer Scott Peacock (Castle Douglas) & Craig Wallace (Kirriemuir). Scott’s car is sporting a new engine and gearbox after a tricky off season. Both Johnnie & Scott started the mind-games early at the SRC Awards Evening in January.
Championship sponsor Kevin Crawford (Alford) & co-driver Andrew Stevenson (Grantown on Spey) will also be in that conversation. 2022 was a hard year for the KNC Evo, Kevin looking for good finishes and some good craic in 2023.
Elgin man Brett McKenzie makes his Evo debut on the Snowman after years of Impreza motoring with the experienced Barry Young (Navenby) navigating. The car will sport one of the most eye-catching colour schemes in the SRC.
2021 Group N champions Graeme Sherry (Gartcosh) & Ewan Lees (Glasgow) switch back to Impreza power after a hard year in their Opel Manta. They proved a solid top 20 challenger last time they were in the Subaru and will definitely be in the Challengers mix once again.