Tarmac Challenge Continues in Argyll
The KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship descends on Dunoon for the 2nd tarmac round of the season, the Dunoon Presents… Argyll Rally.
Top SRC seeds, David Henderson & Chris Lees come fresh from a fantastic performance at the Jim Clark Reivers Rally, missing out on the overall win by less than 3 seconds. Argyll has been a happy hunting ground for them in the past, finishing 2nd overall in 2022.
Speyside winners Finlay Retson & Paul Beaton line up behind their fellow Fiesta crew. Paul fresh from taking the Reivers win alongside Euan Thorburn whereas Finlay was in the mix for a top 5 until a final stage mistake put him out with damaged suspension.
Championship leader Jock Armstrong & Hannah McKillop got the maximum they could out of the Impreza at the Jim Clark. This will be the 1st time the famous Orange car will have competed on the Argyll tarmac having only been seen in the forests in the past.
Hugh Brunton & Drew Sturrock come to Argyll after an excellent performance in the Borders. The Fabia crew kick starting their season with a podium finish despite the disadvantage of a smaller turbo restrictor on the fast stages. The more technical stages in Argyll could suit them even more.
Behind the top 4 seeds, Michael Binnie & Claire Mole are back in their Evo that saw them take a podium finish on this event in 2022.
Mark McCulloch & Michael Hendry’s Proton should be a weapon on the Argyll roads, sporting a new suspension setup that should suit the bumpy and technical nature of the stages.
John Wink & Neil Shanks are still adapting to the i20 in tarmac spec but should be strong contenders, 2023 has been one of John’s best so far behind the wheel with 2 podiums already.
Rory Young & Allan Cathers were very quick at the Jim Clark in their 1st experience of Citroen power. They are always in the mix at the top of the SRC rounds when they compete.
Willie Paterson & Angus Lawrie will be resuming their battle from the Jim Clark.
The Fabia & Evo ended up separated by just 2 seconds at the end of the Reivers.
Also worth keeping an eye on is the return to R5 power for Ian Forgan, finally back after his big Snowman accident in 2022. Ian has form in Argyll, taking a top 10 in 2021 in his Impreza.
The Autoshop 2wd and Albyn Garage Challengers ranks will be in for a shake-up with both category leaders, Peter Stewart & Paddy Munro, missing this round.
Topping both categories in the entry list, John Crawford & Josh Davison have had a solid year, in and around the top 5 in both divisions on every event.
Challengers wise they have an army of Evo’s chasing them down with Fraser Smith & Nikki Addison, Scott Peacock & Craig Wallace and Johnnie Mackay & Michael Cruickshank all looking to take the fight to the MK2.
Fresh from an incredible Jim Clark weekend, Archie Swinscoe & Jane Nicol are 2nd 2wd seed and top Moates Offshore Junior competitor in their Adam R2. One of the highlights of this should be Archie & Jane squaring off against Robert Proudlock & Dave Robson in the 2nd Adam R2. Both drivers are young talents with a lot of speed and capable of taking the fight to the bigger engined cars. Other drivers to look out for in a strong Junior representation are Justin Gunning’s Clio R3T, Meghan O’Kane’s Fiesta, Ryan Ingram’s Honda Civic, Owen Macleod’s 205 and Lochlan McIver’s Fiesta.
Jordan Anderson & Harry Stubbs top the Groundwater Lift Trucks Subaru Cup seeding. Jordan finally turning his luck around on the Clark, taking his 1st finish and Cup win of the season last time out. Liam Richardson and Darren Kennedy are the other Subaru Cup runners on the event on which Liam debuted the car in 2022.
Another 4wd Challenger crew to look out for are Brian Watson & Sean Donnelly. Brian has clearly taken a blow to the head as he’s picked Argyll to mark the return of his Audi Quattro S1. An absolute monster of a car to manhandle on these narrow and technical stages.
Local man Alister MacArthur & Chris Robertson were strong at the Jim Clark in their Sunbeam.
They line up just ahead of one of 2023’s most unlucky crews. David Hardie & John McCulloch have shown great pace on every event but have yet to see the finish. The Clark particularly cruel, retiring while in a commanding 2wd lead.
Gordon Murray is the sole Haddo Energy Super Seniors representative, looking to kick start his season after a dnf on the Clark.
David Mcleod & Eamonn Boyle top the historic entries in their lovely Sunbeam.
Allan McDowall has swapped his Mk1 for his iconic and very rapid Opel Kadett. The car that has brought him so much success over the years will be right in the mix with the fastest of the 2wds.
The Ladies battle should be a nice 4-way fight. Aileen Forrest tops the entry, Argyll hasn’t been a particularly happy hunting ground for the Evo pilot, although 2023 has been her strongest start to a season so far.
Ashleigh Morris was the Argyll winner in 2022. For this round she has Steve Harris in the hotseat of her Fiesta R200, a car and crew combination that should suit these twisty stages.
Meghan O’Kane took her 1st win of the season at the Jim Clark, sampling her Dad’s Impreza for the 1st time. For this round she is back in her own Fiesta. The car, sporting a newly fitted 2-litre engine for this season, should also suit the Argyll stages.
Finally, joining the 3 regular competitors is former 2 times Scottish Ladies Champion Linzi Henderson in a Fiesta R2T.
The action gets under way with 2 runs through the centre of Dunoon from 7:30pm this Friday (23rd). Another 4 stages take place on Friday, culminating in the almost 14 miles of Otter Ferry tackled in the dark. Saturday will see the crews tackle 4 stages twice giving a total of almost 66 competitive miles.
Current Championship points tables can be viewed on the website here
Spectator information is available from the event website here
Live coverage from the event will be on the SRC Facebook page on Friday & Saturday, times for which will be posted on the facebook page later in the week.
images courtesy of AF Motorsport Media & Becksport Media