Gravel Rash Returns on the RSAC Scottish Rally
The KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship makes a return to the gravel for round 5 of the 2023 season, the RSAC Scottish Rally, sporting a new look route.
Topping the strong 90 car entry, 2022 winners Michael Binnie & Claire Mole are back in the Fiesta R5 they campaigned at this year’s Speyside. The Scottish is a big weekend for the team as Claire has announced she will be stepping back from regular competition. They’ll be keen for her to go out on a high.
David Henderson & Chris Lees’ season so far has been a combination of blinding speed and bad luck. Argyll last time out was a perfect example, leading overnight only to retire with broken suspension on day 2.
The Rally 2 Fiesta lines up in front of the championship leaders, Jock Armstrong & Hannah McKillop. The Impreza crew have scored on every round with 2 podiums on the opening 2 gravel events.
Speyside winners Finlay Retson & Paul Beaton were an early retirement in Argyll, the Fiesta crew will be happy to be back on the gravel after their Speyside performance. They’re followed by John Wink & Neil Shanks, the Hyundai man has had one of his strongest starts to an SRC season with 2 podiums on the opening 2 rounds.
Hugh Brunton & Drew Sturrock have been another crew to have great pace but not much luck. A podium on the Jim Clark has been the highlight but they haven’t showed their true pace so far on the gravel rounds. They’re followed by Mark McCulloch & Michael Hendry’s Proton Satria Evo. Fresh from 2nd in Argyll, the Proton crew will be looking for a similar result this time out in Mark’s home forests.
Stephen Petch & Michael Wilkinson return to the championship after missing Argyll. The Fabia lines up ahead of top Evo seeds Angus Lawrie & Paul Gribben, another crew tackling their local forests.
Iain Wilson provides his offices and yard for the rally HQ and service area. Iain & co-driver Chris Williams are glad to be back on the gravel after their big Jim Clark accident. The Fiesta Rally 2 seeded just ahead of Willie Paterson & Tom Hynd’s Fabia. Willie & Tom fresh from challenging for an SRC podium in Argyll before an off forced them out.
The Albyn Garage Challengers division has been one of the features of 2023. The 4wd contingent headed up by Snowman category winners John McIlwraith & Heather Grisedale’s Impreza. They also top the Groundwater Lift Trucks Subaru Cup entry.
Chasing them are Speyside winners Scott Peacock & Craig Wallace. The Evo man delighted to be back in the woods. While Duncan Campbell looks to turn his bad start to the season around in his Impreza, joined as always by Michael Cruickshank in the hotseat.
Championship sponsor Kevin Crawford & Andrew Stevenson return to the series with the return of the gravel. Argyll category winners Jordan Anderson & Harry Stubbs follow in their Impreza with the Evo 7 of John Easson Award Winner Johnnie Mackay just behind. Johnnie is joining forces with Rachel Matheson for the 1st time.
Fellow Evo crew Orrin McDonnell & Clare Fraser are next up, looking to learn about their new car on the gravel. Orrin is chased by old Cup rivals Mike Moates & Gary McDonald’s Impreza.
With the 2 wheel drive cars running through the stages first, in reverse seeding order, the Scottish has attracted an excellent turnout of around 50 2 wheel drives.
Reigning Autoshop 2wd champions Peter Stewart & Harry Marchbank top the 2wd seeding. Peter another driver glad to see the back of the tarmac after a difficult Jim Clark.
The 208 lines up in front of an army of rear-wheel-drive cars.
Big rivals from 2022, Stuart Egglestone & Brian Hodgson’s Pinto powered MK2 Escort is 1st in line. John Crawford & Josh Davison’s more modified example follows on, John & Josh back on their preferred surface.
Former 2wd champions Dougal Brown & Lewis Rochford return in their MK2, looking to re-kindle their Speyside battle with Paddy Munro & David O’Brien. The blue MK2 crew probably happiest in the SRC to see the return of gravel.
David Wilson & Kerrie MacGillivray continue the development work on their BMW Compact. The car is quick but has proved to be unreliable so far in 2023.
Other rear wheel drives to watch include Allan McDowall, David Hardie, Keith Robathan, Grant Inglis, Donald Peacock & Alister MacArthur.
Craig Smith & Charles Mackenzie fly the flag for clubmen front wheel drives in their Astra and the Scottish sees the return of Roo Campbell & Shaina Archibald in the blue Sunbeam.
Robert Proudlock tops the Moates Offshore Juniors entry. The Adam pilot re-united with Steven Brown for his home event and will be looking to show Archie Swinscoe what the gravel game is all about. Archie will be making his 1st foray into the woods in his Adam, navigated as always by Jane Nicol. The Adam battle could be one of the features of the Scottish.
Other Juniors in the mix include Fiesta pilot Meghan O’Kane, fresh from her 1st win of the year at Argyll, Scott Gourlay making his gravel debut in his 205 with Greg Alcorn alongside and Lochlan Mciver & Cameron Morrison in their 1.2 litre Fiesta.
Meghan also has the Ladies contest to think about, joined in the 2wd ranks by Linzi Henderson & Sue Hynd in their Fiesta R2T. Linzi & Sue making a return to the SRC at Argyll last time out.
They have the reigning Ladies champion Aileen Forrest’s Evo to contend with. Aileen taking top Ladies honours on last year’s Scottish with husband John on the notes as usual. The gravel rounds in 2023 have treated Aileen well, taking 2 maximum scores in the woods on the opening 2 rounds.
Jim Robertson & Mike Curry top the Haddo Energy Super Seniors. Jim is delighted to be back on the gravel and in his home forests. Another local man, Richard Stewart, lines up next in his 208 joined by his regular navigator Carin Tait-Logan.
Haddo Energy supremo Ernie Lee is back in his glorious BMW with wife Patricia in the hotseat as always.
The 77th running of the RSAC Scottish Rally takes place this Saturday, with cars leaving the start from the Jas P Wilson premises on the outskirts of Dalbeattie from 9am.
Current Championship points tables can be viewed on the website here
The full entry for the RSAC Scottish Rally can be viewed/downloaded here with live results available on the day from here.
Spectator information is available from the event website here
Live coverage from the event is scheduled to be shown on the SRC Facebook page from stages 1 and 5.
images courtesy of AF Motorsport Media