Galloway Hills - 26 Oct 14

Posted: November 11, 2014 10:50 AM - 4854 Hits

Armstrong bags seventh "Hills" win

Posted: November 11, 2014 10:50 AM

The curtain came down on the 2014 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship in dramatic style, with Jock Armstrong winning his seventh Galloway Hills and securing third spot in the series.

The Castle Douglas ace, with Paul Swinscoe on the notes, was trailing the previous weekend's Cambrian Rally winners Dave Weston Jnr and navigator Kirsty Riddick by nine seconds going into the final Dalbeattie stage.

However, while the Aberdeen driver spun his Subaru Impreza WRC and got stuck in a ditch "for a good two minutes", Armstrong was in top form to "nail" the victory in his Subaru.

He finished twenty-two seconds ahead of David Bogie who, with Kevin Rae alongside, used the event to fine-tune his Ford Fiesta R5 in preparation for next month's Wales Rally GB. The Dumfries driver was also confirmed as second overall in the championship behind Euan Thorburn, who won his first Scottish title on the previous Colin McRae Stages.

Desi Henry and Damien Duffin, one of twenty-four Irish crews who took the ferry over for the "Hills", clinched the final podium spot overall in a Mitsubishi EVO 9, with Dougal Brown and Lewis Rochford from Inverness capping an impressive season by finishing third of the SRC- registered competitors in their EVO.

In increasingly wet and miserable conditions, Weston and Armstrong set identical fastest times through the opening Glengap stage, ahead of Bogie, Henry, and Newton Stewart's Craig McMiken who was fifth quickest in his EVO 9. Mike Faulkner and Peter Foy, also in an EVO, went into the event dueling with Armstrong for third in the championship, but were hit by turbo problems, and dropped down the leaderboard.

Armstrong lost six seconds to Weston at the very start of the second Laggan O'Dee stage:
"We waited so long, perhaps a good ten minutes, and then when it came to go, I hadn't put the car in gear!". Meanwhile, Bogie and Henry held station in third and fourth respectively, but McMiken and co-driver Craig Wallace came to grief when they crashed out about two miles in. It resulted in McMiken being taken to hospital by ambulance for checks, but it was later reported that "while a little sore, everything was fine".

The leading positions, with Brown and Rochford now lying fifth, remained the same through the next three stages – including the "super special" at Auchenlosh – and then it was on to the last Dalbeattie test for a final showdown.

Armstrong arrived back at the finish in Castle Douglas in upbeat mood but still unsure about whether he was first or second, before word filtered through about Weston's problems:

"The pressure was really on", said a delighted Armstrong: "That Dalbeattie stage is really tricky, but when we came out I said to Paula that we had got some really good lines in there, along with good exits at most of the corners, so I felt confident driving back to the finish. And then word came through that we'd nailed it. I was beginning to think I'd never achieve a seventh win on my local rally, so it's a fantastic feeling". Co-driver Swinscoe summed it up as "the zenith of a challenging but enjoyable season".

For his part, Bogie was more than happy with the significant changes to his car, which will set him up for his international debut in Wales in mid-November:

"I was really encouraged with our pace, given that we were running at reduced power, with new tyres and different fuel, to comply with WRC regulations", said the five-times Scottish champion: "We made changes to the suspension – again that improved the car – and we found a better grip level with the tyres, so all these changes for Wales Rally GB have worked perfectly".

For Brown and Rochford the long journey down from Inverness proved extremely worthwhile as they sprayed the champagne in third spot on the championship podium:

"It's fantastic, after top-five finishes on the two previous rounds", said Brown: "We've been pushing harder and harder as the season has gone on – getting more consistent and committed – and that's increased the confidence".

The Highland duo ended the day twenty-one seconds ahead of Faulkner and Foy, who fought back in customary fashion after their early troubles to take fifth overall:

"If you could just forget about stage one then it would have been a good day but even without that, we wouldn't have beaten Jock today – he's been right on the pace since the start", said Faulkner: "We had a real push in the afternoon, and we were getting close, but he's the deserved winner today, definitely".

In sixth overall, Borderer Dale Robertson, co-driven by Paul McGuire from Tranent, wrapped up his campaign by narrowly clinching the Mitsubishi Group N championship from rival Fraser Wilson:

"We were three seconds up on Fraser going into the last stage, and then we both recorded the exact same times, it was as close as that", said the Duns-based driver, who had lost some time earlier in the day when he hit a straw bale: "It's been a great battle all season, and to finally get the GpN title in the bag is absolutely brilliant".

Wilson, with Jane Nicol on the notes, rued what might have been, but at least had the consolation of knowing he had won Class 10 in the championship: "We gave it everything to win the GpN category – including eleven new tyres on the car during the day, I've never used so many on one round – but it wasn't too be. We lost it to Dale on the super-special stage, and we had problems with the diff and speed-sensor on the car – I'm not sure whether that had any effect – but to just miss out by three seconds, what can I say – terrible!"

Weston and Riddick eventually ended eighth overall, two seconds ahead of Peter Taylor and Jack Morton in a Ford Fiesta S2400 with Andrew Gallacher and navigator Ross Hynd rounding off the top-ten in their EVO 9.

Shane McGirr and Jackie Elliott were the leading two-wheel drive competitors – fourteenth overall - in their Toyota Starlet, followed by the Ford Escort of fellow Irish crew David Crossen and Chris McSherry.

Steve Bannister and Louise Rae were first home of the SRC-registered 2WD entries in their historic-spec Mk2, ending the day in seventeenth overall:

"All in all it's been a good event and the car has performed well", said the Yorkshireman: "The stages were greasy – but you'd expect that with the weather conditions. Even the second time through Glengap, it wasn't as cut up as it might have been so the organisers will have been pleased with that".

Coldstream's Kieran Renton, with Dave Robson from Jedburgh navigating, took top honours in the 1600cc category, twentieth overall. He described his Ford Fiesta R200 as being "a completely different car" after a hole "as big as a size seven shoe" was discovered in the engine block, accounting for some lack-lustre performances on previous rounds. Alasdair S.Graham, who won the class on the McRae Stages with Laura Stuart on the notes, had to settle for second in his Vauxhall Corsa – five places further back in 25th.

There was a top-thirty finish for local driver Angus Lawrie, co-driven by George Myatt co-driving", who survived "a really stressful day" to win Class 2 in his Vauxhall Nova, with non-SRC registered Keith Riddick, paired with Andrew Falconer from Inverness, completing his first Galloway Hills as runner up in the same class in his MG ZR, which was also judged to be "best prepared car,".

Chuck Blair and Mark Roberts from Dumfries only had to cross the start-line to make sure of the Class 3 championship in their Peugeot 205GTi. They ended four places behind up-and-coming young Kinross driver Blair Brown, co-driven by Richard Simmonds from Duns, who secured second in class in the overall standings in his 205.

Results

Posted: November 11, 2014 10:47 AM

1st Jock Armstrong (Castle Douglas)/Paula Swinscoe (Withnell) Subaru Impreza 46 min 43 sec
2nd David Bogie (Dumfries)/Kevin Rae (Hawick) Ford Fiesta R5 47.21
3rd Desi Henry (Portglenone)/Damien Duffin (Rasharkin) Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9 48.10
4th Dougal Brown (Inverness)/Lewis Rochford (Inverness) Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9 49.04
5th Mike Faulkner (Kirtlebridge)/Peter Foy (Bingley) Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9 49.25
6th Dale Robertson (Duns)/Paul McGuire (Tranent) Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9 49.30
7th Fraser Wilson (Port William)/Jane Nicol (Edinburgh) Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9 49.33
8th Dave Weston (Aberdeen)/Kirsty Riddick (Haugh of Urr) Subaru Impreza WRC 49.37
9th Peter Taylor (Carlisle)/Jack Morton (Stanley) Ford Fiesta S2400 49.39
10th Andrew Gallacher (Hurlford)/Ross Hynd (Irvine) Mitsubishi EVO 9 49.47

"Hills" set for championship finale

Posted: October 23, 2014 11:35 AM

With the overall title in the 2014 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship already decided, the focus next weekend will be on the fight for the remaining podium places.

Sunday's final round, the Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally, will see six-times event winner Jock Armstrong again lock horns with Mike Faulkner after a season-long tussle, while multiple champion David Bogie will be fine-tuning his car ahead of next month's Wales Rally GB.

Both Armstrong and Faulkner go into the "Hills" on equal points in the drivers' and co-drivers' standings, with the placings decided on the best six rounds from eight.

Armstrong, co-driven by Paul Swinscoe, has clinched the final podium spot four times this season in his Subaru Impreza, and was runner-up on the Granite City Rally in April. He has also had a fourth-place finish and a DNF.

Faulkner and navigator Peter Foy have been runners-up twice in succession in their Mitsubishi EVO 9: most recently on the Colin McRae Forest Stages where Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton secured their first Scottish crown. They have also had two third place finishes, two fourths, and a non-finish:

"We're reallying looking forward to the last round of the year – it's going to be another great battle with Jock and whoever finishes in front takes third in the championship", said Faulkner: "If David doesn’t get to the end, then this will be converted to second in the overall standings - although that's not the way Jock or myself would want it. David has earned the position after a fantastic battle with Euan all year".

For his part, Bogie, with Hawick's Kevin Rae on the notes, will be assessing the pace and the set-up of his Ford Fiesta R5 as he prepares for his WRC debut:

"We'll have the car in world championship specification for the "Hills", using WRC tyres and fuel. It'll be identical to what we'll be using in Wales", said Bogie: "The stages on Sunday will be a good test – with plenty of variety. You've got Dalbeattie which is very narrow, tight, twisty and technical, while the others are quite high-speed. If we get to the end and we're on the pace, then it'll give us some good indicators for the Welsh round".

Inverness duo Dougal Brown and Lewis Rochford make the long trip to Galloway in confident mood after a consistent 2014 campaign, including two successive fifth-place finishes in their Mitsubishi EVO 9.

Newton Stewart's Mark McCulloch, who won the Galloway Hills in 2011 and was third in 2012, started the year with three top-ten finishes in his Subaru Impreza alongside navigator Jim Haugh, but has been dogged by problems since mid-season:

"We found a few problems with the car after the McRae, and it turns out the reason I could hardly keep it on the road was because there was a fault with the diff controller, so the car was working majority rear wheel drive", explained McCulloch: "We now have that sorted so we're both looking forward to the Galloway Hills. After all the problems this year it would be nice to get a good result on the last round".

Fellow Wigtownshire driver Fraser Wilson, co-driven by Jane Nicol, only has to cross the start line on the Galloway Hills to secure the Class 10 championship in his EVO 9, and he will be looking to take the fight to Borderer Dale Robertson for Group N honours. The Duns' man, with Paul McGuire of Tranent on the notes, has had a strong second half to his season with three successive class victories in his EVO.

There are no fewer than thirteen Ford Escorts on the entry list – the majority fielded by an exceptional Irish contingent of more than 20 crews – led by Desi Henry and Liam Moynihan in an EVO 9 - who have been offered free return ferry crossings by the rally organisers, in association with the Dumfries and Galloway Council Major Events Strategy Fund.

Of the SRC-registered Escort competitors, Clubman 2WD champions Steve Bannister of Malton and Louise Rae from Hawick will be back in action in their historic-spec Mk2, while Dumfriesshire's Greg McKnight, who has already sealed the Junior Drivers' title, will be looking to round-off an excellent season in his Mk2, alongside co-driving dad Greg. The pair will again go head to head in the 1600cc category with Alasdair S.Graham and Laura Stuart in their Vauxhall Corsa. The two crews were on the same total stage times going into the final test on the McRae, only for the Escort to pick up a puncture. Graham made it safely through to pick up his third class win of the year.

Last year's Class 3 champions Iain Haining and Mairi Riddick have had a season to forget in their distinctive Vauxhall Nova, but were back to winning ways on the McRae, with Chuck Blair and Mark Roberts finishing runners-up in their Peugeot 205GTi. On Sunday, the Dumfries crew only have to make it away from the start in Castle Douglas to confirm the overall class title.

Seeded Entry List

Posted: October 23, 2014 11:33 AM

Press Day

Posted: October 17, 2014 9:47 AM

The Club will be now be running a Press Day on Saturday 25 October. This will take place in a forest near New Galloway, just off the A712 (Newton Stewart to New Galloway road). You will find more information on the Competitors section of the website - Link below.

Entries Received

Posted: September 30, 2014 11:08 AM

Available at:

Entries Open

Posted: September 12, 2014 8:53 PM

Rally Guide 1

Posted: August 20, 2014 2:23 PM

Available at:

Free ferries to the Galloway Hills.

Posted: March 24, 2014 12:04 PM

After celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2013 with a brand new spectator friendly ‘Super Special’ stage, the Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally has more exciting plans in store for this year’s event on Sunday 26 October.

In association with the Dumfries and Galloway Council Major Events Fund, the Castle Douglas based event plans to offer free return ferry crossings to crews travelling from across the Irish Sea.

Before the recession, the Galloway Hills Rally annually attracted 25-30 regular Irish competitors and the towns in the surrounding area buzzed with the Irish craic. During the recession, the Irish economy suffered more than most, and the entries fell away to a low point in 2010, when the event received only one.

The organising committee believe it is now time to attract back their traditional Irish support, and to kick-start the process the event plans to offer a unique free return ferry crossing to the first 20 entrants from Northern and Southern Ireland, with the hope that this can be extended to more competitors in the future.

Michael Riddick, Clerk of the Course:
“For a while now, we have wanted to do something to regenerate the Irish interest in the Galloway Hills, so when the opportunity arose to apply to the Major Events Fund, we put a great deal of effort into our application to secure some funding. By offering a free ferry we are hopefully making the cost of competing in the event the same for everyone, whether you live in Armagh or Aberdeen. We have already run the news by some of our past regulars from Northern Ireland, and they are delighted.”

The inaugural running of the purpose built ‘spectator stage’ in a quarry near Dalbeattie was a huge hit with competitors and fans alike in 2013, and this will return in 2014. This stage is unique in the whole of the UK, offering competitors a different challenge to the traditional forest stages on the event, while providing spectators a great platform to see the rally cars tackling the whole 1.5 mile route in a totally safe environment.

Event Sponsor and 6-times winner of the event, Jock Armstrong:
“The super special stage was a big success in 2013, and it will return in a bigger and better format this year. All of my friends in the Scottish Rally Championship were full of nothing but praise for our 2013 event, and I am hopeful that they will choose to return this year also. I know a lot of work went into securing funding from the Major Events Fund, which in turn will hopefully bring in enough entries to secure the future of the event. It’s been nearly 10 years since the Drew Gallacher Trophy last went across the Irish Sea when I finished 2nd Overall behind Sean Devine from Strabane. I will be trying my hardest to stop that from happening again – I am looking forward to October already!”

Supplementary Regulations will be released in September, but in the meantime interested crews from Northern and Southern Ireland can find full details on the event website: Link Below

Website / Details

Posted: March 24, 2014 12:03 PM

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