Dumfries rally ace David Bogie secured his sixth RSAC Scottish Rally win today (19th May) as he powered his Skoda Fabia R5 to the four-wheel-drive event victory by over a minute from his nearest rival after six tough stages in the Eskdalemuir and Beattock forests.
Unseasonably warm conditions in the region had made the stages much drier than expected with low hanging dust causing issues for the 80 or so competitors who lined up to tackle over 43 competitive stage miles in classic forest stages such as Twiglees and Castle O’er.
Bogie, a five-time Scottish Rally Champion, would contest his second SRC round of the season after winning the Speyside Stages in Elgin last month and was joined by co-driver Kevin Rae for the event. His dominance in the north of Scotland continued in the Dumfries and Galloway forests, winning five out of the six tests on offer.
It was a Dumfries one-two as local lad Mark McCulloch stormed to second overall in his Ford Fiesta R5 with Michael Hendry alongside. The runner-up spot signifies McCulloch’s best SRC result as he continues to learn the car. Rory Young made his first outing of the season to take third in his similar machine, securing the services of co-driver Paul Beaton to take the final podium spot.
It could have been a different story if Castle Douglas driver Jock Armstrong and co-driver Cameron Fair had a clean run in the dry and dusty stages, but a puncture and subsequent time penalties meant the 2011 rally winner would finish tenth overall, despite a strong showing on the opening stage of the day.
Equally, it could have been Subaru WRC pilot Freddie Milne’s event too as he was in-line for a career-best result of second overall. The battle for the runner up spot was an intense affair throughout the day with Milne and co-driver Patrick Walsh returning in a fine performance over five tests of the rally. Sadly, their event would end prematurely after dropping the Impreza into a ditch on the final stage and into retirement.
The battle for fourth raged throughout the day with 18-year-old Lawrence Whyte and co-driver Stuart Loudon looking likely to bag a solid result. But they were another crew to succumb to a ditch in their Fiesta R5. It would be Hyundai i20 R5 driver John Wink with John Forrest alongside who took the place away from him. Donnie MacDonald and Andrew Falconer rounded off the top five in their Ford Fiesta R5, taking the Scottish Championship lead in the process.
Bogie was pleased with his result as he sprayed the champagne in front of the waiting crowds in Moffat town centre on Saturday night.
“Its always great to contest your home rally and although its not part of the British Championship this year, it doesn’t make a win any less special” he said.
“Its been really difficult conditions out there today, the stages are really dry which has seen them much harder than usual, so it’s been important to try and conserve the car as much as possible whilst not giving too much time away. But the car has been great, the tyres have worked well and its always nice to have Kevin (Rae) back in the car. Its been an enjoyable rally”.
A change in format for 2018 means there were two winners crowned in Moffat with the two-wheel drive event running first on the road, leaving Lockerbie early on Saturday morning. Crews would tackle an identical route and stages but could enjoy prime road conditions and it would be a Ford Escort one-two-three that dominated proceedings.
Like Bogie, Greg McKnight and co-driver Harry Marchbank won five of the six special stages to take full control of the category from the off. Iain Wilson would try his very best to eat into McKnight’s lead, eventually winning the fifth stage but it would not be enough to overhaul the flying Escort pilot. Co-driver Chris Williams guided Wilson to an impressive second overall.
Yorkshireman Matthew Robinson with Dave Robson alongside did their best to keep up with the highly modified examples ahead of them, but his historic specification version was no match for the front runners, eventually taking third spot.
Angus Lawrie was a worthy leader of the front wheel drive brigade, taking his Vauxhall Corsa to fourth overall and a class 3 win in the process. Lawrie was guided by Paul Gribben. The brother and sister pairing of Keith and Kirsty Riddick tried hard to keep to Lawrie’s pace, but settled for fifth overall in their MG ZR.
The 2018 RSAC Scottish Rally marks the 23rd consecutive year of backing from the Dumfries and Galloway Council and has been awarded the designation as a Signature Event thanks to its status as one of the most important sporting events in the region. Bringing competitors from across the UK to the region, the rally is a highlight of the sporting calendar.
The event formed a round of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship, the RSAC Motorsport Ecosse Challenge and the Border Challenge, the HRCR Motoscope Northern Historic Challenge and welcomes the Armed Forces Rally Team who have been part of the event since 1963.
Image: Copyright Alistair Farquhar