Jock makes Hills history
Jock Armstrong secured a record-breaking ninth win on the Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally on Saturday.
The event sponsor took victory in his Subaru Impreza, seeing off new ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally champ Euan Thorburn with Shaun Sinclair third.
Castle Douglas ace Armstrong, with new co-driver Cameron Fair, was the first of more than 80 crews to leave the start at Threave Garden and Estate to tackle 44 miles of classic forest tests.
He won all three tests before the service halt, opening up a lead of 23 seconds.
However, after that Thorburn and co-driver Paul Beaton came alive in their Ford Fiesta R5, setting two fastest stage times to close the gap to just three seconds by the time the crews returned to the finish at Castle Douglas.
Armstrong said: “There is nothing like the feeling of winning your home rally. The support from everyone has been great today and we had a really strong opening loop of stages. It took Cameron and I a wee while to get settled in but we had the measure of the stages today and everything worked well.
“Nine time Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally winner, sounds good doesn’t it?”
Thorburn’s improved pace saw him take second ahead of Sinclair and co-driver Jamie Edwards in their Subaru Impreza WRC. Kirkgunzeon’s Rory Young took fourth in his Ford Fiesta R5 with Allan Cathers on the notes – enough for his first podium spot as Thorburn wasn’t registered for series points.
Dumfries’ Mark McCulloch came home fifth in his Mitsubishi Evo 9 with Michael Hendry alongside, one place ahead of five-time Scottish champion David Bogie.
He took to the stages with regular co-driver Kevin Rae in his Ford Escort Mk2, much to the delight of the crowd.
Dalbeattie’s Iain Wilson was second in class 10 and 10th overall with Chris Williams co-driving his Subaru Impreza. New Abbey’s Richard Dickson and Castle Douglas’ Roger Alcorn were third in the same class as they finished 13th. Fourth was Canonbie’s John McIlwraith, who was 20th overall in another Impreza.
The Evo 9 of Port William pair Fraser Wilson and Craig Wallace were 21st overall and second in class nine.
Castle Douglas’ Angus Lawrie won class three in his Vauxhall Corsa co-driven by Paul Gribben. Second was Haugh of Urr’s Keith Riddick, co-driven by Steven Clark, in an MG ZR, with Penpont’s Jim Robertson and Thornhill’s Mike Curry fourth in a Citroen C2R2.
Donald and Scott Peacock from Bridge of Dee took second in class two in a Peugeot 205GTi. Dumfries’ Niall Cowan Jnr and Thomas Bruce won class one in an MG ZR.
In class five, Dumfries’ David Hayton was second in an Escort Mk1 with Castle Douglas’ Alan McMorran and Albert Connelly fifth in their Chrysler Avenger.
The rally, organised by Solway, Machars and East Ayrshire Car Clubs, was able to attract a number of entries from Ireland thanks to the council’s major events strategic fund.
The first of those crews home was Brendan Cumiskey and Ronan O’Kane, who were 11th overall in their M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5.
Clerk of the course Michael Riddick said: “It’s been a truly fantastic day and I`d like to thank all the hard working and dedicated volunteers that helped make the event such a true success.
“The rally has brought so many people to the region this weekend and the spectator areas were as full as I’ve ever seen them.
“Huge thanks must also go to our sponsors The Armstrong Group as well as Dumfries and Galloway Council, Threave Garden and Estate and Forestry Commission Scotland for their support. We look forward to seeing everyone again next year for our 45th event.”
Champagne celebrations Jock Armstrong won his ninth Galloway Hills rally