Ju­nior ti­tle win­ner earns Wales Rally GB en­try

Dumfries & Galloway Standard - - SPORTS -

Dum­fries racer Niall Cowan claimed the na­tional ju­nior rally ti­tle - in just his first year tak­ing on the full com­pe­ti­tion.

Twenty-four-year-old Niall claimed vic­tory over the short­ened six-race sea­son af­ter a hard-fought bat­tle with Cas­tle Dou­glas driver Scott Pea­cock in his MG ZR. He now heads off to Wales Rally GB at the be­gin­ning of next month.

The win also sees Niall net a spe­cial for­est driv­ing les­son with Fin­nish rally leg­end Ta­pio Laukka­nen and renowned nav­i­ga­tor Drew Stur­rock.

The fi­nal race took place at the Gal­loway Hills Rally at the week­end, with Niall’s sec­ond place fin­ish be­hind Pea­cock enough to se­cure the tro­phy.

Niall won the com­pet­i­tive class af­ter four years in ral­ly­ing.

Niall told the Stan­dard:“I’ve been in the top three for the ju­niors in the last five races, so it’s been a con­sis­tent year but it’s a difficult class to win so I’m very happy to come out on top.

“I get free en­try into Wales Rally GB and that’s re­ally a once-in-a-life­time chance for me be­cause the en­try fee is usu­ally ex­pen­sive.

“We did the odd race here and there pre­vi­ously but we de­cided to take on the whole cham­pi­onship for the first time this year and it’s a real boost to win it, com­pet­ing closely for the whole year with fel­low lo­cal driver Scott Pea­cock, with whom I had some good bat­tles.

“Next year is the last year that I can com­pete in the ju­niors and prob­a­bly the last time I can be­come a na­tional cham­pion, so that’s a big in­cen­tive for me to try to come back and re­tain my ti­tle.”

Lo­cal ral­ly­ing suc­cess con­tin­ued on Satur­day when Pen­pont’s Greg McKnight claimed the pres­ti­gious Scot­tish Two-Wheel Rally Cham­pi­onship along­side co-driver Harry March­bank in their Ford Es­cort Mark Two, com­fort­ably hold­ing off the chal­lenge of Gor­don Mur­ray and David O’Brien in sec­ond place.

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