Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally
Founded in 1974, the Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally will celebrate its 40th Anniversary in 2013 - as well as acting as the final round of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship for the first time - and we hope you can join us to celebrate it!
A message from The Armstrong Family...
"The Armstrong Family and the Armstrong Group would like to thank all organisers and officials of the Galloway Hills Rally. The Marshals of the Solway, Machars, East Ayrshire and other Car Clubs, Land owners, Rescue, Recovery, Doctors, Radio Operators, Catering, Photographers, Pirelli, Blue Machinery, and all the stage sponsors, after rally party sponsors, and everyone else who helped pull the event together. The weather was not very kind to us on Sunday, so a thank you to everyone who stood out the in the wind and the rain."
The Armstrong Family
(and Jock who is still recovering…!)
Armstrong wins dramatic sixth Galloway Hills
Event sponsor Jock Armstrong clinched his first win of the year on Sunday’s 40th Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally, the final round of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Championship. Five-time Scottish champions David Bogie and Kevin Rae had led throughout until the end of the last stage, but were forced to pull over on the way to the finish in Castle Douglas when the oil-warning light came on in their Ford Focus WRC.
Fearing an expensive repair, the Dumfries driver decided to err on the side of caution, and switched everything off: “It just wasn’t worth risking a broken crank. Up until that point, we’d had a great run on superb stages at the end of a successful season, so we have absolutely no complaints”, said Bogie, who was fastest outright through four of the seven stages on a day of heavy blustery showers, which made for difficult driving conditions.
For his part, Armstrong, co-driven by John Richardson, was delighted to take his sixth win on his local event behind the wheel of his rebuilt Subaru Impreza: “A win is a win in my book and I couldn’t be happier”, said Armstrong: “I’ve had a bad year – without any success in the Scottish championship and the crash on the Merrick – so this is very welcome, particularly with the rally celebrating its anniversary. After some adjustments at service, we were going better in the afternoon. David and I recorded the same time on the second run through the super-special stage in the quarry at Dalbeattie, and I took eleven seconds out of him on the final stage, so we were slowly clawing it back”.
Mike Faulkner and Peter Foy finished as runners-up – 1min 25secs further back – in their Mitsubishi Evo 9, to secure third overall in the championship: “It’s been a tricky event – very slippy in places with the rain – and there was plenty to catch you out in the super-special stage”, said the Kirtlebridge driver: “But we’ve achieved what we came to do, which is to make sure of third place in the championship. It seems we’ve salvaged something out of a really tough year”.
The final podium place went to Oban crew Shaun Sinclair and Chris Hamill in a Mitsubishi Evo 9. It was their first competitive outing in two and a half years – the only problems being an intercom glitch early on, plus a puncture. They finished two seconds ahead of Barry Groundwater and Neil Shanks, also in an Evo 9, who were third of the SRC-registered crews. Going into the event, the Stonehaven driver was just one point behind Faulkner in the fight for third spot in the series: “Mike set the standard in the morning – he was absolutely flat out, and I couldn’t get near him”, said Groundwater: “I picked up in the afternoon but it was too little, too late. We were in the same situation on the Merrick last year and I put the car off the road trying to catch him, so sometimes you’re better just to be a bit more cautious and accept where you are”.
Donnie MacDonald, fifth overall, had a “bad day” in his Evo 9 alongside Andrew Falconer. There were front suspension problems in the morning, followed by a puncture on the second run through the super-special stage: “We put a wheel into the rear wing as well, it’s been a disaster”, admitted the Inverness-based driver: “See when I started rallying, I really liked the Galloway Hills!”
Fellow Highlander Andy Horne co-driven by Jim Howie, was more enthusiastic about his day behind the wheel of his DAM 4100Gti on the way to 6th overall – a welcome result after a couple of previous non-finishes: “The stages have been slippy, but all in all it’s been a good day for us – and the car has behaved, which is the main thing. Well worth the trip down”.
Andrew Gallacher, with Phil Sandham on the notes, was a further ten seconds behind to take Group N honours in his Evo 9: “If it hadn’t been for a puncture on the second stage we could have made it into the top five, but apart from that we had a pretty good day”, said the Kilmarnock-based driver and son of the late three-time Galloway Hills winner Drew.
Newton Stewart’s Craig McMiken and Kirriemuir navigator Craig Wallace were eighth overall, seventh in the points, in their Evo 9 – the only “drama” being contact with a tyre wall in the super-special stage which damaged the bonnet of the car.
Ninth-placed John McClory and David Hood, in the GpN Subaru Impreza N15, were hot on their heels – there was just a second between them on the final Dalbeattie test – while Dougal Brown, co-driven by 2013 SRC Junior Co-drivers’ Champion Lewis Rochford, rued a minute penalty, without which, the Inverness duo would have finished eighth rather than tenth overall.
Once again, Steve Bannister and Louise Sutherland were the best of the 2-wheel-drive competitors in the historic-spec Ford Escort Mk2 – despite driving for six miles through the second stage with a rear punture: “Having already won the 2WD championship, today was all about securing the Ladies Co-drivers’ title for Louise, and we’ve done that. So it’s been a good event for us”, said Bannister.
For Peter Stewart, the Galloway Hills was his first SRC event of the season, and he marked the occasion by taking Class 4 honours in his Ford Fiesta R2. “We’ve had a few “moments” along the way today, but I couldn’t be happier”, said the Dumfries driver, who had teamed up with Thornhill navigator Kenneth Marchbank.
Class 3 champions Iain Haining and Mairi Riddick capped a remarkable season by making it eight wins out of eight in their Vauxhall Nova – “I guess you can’t better that!”, said the Locharbriggs’ competitor.
Fifty crews finished the rally, with twenty-one retirements. Among the those who failed to finish were Jon Burn, Chris Collie, Alistair Inglis, 2011 Hills winner Mark McCulloch, whose Subaru Impreza ended up on its side on the fourth stage, and GpN contender Fraser Wilson – his rally, alongside Steven Broll, lasting just 200 yards of stage one before the gearbox of his Mitsubishi Evo 8 packed in.
Another casualty was Ivor Clark, who with fellow Gretna competitor Keith McCleary, won the inaugural Galloway Hills Rally in 1974 in a Ford Escort. Forty years on, the pair came to grief on the first run through Dalbeattie in their Mitsubishi Evo 4.
Full results can be found HERE.
Photos (L-R) 1st Overall Jock Armstrong/John Richardson, 2nd Overall Mike Faulkner/Peter Foy, 3rd Overall Shaun Sinclair/Chris Hamill, all courtesy of Alan Scott Photography.
News released 28 October 2013
Championship set for “Hills” finale
Five-time winner and event sponsor Jock Armstrong, and five-time Scottish champion David Bogie, will be fighting for overall honours on Sunday’s 40th Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally. For the first time, the Castle Douglas-based event will count as the final round of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship.
It will also be notable in that the winners of the inaugural rally in 1974, Ivor Clark and Keith McCleary, are among the 70-plus entries. In recognition they have been seeded at No 1 in their Mitsubishi Evo 4. Another first for the event is a super-special spectator stage based in a quarry near Dalbeattie, which features an over-and-under bridge.
Armstrong returns to competition in search of a sixth Galloway Hills title after an “off” on the Merrick Stages, which resulted in heavy body damage to his Subaru Impreza – one of three non-finishes this season. On this occasion, he will be co-driven by John Richardson from Bedale, who was runner-up on the “Hills” with Yorkshire rally ace Stephen Petch two years ago.
Bogie and co-driver Kevin Rae sealed an historic fifth Scottish crown on the Colin McRae Stages, and now the pressure is off, the Dumfries driver is out to “enjoy himself” on one of his local events in his Ford Focus WRC. The 26-year-old from Dumfries won the “Hills” in 2007 in a Subaru, but the following year failed to finish, and has not competed as a driver since, although he has navigated on a couple of occasions.
Aberdeen’s Dave Weston, who powered his Ford Focus WRC to the final podium spot on the McRae Stages despite problems with the back diff of the car, will be looking for a top three finish to round off the season, alongside Jedburgh navigator Dave Robson.
Meanwhile, Mike Faulkner, co-driven by Peter Foy, goes into the weekend looking to secure third overall in the championship (behind Bogie and Quintin Milne) in his Mitsubisihi Evo 9. However, after seven rounds, a single point separates Faulkner from Stonehaven’s Barry Groundwater, also in an Evo 9, who will again have Neil Shanks from Elgin on the notes:
“We’re looking forward to the battle with Barry, and if we secure third in the championship, it would feel as though we’d salvaged something out of the season at the end of a difficult year”, said Faulkner. "It’s been a long time since we’ve done the Galloway Hills stages, but they’re full of variety, with a mix of really tight and slippy and fast flowing sections that reward commitment. The Super-Special will be a great chance to show-case rallying to a wider audience, but as ever with those kind of stages you have to temper them with a bit of care, because it’s easy to lose time, but there’s not much chance to make it up”.
Donnie MacDonald, co-driven by Andrew Falconer, sits a further nine points behind Groundwater in the drivers’ table, after a fine fourth place finish in Aberfeldy in his Evo 9. The Inverness crew start one place ahead of Jon Burn and Alan Stark, who, although not registered for the championship, have chalked up two top-six finishes on the last two rounds.
Chris Collie will be looking to bounce back from his first non-finish of the campaign on the McRae Stages. Fourth on the Galloway Hills in 2011, the Portlethen driver will have Andrew Roughead alongside in his Mitsubishi Evo 6.
Former SRC regulars Shaun Sinclair and Chris Hamill from Oban are seeded tenth in an Evo 9, ahead of the Evo 5 of Alistair and Colin Inglis, who will be targeting their fourth top-six points finish of the campaign.
2011 Hills winner Mark McCulloch starts twelfth in his Subaru Impreza. The Newton Stewart driver, with Elliot Edmondson on the notes, finished eighth overall on the McRae Stages, despite the car sustaining extensive rear-end damage after hitting a log-pile.
Andy Horne and Jim Howie will be looking to get a finish in the DAM 4100GTi, after gearbox failure in Aberfeldy. They start one behind Northern Ireland’s Liam Regan and Damian Duffin in a Peugeot 206 4×4.
Over recent rounds, Kilmarnock’s Andrew Gallacher, with Phil Sandham co-driving, has been the man to beat in Group N – he has had three successive victories – but class leader John Morrison (Evo 9) Fraser Wilson (Evo 8)and John McClory (Subaru Impreza N15) will all be fighting for honours this weekend.
Steve Bannister and Louise Sutherland – who have already been confirmed as Class 6 Historic champions for 2013 – head the 2WD entries in their Ford Escort Mk2, while 1600cc category leaders Iain Wilson and Keith Fremantle in a Vauxhall Nova will be up against James Robertson, co-driven by Colin Maxwell, in a Citreon C2 R2, and the Ford Fiesta R2 of Borderers Kieran Renton and Carin Logan, who will be looking to make amends after two back-to-back non-finishes.
Iain Haining and Mairi Riddick only had to cross the start-line in Aberfeldy to secure the Class 3 title, but nonetheless will be looking to cap a remarkable season by making it eight wins out of eight.
In the battle of the Peugeot 205′s, Class 3 runner-up and 2013 SRC Junior Driver Callum Atkinson from Lauder will have Dunfermline’s Lachlan Cowan on the notes as he goes head to head with Bridge of Dee’s Scott Peacock, co-driven by Keith Riddick. Scott will also be watching out for dad Donald, who, with navigator Willie Paul is also entered in a 205.
Full details can be found at the event website www.gallowayhillsrally.co.uk
News released: 21 October 2013
Galloway Hills return for first winners
The winners of the inaugural Galloway Hills Rally in 1974 will be back together to mark the 40th anniversary of the event on Sunday 27 October. In recognition, driver Ivor Clark and navigator Keith McCleary will carry No 1 on the door of their car, a Mitsubishi EVO 4, belonging to Ivor's son Steven.
Forty years ago, it was Keith who drove the pair to overall victory in his Mk1 Ford Escort Twin Cam. Both were neighbours in Gretna and colleagues at a tractor dealership in Carlisle. Their love of rallying saw them enter several local events in the Escort - which they tinkered with in a local hayshed.
The Galloway Hills win was a notable triumph, the duo leading home 76 finishers from an entry list of 96 crews:
“I remember the rally very well”, said Keith: “We started in Castle Douglas, there were seven stages, and we finished in Girvan. I remember less of the celebratory party afterwards though!” Their service crew that day was two mates in a car, filled with tyres and essential spares.
Keith continued to compete on local rallies, until his final outing in 1985. Ivor took his sport more seriously, winning the Group 1 Castrol Autosport Championship in 1979. Today, the pair remain near-neighbours, and have served 48 and 46 years respectively at the same dealership.
Like many enthusiasts, the motorsport gene has been passed down the generations in the Clark family, with Steven winning the Scottish Co-Drivers' Championship in 2006, and twice finishing as fourth overall Scottish driver. Ivor's daughter Alison is GoMotorsport’s Regional Development Officer for Scotland, and even eight-year-old grandson Lucas now has a set of spanners.
Several other entries from the first running of the Galloway Hills will either compete or officiate at this year's event, which is organised by a small committee from Solway Car Club, with assistance from the neighbouring Machars and East Ayrshire clubs, and counts as the final round of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship.
Alan McMorran from Castle Douglas – who has been a "Hills regular" in the intervening years - will line up for the start in his Peugeot 205: in 1974 he drove a Hillman Imp alongside navigator Bernard Burney.
Another original driver was Micky Rankin in an Escort. Forty years on, he again hopes to compete, this time in his "brand new" Escort Mk1.
Sheila Laird - wife of current Solway Car Club president, Tom - and Stewart Robertson, the Solway CC Vice President - were entered at No 19 in an Escort Twin-Cam. Stewart will act as a safety officer on this year's event, while Tom and Sheila will be out on the stages marshalling.
Dom Buckley Senior and Jimmy McRae finished second and tenth respectively on the first event, both in Escorts. Buckley became one of the country's leading rally preparation experts, while McRae went on to win five British championship in the 1980's.
The first entry list, and those for the following years, also reveal strong family links with the present day.
In 1974, Alan Peacock was behind the wheel of an Escort 1300, and this year his brother Donald and nephew Scott will go head to head in Peugeot 205's.
Andrew Gallacher, son of multiple Scottish champion Drew – who won the first of his three Galloway Hills in 1975 - is entered in his GpN Mitsubishi EVO 9.
Meanwhile, Ian Paterson from Mouswald, co-driven by Jim Haugh, will start his 30th Armstrong Galloway Hills in his Gulf Oil-liveried Subaru Impreza. It would have been Paterson's 31st start on October 27th, if he had not been forced to sit on the sidelines one year because of ankle surgery.
Full details can be found at www.gallowayhillsrally.co.uk as well as on the event’s official Facebook page, www.facebook.com/gallowayhillsrally or Twitter feed, @GallowayHills.
News released: 13 October 2013
40th Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally goes "Super Special"
A unique “over and under bridge” will form the centrepiece of a Super Special Stage to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally on Sunday 27th October.
The 1.5 mile test - located in Auchenlosh quarry on the outskirts of Dalbeattie - will provide the main spectator focus for the Castle Douglas-based event, which, for the first time, counts as the final round of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship.
Competitors will make two runs through the stage, which has been designed by event sponsor and 5-time winner of the event, Jock Armstrong, and his sister Barbara, a double British Ladies Rally Champion.
“We wanted to create something totally different to mark the rally’s fortieth year, as well as its inclusion in the SRC” said Jock. “The Super Special Stage will take place in a quarry owned by our co-sponsors Armstrong Waste Management Ltd. With the recent addition of the bridge, it's like a giant Scalextric set! I can't think of any other event in the country with features like these – and I guarantee it'll provide a fantastic experience for competitors and a thrilling spectacle for fans, something for all the family to enjoy”.
In total, competitors will tackle forty three stage miles on some of the most challenging - and rewarding - forest roads in south-west Scotland. Conscious of keeping costs down to a minimum, the organising committee have worked hard to keep the event as compact as possible, with just over 90 road miles between stages, and central servicing.
With the first car due to arrive back at the finish in Castle Douglas well before 3pm, and an excellent ferry package from Stenaline for those travelling from Northern Ireland, there’s never been a better time to head to Galloway for a great end to a great rallying season!
Supplementary Regulations and both downloadable and online Entry Forms can be found on the event's website.
News released: 12 September 2013
Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally included in the 2013 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship
The Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally has been added as the final round of this year’s ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship. following the stopping of the season-opening Snowman Rally last month as a result of the tragic accident in stage one.
The “Galloway Hills”, which takes place on Sunday 27th October, had already been approved as the nominated "reserve event” should any of the other eight SRC rounds not go ahead.
Event sponsor Jock Armstrong has won his local rally five times: “We’re sorry it’s been added to the calendar due to such a tragedy on the opening round, but we hope we can do a sterling job for the Scottish championship competitors as well as the regular Galloway Hills supporters”.
Clerk of the Course Michael Riddick added: “Although the opportunity to organise a round of the ARR Craib Scottish Rally Championship is welcome, the circumstances are not what any of us would have chosen. Plans for the event are already underway, with a mixture of both popular traditional stages, as well as some that have not been rallied for many years”.
Dave Robson, chairman of the SRC Management Committee, said: “We are fortunate to have a well-established event such as the Armstrong Galloway Hills coming into this year’s championship. This will allow us to maintain a full 8 round series, and we have every confidence that the organising team will provide a challenge worthy of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship and its competitors.”
News released: 01 April 2013