Welcome to the Galloway Hills Rally
Founded in 1974, the Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally celebrated its 40th Anniversary in 2013 - mark Sunday 26 October 2014 in your calendar now, and come and enjoy our 41st event with us - we promise you won't be disappointed!
Free ferries to the Galloway Hills!
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!"
Entries will open in September, but in the meantime, interested crews from Northern and Southern Ireland can find more information on the official website: www.gallowayhillsrally.co.uk/ferries.
Photograph: Northern Irish regulars Liam Regan and Damien Duffin in action on the 2013 Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally. © Alan Scott Photography.
News released: Sunday 23 March 2014
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