The Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally


September 8th, 2018

Bogie dominates Galloway Hills Rally as Gallacher secures SRC title

Dumfries rally ace David Bogie ensured his name was engraved on the Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally trophy for the third time, by storming to victory of the Castle Douglas based event in his Skoda Fabia R5 (8th September).

Bogie and co-driver John Rowan won each one of the event’s five stages in the forests of Dumfries and Galloway, to add to his 2007 and 2015 event win and finish 45 second ahead of second placed crew Garry Pearson and Dale Bowen. Jonny Greer and Liam Regan made sure their trip over from Northern Ireland was a successful one, by rounding off the podium in third.

Andrew Gallacher and Jane Nicol did all they needed to do, securing the 2018 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship title in their Ford Focus WRC with eighth overall.

Over 85 crews from across the UK and Ireland headed to the region to contest the 45th running of the popular event, organised by Organised by Solway, Machars and East Ayrshire Car Clubs. The rally had the honour of being the final and deciding round of the Scottish Rally Championship which would be played out in the stages to the North West of the Castle Douglas rally base, including classics like Cairn Edward, Black Loch and Glentrool.
Thanks to a grant from Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Major Festivals and Events Strategy 2018-2021, the rally attracted a number of crews from across the Irish Sea to the event and a strong line up would head into the forests. But with heavy rain falling at the Threave Garden and Estate start ceremony, it would be a tricky start to the day.

Nine-time event winner and Castle Douglas hero Jock Armstrong would lead the field away, hoping to take his victories into double figures but it would be Bogie that was fastest out of the blocks on the opening test. The Skoda driver opened up a nine second lead on the first, with Pearson’s Ford Fiesta R5 in second and Greer’s similar machine a further three behind.

Conditions were difficult for all crews and despite drying up later in the day, the results would remain as there were at the end of the opening stage, with Bogie winning each test and eventually pulling out a considerable lead on his rivals.

Spraying the champagne under the gaze of the glorious Threave House, Bogie was delighted to win one of his local events and sighted his victory as great preparation for the forthcoming FIA World Rally Championship round in October, Wales Rally GB.

“Ah, it’s been a great day, especially with weather like this to finish with” said Bogie. “I think if you looked at the weather this morning you would have never believed how it turned out this afternoon, but it’s been a fantastic day all round. The stages have been superb, and the rally is excellent as always. There has been some good competition too and it’s just one of those days where you can go home very happy.”

Huntly driver John Wink secured the best result of his career in his Hyundai i20 R5 in fourth overall. Co-driven by Welshman and current British Rally Championship leading driver Matt Edwards, Wink was delighted to have beaten the ever-rapid Armstrong over the closing stages.

Armstrong suffered with a misting windscreen in the torrential rain during the morning, which ultimately cost him a podium result and rounding off the top five.

The race for the Scottish Championship title was all set to be a thrilling end to the season. Gallacher would need a strong finish but if Inverness driver Donnie MacDonald and co-driver Jamie Edwards could steer their Ford Fiesta R5 to a win or podium, it would need to be decided on the drop score element of the series.

However, MacDonald’s efforts were in vein, ending his rally just half a mile into the very first stage, handing the title to Gallacher. Andrew’s win marks the fifth time the Gallacher name is engraved on the SRC trophy, father Drew taking four titles in the 70’s and 80’s.

Whilst Armstrong was disappointed with his result, in contrast, Dumfries pilot Mark McCulloch had a giant-killing result in his older specification Subaru Impreza to take seventh overall. A previous winner of the rally, McCulloch and co-driver Michael Hendry rounded off his year on a high note.

Haugh of Urr driver Keith Riddick and co-driver Steven Clark had a problematic day in their MG ZR, suffering oil leak issues throughout the event. The battle for Class 3 honours was an intense affair, with Riddick battling hard with Castle Douglas driver Angus Lawrie. Lawrie and co-driver Paul Gribben led for much of the day in their in Vauxhall Corsa, but handed the win to Riddick after leaving the road in the final stage.

Other local success came in the form of Greg McKnight from Penpont who took Class 8 victory in his Ford Escort Mk2 with Harry Marchbank alongside.

Clerk of the Course Michael Riddick has been delighted with this year’s event and is already thinking about 2019: “When the weather drew in this morning, we thought it would be a tough day for crews, spectators and marshals but luckily the sun came out this afternoon” he said. “It’s thanks to our sponsors The Armstrong Group, our stage sponsors, Forestry Commission Scotland and the backing of Dumfries and Galloway Council that we could offer crews from across the UK and Ireland such a great day’s rallying. Thank of course must go to our volunteer marshals and to the spectators who came out to watch the rally. We extend our congratulations to David (Bogie) and John (Rowan) for today’s win, and of course to and Andrew (Gallacher) and Jane (Nicol) for the SRC title. We look forward to seeing everyone again next year.”