Saturday 9 September

Over 43 miles of quality stages in the Galloway forests . . .

Over 43 miles of quality stages in the Galloway forests . . .

. . . a compact route with less than 90 road miles . . .

. . . a compact route with less than 90 road miles . . .

. . . free return ferry travel from Northern Ireland . . .

. . . free return ferry travel from Northern Ireland . . .

. . . unique #InItToWinIt competitor incentive scheme . . .

. . . unique #InItToWinIt competitor incentive scheme . . .

. . . great stages, with minimal double usage . . .

. . . great stages, with minimal double usage . . .

. . . the final round of the Scottish Rally Championship . . .

. . . the final round of the Scottish Rally Championship . . .

. . . a great way to end the 2017 season!

. . . a great way to end the 2017 season!

 

The 2017 Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally will take place on Saturday 9th September. The event will again be based in Castle Douglas, with start and finish ceremonies taking place at the picturesque surroundings of Threave Garden and Estate, thanks to the National Trust for Scotland.

Spectator Information



Spectator Information - added on Tuesday 5 September.


Armstrong storms to Galloway Hills Rally victory

Castle Douglas rally ace Jock Armstrong took a record ninth Galloway Hills Rally win this weekend (9th September), powering his familiar orange Subaru Impreza to a narrow victory over current ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Champion Euan Thorburn.
 
Shaun Sinclair made a strong bid for his first win of the season but couldn’t overhaul the charging Armstrong and Thorburn, rounding off the podium in third.

Armstrong not only sponsored the event but started as a pre-event favourite as over 80 crews left the Threave Garden and Estate ceremonial start on Saturday morning for the 44th running of the rally. He, along with newly partnered co-driver Cameron Fair duly returned victorious for the finish celebrations after five hard-fought stages in the Galloway Forests.

Organised by Solway, Machars and East Ayrshire Car Clubs, the highly regarded stage rally had attracted a top quality field from both the UK and Ireland to the region and rally fans were in for a real treat throughout the day.

With 44 miles of classic forest tests in store, Armstrong made his mark from the off, setting the fastest time in the opening Barney Water stage. In fact, he wouldn’t be beaten on the three stages before the midpoint service halt, opening up a lead of 23 seconds for the final two stage blast to the finish.

Rally done then? Not at all.

By his own admission, Thorburn was a slow starter and forgetting to turn on the anti-lag of his Ford Fiesta R5 would only hamper progress in the morning loop. But after service, Thorburn and co-driver Paul Beaton came alive, taking two fastest stages times to close in on Armstrong, edging the gap down to just three seconds at the finish. But it wasn’t enough and Armstrong was elated at yet another home win.

“There is nothing like the feeling of winning your home rally,” said Armstrong.

 “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?”

The battle for the final podium spot was less of a done deal however. Sinclair and co-driver Jamie Edwards powered their Subaru Impreza WRC to a confident start and headed into service in second spot and although a way down on Armstrong’s lead, was in a prime position to take advantage of any mishaps. Thorburn's increase of pace in the afternoon demoted Sinclair to third by the finish


Image courtesy of Lindsay Photosport - 2nd overall Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton - click to download high res version

Equally, Mike Faulkner and Peter Foy were in firm contention to do the same in their Mitsubishi Evo IX, challenging Sinclair all day long. But broken rear suspension after stage four and a subsequent trip into a bog on the final test meant that they wouldn’t see the end of the rally.

Sinclair
Image courtesy of Lindsay Photosport  -3rd overall Shaun Sinclair/Jamie Edwards - click to download high res version

Returning to the Scottish Championship for the first time since the Scottish Rally in May, Rory Young and Allan Cathers took their Ford Fiesta R5 to a very respectable fourth spot. With Thorburn not scoring series points, it meant Young took his first ever podium in the championship and professed to “loving” the stages on the event.

Dumfries driver Mark McCulloch classes the Galloway Hills Rally as his “home” event and despite a slow start to the day, returned a solid drive to fifth in his Mitsubishi Evo IX with Michael Hendry alongside.

Five-time Scottish champion David Bogie wheeled out a Ford Escort MK2 for the event with regular co-driver Kevin Rae. Bogie had previously campaigned his Skoda Fabia R5 this season but decided to bring his crowd pleasing Escort to the Galloway Hills.  Despite admitting to learning the car during the event, Bogie took an impressive sixth spot at the end.

Andrew Gallacher and Jane Nicol took seventh in their Ford Focus WRC, with Michael Binnie and Clair Mole grabbing eighth in their Mitsubishi Evo IX.  Donnie Macdonald and Andrew Falconer took ninth in their Ford Fiesta R5 whilst Iain Wilson and Chris Williams rounded off the top ten in their Subaru Impreza.

Thanks to a prestigious grant from Dumfries and Galloway Council Major Events Strategic Fund, the rally has appealed to a significant number of entries from across the Irish Sea which ensured the event boasted one of its strongest entries for many years.

Brendan Cumiskey and Ronan O’ Kane were the first crew home from across the water, bringing their brand new M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5 home in 11th overall.

Clerk of the Course Michael Riddick is delighted with how the event has gone.

“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,” he said.

“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, 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”.

 

Images courtesy of Lindsay PhotoSport

Quality entry heads for the Galloway Hills

Local favourite and event sponsor Jock Armstrong will head away an 80 strong field from Threave Garden and Estate on Saturday (9th September) as the 44th Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally gets underway in Castle Douglas.
 
Organised by Solway, Machars and East Ayrshire Car Clubs, the highly regarded stage rally has attracted a top quality field from both the UK and Ireland to the region, as crews will tackle 44 miles of high-quality stages in the Galloway forests.

Sponsored by local construction and waste management solutions firm The Armstrong Group, the event is once again the final round of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship which has ensured an impressive array of cars will contest the now traditional end of season bash. 

Thanks also to a prestigious grant from Dumfries and Galloway Council Major Events Strategic Fund, the rally has appealed to a significant number of entries from across the Irish Sea which has ensured the event will boast one of its strongest entries for many years.

Starting as car one, eight-time event winner Jock Armstrong will be bidding to add to his already impressive tally as he leads the field away on Saturday morning with new co-driver Cameron Fair alongside in his familiar Subaru Impreza. Whilst the Scottish Championship title is now out of reach for the Castle Douglas pilot, Armstrong will undoubtedly want to ensure the winner's trophy stays in the area this time around. But it won't be easy.

Despite being a late entry with a start number to be confirmed, 2017 Scottish Rally Champions Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton will be looking to take one final win of the season in Castle Douglas. Beating Armstrong to the title, Thorburn has enjoyed an on-form season behind the wheel of his Fiesta R5 and without championship points to worry about, can enjoy the event without pressure.

 

Starting at number two seed, Oban’s Shaun Sinclair will be doing everything he can to take his first forestry win this season in his Impreza WRC. With four podiums in the Scottish Championship throughout the year, Sinclair and co-driver Jamie Edwards will use the event as a last ditch attempt to take the top spot.

Mike Faulkner and Peter Foy are another crew looking to take away their first win of 2017 at the Galloway Hills and will start at three in their Mitsubishi Evo IX with Rory Young and Allan Cathers bringing their Ford Fiesta R5 to Castle Douglas at four.

Dumfries ace Mark McCulloch rounds off the top five in his Mitsubishi Evo IX, co-driven by Michael Hendry. McCulloch always goes well on his “home” event and will be one to watch for overall honours on Saturday.

The much talked about entry from five-time Scottish Champion David Bogie emerged late last week with the news that the Dumfries driver would use his Ford Escort MK2 on the event. Sure to be a crowd pleasing favourite, Bogie could well be seen towards to top end of the leader board during the event. Kevin Rae will take up his usual co-drivers seat at car six.

Bruce McCombie and Daniel Forsyth start behind Bogie in their Mitsubishi Evo IX with Donnie MacDonald and Andrew Falconer at eight in their Ford Fiesta R5. Fred Milne returns to a Mitsubishi after an outing in a World Rally Car last time out in Aberdeen with Neil Shanks alongside at car nine.

Rounding off the top ten, Andrew Gallacher makes a welcome return to the sport with a rare ex-Mark Higgins Ford Focus WRC.  The Hurlford driver hasn’t been out since this event last year but will undoubtedly wow the fans in the potent machine. Jane Nicol sits alongside.

Such is the strength of the entry; you have to look down at car 16 for the first of the Irish contingent to make the trip across to Castle Douglas. Brendan Cumiskey and Ronan O'Kane will debut their new Fiesta R5 on the event and will use the high-quality stages as a test bed for further outings.

Tommy O’Connell and Emmet Sherry, along with Paul McErlean and Niall McKenna also make the trip across the water and will start inside the top 30, both piloting Ford Escort MK2’s.

Organisers of this year's event have ensured that there are plenty of opportunities to both catch the action and see the cars at close quarters.

Friday 8th September sees the event documentation and scrutiny get underway at locations across Castle Douglas from 4.00pm.
 
On Saturday 9th, the magnificent Threave Garden & Estate will play host to a rally for the very first time and provides a stunning back drop for the event ceremonial start and finish venue. Crews will be flagged away from the grounds at around 9.00am before heading out to tackle classic stages in the region.

Spectators can catch the action at a variety of spots in the Galloway forests. The Signright Graphix Black Loch stage provides fans with two chances to watch the field through, with runs at 10:18 and 12:53.

The Kirroughtree visitors centre in Wigtownshire offers the opportunity to see the cars and crews at close quarters for the service halt around midday before crews head back out for another loop of stages in the forests.

The Jas P Wilson Forest Machines Cairn Edward stage at 13:25 will be the final chance to see the cars in full flight before heading back to the Threave Garden & Estate ceremonial Finish and champagne spray just before 3.00pm.

Entry to Threave for the start and finish ceremonies will be free, and the popular Café inside Threave Visitor centre will be open all day, offering bacon rolls, lunches, drinks and cakes.

More information on the event, a full entry list and spectator information can be found at:
visit http://www.gallowayhillsrally.co.uk

You can catch up with all the latest news from the event on its social media feeds:
http://www.facebook.com/gallowayhills/
http://www.twitter.com/gallowayhills/ 

Image: Courtesy of West Coast Photos

Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally secures magnificent Threave Garden for event start and finish

The Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally will get underway from the picturesque surroundings of Threave Garden and Estate, thanks to the National Trust for Scotland.

Crews will start the September 9th event in the grounds of the magnificent Threave House, nestled in the middle of the gardens on the outskirts of Castle Douglas, before heading into the nearby forests to contest 44 competitive stage miles.

After an action-packed day of driving, crews will return to the Natural Trust for Scotland 17th Scottish Baronial House to spray the champagne at the rally finish later that day.

Just a stone’s throw from the rally base in Castle Douglas itself and located in the Stewartry countryside, Threave Garden & Estate will play host to a rally for the very first time.  

This offers a unique opportunity for spectators to get up close and personal with the cars and competitors at the ceremonial start ahead of their day in the forests. Fans will then be able to return to the venue later in the day to greet the lucky crews who have completed the route for the finish celebrations.
 

The Solway, Machars and East Ayrshire Car Club promoted event is the final round of the popular ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship and has attracted a high-quality entry from across the UK and Ireland. 

The event will also be the final and deciding round of the RSAC Ecosse Challenge, a single-make series for the popular Citroen C2, as well as a counting round of The Border Challenge and HRCR Motoscope Northern Historic Rally Championship. The entry list is also packed with many local crews also eager to sample what the ultra-fast Galloway forests have to offer.
 

Friday 8th September sees the event documentation and scrutiny get underway at locations across Castle Douglas from 4.00pm. On Saturday 9th, crews will be flagged away from the grounds of Threave Garden and Estate around 9.00am before tackling classic stages such as Cairn Edward, Fleet and Black Loch. Those lucky enough to have completed the stages will then return to Threave for the Ceremonial Finish just before 3.00pm.
 

Entry to Threave for the start and finish ceremonies will be free, and the popular Café inside Threave Visitor centre will be open all day, offering bacon rolls, lunches, drinks and cakes.
 

Clerk of the Course Michael Riddick is delighted to be able to start this 2017 event under the watchful eye of such a historical building.

“It’s hard to beat a backdrop like this and there is no better way to start and finish the Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally than under the gaze of Threave House,”
 he says. 
 

“We have been working hard behind the scenes to provide a compact and cost-effective event in some of the best stages in the country so this is really the icing on the cake for the event.  It’s a real honour and we would like to thank the whole team at Threave and the Natural Trust for Scotland for allowing us to take advantage of this wonderful setting.”
 

More information on Threave Garden and Estate, including up nd coming events can be found on their website at  http://www.nts.org.uk/Visit/Threave/

For more information on the event, to enter online or to download the event regulations, visit http://www.gallowayhillsrally.co.uk

You can catch up with all the latest news from the event on its social media feeds:
http://www.facebook.com/gallowayhills/
http://www.twitter.com/gallowayhills/ 

Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally set for 'best yet'

 

The ever popular Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally enters its 44th year in 2017 and organisers of the Castle Douglas based rally are anticipating one of the 'best events ever' on Saturday 9th September.
 
Sponsored by local construction and waste management solutions firm The Armstrong Group, the event is once again the final round of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship and competitors from across the UK and Ireland will descend on the town to contest over 40 miles of classic stages in the Galloway forests.  Thanks to a host of incentives for competitors on both sides of the Irish Sea, rally organisers are hoping for a bumper entry for the now traditional end of season bash.

Organised by Solway, Machars and East Ayrshire Car Clubs, the highly regarded one-day gravel event has once again been awarded a prestigious  grant from Dumfries and Galloway Council Major Events Strategic Fund, allowing organisers to encourage more people to travel to the region by offering subsidised ferry crossings from Ireland for a vehicle, car trailer and three people with event partners Stena Line.

Since its inception in 2014, this successful incentive has brought a significant number of competitors across the Irish Sea. Organisers are anticipating another quality entry from both Northern and Southern Ireland, all eager to sample the high quality stages on offer in the region.

To further bolster entries from across the UK, there will be a prize draw for competitors with the chance to win a substantial £250 refund on their entry fee. With a draw taking place with every 10 entries received, early entries will be rewarded with a greater opportunity to win almost half the entry fee back.

Rally HQ, pre-event checks and documentation will take place at locations around Castle Douglas on Friday 8th September. The event proper kicks off on Saturday 9th with the ceremonial start just outside Castle Douglas from 9.00am.

Crews will then head west out into the forests, with Kirroughtree in Wigtownshire playing host to the event service halt around midday. After 44 miles of action in the stages, leading crews will arrive at the finish at around 2.30pm in Castle Douglas.

Alongside the Scottish Rally Championship, the event forms the final and deciding round of the RSAC Ecosse Challenge, a single-make series for the popular Citroen C2, as well as a counting round of The Border Challenge and HRCR Motoscope Northern Historic Rally Championship.

Michael Riddick, Clerk of the Course is confident 2017 could see one of the best events ever for the Galloway Hills Rally.

“The team have worked really hard to pull together a fantastic event and one that we hope will appeal to competitors across the country and the water” says Riddick. 

“The incentives on offer are pretty substantial and I don’t know any other event that offers free ferries, or the chance of huge entry fee refunds, like the Galloway Hills. We have always tried to put the competitors first, and that is why our whole Council grant goes into our incentives, to entice people to our rally and into Dumfries and Galloway, and none of it is used for general expenditure. 

Of course, it’s disappointing that Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton have already been crowned overall Scottish Rally Champions and it hasn’t gone down to the wire on event, but there are still many overall positions and class battles to be decided on the final round, and I believe we will have a fantastic spectacle for rally fans and crews alike in September. We look forward to welcoming spectators, competitors, and hopefully even the 2017 Scottish Champions to Castle Douglas and the surrounding area for the rally”.

For more information on the event, to enter online or to download the event regulations, visit http://www.gallowayhillsrally.co.uk

You can catch up with all the latest news from the event on its social media feeds:
http://www.facebook.com/gallowayhills/
http://www.twitter.com/gallowayhills/ 

Image courtesy of Frank Love - Race and Rally Photography