Galloway Hills Rally opens doors to a flood of entries
Regulations for the 2016 Galloway Hills Rally have opened this week and organisers have already seen a surge of interest from eager competitors who are keen to sample the popular stages surrounding the Castle Douglas rally base on Saturday 10th September. Sponsored by The Armstrong Group, the event has attracted the attention of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship and will be the final round of the series, further bolstering the now traditional final loose surface event of the season in the Dumfries and Galloway forests.
The event offers a compact route of six stages across 44 stage miles which are all located to the north-west of Castle Douglas. The Kirroughtree Visitor Centre will play host to the event service area which was first used in 2015, thanks to assistance from Forestry Commission Scotland. Rally HQ, pre event checks and Scrutiny will all be held in Castle Douglas on Friday 9th September and competitors will leave the start line in the town at 9.00am on Saturday 10th. Crews will arrive back at the finish at around 2.30pm and the format has been created by the organisers to encourage competitors from across the UK to enter the popular event. There will be plenty of opportunity for spectators to catch the action in the stage and more information on specific locations will be available soon.
Organised by Solway, Machars and East Ayrshire Car Clubs, the popular one-day gravel event has once again been awarded a prestigious £9000 grant from the Dumfries and Galloway Council Major Events Strategic Fund, allowing organisers to offer free ferry crossings from Ireland for a vehicle, car trailer and three people with event partners Stena Line. This successful incentive in 2015 brought a significant number of competitors across the Irish Sea and organisers of this year’s event are anticipating another bumper entry from Northern and Southern Ireland.
Councillor Colin Smyth, Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Events Champion said, “After the excitement of the Tour of Britain in Castle Douglas, fast following in its slipstream is the Galloway Hills Rally. The Rally provides a wonderful, accessible opportunity to get out and see superb live sport in the Stewartry. There will be some great vantage points for spectators, as the Scottish Rally Championship 2016 goes right to the wire.”
Image: Armstrong was runner up in 2015
Courtesy of Frank Love - Race & Rally Photography
Michael Riddick, Clerk of the Course for the event is anticipating one of the best rallies of the season in the region. “As if the title fight for the Scottish Rally Championship isn’t enough of a draw for competitors and fans to the area, the fantastic offer for Irish competitors thanks to Dumfries and Galloway Council will ensure the Galloway Hills is one of the best in the rally calendar” he says. “It’s always been a popular event but enabling a high calibre of competitors from across the Irish Sea to contest the rally means we really do have a fantastic event on offer for all”.
Barbara Armstrong - Sponsor and Chairwoman of Solway Car Club (co-promoting club) (left) Kirsty Riddick – Rally Organising Committee (second from left) Councillor Colin Smyth - D&G Events Champion (third from left) Norman Gowans - Rally Organising Committee (right)
After a season-long battle between Garry Pearson and local hero and event sponsor Jock Armstrong, the Scottish Rally Championship title is still wide open thanks to an inaugural win by John MacCrone at the recent Grampian Stages. The title fight will now go down to the wire and will be decided at the Galloway Hills. Alongside regular SRC contenders, the event will welcome competitors from the Ecosse Challenge, a single make series for the Citroen C2, The Five of Clubs Rally Championship, Border Challenge and Motoscope Northern Historic Rally Championship.
Organisers are also encouraging entries from far and wide with some free entry incentives for mainland competitors, details of which will be released shortly.
Gigantic battle set for the Galloway Hills Rally
ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship to be decided at Castle Douglas based rally as around 90 crews set to start popular event
The ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship (SRC) will go down to the wire this weekend as the Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally plays host to the final-round battle for the title.
Organised by Solway, Machars and East Ayrshire Car Clubs, the Castle Douglas based event will see the fight between local hero and event sponsor Jock Armstrong and Duns resident Garry Pearson for the prestigious SRC honours. After five hard-fought rounds across Scotland, the two drivers are separated by just 10 points and the winner will be crowned champion at the finish ramp on Saturday (10th September).
Alongside the title fight, almost 90 crews from the UK and Ireland will compete on the popular rally and Pearson with co-driver Robbie Mitchell will lead the field away on Saturday morning in their Fiesta R5. Pearson will head into battle with Castle Douglas resident and seven time event winner Jock Armstrong in his familiar orange Subaru Impreza who starts at number two with regular co-driver Paula Swinscoe. Armstrong’s outstanding record on the event will undoubtedly be an advantage in the title race.
Whilst all eyes maybe on the top two seeds for SRC honours, last month’s Grampian Stages top points scorer John MacCrone (Dervaig) cannot be discounted for the rally win who starts at number three in his Ford Fiesta R5. MacCrone will be joined for this event by Stuart Louden.
The rapid duo of Mike Faulkner (Wigton) and Peter Foy are number four in their Mitsubishi Evo IX and are still in search of their first rally win of the year. 2011 Galloway Hills Rally winner Mark McCulloch (Dumfries) and Michael Hendry are currently third in the SRC and will start the event at five in their Mitsubishi IX. McCulloch will head to Castle Douglas with a chance of a championship podium and will go head-to-head with Faulkner for the coveted spot.
Another Mitsubishi pilot Bruce McCombie (Banchory) hopes to be fighting for a podium on the event and will start at car six with co-driver Michael Coutts. Wayne Sisson makes the trip from Cumbria in his unique R4 Mitsubishi with Inverness co-driver Neil Shanks and will start at car seven.
There is an exciting prospect for rally fans at eight, with Andrew Gallacher (Hurlford) bringing an ex-Carlos Sainz Ford Focus WRC to the event. Partnered by Jane Nicol, Gallacher’s parents are both past winners of the rally and he will be doing his best to etch the family name on the winner’s trophy for a third time in the rare machine.
Greg McKnight (Thornhill) and co-driver Laura Marshall continue to adapt to four wheel drive machinery in their Mitsubishi IX at nine with Scott McCombie (Banchory) and Mark Fisher rounding off the top ten in their similar machine.
The Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally has once again been awarded a prestigious £9000 grant from the Dumfries and Galloway Council Major Events Strategic Fund, which enabled organisers to offer free ferry crossings to crews from Ireland with event partners Stena Line. This successful incentive in 2015 brought a significant number of competitors across the Irish Sea and this year has seen another bumper entry from Northern and Southern Ireland.
Heading the contingent from Ireland is Seamus O'Connell and Sean Magee who bring their potent Ford Escort MK2 to the event. They also lead away the two wheel contingent at 11th seed. Robin and Laura Phillips from Northern Ireland are another notable entry with a Subaru Impreza WRC.
Alongside regular Scottish Rally Championship contenders, the event will welcome competitors from the Ecosse Challenge, a single make series for the Citroen C2, The Five of Clubs Rally Championship, Border Challenge and Motoscope Northern Historic Rally Championship.
The event consists of six competitive stages located to the north-west of Castle Douglas and spectators will get plenty of opportunity to watch the drama unfold in the forests and the cars up at close quarters. Rally HQ, pre event checks and Scrutiny will all be held in Castle Douglas on Friday 9th September and competitors will leave the start line in the town at 9.00am on Saturday 10th.
The R Earsman Ltd - Cairn Edward stage will kick off at 10.30am and offers two locations in which to watch the action with the cars returning at 13.20 for a second pass. Next up is the Jas P Wilson - Forest Machines Glengap stage at 11.00am and again at 14.00. The Molplant Ltd - Black Loch stage provides easy access for spectators and gets underway at 12.51.
There will also be a chance to see the cars in the Kirroughtree Visitor Centre service area at midday. Crews will arrive back at the ceremonial finish to spray the champagne at around 2.30pm in Castle Douglas.
For more information on the event, please visit http://www.gallowayhillsrally.co.uk
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*Competitor draw winners - Round 2*
Congratulations to the second batch of four lucky mainland winners who have been drawn from the official GHR hat, each qualifying for a 50% refund on their entry fee!
The winners are:
Allan McDowall - Andy Struthers - Scott Beattie - Ian Baumgart
*Competitor draw winners - Round 1*
Congratulations to our four lucky mainland winners who have been drawn from the official GHR hat, each qualifying for a 50% refund on their entry fee! And the best part is...thanks to the number of entries, we can do another draw tomorrow night. How amazing is that?!
The winners are:
Linzi Henderson - Alan McMorran - Duncan MacDonald - Duncan Campbell
Congratulations everyone, and don't forget to check again tomorrow night!
Entries open for 2016 Galloway Hills Rally
Entries for the 2016 Galloway Hills Rally are now open. The event will be a scoring round of the Motoscope Northern Historic Rally Championship, Five of Clubs Championship, and Border Challenge, and for the first time, the deciding round of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship and Ecosse Challenge.
Our free ferries incentive, in conjunction with Dumfries and Galloway Major Events Strategic Fund, returns for a third consecutive year – see Appendix A for more information, and enter early to avoid 'missing the boat' (!)
For Competitor Downloads and Online Entry Form, click HERE.