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.