10 Nov: Obituary – Dom Buckley

Dom Buckley, 1938 – 2022

His was one of the best known faces in UK rallying and an instantly recognised figure in service parks right across the country from club rallies to internationals, sadly now no more. Dom Buckley passed away after a short illness on Wednesday 9th November.

For more than fifty years, the name Dom Buckley Motorsport has been synonymous with rallying, and not just here at home but in many countries much farther afield, from the USA to Australia and all points in between.

It all started way back in 1952 when his family moved from Derby to Crailing where his father had taken up a new position on a local estate. When he left school, Dom served his time as an agricultural engineering apprentice in George Hendersons Agricultural Engineering Works in Kelso. He continued working there till he had saved enough to start his own business.

It was just a shed, but it was a big shed, and in 1961 he opened the doors of his own business in Hassington, still the site of the family business today although the ‘shed’ is a much grander and more modern edifice these days.

His reputation soon spread throughout the Borders as he worked on tractors, lorries and cars. He also branched out into used car sales and by the early 1970s was the biggest local used vehicle dealer in the area.

Behind the desire to be his own boss there lurked another interest, motor sport, on two and four wheels. And so it was that in 1971 he invested in a Ford Escort 1300 and went rallying. The car was upgraded to GT spec the following year, then a 1600 push rod installed before acquiring an 1800 BRM twin cam from one Andrew Cowan Esq.

There was never any intention to become a full time rally driver but in 1973 he finished runner-up to John Baillie in the Shell Scottish Rally Challengers Championship for newcomers to the sport. A certain Ken Wood was 3rd and Alistair Brearley 4th!

That meant promotion to the ‘senior’ championship for 1974 and he finished 17th o/a in the national series. The following year he finished 5th o/a in what was then the Gaelic Oils/The Scotsman Scottish Rally Championship with a string of top six finishes on the Valentine Rally, the Saltire, Trossachs and on the Border Rally behind Timo Makinen, Drew Gallacher, Charles Samson, Malcolm Wilson and Arthur Jasper. He was keeping fast company!

In between times he was competing regularly on theNewcastle Journal/National Autocross Championship winning events and titles.

There was however just one wee problem. This success attracted interest and soon other competitors were asking him to build engines and gearboxes.

This additional business started to eat into his own competition-time and his appearances were sporadic for a few years while he managed this growing business. However, a 3rd overall on the 1976 Border Counties Rally behind Jim Howden and Alistair Brearley showed that the flair was still there and he finished 7th o/a on the 1978 Lindisfarne Rally and 8th on the 1979 Border Counties.

He managed to take a bit more time off work to go rallying in 1980 finishing 4th overall in the Scottish Rally Championship and 4th again in 1981. He also scored his first outright rally victory on the non championship Kingdom Stages Rally that year with co-driver Geroge Blackie which also clinched his third successive title victory on the East of Scotland Rally Championship.

There was little rallying in 1982 but he bounced back in 1983 where he again finished 4th overall in the end of season rankings. His final season was in 1984 when he finished 8th overall in the national championship but on the way scored his second rally victory, on the Jim Clark Memorial Rally, this time with Dougie Redpath in the hot seat.

Which left folk wondering, just what could he have achieved if he had concentrated on his driving rather than helping other folk with their cars?

But that wasn’t why Dom went rallying. It was a break from work, but work was not allowing much time off. The business had to come first and that business was expanding into more rally car preparation and maintenance which in turn was leading to more time being spent at rallies working on a growing number of clients’ cars.

1986 provided the turning point. Long time supporters of twice Scottish champions Ken Wood and Peter Brown, Golden Wonder the crisps and snacks manufacturer and Esso Petroleum had enabled them to acquire the first MG Metro 6R4 in private hands but such a complex machine required more TLC than a full-time air traffic controller could manage, enter Dom Buckley Motorsport.

The car was kept at Hassington with Dom in charge and won first time out on the 1985 Trossachs Rally before going on to dominate the 1986 Scottish Rally Championship.

When the car was sold, it went to Indonesia, and so did Dom. He was asked to look after the car out there which meant frequent return trips to east Asian rallies, and that was the start of Dom Buckley IRS.

By this time, both boys, Dom and Neil were in the business and starting to share the ever growing load. Not only has the business taken them to the likes of Australia, New Zealand, USA, Oman, Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East and across Europe and Scandinavia it has also included development, testing and management work on behalf of Vauxhall and Toyota and a long association with M-Sport.

That success has been achieved through sheer hard graft, wide ranging experience of all types of event and a vast knowledge of the sport and its engineering. Dom Buckley prepared and managed cars have won titles and events on every continent from Eire and Holland, to South Africa and Mexico. Closer to home, it was Dom Buckley Motorsport IRS that ran the Stobart Motorsport team which scored a clean sweep of titles on the 2005 British Rally Championship winning the British Ladies Championship with Lorna Smith, Group N with Barry Clark and the overall title with Mark Higgins as well as running cars for Matthew Wilson and Paul Bird.

Dom Buckley marks the passing of an era, when rally cars could be fixed with a welding torch and a bag of spanners right up to today’s sophisticated racers which require lap tops and engine mapping. Even though he had taken a back seat in the business of late, he still appeared regularly in service areas to catch up. I’m sure we’ll all miss that customary greeting: “Aye John, how are ye the day?”

Our sincere condolences to his wife Sheila, Dom, Neil, Carolyn, their partners and the grandchildren, the wider family and huge circle of friends across the globe.

30 Oct: Armstrong Tops Carlisle Pts

 … Carlisle Stages Rally, Saturday 22nd October …

Afternoon Fightback gives Cameron Fair the Co-drivers title …

Although Elliot Payne and Patrick Walsh won the Carlisle Stages Rally outright in their Ford Fiesta Rally2 with Stephen Petch and Michael Wilkinson in the runner-up position in their Ford Fiesta Rally2, neither crew was registered in the KNC Groundworks Scottish Championship so Scottish interest centred on the battle behind them.

Jock Armstrong and Cameron Fair took their first SRC win of the season as a team by nine seconds at the end of the Carlisle Stages Rally, final round of the 2022 KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship.

It hadn’t been the best of mornings for the Impreza crew, arriving at service down in fifth place with damaged front suspension. Top work by the mechanics in service to fix the damage and alter the car setup and they would absolutely fly over the three afternoon stages to take maximum points and give Cammy his first Scottish Co-driver’s title by the closest possible margin.  Finishing the season on the same number of points as Claire Mole – who finished fifth SRC alongside Michael Binnie – Cammy got the nod on a tie-break by dint of counting one more maximum score in his final total.

Newly crowned Albyn Garage Challengers Champion Angus Lawrie and co-driver Paul Gribben were once again showing they were a force to be reckoned with. Second at first service, they inherited the lead when early pace setters David Henderson and Chris Lees suffered a puncture before rolling out. The Evo crew continued their superb run all the way to the finish, taking second by only nine seconds at the end of the six stages.

Fourth at service John Wink was then the recipient of a Neil Shanks motivation session, which is a powerful thing for a driver. The Hyundai man upping his pace in the afternoon and closing from 21 seconds down on the black Evo to just one by the end of the day. A well-deserved reward for the team after a challenging season in the SRC.

Top Autoshop 2WD and a fantastic fifth it was an excellent day out for John Crawford and Josh Davidson. They had spent the morning battling with fellow Mk2 crew Stuart Egglestone and Brian Hodgson and were just five seconds behind the Pinto powered car when it retired in SS4. After that they kept the pressure on to produce one of their best, if not the best, results in the SRC.

With team-mate Angus Lawrie already wrapping up the Albyn Garage Challengers Drivers’ championship, the pressure was on Willie Paterson to do enough to give Tom Hynd the navigator’s title. Willie did his best to mess it up, putting the Evo in a ditch and almost ruining the clutch getting back out. There were also a couple of spins in the tricky conditions but they made it to the finish and did enough for Tom to take the title

The Haddo energy Super Seniors was a straight shoot-out between the Mk2s of Steve Bannister and Alistair Brearley. Unfortunately for Steve and co-driver Callum Atkinson they were out early with a broken clutch cable. That left Alistair and co-driver Gerry Bryden free to relax and enjoy the rest of the day and give Alistair the distinction of being the first ever Haddo Energy Super Seniors champion.

There was early drama in the Ladies contest when Meghan O’Kane’s Fiesta’s engine blew on the opening loop. That left champion elect Aileen Forrest to cruise to the finish and take her first Ladies title after three years of trying. Aileen guided all the way by her husband John in the hot seat.

There was carnage in the Moates Offshore Juniors contest. Newly crowned champion Robert Proudlock and Fiesta pilot Justin Gunning joining Meghan O’Kane on the retirements list.

However, there was good news for Junior sponsor Mike Moates. Despite ending his event in a ditch after breaking a driveshaft, he had done enough to take his first Five Star Vehicle Deliveries Subaru Cup title after rivals Orrin McDonnell and Eoghan Anderson had slid off the road in SS1. Mike is already planning some upgrades for next season.

( Report by Alasdair Beck )


1, Elliot Payne/Patrick Walsh (Ford Fiesta Rally2) 42m 41s

2, Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson (Ford Fiesta Rally2) +00m 39s

3, Jock Armstrong/Cameron Fair (Subaru Impreza) +01m 07s

4, Angus Lawrie/Paul Gribben (Mitsubishi Evo9) +01m 16s

5, John Wink/Neil Shanks (Hyundai i20 R5) +01m 17s

6, Michael Binnie/Claire Mole (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9) +02m 19s

7, John Crawford/Josh Davison (Ford Escort Mk2) +03m 17s

8, Paul Britton/John McElhinney (Subaru Impreza N16) +03m 51s

9, Robert Adamson/Jamie Edwards (Ford Fiesta Rally2) +04m 11s

10, Mark McCulloch/Michael Hendry (Proton Satria Evo) +04m 18s

26 Oct: News from Jim Clark Rally

The Beatson’s Building Supplies Jim Clark Rally will return to the British rallying calendar in 2023, taking place on 26-28 May. The popular event will once again head to its traditional host town of Duns in the Scottish Borders for a spectacular weekend of closed-road motorsport. It has been confirmed that […] Read more »

24 Oct: 2023 BRC Calendar Dates

… British Rally Championship revamps calendar for 2023 … The Motorsport UK British Rally Championship has revealed a brand-new look to the series for 2023, as it announces an exhilarating calendar for the season ahead. In a revised roster, Britain’s premier rallying series will feature seven events across the four home […] Read more »

22 Oct: LR Defender Rally Challenge

Defender Rally Series by Bowler 2023 UK Championship For less than half the price of a Rally2 car you can go stage rallying in a current production AWD machine which will generate more smiles per mile and more performance than a Rally4 car. And for some enthusiasts, it’s a more […] Read more »

20 Oct: MacKinnon’s 4th Mull Win

 … MacKinnon delivers golden win on Beatson’s Building Supplies 2022 Mull Rally … Paul MacKinnon restored island honour with his fourth Beatson’s Building Supplies Mull Rally win, when the sell-out 50th running of the event reached the Tobermory finish shortly after two o’clock on Sunday morning. Celebrating the half century […] Read more »