Jock Armstrong scored his fourth victory on the Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally when he and Kirsty Riddick brought the 2012 Scottish forest rallying season to a close. And had it not been for a costly half minute ‘off’ in the third test, Dave Weston Jnr and Kevin Rae might just have challenged for that win.
A poor entry for this final forest thrash of the season prompted the organisers to be very ingenious with their route. They managed to get 5 stages out of one forest running Cairn Edwards south into Glengap, and then a second run again through both northwards, plus a final long stage using both tests joined up.
Armstrong took the lead on the first one but Weston was quickest in the second then Jock in the third but Dave was over half a minute slower in the fourth.
“It was my own fault,” said Dave, “I’m still getting used to the car and a slippery patch just caught me out.” As for Jock, he said: “I didn’t take too many risks, I just drove as hard as I wanted to, not as hard as I needed to!”
Things were hotter in the final podium place battle with last year’s ’Hills’ winner Mark McCulloch beating Wayne Sisson by 18 seconds in the final stage to clinch third place by 12 seconds, although Mark admitted to being a bit lucky: “We were completely off the road in the first stage, just before a Left hander, but got away with it.”
Craig McMiken was happy enough with fifth place, but admitted: “I made a schoolboy error this morning. I forgot to check the tyre pressures before the start. They were all at35 psi – and should have been at 28!”
Young Arron Newby lost out too when he got two rear punctures in the second stage: “I think the first one was just the tyre rolling off the rim and that led to the puncture on the other side.” Fraser Wilson finished seventh despite an over enthusiastic assault on a fast left on the first stage, and then promptly did the same thing again on the re-run for the third stage!
The stages in Cairn Edward and Glengap were in good shape but rain slicked surfaces meant conditions were treacherous. That led to the retirement of Ian Paterson’s Subaru: “I was having problems with the brakes and in these conditions carrying on wasn’t wise.” Steve Petch broke the rear diff in his Lancer: “There was a big bang from the rear,” said Steve, “so we just drove out of stage 3 and back to service.”
Martin Craik broke the centre diff in his Impreza, and Matthew Calderwood broke the Lancer’s gearbox and Davie Wilson parked the Escort up to its axles in glaur in the final stage: “The tyres were going off anyway, and the rear wheels just slid into a ditch and we bogged down. No damage, but if there had been even a couple of spectators there we would have got out.” A similar fate befell the MkII of Andrew Gllacher: It was a downhill tight 90L and we just slid off backwards getting the rear wheels in a ditch. The front wheels were still on the road but no spectators to push us out!”
Top 2WD runner was the Nova of Iain Haining just holding off the Renault Clio of Joseph McGonigle: “I only had one set of tyres all day,” said Joseph when a promised delivery did not turn up! David Wilson was well inside the top ten till his last stage contretemps and Matthew Robinson was well in the hunt too till he suffered two punctures in his Escort. Graeme Schoneville was another to go gardening in the Honda.
1, Jock Armstrong/Kirsty Riddick (Subaru Impreza) 41m 13s
2, Dave Weston Jnr/Kevin Rae (Subaru Impreza WRC) 41m 32s
3, Mark McCulloch/Elliott Edmondson (Subaru Impreza) 43m 34s
4, Wayne Sisson/Dave Robson (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9) 43m 36s
5, Craig McMiken/Craig Wallace (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9) 44m 33s
6, Arron Newby/Craig Drew (Subaru Impreza) 46m 04s
7, Fraser Wilson/Steven Broll Mitsubishi Lancer Evo6) 46m 07s
8, Iain Haining/Mairi Riddick (Vauxhall Nova) 47m 02s
9, Joseph McGonigle/Ciaran Geaney (Renault Clio R3 Maxi) 47m 05s
10, Iain Wilson/Keith Freemantle (Vauxhall Nova) 47m 07s
1, Scott Sloan/David Sloan (Vauxhall Nova) 60m 24s
2, Iain Haining/Mairi Riddick (Vauxhall Nova)
3, Joseph McGonigle/Ciaran Geaney (Renault Clio R3 Maxi)
4, Fraser Wilson/Steven Broll Mitsubishi Lancer Evo6)
5, Jock Armstrong/Kirsty Riddick (Subaru Impreza)