20 Sep: McRae Gravel Challenge

… McRae Gravel Challenge, Saturday 23rd September 2017 …

There will be no Number 1 heading the maximum entry of 50 cars and crews on this coming Saturday’s (23rd Sept) McRae Gravel Challenge. Since 2007, the Number 1 slot has always been left empty on events run by Coltness Car Club.

Instead, 5 times Scottish Champion David Bogie will carry the number 2 on the door of his Skoda Fabia R5 and some may think that he will have an easy day of it on this non-championship, one-off event, but right on his tail at Number 3 is a certain Quintin Milne.

If Bogie takes a calculated and considered approach to his rallying, Q appears to follow the ‘light the blue touch paper and stand well back’ approach. OK, that’s a bit of fun, but for committed motoring, Q is hard to beat and he’ll give David a run for his money in a Subaru Impreza WRC, that’s for sure.

Third on the road will be 2016 Wales Rally GB National winner Bruce McCombie in his Mitsubishi Lancer but he’ll need to keep an eye on his rear vision mirror too, as Andrew Gallacher will be at the wheel of a Ford Focus WRC. The Mitsubishis of Barry Groundwater and Simon Hay are next with another R5 machine, the Hyundai i20 of John Wink at 8.

Behind this lot there promises to be a right wee battle between the Mk2 Ford Escorts of Greg McKnight and Steve Bannister and the Fiat 131 of Matthew Robinson. All three are rivals of old and although the banter is friendly before and after the competition, the fun and frivolity stops when the flag drops.

On a less positive note, this may well be the last forest stage event that Coltness Car Club will run, but they wanted to mark the tenth anniversary of a loved and lost club member. And what more fitting way could they have chosen? The original McRae Stages Rally dropped out of the Scottish Championship a couple of years ago as organising an event in Perthshire was becoming much more difficult each year for a club based in Lanarkshire. It was increasingly costly and time consuming and the decision to stop was taken most reluctantly.

Hence this unique non-championship, one-day, one-forest, one-off event which has been staged thanks to the McRae family and the club’s rallying friends at The Cobble Shop, Caledonian Logistics, Scotfab Ltd, JW Design, Pearsons of Duns, J.Kirkaldy, DW Plumbing, Mercury Motorsport and of course, Quintin Milne Esq.

Over recent months and weeks, club members have spent days in Craigvinean Forest planning the four stage route and preparing areas for spectators. The main Car Park for spectators is available in the forest, up the hill from the Hermitage NTS Car Park and there is a short walk to the main Spectator area from there. Opposite the Car Park there will be a Catering Van and mobile Coffee outlet.

Also on display here, courtesy of Lanarkshire based Stuart Nicol Transport, will be Ally Shaw’s magnificent McRae Tribute Volvo FH tractor unit which is well worth a close look and then at the main Spectator area itself, sports journalist (and Coltness CC member) Stewart Weir will be on Commentary duty hosting interviews with the drivers during the short break between Stages 3 and 4.

The first car leaves the Start at 11.30 am but ahead of that there will be the usual ‘Safety cars’. Immediately behind them and first car on the road will be ‘double zero’ Course Car, a 4.9 litre V8 Vauxhall Firenza driven by club member, James S McRae.

Full spectator info and maps here:

Entry List:
2, David Bogie/Damein Connolly (Dumfries/Monaghan) Skoda Fabia R5, 3
3, Quintin Milne/Sean Donnelly (Durris/Elgin) Subaru Impreza WRC, 3
4, Bruce McCombie/Michael Coutts (Banchory/Torphins) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9, 3
5, Andrew Gallacher/?? (Hurlford/??) Ford Focus WRC, 3
6, Barry Groundwater/Neil Shanks (Stonehaven/Elgin) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo10, 3
7, Simon Hay/Calum Jaffray (Aberdeen/Torphins) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo6, 3
8, John Wink/John Forrest (Huntly/Inverurie) Hyundai I20 R5, 3
9, Greg McKnight/Harry Marchbank (Dumfries/Thornhill) Ford Escort Mk2, 2
10, Steve Bannister/Callum Atkinson (Malton/Lauder) Ford Escort Mk2, 2
11, Matthew Robinson/Dave Robson (Ripon/Jedburgh) Fiat 131, 2
12, Fraser Wilson/Craig Wallace (Port William/Kirriemuir) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9, 3
14, Brian Watson/Caroline Will (Stonehaven/Kintore) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo6, 3
15, Ian Forgan/Kathryn Forgan (Lundin Links/Lundin Links) Hyundai Accent WRC, 3
16, John Rintoul/Ross Hynd (Lower Largo/Dalgety Bay) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo10, 3
17, James Gibb/Charley Sayer-Payne (Kilmarnock/Hamilton) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo8, 3
18, John McClory/David Hood (Strathblane/Elderslie) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9, 3
19, Willie Stuart/Peter Carstairs (Alford/St Andrews) Ford Escort Mk2, 2
20, Hamish Kinloch/Mark Grierson (Newmilns/Edinburgh) Ford Escort Mk2, 2
21, Martin Craik/Steven Brown (Perth/Fort William) Subaru Impreza, 3
22, Matthew Thomson/Ian Graham (Inverurie/Inverurie) Subaru Impreza GC8, 3
23, Ellya Gold/Jean Hay (Dunfermline/Dunfermline) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo6, 3
24, Grant Inglis/Robert Gray (Glasgow/Stepps) Ford Escort Mk2. 2
25, John Gray/Stuart Loudon (Carnwath/Bothwell) Opel Manta, 3
26, Robert Adamson/Richard Wardle (Moscow/Pickering) Subaru Impreza, 2
27, Scott Beattie/Cameron Fair (Alford/Stewarton) Talbot Sunbeam, 2
28, Finlay Retson/Tom Hynd (Meikleour/Inverbervie) Ford Fiesta ST, 1
29, Jim Robertson/Claire Robertson (Thornhill/Thornhill) Citroen C2R2, 4
30, Ross Hughes/Neil Ewing (Lanark/Largs) Citroen C2, 1
31, Andrew Chalmers/Martin MacCabe (Fyvie/Glasgow) Peugeot 205GTI, 1
32, Gina Walker/Richard Simmonds (Duns/Duns) Citroen C2, 1
33, Kevin Crawford/Laura Stuart (Alford/Alford) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo5, 3
34, Robbie Beattie/David Findlay (Dundee/Blairgowrie) Peugeot 205 GTI, 1
35, Mike Moates/Chris Collie (Ellon/Aberdeen) Subaru Impreza, 3
36, David McLoughlin/Graham Robertson (Ellon/Aberdeen) Peugeot 205, 1
37, Harry Chalmers/?? (Alford/??) Subaru Impreza GC8, 3
38, Colin Patterson/Gary Clark (Banchory/Alness) Ford Escort Mk2, 2
39, James Stewart/Kevin Mollison (Blair Atholl/Alyth) Peugeot 205, 2
40, Donald Carslaw/Caroline Carslaw (Dunlop/Dunlop) Subaru Impreza, 3
41, Richard Sykes/Fiona Moir (Perceton/Inverness) Subaru Impreza, 3
42, Douglas Watt/Donald Munro (Furness/Glenrothes) Ford Escort Mk2, 2
43, James Campbell/Ian Parker (Watten/Lochgilphead) Talbot Sunbeam, 2
44, Keir Beaton/Paul Beaton (Inverness/Inverness) Ford Escort Mk2, 2
45, Iain Donaldson/Grant MacNiven (Renfrew/Oban) Ford Escort Mk2, 2
46, Graeme Mack/Jordan Mack (Low Valleyfield/Low Valleyfield) Citroen C2, 1
47, Graeme Harris/Alan Harris (Lossiemouth/Lossiemouth) Ford Fiesta XR2i, 1
48, Gordon Halley/Jeff Horne (Crieff/Perth) Ford Escort Mk2, 2
49, Michael Davies/Jamie Edward (Drumnadrochit/Tomatin) Volkswagen Polo Gti, 1
50, Stuart Thorburn/Sarah Dale (Turriff/Elgin) MG ZR, 1
51, John Rowan, Galston