18 Sep: Galloway Hills – Classes

… Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally, Sat 8th Sept … Class Roundup …

CLASS 1 – 2WD UP TO 1450cc
Scott Peacock was an easy winner in his MG ZR despite having to operate the wipers with a bit of string wrapped round them and the ends poked through his driver’s side window and Robin Neil’s window to allow them to pull them to and fro to clear the screen, Second placed Niall Cowan Jnr looked less than pleased in his similar car. “I had a double puncture in Glentrool,” he said, but added, “I think I’ve won the Junior Championship. That means I’ve won a free entry in the National Wales Rally GB – and I hadn’t budgeted for that!”

CLASS 2 – 2WD UP TO 1650cc 8v
Donald Peacock scooped the win here in his Peugeot 205 by just over a minute from the 205 of Jamie Stewart, but Donald was lucky: “I hit a big stane and lost all my oil pressure,” he said, “but it was just the switch that popped out!” Jamie was happy enough with 2nd: “That means I’ve won the class in the Championship overall,” he said, but he was lucky too, “I had problems with the brakes at times and lost them completely for a wee while.” Alan McMorran rounded off his ‘career’ with a 3rd in class saying: “That’s me finished, I’m retiring. I did the first Galloway Hills but this is my last one.” Or maybe not, you can’t teach an auld dug new tricks, eh? Jim Stephenson’s rally ended in Black Loch with the Sunbeam ‘parked’ in a ditch.

CLASS 3 – 2WD UP TO 1650cc 8v
Driving his MG ZR, Keith Riddick was once again in a class of his own winning by almost a minute from the Fiesta R2 of Finlay Retson, although Retson was being kept firmly in check by co-driver Tom Hynd: “We don’t want any expensive repairs ahead of Wales Rally GB, this was all about getting some valuable mileage,” he warned. Ross Hughes was 3rd in the C2 and proudly pointed out: “Look, there’s not a mark on the car,” with Fraser Smith 4th in class first time on gravel with his Honda Civic. Nikki Addison made it to the finish in 5th place in the Peugeot 1076 despite the clutch failing and Drew Barker was 6th in the Citroen Kettle losing out to the all-girl team ahead of him by 3 seconds: “I would have caught them if it hadn’t been for the red flag in the final stage,” he claimed. Caroline Carslaw was the final class finisher despite spinning her Fiesta on the first stage and coping with a misfire all day. Non finishers included Scott Sloan with mechanical problems in the new Peugeot and Niall Cowan Snr breaking a gearbox mount in the penultimate stage. Neil Coalter had a mechanical problem with the Puma and Gordon Alexander retired his Nova after the front wheels tried to straddle a bridge parapet and bent the bottom suspension.

CLASS 4 – 2WD UP TO 2050cc 8v
There was a close finish amongst the Class 4 Escorts with John O’Kane just pipping Dougie Watt by 16 seconds although Dougie was slightly hampered by no wipers in the first stage. Paddy Munro culd only manage third after Seamus McLean fell ill but gamely plugged on to ensure a finish and Jim Robertson was 4th. Fraser MacNicol’s Escort was misting up badly in the early stages and retired in SS4 while Walter Henderson’s return got as far as the final stage before the car was spotted parked up at the roadside.

First time back on gravel since his crash on the Pirelli last year, Stanley Orr was driving like a demon to score the class win in his Escort Mk1 ahead of Tom Coughtrie in the Mitsubishi Galant. Tim Metcalfe was 3rd in his Mk2 ahead of Ernie Lee in the BMW and the Mk1 of Robert Rook doing better than he did last time on this event 2 years ago when he broke the clutch. Ian Milne was 6th and David Cameron the final finisher.

CLASS 6 – FWD UP TO 2050cc 16v
Having swapped his Fiesta for a Civic Luke McLaren was glad to be back in the forests and won the class despite a BIG confidence sapping moment in SS2 but was soon back on the case in the next stage to take the class from the Fiesta of Grant MacRae. He snapped an anti-roll bar during the day but carried on “I don’t need that!” and had a problem with a bearing on the back axle. Finlay Brock was 3rd in his Fiesta, first time on gravel, and had two punctures during the day. Ally Currie lost out when a balljoint simply dropped out of the Fiesta’s bottom arm on a road section and Johnnie Mackay rolled his Fiesta in the final stage.

CLASS 7 – RWD UP TO 2050cc 16v
Visiting home from Canada, and first time since he sat in his Mk1 in 5 years, Greg Pollock was soon back in the swing of things and won the class. “Brilliant,” he said, “loved it.” Andrew McCormick was 2nd in the Chevette which was sporting a wee bit of damage on a front corner: “The screen misted up in the second stage but on the third one we hit a bridge so hard we thought we’d punctured a tyre and stopped to check, but it was OK so carried on. Tommy O’Connell was forced out with clutch failure (or maybe gearbox!), Duncan MacDonald had alternator failure and when he changed it, his spare failed too. Paul McErlean retired in Black Loch and Steven Wood was forced out with a severe vibration from the gearbox mainshaft.

CLASS 8 – 2WD 2051cc AND OVER
Greg McKnight finished top 2WD runner and 10th overall at Castle Douglas and this despite a rear puncture in Stage 1. “We had to do the next stage with a 195 and the spare 175 with 10 psi on the rear axle,” said McKnight, “and then the starter motor failed.” Gordon Murray was 2nd despite losing his brakes in the long test when the Escort hit a compression in the road and dumped all its brake fluid. He wasn’t finished yet. He damaged the nose of his Escort on the final stage when he crested a Left7 and slid off the road into a tree: “It was just a small tree,” he said.

Although he contests only two events per year (this one and Solway Coast), Richard Dickson is still a force to be reckoned with. He’s had the same Subaru for nearly ten years and just wheels it out of the garage, dusts it down and goes rallying – so just imagine what he could do with a modern car and more seat time. Anyway, he scored the class win by 8 seconds from John McIlwraith who managed to finish despite a failing head gasket and the need to constantly top the Subaru up with water. Scott McMinn was 3rd ahead of a front bumper-less Derek Connell: “I didn’t know I’d lost it till John O’Kane (running behind him) told me he’d run over it in a stage!” Duncan Campbell was 5th ahead of Robert Harkness having his first ever run out in a 4WD car after years of RWD: “I wanted to see what all the fuss was about,” he said. Jan Budge was 7th and Bill Nicholl (Malloch’s brother) was first of the Mitsubishi runners in this class finishing 8th. Fraser Wilson was way off the pace today in 9th place but had two major problems during the day when the steering wheel dropped in his lap mid-stage. A steering column mount had broken which was fixed then it broke again a second time. Kevin Crawford was 10th and Aileen Forrest rounded of the finishers. Michael Binnie might have been expected to be up at the sharp end of the class but put his Mitsubishi off the road in Glentrool while Ian Baumgart suffered an uncharacteristic roll in the first stage of the day. Willie Bonniwell retired when his gearbox jammed in 4th gear and Harry Chalmers burst the fuel tank in his Subaru. It wasn’t just the fumes that was affecting him and Andrew Logan but the fire risk!

The order here was Armstrong from McCulloch, Morris, Dickson and Faulkner with John Rintoul delighted to see a rally finish after a troubled season. Craig McMiken was 7th first time out for a couple of years and Kevin Downes was 8th although he admitted to one very minor indiscretion: “When we got our ice cream at the end of the last stage I forgot to put my handbrake on and ran into the back of Fraser Smith’s Honda!” Scott McCombie didn’t get through the first stage before the clutch failed.

Bogie led the class here from Pearson, Greer, Wink, Milne and Gallacher with Lawrence Whyte the final finisher in 7th place. Donnie MacDonald and Brian Watson both failed to finish (see Main Report) as did Martin Cairns who broke a driveshaft in his Fiesta R5 in SS2.

Galloway Hills – [Main Report]
Galloway Hills – [Stage Times]
Galloway Hills – [Gossip]