20 Jul: Solway Coast & Merrick news

… Solway Coast & Merrick Latest News …

“Historic year” for Solway Coast Rally

Organisers of next month’s Usedcarparts.co.uk Solway Coast Rally say “entries have blitzed” since they opened last Friday.

The two-day event, held at the military ranges at Dundrennan, near Kirkcudbright, is again proving a draw for many of the country’s top competitors, as well as the cream of up-and-coming young drivers – aged 14 to 17 – who will contest the junior rally.

The senior rally, to be held on Saturday August 9th, will count as a qualifying round of the Five of Clubs Rally Championship, Scottish Tarmack Rally Championship, North of England Tarmacadam Championship and the Border Championship.

Last year, Mark McCulloch from Newton Stewart powered his Subaru Impreza to victory, with Ian Paterson, also in a Subaru, finishing as runner-up for the second year running.

The junior event, which will run on the Sunday, is a counter in the highly-acclaimed Brick & Steel Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge, McGrady Insurance Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland, Kick Energy Junior 1000 Rally Championship and the Kick Energy Formula 1000 Stage Rally Challenge.

One of those competing will be 17-year-old Sam Bilham, a member of the MSA training academy, and the 2014 winner of the Next Big Step scheme, which provides financial support to help a talented youngster progress in the sport.

“This is a historic year for the Solway Coast, as it’ll be the first time that all the junior championships fight it out over the same stages, and that should create a real buzz”, said Clerk of the Course Sanny Dobie: “The feedback from the juniors last year was excellent, and they all agreed this was their favourite rally.

He went on: “We’re also indebted to Richard Stewart and family of Usedcarparts.co.uk for their continuing support. In particular, Richard has been delighted with the growth and success of the junior event, which now attracts the best young talent from throughout the UK and Ireland.

“The stages are the best to date. Donald Peacock and his team have laid in the region of 100 tonnes of new surface so far with a further 40 or so still to go down.”

As always, marshals will be required in numbers, so if you want to help, and get close to the action on this event, call Sanny on 07742 082001.

Full details can be found at www.solwaycarclub.co.uk


Countdown to the Merrick Stages Rally

Entries have now opened for the GWF Energy Merrick Stages Rally, which will take place in Dumfries and Galloway on Saturday, September 6th.

The event is a round of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship, and is also a counter in both divisions of the Ecosse Challenge, and the Five of Clubs Rally Championship.

For the fifth successive year, the start and finish, as well as Friday night scrutineering, will be located in front of Rally HQ at the former county buildings in Wigtown.

The rally route – one of the most compact in the Scottish Championship calendar – will comprise seven classic stages in the Galloway Forest Park, totalling some 44 miles. There will be 115 road miles, and two visits to the central service area at Glencaird.

New for 2014, the Merrick is open to competitors in Rally First. Historic rally cars will again run ahead of the main field, and a reduced entry fee is being offered to overseas competitors.

In addition, there will be a Trophy Rally over the final three stages for crews unfortunate enough to retire earlier in the day.

Said Clerk of the Course, Graham Bisset: “With a competitive entry fee of £500.00, including one service pack and one management service pack, we hope that the prospect of great stage conditions will encourage more entries to the Merrick Stages, which twice in recent years has had the distinction of winning the Chairman’s Cup for the best event in the Scottish Rally Championship”.

He went on: “We’re delighted to have the continuing sponsorship of GWF Energy, and the invaluable support of Dumfries and Galloway Council, whose funding for the rally is provided as part of the regional Major Festivals and Events Strategy. We can guarantee competitors and all those involved in the event the warmest of welcomes in Wigtown on September 6th”.

Full details of the event, including supplementary regulations and an online entry form, can be found at www.merrickstages.co.uk