2018 Solway Coast Rally: David’s Delight

August 4th, 2018

2018 Solway Coast Rally: David’s Delight

Kirkgunzeon driver David Hardie took victory on the www.UsedCarParts.co.uk Solway Coast Rally last weekend (4th August) winning the Dundrennan based event by 21 seconds from fellow Subaru Impreza driver Lee Hastings of Collin.

Contested over eight stages on the MOD Ranges on the edge of the Solway Firth, 2011/2012 winner Hardie, co-driven by John McCulloch of Newton Stewart, was fastest on the first stage and maintained this position for the rest of the day by recording fastest times on half of the day’s tests.

The final podium spots were fought over by Scottish Tarmac Championship front-runners Gordon Morrison/Calum MacPherson and Lee Hastings/Alistair Wyllie, with Hastings and Wyllie finishing just 4 seconds ahead at the final control to make it a Solway Car Club 1-2 on the podium.

Ian Forgan and Chris Lees finished 4th Overall and first in Class 6, and the Skoda Fabia of Robert Adamson and Jane Nicol rounded off the Top 5 and took 2nd in class.

It was a Solway Car Club washout in Class 5, with Richard Dickson/Roger Alcorn coming home first and 7th overall, ahead of Joe McKeand (Beeswing) who was competing in his first event in over 15 years, ably co-drive by Laura Marshall of Newton Stewart. Dumfries pair Willie Nelson and Robert Proudlock completed the all-Subaru class podium.

Class 4 for the powerful two-wheel drive cars was won by Ayrshire driver Colin Gemmell in a Ford Escort Mk II, but unofficial drive of the day went to second two-wheel drive, Kirkcudbright driver Stewart Dodds, who finished a fantastic 9th overall and 1st in the 1400cc class in a Vauxhall Nova. Co-driven by Solway Car Club member Robin Neil from Haugh of Urr, they won the class by over 2 minutes from Solway Coast Rally regulars Simon Hunter/Howard Pridmore in a Peugeot 205, with the VW Polo of Martyn Douglas and Thomas Purvin in 3rd.

The 1600cc class was won by Michael Harbour and Iain Macdougall in a Citroen C2R2, ahead of Donald Bowness/Paul Gribben in a Vauxhall Nova, and Solway Coast newbies Des Campbell and Craig Forsyth in 3rd.

The Honda Civic of Michael Robertson took victory in the 2000cc class, ahead of Ross McCallum in an MG Maestro, and the Ford Escort Mk II of father and son paring of Chris & Pete McCallum in third.

While the McCulloch name will remain on the DA Autoparts trophy, it won’t be preceded by Mark. The Dumfries driver, who has dominated the event since 2013 by recording five consecutive wins, was contesting the event in a new Subaru Impreza, but he and co-driver Michael Hendry from Archiestown struck trouble on the first stage when their steering broke after landing from a jump.

Also in trouble on the first stage was another pre-event favourite, Stephen Thompson of Kirkcudbright. Driving a Ford Fiesta R5 for only the second time, he was just one victim of a slippy section under trees near the end of the first stage, resulting in mechanical problems. Thanks to fast work from the Dom Buckley RSC mechanics, he was able to re-join the event, but three fastest stages times in the latter part of the event was little consolation for the AMD Contract Services backed driver and co-driver Larry Higton, who went into the event hoping to improve on their second overall position in 2017.

Ian Paterson (Mouswald) who has contested every Solway Coast since its inception in 1980, a feat in itself, but on this occasion, his Subaru Impreza sadly met the same tree as Thompson, leading to instant retirement for him and Harry Marchbank (Thornhill) on stage one.

Former winner and ex-Scottish Rally Champion Murray Grierson and his son Mark from Dalbeattie finished in 15th after a problematic day with punctures, and it was a disappointing day for the  Paterson brothers, Stuart and Allan from Dumfries, who retired with wheel bearing issues.

The Tom Boyd Memorial Award for first Solway Car Club Co-driver went to John McCulloch, who has now won the event five times, the same number as his son, Mark.

Sunday’s competition saw two events running in tandem, with the usual ‘Solway Coast Junior Rally’ for drivers aged 14-17 being held alongside the ‘Solway Coast Historic Rally’.

The Historic event, which was a counter in the HRCR Mintex old STAGER Championship, attracted 18 competitors from the Mini Sport Mini Cup, and was won by 2017 winners Ray Cunningham and Jared Gill from Atherny, Co. Galway, who dominated with fastest times on all 10 stages to win by over 2 minutes from Clive King/AntonBird in a similar Mini Cooper and Paul Kendrick/Luke Green in a Ford Escort Mk I.

In the Junior rally, youngsters from the Scottish, English and Irish series met for the first time in a variety of 1000cc cars. This was the first time this season that the three series have joined together, allowing the juniors from Scotland and Northern Ireland to pitch themselves against the best drivers from the sister series in England and Wales.

The event was won by Elliott Payne and Simon Rogers, just 5 seconds ahead of Eddie Lewis and Sam Bilham. Welshmen Ioan Lloyd and Jonathan Jackson completed the all Citroen C1 podium a further 10 seconds back.

The Dumfries pairing of Lewis Haining and Mark McCulloch in a Skoda Citigo had a fraught day, suffering multiple mechanical problems to retire whilst lying first overall in the Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge, but Alice Paterson from Collin with Ian Crosbie of Penpont alongside in her Peugeot 107 managed to uphold local, and Paterson, honour to finish 20th.

The popular event would not be possible without the generous sponsorship of Dumfries based DA Autoparts. The 2018 event marked the 38th consecutive year that the Stewart family have supported the event.

The organisers from Solway Car Club, wish to thank all marshals, radio operators, set-up crews, medics, rescue and recovery crews, MOD personnel and everyone else involved in making the event a success. Full results can be found on the club website, www.solwaycoastrally.co.uk

Notes: Photo of 2018 winners David Hardie and John McCulloch © John Fife.

Top 10: David Hardie/John McCulloch (36:41), Lee Hastings/Alistair Wyllie (37:02), Gordon Morrison/Calum MacPherson (37:06), Ian Forgan/Chris Lees (37:32), Robert Adamson/Jane Nicol (38:46), John Marshall/Scott Crawford (38:55), Richard Dickson/Roger Alcorn (38:56), Colin Gemmell/Tom Hynd (39:10), Stewart Dodds/Robin Neil (39:29), Michael Harbour/Ian MacDougall (39:37)