2018 Solway Coast Rally: Preview

July 31st, 2018

2018 Solway Coast Rally: Preview

A host of motorsport stars from near and far will travel to the region this weekend to contest the www.UsedCarParts.co.uk Solway Coast Rally on the military ranges near Dundrennan.

The event, which is held annually and is organised by Solway Car Club, has attracted a near-capacity entry of almost 70 cars for the Senior event on Saturday, which will see competitors from The Cobble Shop Scottish Tarmack and Borders Challenge Rally Championships all tackling 45 miles on the MOD ranges.

Dumfries driver Mark McCulloch, who has won the event every year since 2013, will start as top seed, with regular Scottish Rally Championship co-driver Michael Hendry (Archiestown) in the hot seat alongside. A sixth win may be tricky in the unfamiliar surroundings of their new steed, a new Hardie Engineering/Signright Graphix Subaru Impreza.

The similar Hardie Engineering Subaru Impreza of 2012 winners David Hardie and John McCulloch (Dumfries/Newton Stewart) start second, and following them will be another local driver, Stephen Thompson from Kirkcudbright. A regular in a Ford Escort Mk II, Stephen made his four-wheel drive debut on this event last year, finishing just 4 seconds adrift of Mark McCulloch. He and co-driver Larry Higton will be real challengers for overall honours this time around in their AMD Contract Services Ford Fiesta R5, the only non-Subaru Impreza in the Top 10.

Lee Hastings from Collin will start in 4th, with 4x winner of the Solway Coast Rally Ian Paterson (Mouswald) rounding off the top 5.

A host of local drivers will be in competition, including former winners Richard Dickson from New Abbey with Roger Alcorn alongside starting at 8, with ex-Scottish Rally Champion and four-time winner of the Solway Coast in the 1980’s, Murray Grierson, and his son Mark starting at Car 10. Continuing the family theme will be the  Paterson brothers Stuart and Allan from Dumfries.

The two-wheel drive battle will see the Ford Escort Mk II of Scottish Tarmack Championship sponsor Tom Blackwood, take on the Hillman Avenger of Kenny Moore from Larkhall. Stuart Dodds from Kirkcudbright will be aiming for the class 1 podium in his 1400cc Vauxhall Corsa, with Haugh of Urr’s Robin Neil alongside, as they take on Chris & Heidi Woodcock from the Isle of Mull, and David Clucas from the Isle of Man.

The second day of competition will see 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 event, which is a counter in the HRCR Mintex old STAGER Championship, has attracted 19 competitors from the Mini Sport Mini Cup in a selection of Austin and Mini Cooper, Cooper S and Clubman 1275, with a Ford Escort Mk I and Sunbeam Rally Imp for a bit variety.

In the Junior rally, almost 30 of the nation’s youngsters from the Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge, McGrady Insurance ANICC Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland and Junior 1000 Rally Championship will tackle the event in a selection of 1000cc cars, including the Nissan Micra, Peugoet 107, Citroen C1 and even a VW UP. This is the first time this season that the three series have joined together, allowing those from Scotland and Northern Ireland to pitch themselves against the best drivers from the sister series in England and Wales.

Sam Adams (Ballymoney, Northern Ireland) is the top seed in a Skoda Citigo C1, but he will be challenged all the way by the Scottish pairing of Solway Car Club’s Lewis Haining (Dumfries) in a Skoda Citigo and Johnnie Mackay (Newburgh) in the lone Suzuki Alto in the event. Harrogate driver Elliott Payne was very fast on his last visit to the Ranges, and will be one to watch on Sunday. Local interest in the J1000 also comes from Alice Paterson from Collin in her Peugeot 107.

The popular event has attracted entries from as far away as Alness in Northern Scotland, Llanfihangel-ar-arth in South Wales, and County Cork in Ireland, and would not be possible without the generous sponsorship of Dumfries based DA Autoparts. This event marks the 38th consecutive year that the Stewart family have supported the event,  and event sponsor, and former 1600cc winner, Peter Stewart, will start the event in his unique VW Polo S2000.

The organisers Solway Car Club, winners of the coveted ‘MSA Club of the Year’ title in 2014 from UK motorsports governing body, have made provisions for spectators at the venue. Parking is available adjacent to the A711, a short walk from the Service Area at Girdstingwood near Dundrennan. The action will start at 9am on both Saturday and Sunday, and more information, and full entry lists, can be found on the event website, www.solwaycoastrally.co.uk/spectators

Notes: Photo of 2017 winners Mark McCulloch and Michael Hendry © Mark Fisher.

Local Interest:
1  Mark McCulloch / Michael Hendry (Dumfries/Archiestown) Subaru Impreza
David Hardie / John McCulloch (Dumfries/Newton Stewart) Subaru Impreza
3  Stephen Thompson / Larry Higton (Kirkcudbright/Glasgow) Ford Fiesta R5
4  Lee Hastings / Alistair Wyllie (Collin/Rosscarbery) Subaru Impreza
5  Ian Paterson / Harry Marchbank (Mouswald/Thornhill) Subaru Impreza B13
8  Richard Dickson / Roger Alcorn (New Abbey/Castle Douglas) Subaru Impreza
10  Murray Grierson / Mark Grierson (Dalbeattie/Edinburgh) Subaru Impreza
11 Stuart Paterson / Allan Paterson (Collin/Mouswald) Subaru Impreza
18 Peter Stewart / TBA (Lochanhead) VW Polo S2000
20 Jim Sharp / Ian Crosbie (Stranraer/Penpont) Mitsubishi Evo 9
26 Stewart Dodds / Robin Neil (Kirkcudbright/Haugh of Urr) Vauxhall Nova
27 Donald Bowness / Paul Gribben Lochgilphead/Annan) Vauxhall Nova
31 Willie Nelson / Robert Proudlock (Dumfries/Dumfries) Subaru Impreza
42 Jim Robertson / Claire Robertson (Penpont/Penpont) Citroen C2R2
46 Hugh Murdoch / TBA (Stranraer) Ford Escort Mk2
62 Ewan Murdoch / TBA (Stranraer) Ford Focus
66 Joe McKeand / TBA (Beeswing) Subaru Subaru
J33 Lewis Haining / Mark McCulloch (Dumfries/Dumfries) Skoda Citigo
J53 Alice Paterson / Ian Crosbie (Dumfries/Penpont) Peugeot 107