Although Jock Armstrong and Kirsty Riddick won their fourth Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally, they nearly didn’t.
“Just before the start of the last stage, we stopped to clean out the boot, it was full of water,” said Jock, “we pulled everything out to try and dry it off with paper towels.Wheels, tools and my jacket, they were all sodden wet. Then we drove into the first stage and as we pulled up to the start line I said to Kirsty ‘Where’s my helmet’ and suddenly realised we had left it behind with all the wet stuff and the boys had put it in the back of their van. We were nearly out at that point but Ian Paterson gave me his helmet. So it’s thanks to Ian that we’re here.”
Ian was having troubles of his own, the Subaru having a persistent brake problem, so he was thinking of stopping anyway because it was getting dangerous: “That was all the excuse I needed,” said Ian, “just glad to help Jock out.”
Dave Weston made a push on that final stage and although he took 9 seconds out of Armstrong’s time, it wasn’t enough: “We made some changes to the car at service,” said Dave, “it felt a lot better so we had a good push on in there.”
Mark McCulloch, last year’s winner, was delighted with third: “Anywhere in the top six would have done me this year,” said Mark, “given the quality of the entry but I couldn’t go any quicker in that last stage, it was getting silly at times. I really didn’t think I would catch Wayne.”
Wayne Sisson was happy enough with fourth ahead of Craig McMiken while young Arron Newby got himself back into sixth place after his double puncture earlier.
Fraser Wilson was seventh despite losing the back silencer box off the Lancer in the final test and Iain Haining was an excellent class winner and top 2WD runner in his wee Nova in eighth place just pipping the Renault Clio of Joseph McGonigle by 14 seconds in the final test to clinch the award by 3 seconds.
Iain Wilson was equally impressive in tenth place in his Nova beating Haining by 4 seconds in the final stage but it wasn’t enough.
David Wilson was flying in the MkII but on the final stage: “We were about 8 miles in and just going a bit hard. I think the tyres were going off because we were losing grip. It just stepped out ona corner and the back wheels slid into a ditch and just dragged us in.” Matthew Robinson also lost out on the 2WD class when the Escort punctured two tyres - on different stages.
A similar fate befell Andrew Gallacher: “It was a downhill into a tight Square Left and we just slid off backwards. The front wheels were still on the road, but there was no-one around to help push us out!”
Matthew Calderwood failed to finish when the Lancer lost drive: “We broke the fourth gear on the Scottish Rally and this was the first run out since the gearbox was rebuilt. It felt OK through the first stage, but on the second it started to feel odd and I couldn’t get 3rd, 4th or 5th. It’s not fourth gear this time, I think it’s the main shaft.”
Leaderboard after 5 (of 5) stages:
1, Armstrong, 41m 13s
2, Weston, 41m 32s
3, McCulloch, 43m 34s
4, Sisson, 43m 46s
5, McMiken, 44m 33s
6, Newby, 46m 04s
7, F Wilson, 46m 07s
8, Haining, 47m 02s
9, McGonigle, 47m 05s
10, I Wilson, 47m 07s