He came, he saw, he drove, he conquered. David Bogie was in imperious form on the McRae Gravel Challenge, a unique one-off event to mark the tenth anniversary of the loss of a much loved car club member and World Champion.
Even though he was the top seed, David ran with the Number 2 on his door as the Number 1 slot remained blank – because, in Coltness Car Club’s eyes there will only ever be one Number one. Another point worth noting, many of those taking part paid their own special tribute with custom made stickers and slogans to keep the memory alive.
Even though it was testing new DMACK Tyres, the Skoda Fabia R5 was up and away before the rest of the field had woken up: “I was surprised just how slippery the surface was,” said David, “we weren’t quite expecting this. The stages were good, but damp. In fact the second run was much better, the surfaces had polished although still slippery. It was a good test ahead of Wales Rally GB next month.”
Andrew Gallacher finished second, 23 seconds behind, but the Focus WRC was minus a front and rear bumper at the finish: “It was in the second stage, the back end just stepped out under braking on the approach to a hairpin and we were off and up a banking backwards,” said Andrew, but looking at the car at the finish he remarked, “I thought the idea was to keep it in the spirit of Colin!”
Only 1 second behind Gallacher in third place was Quintin Milne in the Impreza WRC, but he was lying second till the third stage: “I spun in Stage 3. My own fault, I was looking down at the anti-lag button instead of looking at the road,” said Q, “we spun between the logs and I had to drive back, handbrake it round, and get going the right way again.”
There was only a second between 4th and 5th too, with Barry Groundwater just pipping John Wink to the place. This was vintage Barry. With no distractions (Brian Watson was in Ireland!) he knuckled down to the job and the Lancer just edged out the Hyundai R5, but Wink was trying too. On his second outing with the new car he was mighty impressive using up all the road - and a wee bit more.
Bruce McCombie was 7th and a tad lucky at that with all four wheels well off the road at the Hermitage corner in the first stage as the Mitsubishi didn’t grip and just pushed on at the downhill right hander. He slid wide and the car almost stalled, but he kept going as the car stuttered and spluttered as it regained the road, finally clearing as it climbed the hill.
At the very same corner, Greg McKnight was the star turn. First time out in his new Millington Escort it didn’t show. The car came into sight with the tail out and sliding, kept it going all the way round and fired it up the hill with great rooster tails of damp dust thrilling the huge crowds. Normally seen in yellow and green livery, Greg kept the car in the colours in which he bought it just two weeks previously. It was red with a black bonnet – his own wee tribute to a lost star.
There was one disappointment, well maybe two. Running Course Car, Jim McRae was running the 2.3 litre engined Vauxhall Firenza instead of the V8 after a last minute problem. However, what was lacking in aural drama was compensated by the style. The man still likes to go sideways, but then it broke. A bolt sheared off the bottom of a strut and burst the shock absorber.
In essence – a grand day out in the woods!
1, David Bogie, 29m 58s
2, Andrew Gallacher, 31m 21s
4, Barry Groundwater, 31m 42s
5, John Wink, 31m 43s
6, Bruce McCombie, 32m 02s
7, Greg McKnight, 32m 14s
8, John McClory, 32m 44s
9, Ian Forgan, 33m 05s
10, Steve Bannister, 33m 26s