Duns driver does it after a ‘real ding-dong battle’

New Scottish Rally Champion Euan Thorburn from Duns in action in the MacRae Stages.
New Scottish Rally Champion Euan Thorburn from Duns in action in the MacRae Stages.

Euan Thorburn won a dramatic Colin McRae Stages Rally to seal his first Scottish Rally Championship title last weekend.

The Duns driver, co-driven by Paul Beaton from Inverness, completed the six Perthshire stages in his Ford Focus WRC in a total time of 43 minutes 51 seconds.

It had been a closely-fought battle between Thorburn and reigning champion David Bogie, with Hawick co-driver Kevin Rae, throughout the day before Bogie put his Fiesta R5 off the road on the final test as he desperately tried to catch the Duns driver.

As the Champagne was sprayed in front of a large crowd of supporters and photographers, Thorburn expressed his delight and relief.

“I can’t believe it’s happened after all these years trying to win the championship,” he said.

“It’s been a real ding-dong battle with David all year and it’s a pity his rally ended with technical problems. But I’m chuffed to bits.

“Finally, I can call myself Scottish Champion.”

Another Duns competitor, Dale Robertson, with Paul McGuire of Tranent on the notes, finished seventh overall and took maximum points in the Group N category – his third successive class win.

“We had problems with our brakes and had a broken pipe on the back caliper,” said Dale.

“That made it exciting, but we managed to get to the end and get some good points on the board.”

Hawick’s Louise Rae and Yorkshireman Steve Bannister were second home of the two-wheel drive entries – ending the day 11th overall in their Ford Escort Mk2, after a “cautious run” following an accident on the Trackrod Rally the previous weekend.

Duns Father and daughter team Garry and Hollie Wilson fought their way to a hard-earned 24th overall in their Subaru Impreza.

There was not much joy for other Borders competitors in the challenging conditions in the Perthshire forests.

Kieran Renton from Leitholm, alongside experienced Jedburgh navigator Dave Robson, missed out on the Junior Drivers’ championship to Dumfriesshire’s Greg McKnight after the engine blew in his Ford Fiesta R2.

Duns crew Colin Aitchison and Garry Pearson also had a day to forget. They were forced to retire on the final stage when their Vauxhall Chevette HSR hit a log, while Lauder’s Callum Atkinson retired his Ford Fiesta with mechanical problems.

The final round of the 2014 Championship is the Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally in Castle Douglas on Sunday, October 26.