Granite win keeps Thorburn on track

Duns driver Euan Thorburn on his way to winning the 2014 Granite City Rally
Duns driver Euan Thorburn on his way to winning the 2014 Granite City Rally

Duns rally ace Euan Thorburn increased his lead in the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship with his second win of the season on Saturday’s third round in Aberdeen.

Thorburn, driving a Ford Focus WRC, completed the four Kincardineshire forest stages on the McCombie Builders Granite City Rally with a 37 second advantage over the rest of the field.

His main rival, defending champion David Bogie, alongside Hawick co-driver Kevin Rae, was forced to retire his Ford Focus with engine problems.

“The first stage was a real wake-up call – it was difficult to commit fully with the visibility as bad as it was,” said Thorburn, who, with Inverness co-driver Paul Beaton, also won the season-opening Snowman Rally.

“Then David went out, and we had to manage our lead after that. But it worked out well and we had no problems with the car. They were long stages which is what we prefer. We’ve never started that well in the Scottish championship, so to have built up a wee cushion after three rounds is a new experience. It’s a real confidence boost ahead of my home event, the Jim Clark Rally.”

Fellow Duns competitor Dale Robertson was involved in a tight battle for honours in the Group N category in his Mitsubishi EVO. In the event, he finished third in class, 14th overall, alongside navigator Paul Maguire from Tranent.

Daler said: “We had a good run on the first stage and were leading GpN, but we lost a bit of time on the second. And then on the final stage the fog came down again, and for the first five miles I was having to ask Paul to repeat notes, because I just couldn’t get them into my head.”

Hawick’s Louise Sutherland helped guide Yorkshireman Steve Bannister to 20th overall, and the first of the SRC-registered 2WD crews, in his Ford Escort Mk2.

The Duns-based father and daughter duo of Garry and Hollie Wilson brought their Mitsubishi EVO back to the finish in Aberdeen in 25th place overall. Garry told us: “We’re very happy with the result, and most importantly, there’s no damage to the car!”

Callum and Keith Atkinson from Lauder kept their championship campaign on track by taking the runners-up spot in Class 7 and 30th overall in a Ford Fiesta, and Leitholm’s Kieran Renton, co-driven by Dave Robson from Jedburgh, was fifth in the fiercely-contested 1600cc category and 37th overall, also in a Fiesta.

Richard Simmonds from Duns was on the notes for young Perthshire driver Blair Brown, who was 46th overall and third in Class 3 in his Peugeot 205GTi while the Duns crew of Colin Aitchison and Garry Pearson were 75th in their historic Vauxhall Chevette.

The fourth round of the Championship is the Jim Clark Reivers Rally on Sunday, June 1.