David Bogie became the first driver to win four successive Scottish rally championships with victory on Saturday’s Ian Broll Merrick Stages, the penultimate round of the series.
The 25-year-old from Dumfries, co-driven by Kevin Rae from Hawick, completed the four stages in the Galloway forest – including one of 19 miles – in a total time of 39 minutes 39 seconds behind the wheel of his Mitsubishi EVO 9 – 11 seconds ahead of the rest of the field.
Going into the last stage, Bogie was neck and neck with his nearest rival Euan Thorburn from Duns, but the Borderer was forced to retire his Ford Focus World Rally Car with gearbox-related problems.
“It’s unreal. We’ve worked so hard all year to try to achieve this, we’ve put a lot of thought into this moment, and to come away from this event, with a round still to go, as Scottish champions and making history, it really is something,” said Bogie at the finish in Wigtown.
He added: “We had to drive three miles with a puncture on the long second stage. All we had to do was finish second and obviously Jock and Euan were pushing very hard.
“But we managed to stay in front of Jock, and Euan hit trouble, so for us it was a case of sticking to the plan, staying in the middle of the road and making sure we did the job.”
Rae said: “It’s a shame to win a rally because of someone else’s problems, Euan was going well before that, but these things happen, David drove very well and set a steady pace and it was enough to give us the championship. So, we’re chuffed to bits.”
Thorburn and co-driver Paul Beaton had blasted through the, in places, muddy and slippery opening nine-mile Craignell stage five seconds faster than Bogie, and were again quickest through the long Glentrool test, with Bogie and Rae ten seconds back – the last few miles with the aforementioned puncture.
Bogie took the honours on SS3 Drigmorn – but only by two seconds from Jock Armstrong of Castle Douglas, who was ultimately second overall. With developing gearbox problems – which were traced to an oil leak - Thorburn could only manage fifth fastest.
Armstrong had a one-second advantage over Bogie on the last stage Poultrybuiehill. However, by then the champion had secured another slice of rallying history, and disclosed afterwards that it was his last event in the Pro-Tec prepared EVO in which he has won all four Scottish titles.
“I came to the end of that last stage, and thought this car has done a lot of work, and brought us a lot of success. Perhaps it’s time to put it into retirement and try something else on the McRae in October.”
Claire Mole from Duns was on the notes for young Glasgow driver Alick Kerr, who steered his Subaru Impreza to a very creditable eighth overall, on only his second outing of the year.
In the 2WD category St Boswells driver Sean Robson, co-drven by Fenny Wesselink from Melrose, finished third in class in his Ford Fiesta ST and 27th overall. It meant he slipped from first to second in the championship class, six ahead of Kieran Renton from Coldstream, also in a Civic, whio finished the vent in 29th place
Duns co-driver Richard Simmonds was on the notes for Adrian Stewart from Aberdeen in a Peugeot 205 GTI and they finished in 24th place with Lauder’s Callum Atkinson, co-driven by Kevin Mathers of Newtown, 39th in their Peugeot 205.
From a start list of 68 crews, there were 21 retirements. Among them were David Wilson and Jedburgh co-driver Dave Robson, who had been in the hunt for honours in Class 8 in their Ford Escort Mk2. Their challenge ended when a crack was discovered in the fuel pipe.
The final round of the 2012 MSA Scottish Rally Championship is the Colin McRae Stages, based in Aberfeldy, on October 6.