Defending Scottish champion David Bogie “gave it everything” to clinch his sixth McDonald and Munro Speyside Stages Rally on Saturday.
Just as it had been on the previous round of the Scottish Rally Championship, it was a closely-fought contest between the Dumfries driver and series leader Euan Thorburn from Duns. However, when the Borderer picked up a puncture on the penultimate stage, the win was there for the taking.
Bogie and Hawick co-driver Kevin Rae completed the eight Morayshire forest stages in their Ford Fiesta R5+, 13 seconds ahead of the Ford Focus WRC of Thorburn and navigator Paul Beaton from Inverness. Jock Armstrong and Paul Swinscoe, in a Subaru Impreza, secured the final podium spot, a minute and a half further back.
By the midway point in the rally, Bogie was leading his Duns rival by just one second.
Thorburn then took a second out of the five-time champion on the famed Gartly Moor test to make it all square with three stages remaining, and then a further three seconds on the five-and-a-half miles of Balloch to edge into the lead.
It all started to go wrong for the Duns driver on the road section to the second last stage at Ben Aigan.
Thorburn explained: “Something felt wrong at the back of the car. I actually got out and checked the tyre pressures, but they seemed fine, so we went into the stage. By the end, we had a rear flat, and lost 14 seconds.
“With just four stage miles remaining, it was too much to make up and we cruised through the last stage. I’m really disappointed. It definitely feels we’ve again missed out on a win, having lost by just over three seconds on the Scottish because of mistakes.”
The result, Bogie’s second successive win in the R5+, means he now has three victories to Thorburn’s two in this year’s SRC. Dale Robertson from Duns was delighted with his win in the Group N category in his Mitsubishi EVO 9. The Borderer was 11th overall, 10th in the points.
Amongst the two-wheel drive entries, there was a class win for Lauder’s Callum Atkinson in his Ford Fiesta – despite a drive-shaft breaking on the “very last corner of the very last stage”.
He managed to nurse the car home, but, having lost forward drive, had to reverse over the finish line.
Leitholm’s Keiran Renton, with Jedburgh’s Dave Robson on the notes, finished third in the 1,600cc category in his Fiesta.
The sixth round of the Championship is the GWF Energy Merrick Stages, based in Wigtown, on September 2.