David Bogie and Hawick co-driver Kevin Rae have made motorsport history by becoming the first crew to win five back-to-back Scottish rally championships.
The Dumfries driver powered his Ford Focus WRC to victory on Saturday’s Colin McRae Forest Stages Rally, the penultimate round of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish series.
Mike Faulkner and Peter Foy were runners-up in their Mitsubishi EVO 9 – more than two minutes behind - with Dave Weston and Jedburgh’s Dave Robson third in a Focus WRC, a further twenty-two seconds adrift.
It was not the best of starts for the defending champions. Their car hit a rock half a mile into the second stage, resulting in a front-left puncture which lost them 21 seconds to main rival Euan Thorburn from Duns and navigator Paul Beaton, also in a Focus WRC – after both crews equalled the bogey time on the first stage.
Bogie pulled four seconds back over the 13 miles of SS3 Errochty, and another second on the short fourth Kindrogan stage. He was also fastest through SS5 Blackcraig, with Thorburn eight seconds slower after an oil-pipe burst.
Following repairs at the service stop in Blairgowrie, the Borderer still had an eight-second advantage going into the final ten miles of Craigvinean – and it was starting to look as though the title fight would go down to the final round in Galloway.
However, disaster struck for Thorburn when the Focus picked up a puncture. He lost 26 seconds and, with a developing gear-box problem, decided to retire the car.
Bogie said: “We went into that last stage with absolutely the wrong tyre – it a was a complete gamble - so we just drove it over the limit and never backed off. Obviously towards the end Euan picked up a puncture and that allowed us to take the win. It’s been a real challenge this year, learning the new car, and great credit must go to our team and the boys who prepare it from one round to the next”.
Co-driver Rae admitted they had harboured doubts about making up the lost time after the second stage puncture: “Twenty-one seconds is a lifetime to lose against Euan because it’s been that close on every other rally but we like these stages and we were fairly confident we could pull some of the time back. That early in the day we weren’t going to give up because anything can happen, so we just kept pushing. We certainly didn’t want it to go down to the wire on the last round!”
Aberdeen’s Dave Weston and jedburgh co-drover Dave Robson finished in third place in another Ford Focus WRC.
A puncture on the second stage did little to halt Steve Bannister in his Ford Escort Mk2. He finished as the leading 2WD competitor in 16th place overall, alongside Hawick co-driver Louise Sutherland.
Lauder’s Callum Atkinson, with Sue Hynd co-driving, was runner up in his class and 29th overall in his Peugeot 205GTi, but there was disappointment for erstwhile 1600cc category leader Kieran Renton from Coldstream, co-driven by Carin Logan from Kelso. For the second successive event, their Ford Fiesta R2 rolled.
The final round of the championship will be the Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally on Sunday, October 27.