Euan is going flat out to the top in sport of rallying

Euan Thorburn sprays Champagne over his winning car the Ford Focus WRC
Euan Thorburn sprays Champagne over his winning car the Ford Focus WRC

Duns rally driver Euan Thorburn is fast becoming one of the top talents in the sport, not only in Scotland but UK wide.

This year the Berwickshire man has won three ralies outright and is chasing hard for titles on both sides of the Border.

Notable successes so far this year have been victories in the Malcolm Wilson Stages, The Jim Clark National Rally and the Scottish International Rally.

In our sporting profile this week we find out what got Euan into the sport, the highlights of his career to date and how his co-driver Paul Beaton has played a big part in his success.

What got you into the sport of rallying?

Living in Duns I grew up watching the Jim Clark Rally as a boy and then my dad (Alistair Thorburn) started to compete in 2001, from then on I used to go to all the events to give him a hand so my interest really started to grow from there.

My first memory of rallying was when Colin McRae won his world title in 1995, that’s what first got me interested and it’s just snowballed from then.

How did you go about getting started in the sport?

From going to the rallies with my dad I built up a bit of knowledge of what was needed to go rallying so it was a natural progression for me once I was old enough to start myself.

I started competing in the Ecosse 205 Peugeot Challenge.

There was always plenty of advice around, Duns is a small place but there are a lot of people who have been involved with rallying in some way over the years.

Also, a lot of my friends started rallying at the same time so it was always good competition and a good laugh!

What was your first outright rally win?

My first outright win was in the Colin McRae Rally in 2011

We had finished second a number of times before so it was good to finally get a win!

What has been the highlight of your rallying career so far?

Each win is special but last year to win the Jim Clark for the first time probably tops it so far!

This year winning the Malcolm Wilson Rally over in Cockermouth against some of the best drivers and cars in the UK is also up there!

Tell us a bit about the Focus you currently have and what other cars have you competed with so far?

My present car is an ex-works Ford WRC car. It was driven by Carlos Sainz in 2001 to third place in Monte Carlo, second in Cataluña and sixth in San Remo, so it has a good history.

We bought the car at the start of 2012 from Ford in Romania.

My first rally car was a Peugeot 205 from then I moved on to group N Subarus and Mitsubishis.

Who has been the biggest influence in your career?

Colin McRae was a huge influence for me, he was always the most spectacular to watch and he was what rallying is all about for me. Just a shame he isn’t around today as I’m sure he would have been able to open a few more doors for young drivers in Scotland.

The most important and influential person in my career however, has to be my dad, he has supported me right through from when I started, I couldn’t have achieved half of what I have without him.

What is special about your co-driver Paul Beaton?

I’ve known Paul, who hails from Inverness, since I started rallying as we used to compete against each other in the Peugeot 205 challenge. He also used to sit next to Dale Robertson from Duns so we go back a few years.

Our first event together was back in 2010 and since then we have done around 30 rallies together so we have a good understanding of what we expect from each other now.

It takes a lot of trust to be able to compete at a high level and think we have reached that now.

We also share a lot of interests (football and lager) so it always helps!

I’m pretty sure Paul is up there with the best in the country so I’m lucky to have him, for sure I couldn’t have got the results without him.

How important is it to have a good service crew and who does the work on your car now?

Dom Buckley looks after the car in between events.

During the events we run the car ourselves. Its obviously very important to have a reliable, well prepared car. If not there would be no point in turning up at the start.

What are you aims for this season?

Our aim this year is to win the Scottish Rally Championship

We didn’t start the season so well with a bad result at the Border Counties then breaking down on the Granite. But since then we should have won the Jim Clark had it not been for problems with the car but still managed second place and we then won the Scottish Rally just a couple of weeks ago so it’s still possible

We have also won a few events down south in the British National Championship so there’s the possibility of doing a few more of those events as we are well placed in that championship. To win either championship would be pretty special!

What are your ambitions in the sport?

We would like to progress to the higher levels in rallying either in the WRC or European championship, but unfortunately in these times there are no opportunities.

Manufactures are cutting back and it’s almost impossible to find sponsorship. It’s bad for the sport as there’s a lot of talent in the UK, but it’s just the way it is just now.