Tie-break denies Pearson Border Counties victory

Garry Pearson and Robbie Mitchell on their way to taking second place in the Border Counties Rally.
Garry Pearson and Robbie Mitchell on their way to taking second place in the Border Counties Rally.

Duns driver Gary Pearson could not have been closer to winning his first Scottish Rally Championship event in the Border Counties on Saturday.

After the six special stages Garry and his co-driver Robbie Mitchell, in their Ford Fiesta R5, were tied on time with defending ARR Craib Scottish Rally Champions Jock Armstrong and Paula Swinscoe in their Subaru Impreza.

This meant that whoever was fastest on the opening stage of the day would be the winners and it went to Castle Douglas driver Armstrong who had been quickest by 12 seconds.

Third place went to Shaun Sinclair and Kirsty Riddick in a Ford Focus WRC ’08.

Despite losing out on the rally victory on Saturday Pearson now leads the 2016 Scottish Rally Championship thanks to his fourth place on the Snowman Rally and his second in the Border Counties.

Garry took two stages wins and 17 seconds out of Jock Armstrong in stages 5 and 6 after a slow start to come perilously close to a maiden SRC win.

Despite “not being on his game” on the first stage, he was always in the top three on each stage, and won SS5 Elibank 2 by eight seconds despite driving on a puncture for the final kilometre.

Garry said: “The last two stages were really good. We were slow off the mark on the first one but there are a lot of positives to take from the last two.

“Congratulations to Jock, and thanks to the Border Counties for a great event.”

Duns driver Dale Robertson and co-driver Stuatrt Loudon finished in seventh which was, under the circumstances, a brilliant result as the pair were forced to run with just front wheel drive on their Evo 9 for half of SS1 and all of SS2 and 3.

At service Dale said: “Terrible! The times aren’t too bad for 2WD but we should be higher. We’ll try to get into the top 10.”

They achieved three top 7 stage times in the afternoon to put them back into the top 10, and into a good position in the championship after just two rallies.

Hawick’s Ian Baumgart and his Gala co-driver Mike Dickson finished 23rd overall in their Subaru Impreza.

Competing in his first ever rally was Michael Binnie from Tillmouth in his uncle’s Mitsubishi Evo 5. Co-driven by Greg Halfpenny, Michael enjoyed the stages and finished in a very respectable 30th place overall while James Gibb and Iain Robson were 33rd in their Ford Fiesta.

Belford’s David Martin, co-driven by the experienced Claire Mole, finished 43rd overall in his Citroen C2 just two places ahead of Duns crew Gina Walker and Richard Simmonds in a similar car.

Splitting the two Citroens, in 44th place were Peter and Douglas Humphrey in their Opel Kadett.

Duns driver Alan Cowan, with Katie Stimpson on the notes, took a class win and was 47th overall in his Vauxhall Astra while David Hunter and Amanda Morrison finished 55th in their Peugeot 205 GTi. Ian Heard and Denny Calder were 62nd in their Escort.