Agony for Pearson as title slips away

Duns rally driver Garry Pearson
Duns rally driver Garry Pearson

The 2016 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship reached its conclusion on the Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally on Saturday – and it was defending champion Jock Armstrong who took his second consecutive Scottish Championship title.

The rally, based in Armstrong’s home town of Castle Douglas, took in 42 competitive stage miles in the Dumfries and Galloway forests, and was the sixth and final round of the 2016 Scottish Rally Championship.

Duns ace Garry Pearson (Ford Fiesta R5) and Jock Armstrong (Subaru Impreza) headed to the south-west event three points apart in Pearson’s favour, and the battle lived up to the hype with the pair being separated by just seven seconds after the first batch of stages.

Pearson was understandably the happier after the first loop, with Armstrong looking rather subdued, vowing to do all he could to stop the R5 driver.

Armstrong responded as he and Paula Swinscoe opened up a 12-second lead following the 6.6 miles of SS5 Cairn Edward. The final test of the entire season, SS6, would ultimately prove decisive in who would be crowned the 2016 Scottish Rally Champion.

Armstrong held the lead but second for Pearson would be enough for him to win his first SRC title, but cruelly for Peasron and co-driver Robbie Mitchell, their Fiesta decided enough was enough, with the engine manifold breaking and melting the rocker cover.

Armstrong was left unchallenged at the top of the leaderboard to take his eighth win on the Galloway Hills Rally and his second consecutive Scottish title.

After Pearson’s demise, everybody behind moved up a place, meaning Wigton driver Mike Faulkner and co-driver Peter Foy claimed second in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX and third was local man Mark McCulloch with co-driver Michael Hendry in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX.

Grabbing a sensational seventh in the championship was Cornhill driver Michael Binnie and Duns co-driver Claire Mole in their older Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution V.