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The usedcarparts Solway Coast Junior Rally is one of the highlights in the season for all 3 UK Junior 1000 Championships. And the 2015 event on 9th August based on the military ranges near Kirkcudbright and organised by Solway Car Club delivered everything that was expected of it. This is the only time in the year when all 3 Championships get together and it is one of the most testing events. The roads are very different to anything else that the young drivers compete on and the weather usually plays a big part.

32 crews lined up for the start of the 2015 event on a dull and damp Sunday morning with mist on the hills and a constant drizzle of rain. 14 were from the Brick & Steel Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge, 12 from the Kick Energy F1000 Junior Championship and 6 from the Irish Junior 1000 Rally Championship.

Overall event winners at the end of 40 testing miles were Peter Bennett and Arthur Kierans (Citroen C1) from N Ireland . The team are  registered in the Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge and the Irish Junior 1000 Rally Championship so they won on 3 levels. But the day did not start in Bennett’s favour. After 2 stages, Finlay Retson/Andrew Falconer (Citroen C1) from the Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge were 4 seconds in front with Bennett reporting a slight spin on stage 2. But Bennett took 3 seconds back over the next 2 stages and moved into the lead after stage 6.  After 8 stages, Bennett’s lead was 7 seconds. So it was all down to the last 2 stages.  They both had to go for it. But it was a blistering time from Bennett over the final stage that clinched it for him. He had won by 14 seconds. Reports from people out watching the action confirmed that Bennett had “been on it” over the last stage. His performance was described as “10/10th with some luck thrown in!!!”  Bennett commented “This result has put me back in contention for the Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge title and has given me a great confidence boost”.   But Retson was philosophical. “I love this event and it was my first time here with my Citroen C1. We were on the rev limiter in third a few times!!” He finished second overall and second Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge driver. He had pushed as much as he wanted to and will still lead the Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge with 3 events to go.

Finishing third Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge driver was Craig MacIvor with Allan Smith on the notes in Craig’s rebuilt Micra made from the wreckage from his big body panel damaging off at Kames in March 2014. They were a credible 7th overall in the event and second Micra. The bold red and yellow car performed faultlessly during the day and MacIvor’s performance demonstrated that the car had lost none of its performance after getting a new shell. Having recently reached the age of 17, this was probably Craig’s last appearance in the Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge.

Out of the 14 Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge starters, 4 did not finish but all cars left the venue requiring no more than minor repairs. This is a true reflection of the amazing talent that these young drivers develop in a very short time because conditions were really really testing.Solway15 ecj1000top3

The next round of the Brick & Steel Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge will be at Knockhill on 29th August when the young drivers will be presented with a very different set of challenges.

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