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The Solway Car Club delivered another cracking rally for Junior drivers from all 3 UK Junior 1000 Rally Championships on Sunday 5th August. The usedcarparts Solway Coast Junior Rally – and this was the seventh running of the Junior only event – has become a bit of a tradition using the military roads within the Dundrennan base near Kirkcudbright. There was no real drama in the Junior event, the weather was nice and consistent and the competition was fierce as usual. Whilst everybody is competing to one set of Junior 1000 rules, the event is broken up into 4 separate podiums – overall, the F1000 Junior 1000, the Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge and the Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland. This year, an English driver took top slot overall plus the F1000 section. And the same English driver (registered in both Championships) took top slot in the Scottish section and a Scottish driver took top slot in the Irish section!!

The competition was fierce at all levels but the Scottish challenge was weakened when local crew Lewis Haining and Mark McCulloch (Skoda Citigo) hit gearbox problems on stage 3 when lying in 4th place behind the 3 F1000 drivers who would go on to dominate the top 3 positions for the rest of the event. Elliot Payne (Citroen C1), the Overall winner, had registered in the Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge on an earlier trip to Scotland and became the leading Ecosse Challenge driver and held that position for the rest of the event. Johnnie Mackay was finding it hard to shake off “the ghost of 2017” when he went off the road and made a very cautious start in 2018 to lie 7th after the first pair of stages. However, he persevered and ended the day 5th overall, and second Ecosse Challenge driver with Gordon Reid co-driving. But the real battle was just behind Mackay and it was for 3rd place on the Ecosse Challenge podium. First time out in his new car – an ex Peter Beaton Citroen C1 – and with new co-driver Steven Brown, Fraser Anderson was battling with Oliver Hunter/Tom Hynd (Peugeot 107) from the very first pair of stages. Hunter went on to open up a 5 second gap going into the final group of 3 stages (approx 15 miles) but a “mishap” on on the third last stage dropped him behind Anderson by 4 seconds. The pair then shared the same time over the last 2 stages so Anderson took the position by 4 seconds. Another first for the rookie driver.

Of the 13 (out of a total of 28) Ecosse Challenge entries, 12 made it across the finish line on what was a terrific experience and a tough day’s rallying for them all. Johnnie Mackay did enough to open up his lead at the top of the Championship table.

Next Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge event will be the Memorial Garden Stages in Arbroath on 15th September .

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