Dumfries rally ace David Bogie jets out to Mexico tomorrow for a well earned holiday still trying to come to terms with becoming the youngest Hankook Scottish Rally Champion since his hero, Colin McRae.
Bogie started the final round of the championship, the Perth-based McRae Forest Stages Rally knowing he needed only to finish sixth to clinch the title. But a severely damaged exhaust to his Mitsubishi Evo IX, plus a puncture, threatened to wreck his season.
“I was convinced when we picked up the front puncture on the third stage that we’d blown the championship,” the 22-year-old, co-driven by Hawick’s Kevin Rae, admitted today. “All I could see was time slipping away.
“But thankfully we didn’t lose as much time as we’d thought to our nearest rivals, but then we damaged the exhaust on the penultimate stage and the car dramatically dropped power.
“All we could do then was nurse the car through the seven miles of the final stage at Blackcraig and hope for the best. Believe me, those were the most nerve-racking seven miles of my life. No matter how hard I tried to focus on the job in hand, all I could hear were strange noises coming from the car; I was convinced we were going to stop.
“Crossing the finishing line and realising our times were enough to see us finish fifth was brilliant. I’ve never been happier in my life. For sure the real significance of winning the championship hasn’t sunk in yet, but I’m sure it will when I’m lying on the beach this week.”
Bogie has long been tipped as a natural successor to McRae. Indeed the former world rally champ identified the potential in the youngster and awarded him with the first Colin McRae Scholarship.
The Dumfries driver emphasised that potential when he claimed his first senior victory by winning the McRae Stages Rally in 2007, just days after McRae was killed in a helicopter crash.
“This is a dream and to become the youngest Scottish champ since Colin won it as a 20-year-old in 1988 is brilliant; just brilliant,” Bogie continued. “Colin has always been my hero and to have my name on the same trophy as him, and his dad Jimmy, is fantastic.”
While Bogie celebrated finishing fifth of the Scottish Championship-registered runners, the event was won overall by the Subaru of former British Rally champ Mark Higgins.
The Manxman, not registered for the Scottish Championship, finished 40-secs ahead of Hugh Hunter. The Welshman, also not registered for the Scottish, drove a former Colin McRae Ford Focus World Rally Car.
The rally was delayed for more than an hour when the Vauxhall Nova of Fort William’s Fraser Wilson and co-driver Steve Broll slewed head-on into a tree on the opening 10.7-miler at Craigvinean.
The stage was cancelled while rescue crews were forced to cut the roof off the car after it had flipped and landed heavily on Broll’s side severely denting the Nova.
Both competitors were taken to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee where Broll, suffering chest pains and a suspected broken leg, was kept in overnight for observation. Wilson was allowed home with a badly sprained ankle.
There was a further delay in the day’s second stage when Glasgow’s John Crawford wrecked his Ford Escort MkII on the second stage, the 8.4-miles at Drummond Hill. The former British Superbike rider was uninjured in the high-speed crash.