The 40th running of the Jim Clark Rally finished with the streets of Duns resembling its famous watersplash on the Langton stage, and the diehard spectators bedraggled and windswept as the end of May turned nasty.
While veteran Gwyndaf Evans stormed to an impressive victory in the International event on Saturday, which formed the third round of the British Rally Championship, it was Dumfries youngster David Bogie who made light of today’s atrocious conditions.
The 22-year-old from Dumfries boosted his hopes of successfully defending the Hankook Scottish Rally Championship he won convincingly last year, when he obliterated the field in the Jim Clark Reivers Rally.
Bogie, reunited with the Ford Focus World Rally Car he last used in the 2008 McRae Stages, was fastest through seven of the treacherously slippery eight stages held on some of the fastest tarmac country lanes in the Borders.
“I managed to get into a good rhythm right from the start and really just maintained it right through the day,” Bogie, who also won the previous round in Aberdeen, explained. “Conditions were horrible, and at times it was all I could do to keep the car on the road.
“But this is an important step towards retaining the championship. That’s back-to-back wins and a second place in the last three rounds, so it’s looking promising.”
Bogie eventually backed of to cruise to a 2min 32.secs victory ahead of Duns-based Euan Thorburn’s Subaru, with another Subaru of Castle Douglas driver Jock Armstrong third.
Twenty-four hours earlier, 50-year-old Evans stormed to his first Jim Clark win having started the final eight stages in fourth, 65.3secs behind the Ford Fiesta S2000 of Waterford’s Craig Breen.
The 1996 British champ was in dazzling form as he rattled off six fastest stage times which allowed him to capitalise on the misfortune of others.
At the end of stage eight of the 14, Breen led the Subaru of defending champ Keith Cronin by 26.8secs, with Ireland’s Alastair (correct, Alastair) Fisher a further 20s back, and Evans fourth, 70.4s off the lead.
In stage nine, the 13-miler at Eccles, Cronin dropped 90s with a puncture; then in stage 10, the 12-miler at Swinton, the engine of Green’s £250,000 Fiesta S2000 blew. That left Fisher’s Mitsubishi defending a slender 1.4s advantage over Evans.
Fastest times through the next three stages left the imperious Evans 31.1s ahead of Fisher and the man from Powys couldn’t hide his delight when he returned to Duns.
”Winning any rally is fantastic, but to win the Jim Clark has always been one of my dreams,” he said, “and to do it on the event’s 40th anniversary makes it even more special.”
The victory elevated Evans to second in the championship, seven points behind the Mitsubishi of Jonny Greer. The 22-year-old from County Down finished fourth, 57.6s behind Cronin, who has now slipped to fifth in the championship, 11 points behind Greer.
Aberdeen 19-year-old Dave Weston jnr, who had run as high as fifth, finished eighth and top Scot after his Subaru suffered driveshaft and gearbox problems late in the day.