Amongst the first entries received at Knockhill for May’s ‘McRae Rally Challenge’, backed by Beatson’s Building Supplies, are two from five times Scottish Rally Champion and former British Rally Champion, David Bogie (from Dumfries) and reigning Scottish Rally Champion and past British ‘BTRDA’ Rally Champion, Euan Thorburn (Duns).
Already Thorburn is relishing the pospect of competing back on Scottish soil. After winning the Scottish title last year he decided not to defend his crown and instead will contest a number of ‘foreign’ events this year starting with the Circuit of Ireland Rally next month (2/4 April) so this event at Knockhill will give him the chance to appear in front of the Scottish public and his growing fanbase.
“I’ve never competed at Knockhill before,” said Thorburn, “but my Dad (Alistair) did. In fact it was his first ever rally. He contested the Knockhill Rally Challenge way back in 2001 in a Subaru Impreza. I’ll be driving my Ford Fiesta S2000 and it should provide a good test for it, because I’ll be doing the Circuit of Ireland Rally two weeks after Knockhill and this will give me a chance to try out the car on its tarmack suspension set-up. I’m planning to do more tarmac events this year including the Ypres Rally in Belgium in June.”
Similarly, David Bogie will not be aiming for a sixth Scottish Championship title this year: “I haven’t decided what I’m doing yet, but I’m looking forward to the McRae Challenge. Colin McRae was my idol when I was growing up and I was lucky enough to get to know him. He was very helpful in my own early career, so I’m really looking forward to this celebration.”
But Bogie has another problem: “I don‘t know what car I will be driving. For the past year I have been building a Mk2 Ford Escort and it should be finished by then, so at that point I’ll have to decide between the Escort and the Fiesta R5!”
Another top Scot who has been confirmed is Jock Armstrong (Castle Douglas). Fresh from his victory on last month’s Snowman Rally, where he headed home six Mitsubishi Lancers, Armstrong will stick with his Subaru Impreza for the Knockhill event.
Coincidentally, Armstrong and Alister McRae, who is coming over from Australia for May’s event, have ‘history’: “I knew Alister before I knew Colin,” he recalled, “Alister won the Shell Scholarship title in 1992 and I won it in 1994. We were almost team-mates at one time!”
There is another ‘historical’ connection, because a certain Jim McRae was one of the judges in the Shell Scholarship scheme in the early 1990s when first Alister was picked and then Jock!
“But I’m really looking forward to this,” said Armstrong, “I watched Colin in those early days and it was him who started it and inspired it for me. His was always the fastest line through any stretch of road and usually the most spectacular, and I just wanted to drive like that!”
Meanwhile other stars from the world of rallying, and circuit racing, are being attracted to this unique event. These entries will be announced in due course, once confirmed.
Held over Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning The McRae Rally Challenge will be contested over 8 Special Stages with three separate categories representing past, present and future rally stars. Other entries will be confirmed shortly.
This competitive event will be interspersed with on-track demonstrations and parades and along with the static displays around the circuit will ensure that there is something for everyone on the weekend of 16/17 May.
Tickets for the Event are on sale via the Knockhill website, with all pre-booked tickets subject to advanced booking discounts.