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Friday, 2 December 2016


Photo Credit:Lindsay Photo Sport

The 2017 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship is beginning to take shape, with the welcome announcement that ARR Craib will continue as title sponsors of the series for the 2017 season. 

ARR Craib Managing Director Eddie Anderson confirmed the Aberdeen based logistics company’s commitment to the Scottish Rally Championship at the Awards Evening held at the Marriott Hotel, Glasgow last Saturday evening (26th November). 

Alongside ARR Craib, the championship are pleased to confirm that tyre giant Pirelli will also continue their partnership with the SRC, and they will be joined by Coltel Communications and REIS Motorsport Insurance, who have signed partnership agreements with the SRC for the 2017 season. 

The Championship are also pleased to announce the calendar for the 2017 season, which will consist of seven rounds all held on gravel. 

The Snowman Rally will once again kick off proceedings, before the series heads south for the Border Counties in March, then back North for the Speyside Stages in April. Next up, the championship joins the MSA British Rally Championship for the Scottish Rally which moves from its traditional June date to May for 2017. 

June’s Argyll Stages is a welcome addition to the calendar, and will see the series head over the Cowal peninsula to Dunoon, for a welcome return to the stages around the town for the first time in 20 years. The Grampian Stages, which was crowned the best event of the 2016 championship at Saturdays Award ceremony stages the penultimate round, while the Castle Douglas based Galloway Hills Rally plays host to the final round, and championship finale. 

The ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship is the premier motorsport series north of the border, and it has produced many great champions in its almost 50 year history such as Drew Gallacher, Ken Wood, Colin McRae, Andrew Wood, David Bogie and Jock Armstrong. 

The full 2017 calendar, including dates and locations is below:

  • 18th  February: Snowman Rally, Inverness 
  • 18th  March: Border Counties Rally, Jedburgh 
  • 22nd  April: Speyside Stages Rally, Elgin 
  • 20th  May: Scottish Rally, Dumfries 
  • 24th  June: Argyll Stages Rally, Dunoon 
  • 12th  August: Grampian Stages Rally, Aberdeenshire 
  •   9th  September: Galloway Hills Rally, Castle Douglas 

Look out for further news on the 2017 Championship in the coming weeks, including more on the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Championhip launch event which will take place at Autosport International, the world’s largest Motorsport Show, at the NEC Birmingham on 12th – 15th January 2017. 

You can keep up to date with the SRC via the website or through Facebook and Twitter (@MSA_SRC).

Bilham bags prestigious John Easson rally award

photo credit: Chicane Media

Bingley rally ace Sam Bilham wins 2300 Club John Easson Award to aid 2017 plans

Yorkshire rally driver Sam Bilham had the perfect end to his season after being selected as the winner of the 2300 Club John Easson Award last weekend. The prestigious award provides a total of £5,000 towards Bilham’s 2017 rallying campaign and will offer a significant boost to his plans for the season ahead.  

The 20 year old Ford Fiesta driver has enjoyed a fruitful 2016, becoming the Maxxis MSA English Rally Champion and Fiesta ST Trophy runner up after leading the series for much of the year.  His impressive pace as the year progressed and one hundred per cent finishing record did not go unnoticed by the judging panel.  

Comprising of co-driver Ian Grindrod, journalist Jack Benyon, rally driver John Cope and 2015 Award winner Matthew Jackson, the panel singled out Bilham from the three finalists after his success in the BTRDA Rally series and his determination to further his motorsport career in the future.  

First run in 2004, the award is named after rally driver John Easson who was an avid supporter of the 2300 Car Club before losing his life in an air accident in 1999. With £5,000 up for grabs for the winning contestant, the award is regarded as the most sought after title in the rallying community.
After winning The Next Big Step in 2013, Bilham is delighted with his latest award and had sighted the John Easson title as a significant step in his career.  “It’s a true honour to add my name to the extensive and impressive list of drivers who have won the award in the past” says Bilham.  “The financial assistance offered is second to none and this is a huge boost to my plans for 2017. We have enjoyed a great season in the BTRDA and Fiesta ST Trophy but this will allow us to expand on our success this year. I really hope to do the panel of judges and the Award, proud next season.”

Bilham has been a finalist for three years in succession but after being runner up since 2014, was determined to make the grade on his third attempt.  “It’s the best prize in rallying so I just had to go for it again” he says.  “Having another year under my belt helped and this is the biggest opportunity I`ve had to progress. Ever since my Junior Rally Championship days I`ve wanted to make sure we did what was best for my career and this will make all the difference. To be honest, it really hasn’t quite sunk in yet and when you consider the previous winners of the award, I really am in great company”.

Previous winners of the Award include World Rally Championship driver Osian Pryce and European contender Chris Ingram.

Bilham is currently exploring options for 2017 and his plans will be announced in the coming months.

Sam is supported by Reis Motorsport Insurance, Mechanical Solutions, Pertemps Recruitment, The Next Big Step, Gareth Hooper Motorsport Services, Calvert Construction and The Garage at Stanley Mills. 

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Brown takes top spot in Belgian series finale’

Nissan Kit Car pilot Steve Brown takes category honours at the Rally van Kortrijk

Flanders International Rally Challenge (FIRC) contender Steve Brown ended his season on a high as he took the top spot in the two wheel drive category on the final round, Rally van Kortrijk.  

The Rochdale ace overcame early technical problems to guide his Nissan Micra Kit Car to 58th overall and seventh in class 3F, taking the FIRC honours in the process.  His impressive result was enough to land him third overall in the two wheel drive category and sixth overall in Brown’s inaugural season competing on the iconic Belgium roads. 
Co-driven once again by Paul Stringer, the duo have impressed this season as they familiarised themselves with the closed public roads which form the FIRC series.  Enjoying a one hundred per cent finishing record across the English Channel, Brown has been pleased with his performance in the championship and headed to final round of the season in a confident mood and one eye on the two wheel drive podium.

Rally van Kortrijk kicked off on Saturday (21st November) with one stage under the cover of darkness before the bulk of the mileage took place the next day. But Brown’s podium aspirations were almost over before they began as a fuel pressure issue blighted his run across the event opening stage.

Sunday’s opening stages offered no improvement and Brown suffered more time zapping fuel problems in the first daylight loop.  But, with the issue corrected at the service halt, Brown began the fightback and set about climbing back up the leader board throughout the remaining nine stages. A solid run over the remaining tests saw Brown cross the finish ramp in Kortrijk town centre with his first FIRC victory and a great end to his season. 

“This is the perfect way to finish the year” said a jubilant Brown at the finish. “I really thought it was all over this morning but the team were fantastic and solved the issue in record time today.  We didn’t take too many risks this afternoon but we are still matching and in many cases beating the more powerful cars in our class which is really encouraging for the future.  To take sixth overall this season is certainly more than we could have hoped for”.

Brown will now spend the closed season preparing for 2017. “It was important to get the experience of foreign events under our belts and to really test the Micra on the unpredictable roads of Belgium” he says.  

“We will now sit down and look at next year and see what the best move will be. This season’s success has only been possible thanks all our sponsors and supporters, we could not have done it without them and hopefully we will continue our run of form into next year”.

Brown is supported in 2016 by Fuchs Titan Race, Questmead Ltd, Mintex Racing 710, PIAA and Pirelli