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A bumper Dunoon Argyll Rally is ready for action

The biggest Dunoon Presents Argyll Rally in recent history will take place next weekend [21/22 June] around the Cowal Peninsula, as around 140 of the UK’s fastest rally drivers head for the region for the prestigious annual motorsport event.

First known as the Burmah Rally, the event originated in the early 1970s as a gravel rally where the British Rally Championship assembled in the region and saw classic battles in the local forests with names such as Roger Clark and Jimmy McRae at the front of the field.

The Argyll Rally made a return to the British rallying calendar in 2017 after a thirteen-year sabbatical and after switching to the closed public roads in the region, has grown into one of the biggest and most highly regarded stage rallies in the country.

The 2024 edition is likely to be one of the biggest on record, as a bumper entry will head for Dunoon to tackle the two-day event, with challenging roads, surfaces and format set to test the drivers to the limit and offer motorsport fans and the local community a spectacular weekend of rally action.

Leading the field away and first into the popular Dunoon High Street stage on Friday evening will be last year's winners Callum Black/Jack Morton in their Ford Fiesta Rally2. The pairing is also the reigning Protyre National Asphalt Rally champions and will call on their previous experience of the Argyll lanes in an attempt to secure win number two in Scotland.

Neil Roskell/Dai Roberts are fresh from a British Rally Championship campaign and will lock horns with Black for victory in their Fiesta Rally2. The runner-up spot here last year puts them in good stead for a positive result, although both Ford drivers will be chased hard by the Skoda Fabia R5 of Mark Kelly/ Will Atkins.

Rarely seen on the stages, Mull’s John MacCrone makes the trip with co-driver Stuart Loudon. The rapid driver was on course for a Mull Rally victory in 2023 before technical failure sidelined his Fiesta so will be looking for redemption in Argyll.

Heading up the Asset Alliance Group Scottish Rally Championship [SRC] is Hugh Brunton/Drew Sturrock in their Skoda Fabia Rally2, although we can expect current championship leaders Euan Thornburn/Paul Beaton to be slotted in the list in their Polo R5 after a late entry.

Rory Young/Allan Cathers will also be in a Polo at car six, as Hugh Hunter/ Rob Fagg, Simon Bowen/Craig Simkiss and Michael Binnie/Claire Mole round out the top ten, each in an impressive array of top-flight machinery.

In a first for the event, the Fuchs Lubricants British Historic Rally Championship makes the trip, and the ultra-competitive series will see the fan-favourite machinery do battle on their second asphalt event of the season.

Leading the crews away is former British Rally Champion turned James Bond stunt driver Mark Higgins, piloting a raucous Triumph TR7 V8. Co-driven by Carl Williamson, the pair will enter battle with Seb Perez/Gary McElhinney’s Porsche 911 and a trio of Ford Escort MKII’s from series leaders Richard Hill/Patrick Cooper, Adrian Hetherington/Ronan O’Neill and Daniel Mennell/Richard Wise.

Scottish Tarmack Rally Championship, AS Performance North of England Tarmacadam Rally Championship and the HRCR Mini Cup & Category 1 Championship contenders also grace the impressive entry list.

The 2023 rally was the very first event for husband-and-wife team David and Jenny Robertson and after being bitten by the bug, return for more this time around. A change to a Ford Focus is hoped to reap rewards and secure a finish and will start at number 135 – the same as last year in a nod to the birthday of Jenny’s daughter.

Organisers Mull Car Club have created plenty of opportunities for the fans to watch the action during the weekend. Kicking the rally off is the now traditional blast through Dunoon Town Centre on Friday [21 June] at 19:30 which offers a crowd-pleasing opening to the rally as spectators cram into the town to witness the cars through the tricky, three-quarter mile test.

From there, five stages in the surrounding countryside lie ahead, with the Kilmodan stage offering a chance to witness the high speeds of the crews as dusk approached at 21:00. Access is off the A886. Bealach Maim takes place right after at 21:29 and again is accessible via the A886.

On Saturday [22 June], fans can grab the action back at the Kilmodan test which is run twice, firstly at 09:50 and then again at 14:30. Also run twice during the day, is Bealach Maim, at 10:18 and 15:04.

Local charities will be running each of the spectator car parks and there is a suggested donation of £10 per car, per visit.

The rally is based once again at Dunoon Stadium, which hosts the pre-event formalities and event service area. The finish celebrations on Saturday will take place at Argyll Gardens in Dunoon just before 17:00.

For full spectator information, pick up a Rally Programme, available at outlets throughout Dunoon or check the event website in the run-up to the rally.

External Credits:

Dunoon Presents Argyll Rally Media Office/Image - Crayford Media


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