All New Format For The 49th Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally

The Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally will bring a new twist to the 49th running of the event on September 16th, as the Galloway-based event offers an innovative new concept for competitors, volunteers and fans alike.

The one-day rally has traditionally utilised the classic forest roads in the Galloway Forest Park for its route.  In 2023, the event will offer a brand-new format where competitors can compete in both daylight and night stages on the very same day, should they wish to take up the option of the latter.

For a competitively priced entry fee, competitors will be offered three fabulous stages in the stunning Galloway forests, before heading to a centralised service area at Talnotry, close to the forestry action. The stages will then be repeated, providing competitors with a total of 43 special stage miles linked by minimal road mileage.

A set of results will be declared after these six stages, and all championship points will be awarded for the three championships the event is part of: the KNC Groundworks Motorsport UK Scottish Rally Championship, Northern Historic Gravel Rally Championship and the MG3 Challenge.

Normally, this would signal the end of sports for the day – but not in 2023.  All competitors will then have an option to head back out to the three stages in the dark for just an extra £1 a mile – giving a total distance of 64.5 stage miles in one day.

The outline event format includes:

  • Spectator friendly Saturday Morning Pre-Event Scrutineering in Castle Douglas town centre from 10am onwards.
  • The event itself will start from the Service Area at 4pm, with six stages completed by 7:45pm.
  • Leg 1: 43 stage miles across six stages, linked by just 36 road miles in total.
  • Competitors wishing to contest an additional loop of stages in the dark will then restart from service for Leg 2, with all cars scheduled back to the finish by 11pm.
Clerk of the Course Michael Riddick explains the new incentives:
“We are hugely grateful to Dumfries-based construction and renewables specialists The Armstrong Group for their tireless support of the event and our organising team for the past 23 years.  In 2023, we wanted to bring something different to the event and we hope this format does exactly that. With the results for what we are calling Leg 1 calculated at the end of the sixth stage once competitors have completed 43 miles, the points for the various Championships can be awarded based on those overall positions.
Competitors who have elected to continue will then tackle Leg 2 in the dark, taking their total stage mileage up to almost 65. There’s absolutely no requirement for everyone to do the night stages to score their championship points, but it’s a great opportunity for people to see the stages in a different light – quite literally.
Night stages have proven to be very popular with many competitors over the years, but are increasingly rare on one day national events now. We know many competitors in the UK are preparing for the marathon Roger Albert Clark Rally this November, a large portion of which will be in the dark, so we hope some will see this as a good opportunity for practice while enjoying some hard packed and smooth roads at the same time.
Hopefully, the overall event concept we are offering gives something for everyone this year in a simple and compact format. It’s important to add that the event also cannot function without the terrific support of a vast army of volunteers including marshals, timekeepers, Safety Crews and Event Communication teams who have enthusiastically embraced this new incentive for 2023.”

Entries will be awarded on a first come first served basis, and to ensure the stages are in the best condition for those opting to do the night loop, the maximum number of entries will be capped. To utilise stages with the best of conditions, this year’s event will use some different routes within the Galloway forests, which will include competitive sections in Black Loch and on the Raiders Road. There will be two dedicated Spectator Areas, details of which will be announced nearer the event.

The event would not be possible without the cooperation and support of the local Forestry & Land Scotland team, plus all individual support partners and a generous grant from Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Major Festivals and Events Strategy.

Supplementary Regulations for the event will be available from Sunday 13th August at www.gallowayhillsrally.co.uk, along with more information about the event, the rally route and the day/night concept.

The collective organising team from Solway, Machars and East Ayrshire Car Clubs are excited to welcome competitors new and old to the Galloway Hills in September. Join us for an entertaining day and night of rallying on some great stages with a warm welcome for all on September 16th.

Competitors: for more information, click HERE
Marshals: for more information or to sign up, click HERE
Spectators: for more information, click HERE

You can catch up with all the latest news from the event on its social media feeds:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/gallowayhills
Twitter: www.twitter.com/gallowayhills
Instagram: www.instagram.com/gallowayhills

Image of 2022 event winners David Henderson & Chris Lees courtesy of Alan Scott Photography.