Mach 1 Stages Preview

Topping the entries are the 3 main protagonists in the championship story so far. Rian Walker and Stuart McBride have taken a win down South but have yet to stand on the top step of the podium in Scotland this year. Surely, it’s just a matter of time before they do.

Winners at Kames, Jack Ryan and Robin Nicolson have stood on the podium at every round in 2023. After some engine issues towards the end of round 3 the car will have been refreshed before Mach 1 and should be back to its’ best.

2-time winners in 2023, Oliver Phillips and Barry Young come into this round in the lead of the championship. The wide-open spaces of Machrihanish are very similar in nature to the 2 venues that they have come out on top at already, which should bode well for the Citigo crew.

Behind the top 3, 2 crews have begun pushing themselves and each other in a bid to get closer to the front runners. Thomas Milne and Neil Jeffrey have been absolutely flying all year in their venerable Nissan Micra, a change of front suspension at the start of the year giving Thomas even more confidence in the car.

Ruan Lowry and Ian McRae switched to a Citigo at the start of the season and have been building their pace with every round. The battle between the Skoda and the Nissan was one of the features of round 3 at Crail, the 2 crews separated by just 3 seconds after 4 stages.

Behind the Skoda and Nissan are 3 more crews who are starting to get closer to their pace. Lauchlan Hunter and Richard Simmonds, Alfie Letham and Craig Wallace and Ollie Forrester and George Myatt were all swapping times at the previous round at Crail.

Lauchlan is the least experienced, only 3 rallies into his career. The Yaris pilot has already impressed with his speed and bravery, finding the car’s limits, particularly at the last round with a big spin in front of the spectator bankings.

Alfie Letham and Craig Wallace are heading into only their 3rd event with Skoda power. Debuting the car at Kames and learning more about it last time out, they had plans to adjust the car setup for Machrihanish to allow Alfie to get more out of the car.

Ollie Forrester and George Myatt debuted their Citigo at round 1 this year. It’s been a difficult start for the new car, held back with both brake issues and suspension problems. A change of front suspension at Crail was a step forward for them to build on for Mach 1.

JJ Jutley and Ted Runciman’s season has been action packed so far. JJ finding the 107s limits on every event of the season but getting quicker each time out.

The Peugeot crew have spent the majority of the year chasing the times of Lucy Cree and Chloe Fleming, Lucy one of the most improved drivers over the last couple of years. It’s been a good year for the Citigo, both on the stages and in their continuing association with the Cash for Kids charity.

Fellow Citigo crew Thomas Babb and Paul Gribben have joined Jutley and Runciman in the quest to chase Cree and Fleming’s times. The white car ran the silver one fairly close at Crail despite shunting a bale early on.

Aaron Dickson and Alan Edwards make a return after ending their rally early with a roll at round 2. Mach 1 will be an event of rebuilding pace and confidence in the rebuilt 107.

Freddie Johnson’s run at Crail was interrupted with an unfortunate loss of a wheel mid-stage.The VW driver was lying a strong 8th at the time so the pace is clearly there. For Machrihanish he has a new navigator alongside in the experienced Simon Mills.

Amie Wallace and Keith Morris head into their 3rd J1000 event. Amie’s progress since the start of the year has been very impressive. With 2 days in the car at Mach 1 there should be another leap over the weekend.
2 drivers make their junior debut at Machrihanish. William Paterson is the latest member of the well-known Paterson family to step into a rally car with his very tidy blue Nissan Micra. With SRC front runner Mark McCulloch in the hotseat for this round and his family’s vast experience he is sure to learn quickly.

Daniel Campbell-Hill is the 2nd debutant. Introduced to the juniors when he accompanied his Freddie Johnson to Kames, Daniel will be out in a VW Up! prepared by Freddie’s dad Wayne. He has the very experienced Chris Hamill alongside.

The 2-day format of Mach 1 means there are 2 points scoring opportunities for the crews. All the action takes place on the 8th and 9th of July.

Photos: BeckSport Media

About the author

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Rhona Dickie

Rhona is our Discipline Representative for the J1000 Ecosse Challenge.

She has always had a passion for motorsport and as teenager could be seen out spectating on the rally stages. She first became involved with the J1000 Ecosse Challenge when it was first launched back in 2012, as her son was one of the very first competitors in the championship. Initially Rhona took on the roles of Safeguarding Officer and Membership Secretary. In 2021, she became the Coordinator of the Championship. When time allows, Rhona can also be seen marshalling. She is a member of RSAC Motorsport and is also their Club Safeguarding Officer.