'206 Winter Cup : Action Stations'
Galloway Hills Rally, Sunday December 1st, 2002
The 206 Winter Cup is ready for action, on the one day, 45 mile event by Castle Douglas, in the Galloway Hills of Southern Scotland. The Cup is an offshoot of the very successful 206 Super Cup, which had it's inaugural year last year. Rather than wait out the winter season, Peugeot have established a new three round championship to fill the gap between the end of the 206 Super Cup in October, to the restart in March next year.
The Galloway Hills Rally is the first of the three rounds, with fast, flowing stages, a real test to the competitors. Traditionally an Irish/Scottish/English battleground, the fourteen registered competitors to the foray will assist the buzz which this event has always had.
Eight of the fourteen are new to the Peugeot Challenge, but aim to make their mark on the series. The Winter Cup is being hailed as a precursor to the main event, the 206 Super Cup, but make no mistake, these will be trying. Welshman, 17 year old Stuart Jones, son of "mad Mick", is making this his first championship, while 19 year old Phillip Morrow of Lisburn is swopping his lorry for the quicker steed with brother Simon alongside to keep him right. Leon Pesticcio is another Welshman, though with a few years experience, despite only being 21. Olly Marshall from York joined the 206 Super Cup for the first time on the Tempest Rally, so is still a relative newcomer to the series, though he won Class A7 in his Golf in the British Rally Championship before swopping mounts.
Sebastian Ling comes from Cilwendeg in Wales, a famous area in road rallying terms but he is a relative newcomer to motorsport, while Tim Cowper steps up from a Peugeot 106, as does Clive Wheeler from Brighton. Shane McCarthy is the only southern Irish competitor to the fray, but has a good pedigree, while Jon Tucker from Devon will also make his first start to the Cup.
And then back come the old hands to the Cup. Front runner Mike Faulkner aims to uphold Scottish honours, being the only local, while Martin Evans has had his fair share of bad luck in the Cup so will try to avoid the gremlins. Matt Jessup from Maidstone was a complete novice last year, but managed to put in some good times, despite a few crashes. He is joined by cousins Ben and Simon Roper from Halifax who also had some torrid times in the Cup. Richard Sykes from Stourbridge is also a front runner on a good day, and will try to avoid problems on the early stages, his usual reason for being out of the top five!
The action starts from Market Hill in Castle Douglas, at 09:00, with the first 206 Winter Cup runner away at number 32. Five stages and two service halts make up the event, which finishes back in daylight at the Douglas Arms in Castle Douglas at 13:45.