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Inverness driver receives top award after impressive Snowman Rally performance

By Will Clark

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INVERNESS rally driver Keir Beaton received the John Horton Star Driver Award at the Coogie Urquhart Snowman Rally.

Keir Beaton driving his Ford Escort MK2
Keir Beaton driving his Ford Escort MK2

The brother of reigning Scottish Rally Champion co-driver Paul Beaton received the award by finishing 11th in the race last weekend.

The Ford Escort MK2 driver received the award ahead of Snowman Rally winner Michael Binnie, Scottish 2WD winner Mark McCulloch, Albyn Garage SRC Challengers victor Ian Forgan and top front-wheel-drive runner Bobby Mitchell.

The judges made the decision due to Beaton’s blinding pace that saw him level with McCulloch heading into the final 11.85 mile stage

“I hadn’t been looking at times all day. I was just told that I was sitting 11th and I knew I was close to Mark,” Beaton revealed.

“I just went in as hard as I could on the last one but something went on the car about four miles from the end and I think it was something to do with the diff.

"I started losing drive so I haemorrhaged a lot of time in there. I was actually worried about getting home as the car was making a hell of a lot of noises and vibrations, but we got back.

“It’s really encouraging to know that the pace is really there when things all come together,” he continued.

“Everyone had their issues – Mark got a puncture and we caught a car in the first one and just went off on the second one – so I think the battle is going to be great. I just wish that Iain Wilson hadn’t retired because the more you battle with, the better it makes you go.”

Beaton ended up losing 40 seconds to McCulloch on that last stage but walked away with a class win and 11th overall.

As part of his award he will receive a virtual mentor session with British Rally Champion Matt Edwards with his name now in the reckoning to receive a test in an R5.car

“I’m delighted with the result. It still hasn’t really sunk in to be honest,” Beaton said.

“I never, ever thought I would get it. There’s obviously a lot of talent out there in the SRC.

"When I saw who was in the nominations with me, I couldn’t believe it. I thought ‘for goodness sake, it’s good to at least be nominated.

"But I’ve had a lot of good feedback from people and it’s quite overwhelming. It means a lot to us as it is the local event so it was good to go for it on that one."

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