Scottish Rally Championship provides Paul Beaton and Euan Thorburn chance to relaunch
PAUL Beaton is targeting a confidence-boosting run in the Scottish Rally Championship as he and Euan Thorburn seek to reignite their racing careers.
After two fairly stagnant years, the 2014 Scottish champions returned to contest the championship this season and co-driver Beaton hopes their form can start to pick up again.
They took second place in the Border Counties Rally in Jedburgh last weekend, following up a third place at Beaton’s home rally, the Snowman, in February.
A hugely frustrating 2016 in the Peugeot 208 looks to be behind them, with promising early signs in their new Ford Fiesta. Their second place was attained despite two punctures and being unable to recce the course.
Beaton, from Drakies, is hoping going toe-to-toe with long-time rival David Bogie, a five-time SRC champion, can help bring their best form to the fore.
“We spur each other on but he’s made a couple of extra leaps over the last couple of years, so it’s up to us to get back competing with him,” said Beaton. “When both he and Euan are at the top of their game, they bring the best out of each other.
“We’re looking at what he’s doing now, compared to a couple of years ago when he was probably looking at what we’re doing. He’s on phenomenal pace just now.
“We’re doing the Scottish championship because the stages are proven – we don’t need to spend time learning rallies. We can focus on ourselves, the car and get confidence back.
“We’ve probably been a bit hard on ourselves in the past, in terms of comparing our pace with the British Rally Championship guys. But we’re our own harshest critics. The aim is to be up to speed with them by the end of the year and have a proper go at the British next year.”
While Thorburn, from Duns in the Borders, and Beaton took second behind reigning SRC champion Jock Armstrong, Bogie was forced to retire on stage six after a rock damaged the steering in his car, when he was on pace to challenge the leaders.
As well as competing in the Scottish championship, Beaton and Thorburn are also accumulating BRC points. The Border Counties acted as a double-header, with entrants for both the BRC and SRC taking to the course. Their time of 56:26.8 was good enough for ninth in the BRC standings.
Beaton, an electrician with IRN Security in Inverness, and Thorburn are self-funding their SRC drive, while funding from Thorburn’s father Alistair, a former rally driver, is putting them through the BRC season.
While they expect to be off the pace off the best cars in the championship, there is a determination driving on Beaton and Thorburn to upset the applecart.
“We quite like the giant-killing aspect of it,” said Beaton. “The talent is there but we’re just not able to compete financially with some of these guys.”
The pair are back in action when the third round of the Scottish championship comes to Elgin with the Speyside Stages on April 22.
“We’ve been on the podium a few times before and the stages and organisation there are excellent,” added Beaton. “There’s never any real dramas.”