Scottish title win can relaunch careers of Paul Beaton and Euan Thorburn
A SCOTTISH title win can put Paul Beaton and Euan Thorburn back on trackto make a name for themselves in the world of rallying.
Inverness co-driver Beaton admits that the last few years have not goneanywhere near to plan for himself and Thorburn, but bringing home theSocttish Rally Championship would go some way towards rectifiying that.
A win at the Grampian Stages this weekend would hand the title to Beatonand Thorburn, giving them their second Scottish win three years aftertheir first.
With that comes qualification to Rally GB in Wales, which is thepenultimate round of the World Rally Championship.
The next goal is to get back into the British championship and get moresponsors on board, which again has held them back.
Beaton and Thorburn, from Duns, are 10 points clear of last year’schampions Jock Armstrong and Paula Swinscoe, who are likely to be theirmain competitors in Aberdeen.
However, the addition of old nemesis David Bogie, who they pipped to thetitle in 2014, to the field, will add a bit of spice to the occasion.
Also joining the field is Paul Bird, who is making his comeback tomotorsport after serving a two-year ban for a failed drugs test in July2015.
It sets it up nicely for Beaton and Thorburn, with a win in theircomeback season in the championship enough to get their careers off theground again.
“We started off not expecting much and were just going to use theScottish championship as a testing ground for the car,” said Beaton.“But we felt it gradually get better and we can tell we’re makingstrides forward with the car.
“We’re not where we want to be but that’s always going to take time.It’s worked in our favour and any publicity that comes off winning isgood publicity.
“Hopefully that bodes will in terms of getting more sponsors on board.”
Beaton, an electrician with IRN Security, readily admits the pair havedropped the ball as far as pushing for sponsors is concerned.
They managed half a season in the British Rally Championship last seasonbefore having to pull out due to costs.
Winning the Scottish title and capitalising on a buzz around theirperformances is a must this time.
“Now is the time to start looking, now we’re in a good position in theScottish,” said Beaton. “We need to start pushing ourselves andpromoting a bit more. We used to be one of the best on social media butwe let it slip.
“We kind of took a back seat with it until we got up to speed with thecar and until we felt we had something to offer.
“I’m trying to enjoy it a bit more than 2014. We had a good battle withDavid Bogie and managed to get the better of him. Not many are able todo that.
“It was always a good rivalry and he’s gone on to get to grips with theR5 car and he’s doing the British championship. We’ve taken a bit of aback seat and not done as much as we would have liked. But he’s thebenchmark of where we would like to get to.”
The duo had hoped to enter three rounds of the World Rally Championshipthis year, with a view to relaunching a bid for the British championshipnext year.
Beaton set the target of being on pace with the leading cars in theBritish, something he feels they are on course for.
They missed out on returning to the Ypres Rally in Belgium, as itcoincided with the Argyll Rally, which they took by four seconds tostrengthen their position at the top of the leaderboard.
“That’s the kind of level we want to be at but finances won’t stretchthat far,” said Beaton. “The next level down is the British, which isabout the same speed as the guys in WRC2 are competing at.
“But the next step for us is the British and we can take it from there.”
Donnie MacDonald and Andrew Falconer return to SRC action in theirFiesta R5 after missing the Argyll Rally due to the clashing YpresRally, with five-time SRC champion Bogie also returning to the series inhis Skoda Fabia R5.
Culloden Car Sales owner MacDonald sits just inside the championship top10, with a good points-haul this weekend good enough to close the gap onSimon Hay in seventh.
In the two-wheel drive section, Kiltarlity-born Dougal Brown can take ahuge step towards the title by winning his section.
Brown shares the lead with Michael Stuart and a win, ahead of the finalrace in Galloway Hills next month, will give him a huge advantage as thechampionship draws to a close.