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SRC: Merrick Stages in ‘great nick`.

The stages to be used on this year's Merrick Forest Stages Rally on September 6 have been given the 'thumbs up' by the man who prepares the route notes for competitors.

Bill Sturrock of Scotmaps has driven through the six stages in the Galloway Forest and declared them to be in 'great nick'.

With just over 43 stage miles, and only 69 road miles, the Merrick is one of the most compact rallies on the County Saab Scottish Championship calendar, and last year won The Chairman's Cup for best SRC event.

The event also has the advantage of being just 25 miles from the ferry port at Stranraer - which is an important consideration for Irish competitors.

Keen to build on last year's winning format, the organisers have gone one better this time by bringing the pre-event formalities of signing-on and scrutineering into Newton Stewart itself - cutting out the previous 15-mile round-trip to Bladnoch Distillery.

For the first time, the rally will start and finish in the centre of Newton Stewart – with the main thoroughfare - Victoria Street - closed off, to provide a spectacle for the public.

On leaving the town, competitors will head north to the first test – the 6.23 mile stage at Loch Derry.

From there, it is on to Glentrool Forest and the Drumjohn stage - at 8.82 miles the second-longest of the runs.

The cars will then head to the purpose-built service area at Glencaird, which was deemed a major success when used for the first time in 2007.

After the first 30-minute service stop, competitors will drive the short distance to the 7.26 mile third stage at Arroch Hill, before tackling the two shortest stages at Balloch and Linfern - each just over 3-miles in length.

Competitors will then have the benefit of a 70-minute service break at Glencaird in preparation for the famous Glentrool test - regarded by many as one of the best rally stages in the UK, and which this year will total 14.04 miles.

To further spice up the challenge, much of the Glentrool stage will be run in the opposite direction.

The cars will then head back to Newton Stewart for a champagne finish, followed later by the rally prize-giving taking place at the local cinema.



Related Pictures

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Jimmy Girvan. Merrick Forest Stages. Sept 2008. [Pic credit: RALLY-PHOTO.COM]
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