Inverness rally veteran Jimmy Girvan bridged an eighteen year gap to clinch his second Scottish Rally Championship with victory on Saturday's Merrick Forest Stages in Galloway.
The 1990 champion secured the title in his TEG-Sport Subaru Impreza on the penultimate round of the County Saab series after his rival David Bogie crashed out at the end of the third stage.
“It's been a fantastic day for me”, said Girvan, as he faced the TV cameras and photographers at the finish in Newton Stewart. “I was feeling good from the start - taking seven seconds out of David on the first stage, and I really thought OK – game on. Then he went off at the end of the third stage, so that was it, end of story.”
Girvan admitted to a loss of confidence prior to the Merrick, which he won last year under tie-break rules after finishing in a dead heat with Bogie.
“I felt a few weeks ago that the title could be running away from me, because David had two successive top scores and it looked quite solid for him, and I thought, I'm struggling here,” he explained.
“This time it was different though because I had nothing to lose by going flat out. I've probably learned a wee bit today in that I found the car going round some corners in a higher gear than I thought possible, so it's been a great learning curve as well.”
Reflecting on the gap between his two championship wins, Girvan - who gives his birth-date as 'the 50's' - quipped: “I would like to think it might go in the Guinness Book of Records - I don't know if there's been an older champion than myself!”
He also paid tribute to his season-long navigator Kirsty Riddick, who won the Scottish Co-drivers' Championship.
For Bogie and co-driver Kevin Rae, it was a day of bitter disappointment after a second half to the season which had shown such promise.
Their Toyota Corolla WRC crashed heavily after approaching a right hand corner too fast at the finish of the 7.3 mile Arroch Hill stage, careering off on the outside of the road. The rear of the car sustained serious damage.
“We're both OK - it could have been a lot worse - I'm just so disappointed with myself,” said Bogie.