Bogie swaps Mini for Escort as Donegal prep begins

Jim Clark Reivers Rally runner-up David Bogie is jumping out of a Mini WRC and into his Ford Escort Mk2 this week ahead of his latest assault on Donegal Rally’s modified title.

The Dumfries driver is no stranger to rallying in Ireland, his Donegal National win in 2016 remains a standout achievement for the multiple Scottish Rally Champion. Bogie retired from fifth in modifieds last time out in Donegal but is fully focused on pushing for a second success on the three-day event later this month.

First up, though, Bogie will tackle Saturday’s Tyrone Stages in his 2.5-litre Escort.

“We’re hoping to test the car on Thursday evening to get familiar again with the Escort,” Bogie told Rally Insight. “I was out in the Mini last weekend, it’s four-wheel-drive and right-hand-drive whereas the Escort is left-hand-drive and rear-wheel-drive.

“Jumping between cars, surfaces, and changing co-drivers this year has been quite tricky.

“That’s why we decided to do Tyrone, to get back up to speed with the Escort on tarmac.

“I’ll need to adapt my driving style, it’s completely different as you can imagine. Tyrone is all about getting familiar with the braking, grip levels, and handling over the bumps again.

“I’ve got Harry Marchbank in the car this weekend. He’s a local lad, I’ve known him for a long time now but we’ve never done a rally together.

“It’s a good opportunity to get Harry into the car, I’m sure he’ll do a good job.”

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Bogie currently leads the Scottish Rally Championship after three podium finishes including a win on the Speyside Stages. Before those Mini outings, Bogie won the two-wheel-drive section of Yorkshire’s East Riding Stages back in February.

Further two-wheel-drive wins at the end of last year in Mull and the Sperrins give him plenty of confidence heading into Donegal. With his Irish rivals battling a breakneck speed in the National and Tarmac Championships already this year, however, Bogie knows a visit to Tyrone is essential to prepare for the big one.

“Donegal’s pace on Friday is always absolutely crazy but you will see one or two drop by the wayside as the event goes on. You have to drive with a level head. 

“At the same time, you can’t go into it too tentatively because if you fall too far out of the race then you are never going to close the gap. It is a puzzle that has to be worked out.

“We need to make sure the car is ready and we are ready for three days of action.

“It would be fantastic to spray the champagne at the Mount Errigal but it will be a huge challenge.”

The 2011 British Rally Champion will compete in the same Escort he showcased in Donegal three years ago. He had hoped to debut a newly built variant this year but that Escort’s launch has been pushed back until after Donegal.

Still, Bogie knows his current Escort is good to go and more than capable of doing the job in two weeks’ time.

It’s fair to say, the 34-year-old is looking forward to the 2022 Donegal International Rally.

“The atmosphere on and off the stages is second to none, it can’t be rivalled. That is what brings me back to Donegal year after year.

“Of course the modified entry is unbelievable, it’s the best modified entry you will see on any rally.

“When I set about building a modified Escort, Donegal was the place I wanted to go with it. I suppose it is the jewel in the crown and it’s the one that everybody wants to win.

“I’ve been following the Irish events this year and the pace has been exceptional. The standard of driving, the standard of cars is crazy.

“Everyone is building up to Donegal so the pace this year is going to be crazy, it really is.

“Whoever drives over the finish ramp on Sunday, spraying the champagne, will 110% deserve it because it is going to be a long, hard rally.”

Adam Hall

Brought up in the Irish countryside, Adam was never far away from the world of rallying. From following local events like the Circuit of Ireland and the Ulster Rally, Adam now puts the stories from stages all around the world into words through his website Rally Insight.

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