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IN PICTURES: Speyside Stages rally returns in all its glory after two-year absence

Many spectators lined the streets of Elgin to watch attend the popular event on Saturday. Picture by Jason Hedges
Many spectators lined the streets of Elgin to watch attend the popular event on Saturday. Picture by Jason Hedges

Crowds of spectators gathered to watch a popular car rally today after it returned to Elgin following a two-year absence.

The finely-tuned vehicles and and mild weather drew throngs of spectators to watch the 104 rally drivers race against the clock.

Drivers from across the country had to navigate Moray countryside as well as racing through the heart of Elgin on the 45 mile track.

Crowds lined up to watch rally drivers start the dash through Cooper Park and negotiate sharp turns outside Grant Lodge and Elgin Cathedral.

Crowds lined the track to watch drivers race through Cooper Park in Elgin where the race started. Picture Jason Hedges/DCT Media

The event is organised by The 63 Car Club in Elgin, who were delighted to see it return after two years way due to Covid.

It is hoped the well-attended Speyside Stages event will also benefit local businesses over the weekend due to an increase in footfall throughout the city.

The competition has two stages with the bulk of the race taking place through the forest. However, clerk of the course, Neil Shanks, said it was important to have some of the track run through Elgin.

He said: “It gives us the chance of bringing the event to the people and people who probably wouldn’t get the chance to see a rally normally.

“And that was rewarded by a really big crowd. It’s probably the largest number of spectators we’ve had in a good few years so that was really good to see and put the event off to a really good start.”

The rally starts in Cooper Park but the majority of the course takes place in the forest area surrounding Keith and Huntly. Picture Jason Hedges/DCT Media

The winners

Mr Shanks said the amount of spectators show that people are looking to get out and and do things again.

He said: “I think the turn out of spectators kind of shows that the appetite is definitely still there for the event.

“You’re never sure when something doesn’t run for so long on how it’s going to be received or if people are still keen to follow the event.

“But I think the the amount of spectators we had out and the interest locally that there’s been in the event as well has been a really good thing for the rally and for the town.”

There was some fierce competition throughout the day, with a “tight battle” at the front between Jock Armstrong, from Castle Douglas, and David Bogie, from Dumfries.

Bogie eventually pulled ahead in the final couple of stages to take the win – which Mr Shanks said was his 10th or 11th victory at the event.

David Bogie took the win. Picture: Jason Hedges/DCT Media

Some of the best pictures of the day

Drivers had to navigate around hay bales and sharp turns in Cooper Park. Picture Jason Hedges/DCT Media
Driver goes to work on his vehicle. Picture Jason Hedges/DCT Media
Local businesses welcomed the event as spectators took to the streets in Elgin. Picture Jason Hedges/DCT Media
Car tackles a tight corner at the circuit. Picture Jason Hedges/DCT Media
Over one thousand people turned up to the rally. Picture Jason Hedges/DCT Media
The last time the event went ahead in 2019, it marked the rally’s 20th anniversary making this year’s competition the 21st year it has been running. Picture Jason Hedges/DCT Media
A huge crowd lined the twisty section near Grant Lodge, which is normally used as a car park. Picture Jason Hedges/DCT Media
Drivers performed sharp handbrake turns in front of the historic Grant Lodge. Picture Jason Hedges/DCT Media
Drivers raced along 45 miles of track through Moray countryside and Elgin city. Picture Jason Hedges/DCT Media
104 crew started in the race on Saturday morning and around 75 crews made it over the finish line. Picture Jason Hedges/DCT Media
The Cooper Park challenge has been a fixture of the event, which is organised by the local 63 Car Club, since 1999. Picture Jason Hedges/DCT Media
Grant Lodge in Cooper Park was built between 1766 and 1790 and was designed by the great Scottish Architect Robert Adam. Picture Jason Hedges/DCT Media
Mr Shanks said the rally is the perfect way to keep the family entertained at a low cost while getting to see some spectacular motor sport locally. Picture Jason Hedges/DCT Media
David Bogie and Barney Mitchell celebrating the win after coming first in the race. Picture: Jason Hedges/DCT Media
Crew in the top three cars celebrated outside Moray College. Picture: Winners in first place today, David Bogie and Barney Mitchell spraying each other with champagne. Picture: Jason Hedges/DCT Media
Pictured: Winners coming in first place David Bogie and Barney Mitchell in car one, Michael Binnie and Claire Mole in second place in car two and Jock Armstrong and Cameron Fair placing third in car four. Picture: Jason Hedges/DCT Media

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