Sunday, 10 December 2017

Rally - 2018 STRC plans

No, it's not a trailer for the 2018 re-make of Reservoir Dogs. This was the unsavoury line-up (apart from Miss Pink) pictured in deepest Ayrshire at the weekend to mark the announcement of a stellar line-up of supporters and celebrities for the 2018 Scottish Tarmack Rally Championship.

Put's a whole new meaning on the definition of  Tarmack - let's get laid and get rolled! eh?

Friday, 8 December 2017

Rally - Motorsport News

There was personal column in this week's 'Motorsport News' that many of you won't have seen - because you don't buy the weekly paper, which is a shame because if we don't buy it, it will disappear. Where else can you get a weekly round-up of ALL motorsport in one publication? And yes, I know it has fewer pages which means shorter reports and news, but that's because you all advertise on bluidy t'internet these days!

Oops, getting carried away, again. As I was saying there was an opinionated column in the paper which generated a bit of discussion and also a request for wider circulation so I have reproduced the full text of the column below just in case those who haven't seen it think it might be of interest:

The Column

"  It would appear from the mainstream media reports on the outcome of the recent Fatal Accident Inquiry in Edinburgh that many reporters and journalists didn't bother to read the full 62,879 word, 172 page 'Determination'. Most of them appeared to concentrate on the word 'avoidable' and wrote their stories starting from there.

Sensation seeking at its best. To hell with the facts and the truth. Go for the headline.

Cynical? That's for sure. Sometimes I despair at the way my 'profession' is heading.

Unlike Sheriff Maciver. He quickly got a pretty good grasp of the nature of this complex sport run by amateurs and the circumstances surrounding both events. It was indeed a most considered and thoughtful summation of those dreadful events on those two separate dark days in Scottish rallying.

The mass media have now had their day and their headlines, and the sport has already moved on. Indeed it had already incorporated most of the recommendations from the Sheriff's Determination and is working on the rest, particularly the difficult problem of tracking rally cars through stages.

This is not something to be smug about. The sport itself has been slow to react, till now. The shocking tragedy which befell spectators on the 1986 Rally of Portugal should have sparked a major review of spectator safety. Particularly since the leading drivers of the day went on strike. Sadly, it wasn't till Henri Toivonen and Sergio Cresto's death just two months later on the Rally of Corsica that prompt action was taken - for drivers and co-drivers, but not for spectators.

Since then much has indeed been done, just not quickly enough. It could be argued that the sport's various national sporting authorities across Europe and the overall governing body have been rather slower to react. It's only in the past three years following the Scottish Government instigated Motor Sport Safety Review Group  that the sport has seen a radical shake-up. Making the whole sport safer not just for participants, but for spectators too.

It could be argued the British Motor Sports Association is leading the way on rally safety, as there doesn't appear to be the same urgency in other countries as ongoing TV coverage shows.

And lest we forget. There were other victims. The drivers. The accident on the Snowman Rally was nothing unusual for our sport, but the outcome was horrific. As for the Jim Clark accident, the Sheriff himself recognised that one individual put himself in jeopardy, but the problem was, he had others with him.

Both these drivers also have to live with the dreadful outcomes on those fateful days and not just the families and friends of those lost.

As other tragedies have shown, it's not just rallying. Spectators have to exercise some degree of personal responsibility when attending ANY sporting event - not only to themselves but to the sport they are watching. "

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Race - Jonathan Rea

On Sunday evening, the 10th of December many of us will be sitting on the sofa watching the telly. Particularly the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Show.

I for one have a particular interest as I will be voting on the night. And the person I will be voting for is a charming young man from Northern Ireland called Jonathan Rea.

Mention bikers to most folks and they think either of lycra clad skinny blokes pedalling up awfy steep hills or the greasy, unwashed variety with tattoos and beards - and the men are even worse.

Nothing could be farther from the truth in this case. Jonathan is a lovely and humble bloke. More than that he is hugely talented and hard working, and this year earned his third World Superbike title in a row riding a Kawasaki for the factory team.

In the cut throat world of motor cycle racing where elbows are used to fend off rivals and knees scrape the tarmac at 190 mph, this happily married father of two goes about his business with professionalism, good humour and a well hidden ruthless streak - which only becomes apparent on the track.

I don't profess to know him, but I met him a few times during his formative years in the British Superbike Championship when I was involved with the Press Office at Knockhill (crikey, that was ten years ago, and more!) and I remember him with affection. I am still a big fan.

So I will be casting my vote for Jonathan on Sunday evening, and if any of you out there don't fancy any of the other sports men or women, and are lovers of courageous and gifted masters of machines then by all means feel free to vote for Jonathan.

And if you weren't planning on voting, now you have a good reason.

Details of how to cast your vote will be given during the show on the night and you can either phone in or do it on-line. Over to youse!

Race - Scots in USA

Ross Martin

Now I know they are not rallyists, but the 2017 Scottish Formula Ford 1600 Champion, Ross Martin and rising star Jamie Thorburn race under the Saltire, so we should support their efforts.

Anyway, the boys are off to Americky next weekend as part of the 'Mazda Road to Indy Shootout' awards scheme. They are amongst sixteen young drivers (including Ireland's Niall Murray) who have been selected from a list of around 400 young drivers from all around the world, so they are in pretty good company. The fact that there are TWO Scots in such an illustrious group says a lot for the quality of young drivers coming up through the ranks in Scotland.

Jamie Thorburn
So just what would winning the top $200,000 prize in this scholarship Shootout mean to these young drivers? Well, last year's winner, Oliver Askew, went on to win this year's USF2000 title. This has earned him a second Mazda scholarship and as a result as he will go forward into the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires in 2018.
The Shootout will take place at the Bondurant Racing School in Phoenix Arizona on 9th & 10th of December at the wonderfully named Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.

Unfortunately we won't know who's won for some weeks after it, as Mazda will pick a time and place to make the announcement. Anyway, fingers crossed for both young men. I'm sure we all wish them well. Gaun yersels boys.

Just a pity that no such schemes are available to aspiring young rally drivers, eh? You know what, I feel another opinionated column coming on!!

Monday, 4 December 2017

Rally - Knockhill report

Josh Davey led the Beatson's Building Supplies Knockhill Stages all the way from the first stage to the 7th. Trouble was there was an 8th stage as well! Chris West went on to win from Nigel Feeney and Taylor Gibb. For the most comprehensive rally report to be found anywhere in print, there is only one source. Plus - has Donnie MacDonald got a new nickname? 

Full report here: