Saturday, 19 August 2017

Rally - Tyneside extra

There is one major fault with the two-day Solway Coast Rally. It clashes with the Tyneside Stages at Otterburn. This year was no exception. Instead of enjoying the convivial company and extremely reasonably priced bevvy in the Officer's Mess on the Saturday evening, it was off to the rainy and windswept Otterburn moors for the second event of the weekend's Scottish Tarmack series double header.

A great pity, because this year's Solway Sunday event attracted Junior 1000 rallyists from Englandshire, Welshland and Northern Ireland as well as our lot, plus a whole gaggle of Minis and a couple of other Historics to add to the jamboree. On the other hand, there was no sair heid on Sunday morning.

Anyway, a report on the Scots abroad at Tyneside is now in the on-line mag:

And another thing. The latest issue of Scotland's 'other' rally magazine, is now on sale, the indefatigable Bob Irvine has just produced Issue number 8 and deserves to be supported. It's available on Ebay, just type in 'Scottish Rally Scene' and you can buy the new copy (and past issues) on  line, or look out for Bob at the Crail Stages and Galloway Hills.

As usual, the 48 page magazine is printed on good quality paper and is packed full of photos plus rally reports and chats with Kevin Gray, Ian Forgan and the Peacock family, while the club in the spotlight is Skye & Lochalsh Rally Club.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Rally - 2018 BRC dates

Following on from yesterday's Royal Scottish Automobile Club revelation, the British Rally Championship has announced its calendar for next year, and there's news of a 'replacement' event which has been added to the series in October!

Click the link below for the full text of their announcement.

There's also news from the Isle of Man who are seeking Marshals for their event next month. It would appear that there are deals to be had for anyone heading over to officiate from £35 a head. I don't know the full details but it must be worth a look if you have your MSA Marshals Accred. More info here:


Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Rally - Scottish out of BRC

The Royal Scottish Automobile Club issued a rather brief Press Release this morning. Methinks they are none too chuffed.

Is this a kick in the teeth for Scottish rally fans who want to see the stars of the future, or a blessing to those who think the various 'national' championship competitors get a raw deal when combined with BRC?

Full text of PR follows:

--- RSAC Scottish Rally will not be a round of the 2018 British Rally Championship

The Board of RSAC Motorsport Ltd were very disappointed to be informed by the organisers of the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship (BRC) that the RSAC Scottish Rally would not be a round of the championship in 2018.

The rally has been supportive of the BRC over many years, through thick and thin, and sometimes to its financial detriment.

In 2017, the rally moved from its usual June date specifically to accommodate the desire of the championship to introduce a foreign event to its calendar, and additionally changed many other aspects of the event including the route, service area and finish venue to suit BRC requirements, notwithstanding the challenges these created for the organising team and the adverse impact on the event’s financial budget.

Despite this news, planning for next year’s event is already well underway, with a focus on providing a great event and experience for both competitors and spectators.

With the ongoing valued support and engagement of Dumfries & Galloway Council and the organisers of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship, the organising team look forward to welcoming everyone to the region for the 2018 Scottish Rally.


Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Rally - Solway blethers

The garage with three bosses, and bare bum cheeks in the summer sunshine - Scottish rallying at its finest, eh? It's all in Scotland's on-line rally mag.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Rally - Solway Coast report

Mark McCulloch and Michael Hendry won the Solway Coast Rally on the glorious Costa del Solway by just 4 seconds from Stephen Thompson and Larry Higton with Shaun Sinclair and Jamie Edwards filling out the podium places. It was Mark's fifth successive win on this event beating Ian Paterson 's previous best of 4 Solway victories. Greg McKnight was in the hunt too - until the final stage ...

There's a full report here in Scotland's on-line rally mag:

News and Gossip to follow - including the story about the bare-faced 'cheeks' of a Marshal. It could only happen here!

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Rally - Grampian champion

David Bogie won the Grampian Forest Rally but Euan Thorburn has clinched the ARR Craib Scottish Rally Championship title with one round to go.

It was a fast and furious day in the Grampian forests which were in excellent nick. One or two wee rain showers during the day and some rain yesterday ensured that dust wasn’t much of a problem, unless you caught the car in front!

After his Ypres shunt, the lads at CA1 Sport had to re-shell Bogie’s Skoda, and they did it in 4 days. From bare shell to firing it up and then David had a test at Sweet Lamb last week and he was ready to go today. And go he did, fastest on each of the day’s six stages: “Those were some of the best stages in Scotland,” he said, “they were even better second time through.”

Thorburn was almost a minute down on the leader: “All I had to do today was to beat Jock,” said Euan, “I turned the anti-lag down and drove in the middle of the road for the last two stages. Happy days.”

Paul Bird had to fight for third place, and a stirring time on the last stage just pipped Armstrong for third: “This is my first rally in a while,” said Paul, “and I came up here for the competition - because these lads are quick.” Nice compliment for Scottish rallying, eh? But he did have a Scottish co-driver, one Stuart Louden Esq.

As for Armstrong he finished fourth 1 second behind Bird: “I was just about off on the last two bends of the last stage,” said Jock, “that didn’t help.” Neither did a broken finger. Jock had a bandage on his right pinkie after an operation to insert pins into the bones and it was catching the wheel rim and his leg at times but he didn’t make excuses.

Shaun Sinclair finished fifth just 3 seconds behind Armstrong: “I’m disappointed,” said Shaun, “not with the car or anything else, I’m disappointed with ME.”

Rounding off the top six was Mike Faulkner, but there was no Quintin Milne. He was excluded before the rally start. It was alleged that he had been seen in the forest earlier in the week and Forest Enterprise took a dim view of that and reported the incident to the rally organisers.

Angus Lawrie was top 1600 after a good day but rival Keith Riddick spent some quality time examining the flora and fauna in Scottish ditch and he finished some 42 seconds behind Lawrie.

Leaderboard after 6 (of 6) stages:
1, David Bogie, 41m 17s
2, Euan Thorburn, 42m 15s
3, Paul Bird, 42m 38s
4, Jock Armstrong, 42m 39s
5, Shaun Sinclair, 42m 42s
6, Mike Faulkner, 42m 56s
7, Mark McCulloch, 43m 05s
8, Bruce McCombie, 43m 13s
9, Donnie MacDonald, 44m 06s
10, Michael Binnie, 44m 33s

Friday, 11 August 2017

Rally - In the huff

Motorsport News didn't print my letter this week, so I took the huff. This was sent after reading Colin Clark's column last week, and whilst I agreed with most of what he said, I felt he had overlooked one very important fact. The press was initially reporting that four 'spectators' had been fatally injured in two separate accidents.

I didn't have any major problems with those who don't understand the sport or reporters using the wrong rallying terminology, but when they get an intrinsic fact wrong, then surely that has to be highlighted.

This week there has been a noticeable change in the tone of the reports emanating from the FAI. Even the most sensation seeking reporter has realised that the circumstances surrounding the second accident are completely different from the first and whilst the death of one spectator is one too many, the blame for the other three should not be attributed to the organisers or the competitors involved.

We should also pay tribute to the organisers and volunteers who have done so much to implement the recommendations of the Motor Sport Safety Review Group and the MSA, and also Forest Enterprise who in many cases have gone above and beyond their obligations to help organisers create spectator areas in our forests.

But Colin is right, real change will only come from the spectators themselves. People must assume some responsibility for their own actions. Sadly we live in an age where someone else is apparently always to blame. When people walk into a forest to watch rally cars, they will pass Notices at the entrance which state 'Motor Sport is Dangerous'. Makes you wonder how many folk actually read them and then make their choice.

Anyway make up your own mind. There's a copy of the column here and a copy of my letter:

---  Dear Sir/Madam/Mz,

Referring to the Fatal Accident Inquiry currently underway in Edinburgh, Colin Clark posed the question last week: "Perhaps we're over-sensitive to bad coverage?"

He's right - up to a point. There's a difference between bad coverage and inaccurate coverage and I think that's what riles people, especially rally fans.

My first ever journalistic job was with a small Scottish newspaper called 'Motor News & Advertiser' (no relation to MSN!) and I was given a  piece of sound advice by the wizened old Editor: "Get the facts right and the story will take care of itself."

And that's the point that irks me about the press reports coming out of the FAI. I am not bothered about the mistaken terminology, but the use of the term 'spectators.'

While one spectator fatality in our sport is one too many, the three fatalities involved in the second accident under investigation could not be classed as spectators. Two were signed-on as Media and they had two friends travelling with them who were not signed on.

To suggest there were 'four spectator fatalities' is therefore misleading and casts an even darker shadow over our sport.

Over the past 18 months, the MSA has introduced and led a transformation of the organisation of our sport and the work is still progressing thanks to the efforts and enthusiasm of countless volunteers across the country. And yet there is still much to do.

Perhaps Mr Clark could ask another question at the next World Championship event he attends - When will the FIA  take action?

As for the comments and opinions in my own personal Blog, I will continue to report on the sport and endeavour to be as factually accurate as I can be.    ----