Thursday 13 June 2024

Rally - Jock's Run - Bulletin 2

Biggar Young Farmers Club have plans well in hand for Jock’s Run on Saturday 29th June and so far over 80 vehicles have been signed up, albeit with an unknown number of drivers and passengers so hopefully they won’t run out of burgers and ice cream!

On that note it would be really helpful to know how many are planning on attending. There is now a new method of registering your attendance without the need for Facebook – send a Text to 07708 343 889 – all they need to know is your name, vehicle reg and what vehicle. So far, the automotive ‘entry list’ includes just about every type of automotive conveyance from motor bikes and quads to cars, vans and trucks, not to mention tractors!!

As for the route, it is a little over 20 miles in length and it actually runs close by Jock’s family home, so if he can’t make the showground, hopefully he’ll be fit enough to sit in the garden and wave!

Biggar YFC will have ‘volunteer helpers’ on the day registering folk and their vehicles on arrival and taking the money. Cash is preferred as the phone signal at Biggar Showground can’t be relied on for the card machines, although such machines will be on hand! There will also be a supply of buckets where any spare cash can be deposited. The idea of course is to generate as much in the way of cash donations for the CJD Support Network as possible. CJD is a horrible disease with many similarities to MND and we all know how bad that is. Your support is vital.

After the run, burgers will be available at £3.50, so no rip-off prices like we often see at some other outdoor events and the ice cream is from Taylor’s of Biggar. This has been sampled at length (at much personal cost) to ensure taste and succulence on the day.

Naturally this tasting and testing process will be ongoing. As for the burgers, they haven’t been tested yet, so that’s yet another arduous chore for the organisers!

Wednesday 12 June 2024

Race - Sir Jackie Stewart OBE

To mark Jackie Stewart’s 85th birthday (11th June) Scots born (Motherwell) motoring and motor sports journalist and author Eric Dymock has redesigned and republished a book he wrote over 50 years ago, entitled: “Jackie Stewart World Champion, Ten Years To A Title”.

It was quite a book then, it’s a better book now. Eric was already a well known and highly respected journalist when he wrote this book in conjunction with Jackie himself. In fact Eric knew Jackie before Jackie started motor racing as he had already reported on Jackie’s older brother Jimmy’s career and was also closely following Jim Clark’s career. 

This updated book gives a remarkable and personal insight into Jackie’s early career which commenced in 1959 and ten years later he was world champion in 1969. In both his own words and those of an ever observant Eric Dymock, the book describes Jackie’s progress from amateur to professional and from saloon and sports cars to Formula 1.

Also, a contribution from every sale is going to ‘Race Against Dementia’, a cause which is particularly dear to Sir Jackie’s heart.

The book is on sale now:

The 'Buy Now' button goes to Amazon, which prints and sends copies for £23.75.

On a personal note, I’m no fan of Amazon, but in this case I’ll just have to over-rule my principles and fork out the dosh.

However, I do have my own personal and early memory of JYS. Way back in 1971, and long before he was knighted, Jackie Stewart organised the ‘Jackie Stewart Speed Show’ in the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow which ran from March 27th to April 4th. It cost adults 4 shillings to get in while children were charged 2 shillings, and it was quite a show. I should know, I was in there before the doors opened to the public assisting with the photographic displays.

And you know what? To this day my efforts have never been financially rewarded, although I did receive a gift. I was given a ‘Jackie Stewart set’ which came in a presentation box. Underneath the cellophane cover was a black corduroy bunnet, a pair of thick stemmed JYS sun glasses, a pair of JYS driving gloves and a key ring. And yes, I did wear them and use them!

In all fairness, later commissions were rather more adequately rewarded.

Aye, them were’t days, eh?

Saturday 8 June 2024

Rally - Jock’s Run

On Saturday the 29th of this month (June), Biggar Young Farmers Club are organising and hosting a road run in aid of the CJD Support Network. As many of you already know, Jock Gray has CJD (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease) which is a horrible, cruel, wasting disease and the road run is being organised to generate funds for the CJD support network which is providing the vital care and support which Jock and his family needs at this most trying of times.

Biggar YFC are therefore issuing an open invitation to one and all to ‘run what you brung’ on the 29th, and whilst it would be nice to see some rally cars in the mix, the ‘entry’ is open to anything on two, three, four or more wheels. The ‘Entry Fee’ is £20 per vehicle and £10 per head for each participant in, or on, said vehicle. However, it has been rumoured that some folk are contemplating the hire of something exotic or different and whilst that is a nice gesture, the organisers would rather that such money spent on hiring something be put in the pot, and folk just turn up in their daily runner or domestic runabout. Even the ‘works van’ would be preferable!

The main objective of the exercise is to raise funds for this most worthwhile cause for the care and support of those suffering this rare and complicated disease and which also needs financial support to continue research into a disease about which little is known.

At the conclusion of the run there will be burgers and ice cream on offer, so don’t have a breakfast before you come. Instead have a bite to eat and a chat with likeminded friends and folk. However, a word of caution, if you happen to drop your burger out of your roll be careful what you pick up, Biggar Showfield is regularly used for grazing cows!

The run itself will incorporate local roads around Biggar and Carnwath, to Elsrickle, and back to Biggar, so only around 20 miles or so and should take about 40 minutes. It’s not competitive and not arduous, so just come along and enjoy the camaraderie for a most worthwhile cause.

Participants are asked to gather in Biggar Showfield which is situated on the A702 (T) on the north eastern edge of the town - where the annual Biggar Vintage Rally is held.

Arrive at 10:00 am for an 11:00 am start and return to the field on or after 12 noon.

Road Run in aid of CJD support network | Facebook

Monday 3 June 2024

Show - A busy day

Had a great day out at the weekend at the annual Border Vintage Automobile Club’s ‘Festival of Motoring’ at Thirlestane Castle with lots to see and drool over.

Admittedly I was there for altogether different reasons, I had taken a wee ‘pitch’ in the ‘trade’ area to try and sell my books. I have only written two, so I took along a few other titles which I had gathered over the years. These included some ‘doublers’ of Martin Holmes’ ‘World of Rallying’ and ‘Rallycourse’ annuals plus other titles just to try and have a bit of a red-oot. It certainly helped, drawing in passers by curious to know who this unknown author was with only two books to promote!

The show represented a new market for me, and I had no idea how books with such a niche market appeal would go down with a crowd that was there to see and hear auld caurs, but I was pleasantly surprised. Suffice to say I managed to cover my pitch cost and fuel and had enough to buy a haggis supper at Franchitti’s chippy in Harthill on the way home.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was the number of ex and current rally drivers and co-drivers (and racers!) who were there with family members, weans, wives, girlfriends, partners, pals and their dugs. I suppose it’s just the fascination for all things automotive that attracts even hardened competition enthusiasts to the ordinary and mundane. I met up with folk I hadn’t seen for 30 or 40 years, and aye, some a bit before then too!

I seemed to spend more time catching up and chatting than I did selling books, but that experience has served up a most valuable lesson – next time, cut the chat and sell more books!

So I’m already looking forward to Moffat, Blast from the Past, Biggar and the Cumbria Classic, and who knows maybe a few others.

The attached aerial view of Thirlestane gives some idea of the scale of the show and depending on who you speak to, it’s either the biggest of its type in Scotland or the second biggest – the other one is Glamis. Oddly enough, I did speak to the Glamis folk about a pitch, but I couldn’t justify the investment or maybe they just didn’t want any riff-raff at such a posh event!

Anyway, the arrow shows the red Transit and the Scottish rally bookstall. Kind of puts me in my place, a wee dot in the great landscape of life. The other picture shows the view I had looking straight ahead from my pitch. Nice, eh?

Sunday 2 June 2024

Rally - The Book Roadshow

Open for business .... At the Border Vintage Automobile Club classic car show at Thirlestane Castle just outside Lauder today. 

Allegedly SurrAlan Sugar started his career with a market stall. I have no plans yet to appeal to the Dragons either.

Onwards and upwards, eh?

Thursday 30 May 2024

Books - Career change?

From globetrotting motoring journalist (!) to autojumble stall holder. Having missed the Jim Clark Rally last weekend, the intention is to be fully fit for a trip to the Borders this weekend.

I have taken a pitch at the Borders Vintage Automobile Club ‘Festival of Motoring’ at Thirlestane Castle on Sunday 2nd of June. The idea is to sell some books, primarily my own self published titles ‘The Scottish Rally Championship 1980-1989’ and ‘Murmurs on Mull 1993-2010’. If you haven’t yet availed yourself of one of these historically interesting and illuminating publications, here’s your chance.

Both books have already gone down well with buyers, especially the photographic section in the Scottish Championship book which features over 350 photographs, the majority of which have never before been published, while the Mull book is compiled from the FULL and complete set of on-event rally bulletins issued during an 18 year period and provides a unique insight into the annual Mull Rally.

And just for a bit of variety I will have some additional books and memorabilia which might just be of interest to Land Rover, Porsche and Jaguar enthusiasts.

Look out for the red Ford Transit Custom. Apparently my pitch is under ‘the tree’ – so hopefully no lightning strikes on Sunday!

I have no idea what to expect but hugely looking forward to it. As ever, cash or card welcome, but no trade-ins or bartering, and no Embassy vouchers, Provi cheques, Green Shield Stamps or empty ginger bottles.

Thursday 23 May 2024

Rally - Jim Clark weather prediction

The weather forecast for this weekend’s Jim Clark Memorial Rally is looking typically Scottish and is a concern not just for competitors, but to rally officials and marshals alike who will have to brave whatever is thrown at them in order to stage an event of this size and scope. There is however one surefire, well proven, reliable method of predicting the weather this far north – on the day of the rally just stick your hand out of any window for a few seconds then draw it back in. If your hand is wet then it’s raining, if your hand is dry then it’s about to rain.

But it could be worse, and not that I want to worry anyone, but these photos were actually taken on the Jim Clark Memorial Rally, although it was a wee while ago – way back in 1986 to be precise.

Richard Mawson and Geordie Tindall won the rally in their Ford Escort RS from the 1300cc Ford Escort of Gordon Boyd and Kenneth Crombie. And the winning margin? Just 4 seconds. In third place was the Opel Manta of Jim Fleming and Adam Duff ahead of the Talbot Sunbeam of George ‘Galloping’ Gillespie and George Black while Ivor the Driver finished fifth in a most unlikely choice of rally machine!

So with all that in mind, and in addition to all the safety advice which will be dished out to spectators in advance of the rally, here’s some more advice. Make sure you pack the wellies and sou’wester, tee shirts and sandals, furry boots and woolly bunnets, sun cream and chilblain salve and you’ll be ready for anything. Oh, and perhaps just put a tube of midge repellent cream in the pack while you’re at it. You never know.

Stay safe, stay dry and enjoy yourselves.