Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Rally - Rituals in the Forest

Quite a few folk poked a bit of gentle fun at a certain bedraggled figure who walked out of the green hell (no, not Nurburgring, just Forrest Estate) last Saturday afternoon following his earlier unceremonious abandonment in a quarry mid stage - and then promptly forgot about fetching him back to civilisation! It called to mind an old adage: 'Revenge is a dish best served cold'.

And so, on Sunday morning, attracted by the sound of chanting echoing eerily through the woodland, our lonesome journalising photographer type personage chanced upon this gathering in a forest clearing and recorded this very secretive and private ritual chant for wider publication. It is published in full below. Honest, would I tell fib?

... The Marshals’ Prayer

To the omnipotent celestial Clerk of the Course, we make a modest plea
That you keep all competitors safe, and officials danger-free
Please guide the navs to stay on the maps, and drivers stick to the road
May the cars be sound and reliable, and have no need to be towed

Protect our friends and colleagues, those clad in orange of dayglo brash
from flying rocks and errant rally cars, that off the road might crash
Keep us all secure from elements, such as wind and rain and sleet
And suits and boots stay waterproof, to swathe our smelly dry feet

And while protecting all creatures great and small there's others you shouldn't bring
Make your midges vegetarian, and wasps and nettles lose their sting
Please also change the food of moths, from woolly hats and jaggy bunnets
instead of diet of fleece and tweed, offer tastes of dandruff, lice and nits

We ask as well for privacy too and sufficient nearby cover, for the inevitable call of nature
with plentiful tufts of grass to clean our butts, to replace the lack of tissue
Please also keep our batteries charged, our torches full of light and radios on standby
May our pens stay full of ink, our pencils sharp and pointed, aye ready to comply

One final ask if we can but pray to keep from harm, those young and old and grumpy
who stand on station in forest stage and tarmac road, and help when things go 'bumpy'
We wish their clocks stay true and do not lose time, and those others we must remember too
The docs and paramedics, all recovery and radio personnel, who make up the emergency crew

May the Tunnock's be with you
... and the Irn Bru too


Monday, 19 November 2018

Rally - Snap, crackle and bang

Bradford's Anthony Jackson won the weekend's Scottish 'Borders' Hill Rally by just over 9 minutes from Papplewick's William Stubbs. However, just 29 seconds covered 2nd, 3rd and 4th places after 110 miles of Special Stages. Mark Jacques from Weighbridge was 3rd just 13 seconds behind Stubbs with Ravenshead's Ian Gregg in 4th place.

The top 3 cars represented quite a spectacle and sounded glorious echoing across the wide open frost-encrusted south Ayrshire hills and glens, like a herd of rampant bucks on the annual rut. Jackson's car had an Audi V8, while under the skin of the Stubbs motor was a 5 litre Mustang. It was hard to choose an aural winner, but maybe Jacques had the edge with his bellowing 6.2 litre 550hp Corvette LS3. And the best bit? The exhaust silencers are tiny, allowing the engines to breathe and belch deeply. Wonderful.

Ian Gregg's 4th placed Polaris added even more variety with its  995cc twin cylinder turbo, but there was plenty of variety amongst the other V6, straight six, four, three and two cylinder offerings running on either petrol or diesel. But the main point was everyone had fun whether running a near bog standard Mitsubishi Pinin or Defender 90 or one of the more exotic prototypes or ATVs. The competition was fierce, the crack was good and the weather was sunny and bright. That doesn't mean to say it was warm, the minute the sun dipped below the horizon, it was colder than a mother-in-law's stare!
Top Scottish crew were husband and wife pairing George and Jacqueline Bryson in 7th place overall and 2nd in class. The former Escort Mk2 rally driver now has a BMW V8 powered Kirkland Proto. It may lack the lines and the looks of his Mk2, but it doesn't half go!

As a (cheaper?) alternative to forest stage rallying, Hill Rallying and Competition Safaris have got something to offer those who like driving, speed, slippery surfaces and challenging conditions with a dash of excitement and danger.

I'm planning to write 'An Introduction to Hill Rallying' for the Scottish Hill Rally Club website so if anyone else is interested I'll let you know.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Scottish Hill Rally

A Hard Drive's Day ... As a venue for the Scottish Hill Rally, Forrest Estate is pretty much perfect apart from one slight drawback, it's not conducive to spectators. There are however two areas which are accessible (and signposted) to the public, but to get to the real heart of the heavy breathing, rumbling, mucky action you either have to be a Marshal, or benefit from the benevolent assistance of the organisers. But beware what you wish, although this 'photographer' was dropped off mid-stage ahead of the rally, they forgot to come back and get him! With just one wee bottle of Irn Bru and two Tunnock's Caramel Wafers, it was an awfy long walk out - but still worth it!

Friday, 16 November 2018

Rally - Kingdom Rally report

That's the main event report now in the on-line mag so you can catch up on who won what - and who didn't. There are a few tales to tell but they'll have to wait till later!

Rally - Scottish Rally Scene

Scottish Rally Scene ... The latest edition of Bob Irvine's 'Scottish Rally Scene' is now available from Bob himself at rallies and on-line at his Ebay shop - search 'Scottish Rally Scene'. 

In fact, this might be the best place to get it since the rallying season is winding down over the next couple of months and Bob will enter his usual state of hibernation, woken only by the sound of rally cars. No doubt Bob will find plenty of material over the next couple of months to keep the wheels turning as we head into 2019. 

But what is a picture of an instantly well known, somewhat Historic, little red Talbot Sunbeam doing on the front cover. You'll have to buy a copy to find out. It's only 5 quid and this is Issue number 16.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Rally - All change at MSA

Over recent weeks there have been more senior personnel changes  taking place at the Motor Sports Association prompting folk to wonder what was going on. Well, there's more.  Issued less than an hour ago, the latest missive from  Colnbrook  promises a bright new future. We' ve all heard this before, but this time, maybe just this time, the sport is going to get the leadership and the service it deserves. There are a couple of telling quotes at the end of the Release. As they say in certain quarters - Gaun yersels gents!

Here is the full text of the Press Release:

... Motorsport UK: the new name for the Motor Sports Association (MSA)

An ambitious new phase for motorsport in the United Kingdom has begun, with the Motor Sports Association (MSA) launching a new identity, Motorsport UK, as it transitions from a traditional governance-led association to a modern membership-focused organisation.

The rebrand from the MSA to Motorsport UK signals a shift in the governing body’s emphasis, putting the promotion of the sport and customer service at the forefront of its mission. This represents a fundamental repurposing of the organisation as it seeks to grow the sport and better serve its members.

The new name, Motorsport UK, and the more striking visual identity with its modern typeface and bold colour palette, will make the governing body more identifiable and relevant to new audiences, providing a better platform from which to market and grow the sport.

Motorsport UK’s new strategy aims to build a stronger, more vibrant community across motorsport. The new identity reflects this through four concentric circles to represent four-wheeled action, united across four home nations, with a dynamic design celebrating speed.

The governing body will create a sustainable future for UK motorsport not only by reaching out to new audiences but also by adding value for existing members. The current membership comprises 30,000 competitors, 10,000 marshals, 3200 officials and 720 clubs.

As a first step, Motorsport UK is launching a new member benefits package, with High Street partners offering discounts across a range of accommodation, travel, outdoor clothing and breakdown recovery products. Motorsport UK will also get its members closer to the action through discounts on the most popular motorsport and automotive shows, exhibitions and magazine subscriptions.

Motorsport has a wide range of disciplines, from karting to drag racing and autotests to trials. Many have lacked promotion to new audiences, yet they present a great low-cost way for enthusiasts to enter the sport. As part of the new approach, there will be a promotional focus in each area, with sub-brands such as Karting UK providing a clear focal point for the industry. An important step in this direction has been the creation of the new official British Kart Championships for 2019, launched today on the new kartinguk.org website.

Governance will remain a cornerstone of Motorsport UK’s activities but the organisation will work to recruit and retain members through a more transparent and customer-focused approach to regulations. The governing body will maintain its track record of outstanding management of safe and fair sport; while lowering barriers to entry and enhancing its customers’ ability to enjoy their passion for four-wheel competition.

David Richards CBE, Chairman of Motorsport UK, said: “When I took over as Chairman in January, I outlined my vision of a sustainable future for motorsport in the UK. It’s been a year of hard work behind the scenes as we’ve begun moving towards this goal, and I’m delighted that the first real changes can now be revealed in the shape of our new identity, Motorsport UK. This is the just the start; there are lots of new initiatives in the pipeline, all designed to grow the sport and better meet the needs of our customers and stakeholders. We’re moving forward with a renewed confidence for the future of UK motorsport, and that future starts here.”

Hugh Chambers, the new Chief Executive of Motorsport UK, said: “Becoming Motorsport UK means so much more than a new name and logo. It signals a new chapter in the history of the governing body, marking a clear step change in approach, putting a real focus on our members and the promotion of grassroots motorsport to new audiences. We’re confident that by strengthening our customer service, adopting a more commercial approach and enhancing our marketing capabilities, we can ensure the UK’s world-leading motorsport success story continues well into the future.”

All the governing body’s main channels, from its website and social media accounts to its publications and membership packs, adopt the new Motorsport UK branding from today. Visit www.motorsportuk.org and follow us @OurMotorsportUK.