Monday, 25 May 2020

Get lost, or get navigating .


Who'd have thought learning a new skill was so much fun? A number of the old guys and not so auld yins have got together to produce some on-line table-top style navigational rallies to while away the long evening hours after a day in the garden or the garage. Something worthwhile to do when the TV is boring and Netflix goes blank leaving that we lost-signal circle going infuriatingly round, and round, and round.

Very reminiscent of yesteryear when the sport was at its height, navigational road rallying is an excellent way of getting the weans, the young, the not so young and even those of a more decrepit nature involved in the sport or re-discovering lost arts. In fact the auld yins could use this to get the youngsters interested and involved.

If you need further convincing, with the weans off school navigational rallying teaches them more than just how to find their way home. So it's a good educational tool without them thinking it's educational. It improves their maths and arithmetic skills, especially mental arithmetic. It also teaches them about geography - hills, glens and contour lines, and history, when you think of all the old battlefields and sites of historic interest that are marked on Ordnance Survey maps.

It also helps with their grasp of English and communication skills which will be most useful if they progress to stage rallying, where Pace Note reading is now essential, as is shouting words of endearment and encouragement at their driver - or inventing new ways of insulting them in place of the common or ordinary swear words. This also applies to diction so that the utterer can be heard and understood above the rattle of stones and revving of the engine.

As I said a number of old hands have clubbed together to create some navigational exercises just like a proper table-top rally. Full details are on the 'Scottish Navigational & Road Rally' Group public Facebook page.

There have been four of these 'events' held so far with the first attracting 46 entries and the latest over 75 with the various organisers expecting entries of 100 or more as word gets out. It would also appear that there are four more rallies ready and waiting in the wings ready to go out, and there's even talk of a 'championship'.

There's no charge for these events and there is a link to on-line digital maps if you don't have real paper ones stored in a shoebox under the bed.

Just like rallies of old, there are 'Classes' for Experts, Semi-Experts and Novices and brought to you by some of the brightest brains in the business with help from a few numpties just to keep the clues manageable and solvable!

There's more fun to be had here than a Lego competition in a brewery, just click on the link below to open up a whole new (old?) world of sporting fun, brain teasers and hairy lines:

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Rally - A close finish


There have been many close finishes in the Scottish Rally Championship since it was founded in 1957, and the 1996 series produced another one. Going into the final round, it was more or less a two-horse race between Jimmy Christie and George Gauld.

Jimmy actually finished 3rd, behind 2nd placed George with Walter Henderson taking top points. So there was a bit of mathematical jiggery-pokery needed to sort out the 1996 title. In the run-in to the rally finish from the final stage, both co-drivers Murdoch Campbell and Roy Campbell (identical twins - not!!) were trying to sort it out.

After the rally (but ahead of the Awards night) my BIG Pal Jaggy wrote up a piece in the Championship Newsletter and I have re-published it in the on-line mag if you fancy a wee trachle down memory lane.

Now, a few folk are puzzled by the use of nicknames in these old reports, but surely that's half the fun? Some snippets may also refer to an ongoing story so you're only getting half the tale. Either, you might work them out for yourself - or you could ask your parents! If really stuck, you could always phone a friend - for sure your friend will be at home these days, eh?

There's also mention of a few names, before they were famous! The story is here if you want an excuse for a seat and a coffee break:

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Rally - A Request


A request has veen received from 'Murr Minor', son of 'Mad Murr' Grierson (see previous Blog post), suggesting that further proof might be needed that my Big Pal Jaggy really did compete. He also suggested that I show a copy of Jaggy's actual Competition Licence as issued by that august pillar of officialdom, the RAC Motor Sports Association.

A genuine RAC MSA Competition Licence!
So for those of you who still harbour some doubts about the big chap's honesty, integrity and illustrious competition career, here's a photo of his Licence. In fact, this was not his first Competition Licence for that one had a different photograph.

In those days the RAC MSA issued a plain licence card to which one applied and fixed one's own passport photo. The instructions declared: “Affix photo of licence holder here”, and the photo had to be placed carefully inside the wee dotted line round the ID box.

Apparently Jaggy took them at their word. He took his own passport sized photograph of the 'licence holder', i.e. the wee plastic wallet which contained the licence, and affixed it in the required space.

The ever-patient Bill Troughear
Well, that caused a right kerfuffle in Galloway. The organisers didn’t know whether to laugh or weep so they called over the Steward, one Bill Troughear Esq, who to his credit didn’t bat an eye. He merely dipped his head and looked at the big chap in that way he used to do with all miscreants and chancers. A sort of Royal ‘We are not amused’ type of look, but there was a twinkle in his eyes.

Later Jaggy was taken aside and quietly informed that the 'licence holder' was the person -  not the wallet, although he did admit there was some ambiguity in the wording. At least the ploy was still afoot - as previously reported, Murr and Jaggy finished 2nd.

Anyway, at the next event this Mk2 version of the Licence was presented at Signing-On with a photo of the august personage himself gracing the ID box. But as you can see, as was his wont and desirous of his anonimity, his picture taken from the rear, thanks to his accomplice, Lady Bunnet. In his defence, it was still unmistakably recognisable, as the subject was wearing a bunnet and a pipe could be seen sticking out the side of his mouth.

That occasioned another polite ticking off, despite the fact the official instruction at no time said the photograph had to show the face of the competitor. Sadly Bill is no longer with us, and the sport is all the poorer for that. He was an Official who had both a heart and an intelligent mind, and he also knew the difference between sportsmanship, gamesmanship, cheating - and fun!

So if you're wondering where the idea of Photocard ID Competition Licences came from, now you know! Needless to say, Jaggy's 'relationship' with the sport's governing body deteriorated somewhat further, never to reach the heady heights of consultation, reward and influence. 

Alistair Brearley with Jaggy on their way to 6th o/a on the 1982 Kingdom Stages (photographer unknown).

Rally - The origin

The Man.
This true tale has been told many times in the past, but when someone who looks like this (see photo) comes up with an idea and a suggestion, the wisest thing to do is nod and agree. That's what an impressionable, young, would-be journalist did many years ago, hence the introduction of Jaggy Bunnet to the world of Scottish rally reporting.

The reason for mentioning this is that over the past few weeks, the scribblings and rambling on this social media page have attracted an additional and new following, not just auld gits seeking memories of times past, but also many more who are 'foreign' to the sport up here and wondering what/who the hell is a 'Jaggy Bunnet'. In fact some folk are of the opinion that this character is a mere figment of a whisky infused imagination. If only they knew!

In fact, he had a very extinguished but brief (!) competition career. The shortcomings of his driving ability were quickly unappreciated and led in turn to the much more complex and demanding world of navigating and co-driving. In fact, he did guest as co-driver for some of the top names of the day including Murray Grierson, Alistair Brearley, Charlie Nichol, the wild and hairy John Hyslop and a certain hillclimber and racer by the name of John Cleland.

That went so well that the offers dried up just as rapidly and resulted in him seeking a new career in event organisation and championship co-ordination all the while practicing the dark arts of photography and writing. Over the years he has written for, and edited, a huge variety of newspapers and magazines, including news, business, commercial and sports titles, interspersing those commitments with a bit of radio broadcasting and commentating, but the one recurring theme along the way has been motor sport, particularly rallying.

So that's the background. If you come across any more subsequent mentions of the character, known as Jaggy Bunnet, now you know. It was Drew Gallacher's idea.

Mad Murr with Jaggy on the Roadbook

Clippings from 'Motoring News'