Friday, 16 March 2012

Rally - Pushing the kart out


H&BCC's Dave Robson doing a dummy run, but who's the dummy?
The past couple of days have proved one thing, despite the best intentions of mobile phone network providers there are still a lot of ‘dead’ areas throughout Scotland. Although the mobile phone companies claim to cover 95% of the population that doesn’t quite equate to 95% of the countryside!

Anyway, I may have a similar problem this weekend in the Scottish/English Border hinterlands. The plan is to report from the second round of the Scottish Rally Championship during the course of the day, but it all depends on whether I get a decent signal or not! One can but try, as the Chook of Embra might say.

There will be no preview from the rally tonight, as I won’t be attending till early doors tomorrow morning, but there is some news.

Tomorrow marks the 40th running of the Brick & Steel Border Counties Rally and the organisers from Hawick & Border CC and Whitham & District MC have arranged a charity fund-raising ‘bash’ (with the emphasis on ‘bash’) after the rally and prizegiving tomorrow evening beside the Town Hall in Jedburgh.

This fun (with the emphasis on ‘fun’) event will take the form of a kart push with a nominated Driver and Co-driver and two service crew members.  It would appear from the Final Instructions that the Driver will be pushed round a 50 metre ‘Special Stage’ by the Co-driver, then they will swap duties and be pushed back again, while the service crew will have to effect a wheel change at the cockpit changeover.

I already foresee a number of problems here, especially with the more elderly crew members and the pie-eating, bacon butty fed service crews. Physical effort and speed across the ground without the aid of any form of internal combustion engine will be a bit beyond their capabilities. And therein lies the catch, the kart engine cannot be used, only person-power!

It all looks terribly serious too with named Officials to oversee this sporting endeavour (mayhem?) including two Club Stewards and even an MSA Steward! According to the Regs, this MSA Steward will be none other Alan Gow, the former BTCC Touring Car Top Gun – a man who will brook no dissent or cheating. No chance.

There are also two nominated Scrutineers and one wonders why. Will they be checking dodgy knees, creaky backs and zimmer frames? Fortunately, there is a nominated medical officer too, and considering the amount of peching, wheezing and grunting that will be going on, there will be a need for a respiratory kit, blood pressure monitor and defibrillator - and the Borders General put on standby.

Alongside the kart-push outside the Town Hall will be the Pirelli F1 simulator with the current Scottish and British Rally Champion setting a target time for any and allcomers to ‘Beat the Bogie’. This will be open for business tonight and tomorrow morning, afternoon and evening. It will be 3 quid a go and all money generated will go to the event’s chosen charities - Borders Childrens Charity & Great North Air Ambulance.

There will be 3 classes for Primary School age contestants, High School age, and Adult with an overall ‘Best Bogie Beater’ award.

It will also be interesting to see if Mike Faulkner and Peter Foy make it to the rally startline tomorrow. Two weeks ago, they started transferring all the electrics, mechanicals, suspension and running gear to a new bodyshell to replace the one which was bowfed on the Malcolm Wilson Rally. Earlier this week they were still on schedule despite Mike taking time out to celebrate his 40th birthday, the trouble is, after this week’s efforts, he looked more like his 50th birthday!

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