Tuesday 31 December 2013

Rally - Knockhill Stages

Michael Glendinning (Subaru) heads the entry list for this Saturday's Grant Construction Knockhill Stages Rally with Ian Paterson (Subaru) at number two ahead of Stuart Walker (Evo) and Lee Hastings (Subaru) - but a late entry has been received from Chris Collie with ‘guest’ navigator, one Quintin Milne Esq.

There will be a bit of son/father rivalry between Ross and John Marshall in their MkIIs spiced up by the appearance of Gary Adam in his MkII and joined by Hamish Kinloch in his Honda engined MkII. And Ken Wood will provide an added aural treat for rally fans with his V6 Dolomite Sprint.

The first of the day's 8 stages gets under way at 8.30 am. Full entry list and details here:

Monday 30 December 2013

Rally - 2013 SRC Winners

There's a full list of all the principal prizewinners in this year's ARR Craib Scottish Rally Championship listed here: 

But there's also news of a couple of other 'unofficial' awards including this rather special and unique crash helmet which was presented to a certain rally driver, while the winner of the season-long game of 'Horse' can now be revealed.

Rally - Motors TV

There will be a two hour review of the class runners and winners in this year's (2013) ARR Craib Scottish Rally Championship this Friday January 3 at 8.30 pm on 'Motors TV'.

Compiled and produced by young Ally Beck, the review will comprise two 1-hour programmes shown back-to-back and will incorporate new footage not seen before. 

The programme will be presented by Jon Desborough, but it is anticipated that sub-titles will not be needed. So do the hangover a favour, get the baffies on, feet up and sit back with a wee dram ahead of the 2014 season.

Tuesday 24 December 2013

Christmas Greetings

My Pal Santa

My pal Santa is a fearliess flier, the Scroots would have a fit
The seats and belts are out of date so he has no place to sit
He’d never pass a Noise Test, and the sleigh has no MoT
The windscreen’s cracked and frozen o’er so through it he cannae see

Chief Scroot MacDonald would have a rage, and glow bright red of face
The Blue Book rules of little use, in this exceptional case
No tax disc either or insurance docket, for Sheila to note and pass
And Greig couldn’t dip the fuel tank, to check for illicit gas

Clingan too could check enviro, but this time to no avail
No need here for a ‘New Pig’ sop, just reindeer poo and a pail
But how does McDowall sound the horn, and test the Christmas crackers
Dangerous job as he’ll find out, when squeezing the reindeer knackers

With Scroots and Air Ministry bypassed, there is one final check
To ensure he’s legal and fit to fly ‘The Sheriff’ will inspect
No need here for a stamp or seal, or even a Logbook list
Just a nod, a wink and a dram, to make him a wee bit pissed

Runners polished, reindeer fed, and SatNav primed for flight
That’s him ready for his labours, ahead of a busy night
And if David and Euan think they’re quick, and Quintin thinks he’s faster
Here’s some news for all of youse, Santa is the master

So, Merry Christmas everyone, from me - and my pal Santa.

N.B. All the names are entirely non-fictitious and bear no resemblance to any living person, except those who are mentioned above.

Friday 20 December 2013

Rally - Forestry charges

Forestry Commission charges will rise by 2.6% (RPI figure) next year for the 2014 season to £668 for primary usage.

On the other hand, wages went up by 0.7% this year and inflation is standing at 2.2%.

Apparently the Motor Sports Association and the Forestry Commission prefer to use the Retail Price Index figures - so that's alright then, eh?

 Merry Christmas to all amateur rallyists from the MSA!

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Road - Asbo-lute fun

I think my dear friend The Laid of Castle Bunnet from the world heritage religious site of New St. Even's Town is losing it. Whether it’s too much Scots pine scent, gravel rash, dodgy pies or too much fizz in his Irn Bru, his review of the Ford Fiesta ST-2 has now been published in the mag – but what the heck has King Edward II got to do with it?

Methinks a little more water in his whisky is called for:

In the meantime, what will he make of this week’s velocipede?

Rally - McRae car for sale

Fancy a rather special MkII? One of the first cars to be accepted for the Silverstone Auctions’ sale at Race Retro (Stoneleigh Park, Coventry) on Saturday 22nd February is this Eddie Stobart liveried 1977 Ford Escort MkII RS1800 Gp4 Historic Rally Car .

Offered with an estimate of £65,000 to £85,000, the car was built by Prepfab Motorsport Engineering, and was actually tested by Colin McRae, before Jim drove it to victory in the 2006 Roger Albert Clark Rally. Jim has also signed the underside of the bootlid!

After its debut season win, ‘LSV171’ continued to post victories throughout the following year taking first place in the pre-1981 category of the 2007 British Historic Championship. The McRae connection continued in 2008 when Alister McRae finished 4th o/a and 1st in class on Coltness Car Club's Colin McRae Memorial Rally in Perthshire.

In 2009 the car was completely rebuilt and has since competed in the 2010 and 2011 Rally Clásico Isla Mallorca. The car comes with MSA Logbook and Historic Rally Vehicle Identity Form, plus MoT and tax until May 2014.

The big question is, will this be a 'keeper' or a 'user'?

Now where did I put the kid's piggy bank ...

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Race - McNish bows out

Following the recent news that Dario Franchitti is hanging up his helmet in full time motor racing, comes the news today that Allan McNish will step down from full time racing next year too.

Just a few days before his 44th birthday and following his 2013 Sports Car World Title win, the Audi factory driver said: “I found the ideal moment for myself to bring an end to my LMP sports-prototype racing with Audi. Together with my team-mates Tom Kristensen and Loïc Duval I finished my most successful season in the sports car. Having also won the Le Mans 24 Hours, I can’t wish for more than what we’ve achieved this year. I can look back on a fantastic career that has left no aims unfinished and I’m looking forward to new challenges the future holds for me. Now I’ll have a lot more time for my family. But I’m going to continue to be part of motorsport in various roles, albeit no longer as an Audi race driver.” 

On hearing the news, Dario Franchitti tweeted: “I'm sad that one of my heroes Allan McNish is retiring because I love to watch him race - but I've now got a partner in crime for retirement!”

Yup, and here at home, we’ll all miss the tousled blonde head and impish grin too.

But where does that leave Scotland on the world stage? With Paul di Resta looking less like retaining a seat in the top echelon of F1, it leaves damn few to fly the Saltire at world title level next year.   

And don’t expect any support from Colnbrook for Scottish talent or Scottish initiatives. They’re so worried about Wee Eck’s plans for separation that they won’t be spending any money this side of the border until after the referendum!

Wonder if Flash could get a move up to World Touring Cars?

Friday 13 December 2013

Rally - Elfyn for WRC

Elfyn Evans and Daniel Barritt have been signed by M-Sport to drive the second Ford Fiesta RS WRC in next year's World Championship, alongside team leaders Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen who are returning to the Cumbrian team.

Full press release here:

Thursday 12 December 2013

Road - Audi A3 review

Lovely car, shame about the wheels. Review of the Audi A3 2.0 TDI Sport Saloon now in the mag at:


This week's test car has now arrived - and it's a wee firecracker, see pic. Full appraisal will follow as soon as the wife prizes me out of the thing.

Wednesday 11 December 2013

Rally - Hyundai WRC

Hyundai Motorsport announces its plans and reveals its complete driver line-up for the 2014 WRC campaign.


Tuesday 10 December 2013

Rally - Donald Harper

Donald Harper, 1945 - 2013

Sad news this morning, Donald Harper passed away after a short illness last week in Oban. Although out of rallying for some years, he made an indelible mark on the sport – and in a few forests over the years, not to mention a few licensed premises along the way.

He claimed to be an engineer, but when he first came across motor sport, Scrutineers had a slightly different view of his profession. It was once said of him (the author shall remain nameless) that a spot weld was no stronger than a six inch nail punched through the metal and folded over!

Donald was Scotland’s answer to 'Hagar the Horrible', beardedly hairy and with a huge penchant for life. In fact he lived life at twice the speed of the rest of us mere mortals. Everything was tackled with fervour and gusto. His first ‘rally car’ was a Hillman Imp, but in the search for more power, he installed a Rover V8. In his first seasons with this device in 1986/87 the glorious roar of the beast (the car, not Donald, although that could apply too I suppose) was accompanied by the sound of snapping driveshafts and sundry other metal bits.

Reliability was therefore sought and he acquired a Ford Sierra 4x4 and it was in this car and his subsequent Ford Sierra Turbo that he achieved most success. Probably his best result was 14th overall on the 1989 Johnstons & Paton Rally in Argyll, although his name was never far from the top 20 and 30 on those events which he finished.

His rallying career came to a violent end 20 years ago in Dalby Forest in Yorkshire when his Lancia Delta Integrale was returned to Oban – on a pallet.

He still retained a strong interest in the sport but an accident at work ten years ago ensured he never again competed, although he could sometimes be spotted amongst the spectators, especially at the Snowman Rally. Indeed, that was the last time I saw him earlier this year – and he still had that devilish twinkle in his eyes.

If he lived life in the fast lane when working and playing, the social side was not overlooked. He was seriously hard work in hotels and pubs on the rallying scene. His hospitality was as wide as his smile and a night in his company ensured fellow convivialists were unable to face a full breakfast the following morning.  It was probably in MacTavish’s Kitchen in Oban (or maybe it was Lochgilphead, or Arrochar, but it was somewhere now lost in time)  after an Argyll event that I remember talking for a long time, to the big white telephone, lying on the floor, in the smallest room – Helllooooooo ...

Aye, he was serious hard work, but what a character. I can’t imagine how his family are feeling now but I’m sure all our thoughts are with his wife Dorothy, son Robert and daughters Fiona and Louise and all the grand children.

Funeral service tomorrow (Wednesday 11th) at Oban Parish Church, Glencruitten Road, Oban, PA34 4DN, at 1.30 pm.

Monday 9 December 2013

Rally - Kris Meeke for WRC

Citroën Racing has announced its line-up for the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship. 

Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle and Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson will be the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team’s driver/co-driver pairings in the DS3 WRC next season.

Full Citroen Press Release here: