Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Rally - Scots abroad



Well, there I was. Minding my own business, when I was accosted from behind. In the nicest possible way of course. I was at the Commercial Vehicle Show at the NEC in Birmingham. Sufficiently far away to be travelling incognito, or so I thought.

 “The last time I saw you was at the end of the Trossachs Rally in 1985 or ’86,” said the voice, “you were commentating at the rally finish. Aye, those were the good old days, the Esso Scottish Rally Championship.”

Renault was launching their new Trafic panel van at the show and had pulled out all the stops with an outdoor F1 display and simulator, and the grey haired (but ever so young looking!) guy was wearing Red Bull team clothing. And since I know flock all about F1, the speaker had me at a disadvantage.

Turns out he did a bit of rallying in the good old days, and was a contemporary of Tommy Finn the quick young Talbot Sunbeam stoorifier from Campbeltown whose name some of you (older ones) might recognise.

David McMillan himself, for it was he, might not be instantly familiar, but he has one unmatchable claim to fame, or notoriety. He is the only Scot to have worked with Colin McRae at Prodrive, David Coulthard at Red Bull and Jackie Stewart at Stewart GP – and he was there when Johnny Herbert scored Stewart GP’s only F1 victory at Nurburgring in 1999. That will take some beating, eh?

He’s been away from home now for 30 years, but obviously keeps in touch with home because he was asking about the proposed rally event at Machrihanish. In fact he is harbouring a hankering to get himself a car and do the rally, or get involved somehow. Trouble is, it’s the same weekend as the British GP.

He isn’t working full time for any team these days. Like many of us, of a certain age, the work rate and frenetic pace of F1 is only for the young, fit and masochistic. Having said that he is still very much involved, although picking and choosing where and when he wants to work and with whom. For instance, he is off to Barcelona next week with the Marussia F1 team.

Nice work if you can get it, eh? And he’s a lovely bloke.

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