Wednesday 30 July 2014

Rally - Speyside Stages

The entry list and spectator info for this Saturday’s McDonald & Munro Speyside Stages Rally is in the Rally mag now, also a list of outlets where prospective punters can buy a Rally Programme. This will contain much more information and maps!

Here’s four reasons not to miss out. David Bogie in the Ford Fiesta R5+ with Euan Thorburn, Quintin Milne and Andy Horne all in Focus WRCs.

And here’s another four fast and furious reasons. Jock Armstrong in a Subaru Impreza, plus Mike Faulkner, Barry Groundwater and Donnie MacDonald in Mitsubishi Lancers.

Four more? Mark McCulloch in the Subaru Impreza, Bruce McCombie and Dougal Brown in their Mitsubishis are all showing a decent turn of speed these days, as is Andrew Gallacher and he’s only in a Group N Mitsubishi!

And here’s a good reason to stand well back from the road when the cars are coming through. Captain Nonsense runs in Car 20.

And if any of you sensible punters out there see any ‘spectating eedjits’ please have a word. We’re all under scrutiny remember, and if folks ‘dinnae dae as they urr tellt’, stages will be cancelled.

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Rally - Jim Clark Award

Doctor John Harrington has been presented with the 2014 Jim Clark Memorial Award in recognition of his contribution to raising medical standards, improving safety at special stage rallies, and the provision of training for paramedics, rally safety crews and for those GPs who are new to the sport.

Supported by the Ford Motor Company, the award is presented annually by the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers to recognise the achievements of any Scot who has made a significant and meritorious contribution to the world of motoring or motor sport. Previous recipients have included Jackie Stewart, David Coulthard, Allan McNish, John Cleland, Gordon Shedden, Steve Hislop, Niall MacKenzie, Andrew Cowan, Louise Aitken-Walker, David Bogie and Rab MacDonald (FIA Technical Delegate). Dr John Harrington is the first medical doctor to have been recognised by this award.

The Doc is a GP working out of the Keith Medical Centre in the north east and attends the majority of special stage rallies in Scotland as Chief Medical Officer. Since his first involvement on the Snowman Rally in 1987, John has recruited a nation-wide network of GPs who turn out to attend Scottish rallies. When he first became involved in the 1980s, the requirement was for a single doctor per event. Even then he realised this was completely inadequate given the nature of the sport and has worked tirelessly to raise standards and ensure there is at least one doctor on every single stage.

John attended the function with his wife Deirdre and was quite taken aback when first informed of the award and very appreciative on the night.

It’s not just the ‘stars’ who make this sport, there are thousands of volunteers around the country who do so much behind the scenes, and John was keen to point that out. Anyway, I thought it was well justified. Even though we don’t want him to be needed, it’s very reassuring to know he’s there.

Monday 28 July 2014

Rally - More RallySOS

Phew! There has been a huge amount of interest in the RallySOS appeal and we've now got Google Analytics running on the RallySOS website so we'll be able to see how busy that is. There have also been numerous requests to establish a PayPal account, and we are trying to arrange that at the moment.

The big problem is that RallySOS is not a registered charity, because this was set up simply as a one-off appeal to help out one guy who needs a bit of help through no fault of his own. That's why it took so long to set up a bank account in the first place. They were fearful that we were a money laundering operation!

That would appear to be the case with PayPal too who are being ultra-cautious, so please bear with us.

That was why we had to set up 'RallySOS' as an 'association', the three Trustees of which are:
Ian Rae, a close family firend of Bill Sturrock, and former rally driver, co-driver and car builder
Martin Forrest, one of the country's top co-drivers
and John More, former co-driver, current rally organiser and retired banker - but one of the good guys.
He's also the Treasurer for this Association.
Former rally driver Chris Wagner has played an integral part in setting up the website and been a source of constant electronic advice.
All I am trying to do is promote the campaign.
We have all been greatly heartened by all the promises of support so far, but it's not just support that Bill needs, it's hard cash, so please help.

However if you're used to telephone or on-line banking it is a relatively simple process to transfer any donations to the RallySOS account. ALL the money raised will go to Bill's creditors who currently hold the deeds to the family home and his business premises. Rest assured, we are not taking a single penny from this.

Over the next few days, we'll get an idea of how things are going and we'll keep all of you out there up to date, but as I said, please bear with us.

I actually thought it would be easy to open a simple bank account just to pay-in donations and then pass them on to the relevant bank. Given the amount  of information needed, forms filled in, checks carried out and hoops jumped through, it would be far easier to enrol as an astronaut for the next Mars mission!

Thank you one and all.

Friday 25 July 2014


In the past couple of years since I started this Blog thing I don't think I've really asked for anything. Well, I'm asking now. Bill Sturrock of Scotmaps is in serious schtook, through no fault of his own. In fact his recent actions have prevented a possible melt-down in British amateur motor sport.

This all stems from a no-win,no-fee action raised against him in court. Bill won his case. An appeal was raised. Bill won that too. Despite being proved innocent of the charges, he's been left with a six figure legal bill. That's not fair, and it's not justice.

Had he lost the case, or even given in and not contested it, it would have raised a serious legal precedent which would have had a knock-on effect right across all branches of motor sport, not just rallying.

We all sign a 'Disclaimer' before taking part in any competitive event, so we know, and should accept, the risks.Some folk seek to challenge that.

A website has been established to explain what happened and to raise awareness of this appeal. He needs our help, and we owe him.

Please help by spreading the word, and please have a look at the website
Please also donate what you can. Thank you.

( By all means have a word with me at any events I'm attending.)

Thursday 24 July 2014

Rally - Past Blast

Did you recognise them? The folk in the previous B&W pic were of course, Ivor 'The Driver' Clark with the 1983 Scottish Rally Champion 'Gentleman ' Jimmy Fleming in the background, but the guy in the foreground was Harry Gee. He was the Goodyear Tyre boss back in the 80s and a staunch (financial) supporter of the Esso Scottish Rally Championship, but not because he made a lot of money out of selling tyres to the Scots.

No, the real reason he was such a fan of Scottish rallying was the end of season award bash. He and his wife were guests every year and that was apparently the highlight of their social calendar. And when you think of some of the events in London and abroad for F1 stars and GT racers and the like that Harry attended, that compliment was really rather flattering. There were few speeches and lots of drink, lots of dancing and more drink, and then afterwards when everyone was knackered, just a little more drink. Harry and the Missus were always out of breath and slightly puggled after one of our Scottish 'do's' but genuinely enjoyed the convivial hospitality and the friendliness of the crowd. Aye, he was indeed a great pal to the Championship.

At this same 'do', another photo opportunity presented itself but be careful, don't let the weans see it, it will put them off their tea. I'm not going to ask you who you think is in the fotie cos most of you will recognise them, but I'll bet few of you have ever seen the bloke in this condition. Sadly he's no longer with us, and no they weren't related or together, they just happened to collapse on the same sofa at the same time.

Aye, them were the days!

Wednesday 23 July 2014

New SACC President

The Scottish Association of Car Clubs (SACC) has appointed its first ever President. That's a good move. The sport is not big enough in Scotland to have different factions i.e. rallyists versus racers, or autotesters versus triallists, or whatever. We're all in it for one thing - the love of all things mechanically propelled on wheels.

There's also a need to promote the sport. Some events do better than others, but if we want the press and the general public to take the sport more seriously then it needs to be done on a united front. On that basis a nationally recognisable figure who knows and understands the sport, and is keen to help it promote itself, must be good news.

Apparently, the choice of this first President was unanimous - but if what they wanted was a Volvo, then  what they've got is an Ariel Atom.

Going forward, such a position will require someone who is a good motivator (hefty kick up the backside), stubborn (he could teach mules), no respecter of authority (unless it suits him), no protector of egos (built-in bullshit detector), able to demonstrate tact and diplomacy (he's a car dealer!) and someone who is passionate about the sport (he'll race anything with an engine and wheels), but in all seriousness, someone who will talk and fight a good case.

This was a role we originally thought the recently created SMS (Scottish Motor Sport) could assume, but that organisation has taken on a rather different role at present as it seeks to promote and advance the case of motor sport within the Sports Council and Government. However, once that is sorted we'l need a sound, strong club structure to support it and carry it forward, and that's where the SACC could provide a vital role.

Here's hoping the new Prez doesn't get overburdened with apathy - we're good at that in this sport too.

Rally - Archive pics

With regard to the recent B&W photos, yes, that was indeed, Derek 'The Professor' Ringer in the Clan at an early Coltness Car Club autotest at Terex at Newhouse while the innocent looking pre-teen schoolboy was of course Alistair Inglis. As for the other pic - no, that wasn't Roy Campbell's twin sister, it was actually Roy himself when he had hair (or someone else's on that occasion!) and sitting on his knee was Andy Kelly. 

But here's another one to exercise the memory muscles. Most of you will get the guy in the middle, many will get the guy in the background, but who's the guy grabbing the proffered drink - and he's not necessarily a rally driver, or even a Scot! 

I have also found two 'horror' pics in this collection, but I don't think you're quite ready for them yet.

Monday 21 July 2014

Rally - Teaser pic

This one will flummox everybody - except the members of one car club in particular, and only the older members at that - so don't rush to give the game away too soon! This will be a real head-scratcher for most folks out there. This is a never before published picture of a young lad taking, not quite his first foray into motorsport, but it was certainly very early in his career. The event was a snow covered autotest and he was driving a self built Clan Crusader - the engine of which had been assembled on a kitchen table, in the kitchen of the family home. He later went on to world wide success - but not necessarily in driving. Clue? It's not who you first thought of!

Rally - Past times

Here's another one from 1982. And if the previous one was easy, what do you make of this one? Way back then he won a top Newcomer award in a Datsun, hence the presentation fotie, then he disappeared from the scene, but is back rallying again now. His son is now rallying too! Oh, and by the way, this is not the 'horror' pic I promised earlier, I think I'll need to prepare you all for that one with plenty of advance warning.

Sunday 20 July 2014

Rally - Bygone days

I've been in the loft again, and guess what I found this time. A photo from the 1982 Esso Scottish Rally Championship awards night. 

I'll leave you to work out who they are, but they both have a lot less hair now! 

I also found an even scarier one than this, but I'll keep that for another night. Meantime, enjoy this one.

Rally - WRC Shoot-out

On the Saturday (26 July) before the start of Rally Finland (31 July/3 Aug) the Finns have organised a bit of a shoot-out between today’s top rally drivers and the stars of yesteryear in what promises to provide a fascinating spectacle.

The head to head races will take place on a specially constructed 1.65 km sprint circuit on the waterfront in the district of Hietalahti, in Helsinki.

The ‘new kids on the block’ will comprise Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala in VW Polo WRCs with Mads Østberg in a Citroën DS3, Mikko Hirvonen in an M-Sport Ford Fiesta, plus Thierry Neuville and Juho Hänninen in Hyundai WRCs.

Ranged against them are rallying royalty including 1978 World Champion Markku Alén in a Volkswagen Polo R WRC, four times World Champ Tommi Mäkinen in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC, twice World Champ Marcus Grönholm in a Hyundai i20 WRC and four times Champ Juha Kankkunen in a Citroën DS3 WRC.

Here’s the thing. If we get a Road Closure Order – could we do the same thing ahead of Wales Rally GB in 2015?

Here’s the other thing. Who will win? Upstarts or auld farts?

Thursday 17 July 2014

Robbie Allan Memorial

It’s hard to believe, but it’s a year now since Robbie Allan passed away, and to mark the occasion, the family has organised a two day motor cycle sporting Memorial Weekend - with added motor cycles.

The Robbie Allan Two-Day 50/50 Memorial Classic Motorcycle Event will take place this Saturday and Sunday, the 19th and 20th July 2014 at Tinto Park Moto, at Rigside, with all proceeds going to MacMillan Cancer Support.

Never one to do anything by half, Robbie’s family have been awfy busy too. The plan was to try and fulfil a wish that Robbie had to run an event at his beloved Tinto Park that could match the success and quality of the World Championship 250cc Motocross Grand Prix that he organised at Kilmartin in Argyll way back in 1978, and looking at the entry list for this weekend, they’ve done him proud.

The 50/50 theme is derived from the fact that all participants this weekend have to be over 50 years of age and there will also be a reunion of several BBC Grandstand Trophy winners from the 1964 season 50 years ago.

Amongst those intending to make the trip this weekend are Dave Bickers, John Banks, Alan Lampkin, Arthur Lampkin, Chris Horsefield, Alan Clough, John Griffiths, Keith Hickman, Dave Nicoll, Andy Roberton, Jimmy Aird, Jim Aim, Dick Clayton, John Giles, Badger Goss, Jim Holt, Mike Jackson, Andy Lee, Bill Gwynne, Dave Curtis, Mick Bowers, Gordon Blakeway, Sammy Miller, Mick Grant and Peter Gaunt and many, many more. Crikey, what a line-up. No wonder Vic (Robbie’s brother) is so chuffed. He has been phoning around to see who fancied coming up and has been swamped with entries.

Provisional programme of events:

Saturday 26th July.
Pre. ’65, Twin-Shock Enduro (time card based). Open to all pre.’65 twin-shock enduro, scrambles, trials and trail machines using any tyres.
Pre. ’65, Twin Shock Trial to include rigid machines. Dual route section format.

There will also be a charity auction in the Marquee on Saturday night with some unusual and unique memorabilia up for sale to generate even more funds for MacMillan.

Sunday 27th July.
Scramble Event. Two Twin shock classes, one for over 50s and one for over 60s. Two Pre ’65 classes. One up to 250cc and one over 250cc. to 500cc. One Pre ’65 class up to 250cc for British bikes with leading link forks.
BBC Grandstand Series / Past Masters Parade and Presentation.

This will be a one-off event the likes of which will never be seen again up here. If you like the sight and sound of old bikes, don’t miss it. And don’t go thinking that this motley collection of auld gits on auld bikes will be there just to make up the numbers. Show this lot a Starter’s flag and you’ll be picking grit out of your skin for months from the wheelspin.

Oh, and if the weather forecast is going to put you off. Don’t listen to it. What do they know? Those predicted claps of thunder which have been forecast this Saturday morning have nothing to do with the weather. That’ll just be the angels kick-starting their own Greeves, Ariels and BSAs – and guess who’ll be at the front of the field!