It’s the day before the Rally Forum at the McRae Rally and there are now six confirmed guests and two ‘more than likelies’. It would appear that trying to get 8 motor sports greats gathered together in one place at the same time is like pushing water up a hill with your nose.
Even though he was in Chicago earlier this week (drinking ‘the Balvenie’ by all accounts!) Dario Franchitti was able to keep in touch, but as for trying to get hold of a couple of rally drivers who live over here it’s like catching wind with a hairnet.
Admittedly some of the guys are OK and know how to use a phone, but as for some others, waiting for them to return a call is like watching rust form on a girder. Which makes me think one of the principal reasons that rally drivers have co-drivers has nothing to do with navigation or route notes, it’s all about keeping them in touch with the real world. These poor souls would be like lost sheep on a foggy hillside without their collie-like minders rounding them up.
You think I jest? Ask any co-driver what it’s like keeping a top driver organised and you will be answered with a droop of the head and the slow sideways shake of resignation and frustration. I suppose that’s just to be expected, for any driver at the top of his/her game, their heads must be full of gear ratios, tyres choices, weight penalties, weather conditions, road surfaces and concerns about all the other greasy bits which have been assembled together around them contained in a metal shell.
But I suppose we can forgive them their human foibles when we see them in action on stage or track doing what they do best. For that surely is the big attraction of motor sport, watching someone with bucketloads of talent grapple with mechanical beasts in difficult conditions, making you gasp in admiration one second at the sheer speed being carried through a bend and then gripped with fear the next as a wheel slips into a ditch. Aye, Saturday in Perthshire will be the place to see, hear, smell and feel all of these emotions, and more.
But ahead of that there is the Forum and joining Dario Franchitti on stage will be another legend, Jim McRae who might be able to tell us what life in the fast lane is like when you’re sitting behind a 5.7 litre V8 – on a gravel surface! And if co-driver Stuart Loudon can get John MacCrone organised then they will both join us – although Stuart has assured us he WILL have John there. I think the trick here is to lay a trail of Tunnocks caramel wafers from the car to the Campus for John to follow!
First under the limelight tomorrow night will be a chat with the top four in the ARR Craib Scottish Championship title chase. David Bogie, Mike Faulkner and Jock Armstrong have already confirmed their attendance - and I’m sure Euan Thorburn will be there too!
Doors open in the Breadalbane Campus Main Hall, in the centre of Aberfeldy at 7.30pm Friday night with a film (if we can get the screen to work) ahead of the first of the rally guests from 8.15 followed by the second group of guests around 9.00 pm.
Entry is FREE.