Those of us of a certain age will instantly recognise the name. In the 1960s and 70s, if you turned up at an all-night navigational rally and saw the names David Black/Ross Finlay on the entry list you resigned yourself to a top ten finish, or a podium if you were really lucky. These were the days of such intimidating and frightening combinations as Margaret Fulton and Gordon Hastie, Charlie Brown and Neil Turner, Ken Wishart and Brian Hunter, and many, many more. This was a serious team game and tested the mettle and stamina of drivers and navigators alike.
Championship navigational rallies in those days attracted entries of 80 or 90 cars with crews competing for anything up to 8 hours from a 10pm start. An end of rally breakfast was all part of the entry fee – if you found the Final Control in time to eat it, before heading straight to work!
David won many events and championships first in a Renault Dauphine and Renault 8, plus a couple of Peugeots and latterly in Volvo Amazons. He later tried his hand at forest rallying before retiring gracefully and taking up the dark arts of Scrutineering. Perhaps because he ended one attempt at the Snowman Rally rather abruptly against a tree, he took scrutineering very seriously. Pernickety is the word that comes to mind, but he was friendly, if a tad firm, and would help, advise and encourage competitors to better prepare their cars.
His dedication to the sport earned him an ‘Officiel d’Honneur’ awarded by the MSA in recognition of his commitment and long service to the sport.
He died peacefully at home last Sunday (14th Dec) aged 99, oddly enough almost ten years to the day since Ross Finlay passed away (15th Dec, 2004).
The funeral service will be held at Perth Crematorium, Crieff Road, Perth PH1 2PE, at 10.30am, on Wednesday, 24th December, 2014. All friends welcome.