As reported earlier, Jim McRae and Ian Grindrod ‘retired’ early from the Circuit of Ireland Rally at the weekend. In fact the Vauxhall Firenza developed an overheating problem on the first stage when the cylinder head and water pump gasket sprung a leak. Jim was forced to pull over at the end the stage, but there was no service allowed. Imagine his surprise when (apparently) a magic pixie appeared (unseen by Stewards and Judges of Fact!) and effected a temporary fix to get him through the next stage to service. Sadly, despite this little miracle, he and Ian were declared OTL at the next MTC.
Undaunted the bold duo contested the second day of the rally, but this was curtailed three stages from the end when Jim had to attend to another duty. He had to switch cars and change role as TV and film actor Idris Elba was down to contest the final three stages in a Ford Fiesta R1 as part of his ongoing ‘King of Speed’ media insight into the world of motor sport.
Over recent weeks Mr Elba has been seen in the company of a myriad of motor sporting stars being inculcated into the dark arts of motor sporting competition and this was just his latest episode. Ari Vatanen, Sebastien Ogier, Rusty Wallace, James Dabil and many more have all been providing tuition, tips and advice, including our own ‘local hero’.
And so the ‘man from Lanark’ had to oversee proceedings. And the outcome? He crashed on the first corner, prompting the tutoring Mr McRae to observe: “That doesn’t say much for me, does it!”
But this is rallying and these things happen. There was little damage and the car was quickly fixed allowing filming to continue as ‘the show must go on’.
Still it should make for interesting viewing when the next instalment goes out on BBC TV. It does however add an interesting twist to the ongoing debate regarding the replacement of a certain Jeremy Clarkson Esq on BBC’s Top Gear. Currently Guy Martin, Suzi Perry, Jodie Kidd and Dermot O’Leary are topping the bookie’s lists. Should they be adding the name Edris Elba to that list? Will Jim be the next Stig? Could a Quintin be the next ‘Captain Slow’? Will a Coltness bear become the next ‘hamster’? Will bagpipes replace the signature tune twang?