Saturday 30 May 2015

Rally - Granite Gossip

Electronic dash displays, Man-flu, frogs in the garage and dust-ups in the kitchen. More everyday tales from Scottish rallying. P.S. I'll try and be a bit quicker with the post-event reports from the Reivers, but I've got a busy couple of working weeks coming up again!!

Friday 29 May 2015

Rally - Granite Classes

That's the roundup of all the classes on the Coltel Granite City now in the on-lne mag. Phew, there wis an awfy lot of them! Just the News & Gossip to get done now.

Thursday 28 May 2015

Rally - Weston's Granite

That's the main report from the recent Coltel Granite City Rally now in the rally mag. Classes still to do and then the News & Gossip.

Rally - Marshall call

Fancy a day out? In the woods? Bracing weather and fresh air. The scent of pine and wildflowers. Lush greenery and wonderful views. Huge skies and vast vistas. The chance to meet nice people - wearing crash helmets. Add in the occasional and uplifting whiff of warm oil and rubber, hot brakes and clutches. And also, the chance to feel that you are doing something worthwhile for your sport.

This Saturday (30th May), the organisers of the Jim Clark Reivers Rally will be hosting a 'Safety Training Session' primarily aimed at Marshals but open to any officials, competitors and even spectators.

This is your chance to refresh faded skills, learn new ones or just find out what is going on and be an essential part of it. Now, more than at any other time in the past, the sport of special stage rallying needs manpower in the stages. We need more Marshals.

The tasks are not onerous. Manning Time and Passage, Start and Finish Controls requires the ability to read a digital clock and write figures on to a Time Card - usually thrust out of a car window! In the stages themselves, junctions and hazards need to be manned, just in case a rally car goes off or to advise spectators not to get too close to the action.

This can sometimes be a lonely job, depending on location, but it allows time for the individual to spend a bit of quality time with themselves and commune with nature whilst waiting for the abrupt rendition of air intakes and exhaust expulsions, the uplifting growl of mechanics and internal combustion, and the rattle of gravel on metal. A glorious and wondrous cacophany of noise which assails all of the senses.

Oops I'm getting carried away. It may sound rather more glamorous than it is, but if you fancy giving it a try, come along to the Training  Session, find out what's involved and perhaps volunteer at your own car club's next event or one being held near where you live. You can also register your interest to receive more information which can lead to many more opportunities and rewards.

The venue is Rally HQ in Springwood Park, on the south west side of Kelso (TD5 8LS) between 6 and 8 pm on Saturday evening. I went to the pre-Border Counties Rally session and found it both informative and entertaining.

Do you know there are some nutters, sorry, some nice volunteers, who make a motor sporting career out of marshaling? We could do with many more.

Need another clincher? This will provide a unique opportunity to capture and adopt a wild midge, train it not to bite human flesh and become vegetarian, and then set it free to spread the message. What a blessing this would be for peelly waally natives and tourists if we could eventually influence a change of behaviour in the Scottish midge population. Think also of the benefit to humanity world-wide. Just a thought.

Tuesday 26 May 2015

Rally - Reivers preview

Full entry list and preview plus a couple of spectator stages for this Sunday's Jim Clark Reivers Rally now in the mag.

Monday 25 May 2015

Rally - Meeke's Portugal

The difference between third and fourth at the end of Rally de Portugal was a mere 20 seconds after three days of hard, fast and dusty driving, with Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle just failing to hang on to that early third place in their Citroen DS3. There’s just no getting away from it at present, but Volkswagen have the best car and one heck of a line-up of talented drivers.

However, both Meeke and Mads Østberg have added to their points tallies in this year’s World Rally Championship.

Unusually, the pictures and the quotes didn’t arrive till this morning, normally I get these late on the Sunday evening at the end of each world series round, but the pics from the Citroen Racing/Austral outfit are always worth waiting and show Kris and Paul chatting with the Boss and some action from the stages.

At the finish a positive Kris commented: “We were competitive throughout the weekend. Usually, this kind of performance would lead to a place on the podium. We were fighting at the front right from the word go. At the halfway stage, we were only six seconds behind the leader. Although the result wasn’t quite what we had hoped for, overall it was a very positive weekend and we’re now fourth in the championship. So I’m very happy about that.”

Mads Østberg added: “We showed very strong pace at the end of the rally. We had to push hard to make up the time we had lost to Hayden Paddon and Dani Sordo. I think we performed very well. The aim was to make up nine seconds on the final day and we did more than that. It’s encouraging before we tackle Rally Italia Sardegna, which is one of my favourite events.”

As for the Boss, Yves Matton (Citroën Racing Team Principal), he said: “We can be pleased with the result at the end of this year’s Rally de Portugal. With both our cars finishing in good positions, we have met the targets we set ourselves before the start. There are a number of reasons to be satisfied: the DS 3 WRCs were competitive and we were fighting at the front for more than two days. We have also taken points off our rivals in the Manufacturers’ standings and strengthened our hold on second position.”

Sunday 24 May 2015

Rally - Birthday 'boy'

They really are a  nice bunch, the Volkswagen WRC team that is. And despite the fact that we would rather see a certain Citroen and its crew on the top step of the podium, the German team does have a soul and a certain lighthearted personality.

For instance, this weekend in Portugal, Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director, made a rather special presentation  to a rather special gentleman, Martin Holmes. Author of countless news reports, magazine articles and books on rallying for over 50 years and currently the Rallies Editor of Motorsport Monday, Martin Holmes celebrated his 75th birthday in Portugal.

Originally a rally co-driver throughout the 1960s, 70s and into the 80s for the likes of Shekhar Mehta, Chris Sclater, John Haugland, Andy Dawson and Billy Coleman, and one of my own heroes Timo Makinen, plus many others, he used that knowledge and contacts to become one of the world's leading writers on the subject of rallying.

Even if you don't recognise the face, you'll know the name, and it was really nice of Jost Capito to record this landmark with a unique gift. Not for Martin a lump of cake, but a hand-made gift featuring three Polo R WRC model cars mounted on carbon fibre and signed by the drivers and co-drivers. Nice one Jost.

For once Martin was speechless, well nearly: "If I get something this lovely for my 75th birthday, I'll happily continue for another 25 years," he said.