Friday, 25 December 2015

Behind the Bunnet

The one and only, Drew Gallacher

Many thanks for all the kind words and good wishes received over recent days, both private and public. In fact, the mail and comments received over recent postings have reinforced my view that there is a need for a single source of rallying information in Scotland. For sure, 'Motorsport News' does its best, but it can only cover so much. It keeps us up to date with the international and national stuff, but can't do justice to the grass roots and club scene. That's not a criticism, just a plain fact.

So I have made a decision to introduce a weekly newsletter. I suggested this idea a couple of months back and have been working away on the concept since then encouraged by positive feedback. On that basis I am aiming to launch it next month. It will be subscription only and it will be of primary interest to Scottish enthusiasts. Not that I'm racist, but I couldn't hope to cover the English, Welsh and Northern Irish scene as well. The cost will be 12 quid per year for a weekly Newsletter, that equates to 25 pence per emailed issue per week. More details will be issued shortly - so don't panic, you haven't missed anything  yet.

As to the title, I have decided on 'The Bunnet Bulletin'. That lets you know it will be informal and opinionated, as well as informed and educational - hopefully!

Some of the younger readers may wonder where the 'Jaggy Bunnet' name came from and why. There's one simple reason, it was the nickname given to a young, impressionable and starstruck journalist by someone he regarded as a real star of the forest stage - Drew Gallacher.

It happened at the end of a Hackle Rally which finished in Blairgowrie way back in 1972 or '73. Although employed by Shell, the youngster was also working for the weekly free-sheet 'Scottish Motor News & Advertiser' which had an office near the Shell building in Glasgow. After the party, the crews and stragglers staggered back to hotels and guesthouses in the Perthshire town and it just so happened that the Shell boss, Bill Houston and his staff (including yours truly), were staying in the same hotel as the Gallacher entourage.

Drew was reluctant to return to his room for two reasons. There were already about 11 folk in his double room, designed for two occupants, sleeping off a drunken stupor amidst a cacophony of assorted snoring and snorting which was shaking the rafters. They were sleeping on the bed, floor and on the window sills of the bay windows, and there was a new fangled invention in the public bar, a snooker table. Hard to believe now, but in those days bars were for serious drinking duty only, not playing games. Cards and dominoes were not considered games. That was table warfare! Anyway, at that time, this was the first such table to have escaped from the big city of Glasgow and Drew challenged me to game.

Bad move. It was already gone midnight when we started playing. Two rank amateurs battering balls around the green baize. I have no idea how many games we played in those early hours, but I was managing to stay ahead. Each time he drew level I would win a few more games. Unbeknownst to me, the big devil was so bluidy competitive that he wasn't going to his room till he beat me. It got so serious at one point that I turned my bunnet backwards so that I could lean closer to the cue and the baize. That was when he said: "Weel done Jaggy Bunnet".

For a man whom I regarded as such a big name and revered as a big star to give a wet-behind-the-ears youngster a nickname put a spring in my step. I never forgot it and the name stuck.

Hence 'The Bunnet Bulletin'. So now you know.

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