Saturday 31 December 2016

Rally - Under orders

With 2017 looming ever closer Lady Bunnet has issued a non-negotiable decree - 'Thou must de-clutter, or else!' That means consigned to the dungeons to sift through years of accumulated gold, franklynonsense and myrrhmories. Along the way some real nuggets have been unearthed, and a few of them have been attached.

The sideways Escort driver will be known to many of you, especially those involved in the Scottish forest rally championship. Most will not recognise the face although the figure should give you a clue, but when and where? 

In 1986 a 1600cc Talbot Sunbeam won the John Bedroom Stages Rally outright, at a time when beards were in fashion - again. 

Also in 1986, one of the best ever looking rally cars appeared on the Scottish Rally Championship -  although the same couldn't quite be said about the crew!

As for the group discussion around the bonnet of the Mazda, that was possibly taken later, in 1989. On a more poignant note, sadly, two of them are no longer with us.

And the final pic? The inimitable and flamboyant style of one man on the Hackle Rally way back in 1986. Crikey, that's 30 years ago!

So as we look forward to a New Year, just remember one thing. Life is not a recce. We only get one shot at it, so let the clutch out and go for it.

Tuesday 27 December 2016

Rick Parfitt

The year was 1977, the location was the Apollo in Glasgow and the reason was the recording of a certain rock group's first live album. A young (-ish!) impressionable fan was there that night, just one of a huge, energetic and enthusiastic crowd. Apparently the huge amphitheatre had the best acoustics and attracted the best audience  for a live gig at that time.

In those days, the Apollo with its near 4000 seat capacity was the biggest indoor venue in the UK. The noise that night was tremendous. An uplifting, deafening, pulsating, cacophany of musical mayhem matched only by the raucous choral din from the galleries. Memorable, magic a mazing. 

The news that Rick Parfitt passed away on Christmas eve therefore struck a chord (one of three?) in Castle Bunnet. The music industry has lost many big stars this past year and paid glowing tributes to the likes of Prince, David Bowie, George Michael, Keith Emerson and Greg Lake, but in one fan's humble opinion, failed to adequately recognise Parfitt’s contribution. He was part of a visceral wave of energy that formed the perfect soundtrack to an equally intoxicating motorsporting era which resounded to the more basic beat and mechanical melodies of BDAs and V8s.

Status Quo's 'record' is pretty much unmatched. They sold over 118 million records and had 43 hit albums spending in excess of 500 weeks in the UK album charts over the past 50 years. Quo reckon they have played over 6000 live shows to a total audience in excess of 25 million people. 

They once famously said we’re not musicians we’re players. That’s something the current crop of studio manufactured, plasticised ‘pop artistes’ may like to ponder.

Parfitt played hard and partied harder. Perhaps not the ideal role model, but there were no complaints. He never looked back and never regretted those youthful excesses. He lived life flat out and to the full, always looking ahead towards tomorrow. And we can all learn a lesson from that.

Note: The road to Peebles from Carnwath is 20 miles. Most folks reckoned it was a 40 minute drive in  the 1970s, while a good time in those days with available automotive machinery was 30 minutes. With Status on the 8 track, it could be done in 20. Don't just take my word for it, ask John Cleland.

Rally - M-Sport & Red Bull

Livery revealed for the four-time World Rally Champion’s new M-Sport Ford Fiesta. The design for Sebastien Ogier’s ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta has been revealed ahead of the Rallye Monte-Carlo next month.

Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia will sport an iconic and instantly recognisable Red Bull colour scheme as they bid to bring the glory days back to M-Sport and win their fifth WRC world title.

Malcolm Wilson, M-Sport Managing Director, said: “We are immensely proud of the Ford Fiesta WRC and those eye-catching new liveries will add the finishing touch. The test livery captured everyone’s imagination so we were keen to incorporate this alongside our valued partners both old and new." 

“We can’t wait to see both cars attack the stages of Rallye Monte Carlo in their finalised designs.”

Saturday 24 December 2016

Xmas scary story

Xmas scary story ...  There is a traditional of telling tales of horror and ghost stories at Christmas, so instead of the usual Christmas poem, here is one based on a true story!! Happy Christmas and I hope you can sleep easy in your bed after reading this ...

Endagered species

Nessie is a beast of monstrous proportions
And an ego the size of a bus
When she heard of the fame of the Jaggy
She did rage and kick up a fuss
It was she who was queen of tourist attractions 
Jealousy made her cuss

Her regular diet was haggis, and chips and curry sauce
and porridge done in batter
But with her pride under threat, and her blood on the boil
his blood she wanted to splatter
For vengeance to be savoured, it was flesh that she did crave
And only Jaggy’s would sate her

She went looking for this usurper, who threatened her regal position
On this she wouldn’t be beaten
None should steal her popular crown, and ‘top tourist’ attraction glory
All rivals had to be eaten
To tear his limbs asunder, and spray his blood and gore
It was Jaggy she went aseekin’

She found him by a rippling loch, sat alone upon a rock
at rest with pipe and smoke
Spying this grumptious figure, compassion overwhelmed her
and revenge she did revoke
Here was just ‘anurra wee cratur’, unloved and misunderstood
anger gone at single stroke

And after his initial fright, at this great beastie and its fangs
which nearly made him cry
The Jaggy did a wondrous thing, to make their friendship lasting
he shared his Tunnock’s Pie

Oh, and one more thing, Merry Christmas everyone and have happy, safe and successful New Year, and if you do happen to a see a Jaggy about next year be kind and courteous to this shy and retiring creature.

Thursday 22 December 2016

Rally - Now that's a wing!

Citroen Racing has formally launched its 2017 WRC plans and full details of its title contender. There's a report on the launch event, plus an interview with Team Principal Yves Matton, full details of the team line-up for 2017, and the Technical Specification for the fabulous new Citroen C3 WRC.

With a good representation from Northern Ireland and Eire plus England, it will give us some added incentive to follow the WRC this coming year. All we need now is young Evans to get back in a WRC team - and a talent search to find some fast Scots!

Start here, and follow the links at the foot of each page: