Coltness Car Club have released details of their planned 'McRae Gravel Challenge' scheduled to run on Saturday the 23rd September. This will be a low-key affair to mark the tenth anniversary of the loss of their hugely supportive and much revered car club member. This one-off event is not intended to rival that huge memorial event in 2008. This will be a more private gathering run by the Club, although all rally fans will be welcome.
Some folk have asked about the photograph. That was taken in August of 2001, the year of Foot & Mouth Disease in Scotland and in northern England. Rallying was pretty much banned right across the country and the Coltness event was no exception. Initially the club was told that both Lanark (Rally Start & Finish) and Lockerbie (Service) agricultural markets were closed because of the disease and the forests of Dumfries & Galloway were out of bounds.
That was what prompted club members and rally organisers to look further afield for venues and with the Hackle Rally no longer, there was mileage to be had in the central Highlands.
Initial approaches to Perth & Kinross Council and Tayside Police were extremely encouraging and to promote the deal Colin travelled up to Perth with a couple of other club stalwarts to have a look at the route and meet the Provost. And that was why the Lanarkshire based event moved to Perthshire.
Chancer that he was, Colin was all set to jump into the Provost's XJ6 and take him for a hurl through the woods. It didn't happen, just.
As for the other hairy character, if there was one man who made the Colin McRae Stages Rally what it was, it was Big Jim. He's taken a step back from organising these days, but he'll be around in September. Already, Tunnock's are planning an extra run of pies ahead of his trip north.
For more info on the McRae Gravel Challenge as plans progress, keep an eye on the Coltness CC website.
Regs & Entries will be available soon: