Monday 12 February 2018

Rally - Highland hospitality

There must a be a few car clubs around the country who envy Highland CC. Where other events are tolerated by their host community, Inverness seems to embrace it.

For instance, where else would you get rival car dealers working together to support an event? Arnold Clark Inverness sponsors the rally, but Parks Inverness also supply vehicles. And no arm-twisting was needed from the local Culloden Car Sales emporium. Mind you their motto precedes them: "We will make you an offer you won't refuse". But then it's run by that awfy nice chap Donnie, the MacDon of the local MacMafia, and his enforcer, Ross the Ruthless.

As usual Arnold Clark opened up the service bays of a large workshop on Harbour Road for Scrutineering and just left them to get on with it - and spectators were welcomed. Try that in Glasgow and you'd have to hide the tools and sew the spectators hands into their pockets.

The organisers also needed a new Rally HQ venue this year and in stepped Fairways the golf centre. They couldn't have been more welcoming or helpful even before dawn on Saturday when rally cars were being fired up in the chill morning air.

They are lucky too with their choice of Service Area. Not only does Dingwall Mart have a huge expanse of ground, it has the Drover's Rest on site. A deadly place for the diet conscious. Full of tempting treats from pies and sausage rolls to sticky buns and 'dream rings'.

And of course, Tesco Inverness tended to the inner needs of the Marshals with their Goodie Bags. In temperatures too low for a Newcastle hen night, the Marshals stuck to their posts. Or maybe they were actually frozen to their posts. Whatever, they still volunteered.

There's always a big media presence at this event too. As far as the Highlanders are concerned this is not just a major motor rally, this is a major sports event in its own right. The place was fair hoachin' with folk from North Highland Radio thrusting microphones at anything that moved and there was quite a photographer scrum at the champagne spraying finish (Note to self - wear motorcycle jacket next time with armoured elbows and shoulders!).

I don't know how many were legit press photographers, but none of them had blue priority tabards which makes one wonder what the MSA accreditation scheme is trying to achieve.

There was just one notable omission. Bare bums. The protest 'mass moon' in support of Jock didn't happen. It must have been far too cauld, eh?

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