Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Rally - Tyneside Tales

Although overdue due to pressure of work, the behind-the-scene stories that didn't make the Tyneside Stages Rally report have now been collated and published in the on-line mag, but sad to report, there was crowd control trouble at the Tyneside Stages. A gang of hairy, hungry, noisy, raw leather clad hooligans were spotted trying to destroy the spectator 'fencing'.

There's more here: 

Monday, 19 August 2019

Rally - Head count

Apparently some folk doubted my head counting (fair point!) skills at yesterday's meeting in Stirling where I claimed a figure in excess of 130 folk attending.

Thankfully, one Eddie Kelly Esq (MacApparazzi in Chief) was in attendance complete with camera. He also has a fish-eye lens (I can't even afford a fish finger) and was able to capture for posterity an image of the whole room.

These photos were actually taken before the meeting got underway, but when it did all 100 chairs were occupied including latecomers - you know who you are Doc! - some additional chairs brought in (purloined from an adjoining meeting room) and there were folk standing at the back and sitting at the sides, so I stand by my figure of 'nearly' in excess of 130 folk. Perhaps I shouldn't have included David Richards who had sent a video taped message which was broadcast to the delegates to open proceedings. He was there in spirit if not in person.

A goodly figure you might think, but here's another thought. If there are just over 1000 active rally competition licence holders in Scotland why did less than 50 of them turn up to a meeting headlined 'Save Scottish Rallying'? For sure, many sent in apologies along with their thoughts and opinions, but is a 5% response good enough, or is that par for the course these days?

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Rally - Rallying Round

The great, the good, the not so good, the disaffected and the downright dangerous descended on Stirling earlier this afternoon for the 'Save Scottish Rallying' meeting at Stirling Uni.

Over 130 folk from all around the Kingdom had gathered, mostly drivers and co-drivers but a goodly collection of organisers and volunteers, plus a few Historic auld farts just wanting to get in out of the rain. In other words, a thoroughly good mix of folk with a huge variety of opinions.

On a more worrying note, the vast majority were hardly in the first flush of youth, and perhaps not even the second or third flush either! If we don't attract new blood then the sport will die out - just like those other dinosaurs.

There will be an opinionated post-meeting column in next Wednesday's 'Motorsport News' following which a more lengthy article might well appear in a certain on-line Scottish rally magazine!

Rally - Grampian Champions

Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton are the 2019 KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Champions after winning last weekend's very wet, dry-ish, very wet Grampian Forest Rally. It's their third Scottish title. Jock Armstrong and Kirsty Riddick finished second overall to the rally winners while a tremendous scrap for third place was resolved on the last stage in favour of John Wink and Neil Shanks. Bruce McCombie was on the boil - till he wasn't, and Donnie MacDonald was in the hunt too, till he found a wee ditch. The full story is here, and only here, in Scotland's on-line rally magazine:

Friday, 16 August 2019

Road - Charging ahead

There are sceptics amongst us who think too much is being made of the advance of hybrid and electric cars and how that might impact on motor sport to the detriment of those vehicles powered by internal combustion engines.

We're all only too well aware of the almost religious fervour being adopted by various Governments around the four home nations and their headlong charge towards a more 'acceptable' and greener future. They seem to be hell bent on converting us diesel and petrolheads to the charms of electricity with nary a thought as to how it will be produced, at what cost, and how it will be transmitted and stored. All they see is the road ahead completely ignoring the dips and hollows and ditches on either side.

This messianic zeal may therefore lull the sceptics into thinking it won't happen as fast as our leaders hope and intend. Don't count on it.

Here's an interesting fact from Nissan. There are now almost 1,000 more public places to charge electric cars than traditional filling stations in the UK – 9,300 EV charging locations compared to 8,400 fuel stations.

Britain’s first fuel station opened in November 1919 in Berkshire but their decline is upon us with almost 80% of UK petrol stations having closed since 1970. Two new rapid charge devices came on-line every day last month and almost all UK motorway service stations now have charging stations installed.

We all know that it takes much longer to charge an electric vehicle than  to fill a fuel tank but that's not going to sway the crusading transport zealots. If we're queuing up to charge up, then we are not polluting the planet - nor are deliveries being made or tradesmen going about their business. That'll be good for business, eh? Around 1600 of these locations provide ‘rapid charging’, but that still means a typical EV battery will need about an hour to charge up to 80% whereas one spirit pump could fill 20 perhaps 30 cars an hour if there's a queue.

Since Nissan launched the LEAF, it's first mass-market electric vehicle in 2010, EV technology has continually improved. As a result, the UK is experiencing unprecedented growth in the demand for battery-powered transport.

That is the message the politicians are choosing to heed, not the plea of the masses who simply want to be able to go about their daily business and enjoy their leisure time at an acceptable cost.

And if you think motor sport will be exempt, have another think. Who will be first in the firing line?
Just another topic for discussion at Sunday's  'Save Scottish Rallying' meeting in  Stirling.