Wednesday 29 May 2019

Road - Classic Car Shows

With no major rallies on this weekend, how about a Sunday off? The BVAC Classic Festival of Motoring at Thirlestane Castle takes place this Sunday 2nd June, just off the A68 on the southern approach to Lauder. The theme this year is all about Mini - the real one, not the German shortbread tin variety. Also celebrating their 60th anniversaries with special displays are the Jaguar Mk2, the Triumph Herald and the Ford Capri. An additional presence to look out for will be the team from the Jim Clark Memorial Rally so if you want to find out more about plans for November, pay them a visit. It will cost a tenner to get in with Under 16s free.

On t'other side of the country, East Ayrshire Car Club will be hosting their annual Kames Classic Car Show at Muirkirk on Sunday 9th June. The gates will be open from 10.00 am and the star attraction this year will be the original Hillman Avenger as rallied by one Ian Gemmell Esq back in the day when Rootes Group was a major force to be reckoned with in the world of rallying. As ever there will be a varied and eclectic mix of cars and will again provide the ideal opportunity to wallow in wax polished, chrome encrusted nostalgia or simply to find out more about the classic car scene, gatherings and rallies plus information on the wide range of all-year-round activities at Kames - including cycling!

Sunday 26 May 2019

Rally - Overnight success

After 34 years of autotesting and autocross, navigational rallying and stage rallying, Ian McRae won his first ever trophy at last month's Memorial Garden Junior Rally. He was co-driving for Junior rally star Cameron Davidson where the daring duo finished 3rd overall. They went one better at the Granite Stages at Leuchars when they finished 2nd overall. Next up is Crail and their sights are set higher still. Ambition knows no bounds, eh?

Just goes to show, perseverence (and Cameron's talent) pays off, anyway, that's the rest of the News & Gossip from the Granite Stages at Leuchars now in the on-line mag. RSAC Scottish Rally report and roundup to follow next.

Thursday 23 May 2019

Rally - An anniversary

Doing a bit of soul searching and came across these, clippings from  45 years ago. When I started with 'Motoring News' I knew nothing about rallying - and before you say it, I still don't -  autocross and speed events were my brief, before moving on to motor racing reports from Ingliston and later the early days of Knockhill. In those days, reporters were known only by their initials which appeared at the end of their reports. The sport was always bigger than those who reported on it - the way it should be.

In 1971 I joined Shell who were about to sponsor the Scottish Rally Championship and that was when I encountered the likes of renowned rally journalists Gerry Phillips (who was killed in a car accident in Kenya in 1997) and Mike Greasley. Gerry was one of the early influences who encouraged me to switch disciplines, a chat which took place over a few glasses of White Horse in Aviemore after a Scottish Rally in the company of some promotional girls who were handing out clay pipes and samples of St Bruno tobacco!

But that was then, I know many of you don't buy 'Motorsport News' these days and you all have your reasons, but it's the last great survivor. We don't have 'Rally Sport' magazine any more or 'Rally Car' or even 'Car & Car Conversions', all are now consigned to the great forestry ditch of obscurity.

Which leaves us with the great anonymous, sensationalising mass of social media and the internet (although Bob Irvine is fighting back with his 'UK Rally Scene' mag) and they call it progress. There are of course nuggets to be found amongst it, and we all have our favourites, hence the soul searching and thoughts of change.

However, the MN cuttings provide a glimpse of the past with some names to conjure with. Tom Coffield who rallied the Autoglass Escort and Michael Dymock who started autocrossing in a Mini before taking up with the fluorescent Dynorod Chevette, and Alex Strathdee who serviced for SMT in Perth and then Dealer Team Vauxhall keeping one James S McRae on the road. There are mentions too of Ian Forrest's early career and who was later a stalwart at Knockhill for many years, and of course the venue for the Sprint report was Ingliston - when it used to be a race circuit. Happy days, eh?

Rally - Wales Rally GB

The organisers of the 75th running of Britain's premier rally have released details of this year's plans for the UK's counter in the FIA World Rally Championship. There are no real surprises in the forest element of the event but the organises do have a few other revelations tucked up their sleeves. We all know by now that the event and servicing will be based in Llandudno and the rally start will be in Liverpool, what we don't know is what the FIA will make of this. It has already been widely reported that the organisers of the World series would like the organisers of the British round to consider a move to a new location and route, and not necessarily in Wales. Whether they have the right to do this or not is debatable, what is more concerning is that they have the clout. Still, the Liverpool move makes you think. It's a small step closer to the Lake District, Kielder and south west Scotland is it not?

Anway, the full text of the Press Release and proposed 2019 Route Outline is here:

Wednesday 22 May 2019

Rally - Granite at Leuchars report

A little photographic sequence entitled 'Strictly Come Dancing on Ice - in the manner of Paul Swift' as demonstrated and executed so perfectly by Tom Morris and his Czech dancing partner, Ms Skoda Fabulousia. A full report from Aberdeen & District MC's counter in the Cobble Shop Scottish Tarmack Championship is now in the on-line mag. There remains just the stories and tall tales to sort out, separating fact from fiction - and downright fibs. After that we'll get on to the RSAC Scottish Rally report and even more tall tales and flights of fancy.