Sunday 29 March 2020

Rallying 40 years ago

With tales of the 2020 Snowman Rally still fresh in our minds, and since we've got no other rallying at the moment, I have reprinted a report from the 1980 Snowman Rally in the on-line mag.

This was the very first rally report in the second issue of the first ever Scottish Rally Championship newsletter. The newsletter had been introduced as a way of keeping folks informed and interested as the 1980 Scottish Championship had no title sponsor. It was very much a budget operation  after years of support from Shell, The Scotsman, Glayva and British Airways and before Esso Petroleum was introduced as title sponsor in 1981.

The 'SRC News' was posted out to all registered competitors with points tables (no internet and email back then) and also to Car Club newsletter Editors - yet another club service that has mostly disappeared. But perhaps a word of caution, the editorial style of the newsletter preceded 'political correctness' (unlike the more formal 'Motoring News' report of the day) and so this report has been re-printed exactly as it was 40 years ago.

Those early Newsletters were manually typed on to 'skins' which were then wrapped around the drum of a Gestetner duplicator (later on, a more 'advanced' Roneo duplicator). The various pages were then collated, stapled and folded for insertion into envelopes. A similar method was used to print address labels for registered competitors, but the budget did not extend to a franking machine. All postage stamps were applied by hand with a wee sponge to wet them - one of Lady Bunnet's better ideas!

In fact, this newsletter was ultimately the inspiration for, and led to the creation of, the '' on-line magazine.

There's more of these early reports in the archive - if anyone has the stomach for them?

The 1980 Snowman Rally report is here:

Saturday 28 March 2020

Rally - Friends (?) re-united?

Way back in 1985 when horsepower was measured in bales of hay and stages were timed by sundial two unlikely young (!) lads had several outings in the Weldex International Offshore Vauxhall Chevette HSR. The highlight of their season was 5th o/a on the Andrews Air Conditioning Border Rally at Galashiels for which they duly received their genuine silver (coloured) trophies pictured here (in Black & White).

These two (formerly) young lads met up more recently, last month at the Snowman, in Inverness. One is still competing while the other has more sense - and their zimmers were hidden whilst this latest photo was taken. Can you name them both? Too easy, eh?

In all fairness they were pretty quick back in the day. George Marshall won the rally in his Nissan 240 RS from the Opel Manta of Pete Doughty with Vince Wetton 3rd in his Ascona. Brearley was sandwiched between the 4th placed Escort Mk2s of Pete Slights and 6th placed Murray Grierson.

Friday 27 March 2020

Rally - Looking ahead

If anyone thinks that the resumption of rallying will be a quick and orderly process when the time comes, forget it. To assume that such a logistically difficult sport to organise can simply pick up where it left off, then I'm afraid it's not going to be quite that simple.

Of course Plans, Routes and Time Schedules will still be in place as will a central core of any organising team, but we won't know what state the country will be in when the worst of the current crisis is past. When running a rally on private forestry and/or tarmac roads, let alone closed roads there are certain legalities and processes which have to be observed regarding the gaining of official approval and permissions from central government, local authorities and of course the Police not to mention the management of local facilities needed to host events.

Keen as they might be to help, you can bet your little suede driving booties that they will have other priorities to attend first. And you can bet motor sport will be way down that list of priorities. The big money sports like Football, the Olympics and F1 will be way ahead - but even they will be well behind folks' health and welfare.

That aside, many of those who participate in amateur sport, whether competing or officiating, may well have endured hardship - or worse. No matter how high the desire to get back to normal, personal and business circumstances will undoubtedly change over the weeks to come.

On that basis, perhaps the sport could use the current enforced layoff to get itself into shape, not so much for the end of this season, but for 2021.

Naturally communicating with groups will be difficult but we live in more electronically advanced times. With Skype, Facetime, Whatsapp groups, Dropbox and the like most of us have the means to 'meet up' and keep in touch. Oh, and there is one other means of keeping touch. It's called a telephone.

The SAMSC (Scottish Association of Motor Sport Clubs) is already looking at keeping in touch using such technology and perhaps clubs and organisers could take advantage of that to form separate 'thinktanks' to look at the possibility of coming up with a calendar that will address the needs of rallyists and racers alike. It's one thing rallies running too close together, but when you include motor races and speed events, that places a huge burden on marshalling 'man / woman / person power' demands.

It is also likely that there will be a volunteer shortage as things, hopefully, get back to some sort of normality, so calendar rationalisation will be desirable.

Another item concerns expense. Many folk may not have the budget to resume, even if they have the desire, and this is where Navigational and/or Targa type rallying could fill a gap and in doing so re-establish itself as the beginner's choice.

Looking further ahead, there is a need to consider the impending switch from petrol to electric. Stage rallying may well be out of reach of electric cars, but not necessarily navigational and Targa events!

Oddly enough, I've got my own ideas and they'll be in next month's Pacenotes Magazine - if not censored by the Editor!!

Thursday 26 March 2020

Crisis? What crisis?

Things just got serious. Tunnock's have suspended production. Surely an omission in the Scottish Government's 'List of Essential Services'!

Wednesday 25 March 2020

Rally - Mull Hire Classic

Probably the final rally report for some time ... The report from the Mull Hire Classic Rally is now in the on-line mag. If you haven't contested a Targa style event before, it is well worth a look. Cheap as chips and more fun than a visit to the dentist (honestly!) - maybe next year, eh?

Rally Report here: