Tuesday 29 June 2021

Rally - M-Sport Stages Entry List

Quite a few of our lot, both drivers and co-drivers, are making their way south this weekend for the second M-Sport Stages Rally which will take place on Sat 3rd/Sun 4th July.

Competitors will also get the first public chance to see M-Sport’s new state-of-the-art research, design and development Evaluation Centre at Dovenby. It has been said that it might just rival the facilities at Kames (!) minus the pies.

Sadly it's a NON SPECTATOR event so fans will have to wait to find out in next week's 'Motorsport News' what happened and that will be followed later by an alternative view of proceedings in 'jaggybunnet.co.uk'.

Full Entry List here:



Sunday 27 June 2021

Rally - Job done

The report on the Dunoon Presents Argyll Stages has now been submitted to 'Motorsport News' and should appear in all its glory next Wednesday along with some of Eddie Kelly's pics. There's also a wee story about the background to the rally and the heroic efforts of Mull Car Club and friends to put the show on the road - a brand new event, closed roads and a stage through the centre of Dunoon, and all done under the shadow and constrictions of Covid. Amazing.

And what a rally it was. 'Motorsport News' allows 1200 words for a full rally report, but think on it, 120 cars and crews, 13 stages and two days - it's more a question of what to leave out than put in the report. On top of all that there was drama and excitement galore. It's amazing what a year and half off does to adrenalin pumps, eh?

No doubt the brickbats will come thick and fast after publication, but that's par for the course. However, any real personal insults will be handed over to my big pal Jaggy, so beware a chap on the door in dead of night.

Anyway it gives me a chance to get the more comprehensive report finished for publication in 'jaggybunnet.co.uk' later in the week.

As for the 'before and after' pics, we saw Andy Horne's latest creation out on the road for the first time. A 3 litre V6 engined Metro 6R4, but he didn't finish. Not because there was anything wrong with the car but when he punctured a rear tyre it kind of damaged the rear quarter a wee bitty. The Scroots then refused to allow him to re-start the rally without a mudguard over the exposed wheel and a new rear light cluster. Spoilsports, but that's only right, we are all god-fearing, fair minded, law abiding citizens are we not?

Rally - Evans win in Argyll

Freddie and Meirion - still pals
Maiden win ... Meirion Evans and Jonathan Jackson scored their maiden rally victory when they won the weekend's Dunoon Presents Argyll Rally. Unfortunately they were unable to celebrate in traditional style as queries were raised when results were declared provisional.

"It's not the way I would like to win a rally," said Evans, "I really thought Freddie (Milne) had it in the bag and was pretty sure the penalties would be dismissed, but they weren't."

With just one rally under his belt in the new car, Evans was still getting used to it: "I just need more confidence," he said, "these are very tricky and difficult stages. I actually thought my times were good on Friday, but I was more on the pace today."

Fastest crew over the 13 Special Stages was the Ford Fiesta R5 pairing of Freddie Milne and Patrick Walsh but they were given a one minute penalty for 'hitting a chicane' on Stage 7. The crew appealed but the Stewards upheld the organisers' decision and they finished third, denying them their maiden rally victory.

"I was aware that Meirion was closing the gap but I knew that I had enough of a margin that he would run out of miles so I could afford to ease off over the final two." And then the bombshell hit.

Daniel Harper and Chris Campbell in the MINI JCW WRC were the unwitting sandwich filling between Evans and Milne duel with Harper commenting after the rally: "These are some of the hardest stages I've ever driven, the car is as wide as the roads!"

The next three drivers, David Wright, Jock Armstrong and John MacCrone all incurred one minute penalties and finished in that order.

Hugh Hunter retired his Ford Focus with an intermittent misfire which caused severe spluttering, Melvyn Evans simply pulled out after being given a penalty, David Bogie crashed and Garry Pearson was out when the oil filter blew off - taking the oil with it!

Top Ten:

1, Meirion Evans/ Jonathan Jackson (VW Polo GTI R5) 52:29

2, Daniel Harper/ Chris Campbell (MINI JCW WRC) 52:49

3, Freddie Milne/ Patrick Walsh (Ford Fiesta R5) 53:12

4, David Wright/ Paula Swinscoe (Ford Fiesta R5 Evo2) 53:32

5, Jock Armstrong/ Cameron Fair (Ford Fiesta R45) 54:58

6, John MacCrone/ Stuart Loudon (Skoda Fabia R5) 55:00

7, Gareth Sayers/ Gareth Gilchrist (Ford Fiesta R5) 55:10

8, Damian Toner/ Denver Rafferty (Ford Escort Mk2) 55:20

9, Aidan Wray / Kieran McGrath (Ford Fiesta R5) 56:24

10, Richard Hill/ Steffan Evans (Mitsubishi Lancer) 56:49

Note: Full Report in next Wednesday's 'Motorsport News' followed by a more detailed report ion the online 'jaggybunnet.co.uk' publication.

There was no on-line report last night because I was just too discomknackerated after a very long and yet very exciting day. Sad it ended like that.


Thursday 24 June 2021

Rally - Spectating in Argyll

There will be limited opportunities for spectating on this weekend's Dunoon Presents Argyll Rally for those determined to be out and about, although all are respectfully requested to adhere to Government guidelines and instructions. If there are any problems then the sport throughout Scotland could be adversely affected - and we've had more than enough of that over the past 15 months or so.



Sex and motor sport

One has to be careful these days regarding sex and motor sport. One wrong word and the matter of sexism raises its head. Therefore to be politically correct and avoid treading on any sensitive toes, best to ignore it, eh?

Linzi Henderson
But that can't be right, we should be trying to encourage allcomers regardless of sex, race or social background. Once upon a time rallying was on a popularity par with motor racing but sadly that is no longer the case. These days we have only one WRC front runner flying the UK (and Welsh) flag with Craig Breen, Gus Greensmith and Chris Ingram hoping to join that very small but elite band which currently includes Elfyn Evans at the forefront of world rallying on a regular basis.

And yet Britain's first World Rally Champion was a lady! 31 years ago Louise Aitken Walker won the World Rally Championship for Ladies and what should have provided an inspiration and encouragement to others was lost in a sea of cheap newspaper headlines which always tried to include the words 'farmer' or 'shepherdess' The sport failed to capitalise then and we're paying for it now. Louise was not just a driver, she was a winning driver and a fierce competitor, regardless of any other label that sensation seeking reporters sought to sensationalise headlines.

Ashleigh Morris

Although there are quite a few lady co-drivers contesting this weekend's Dunoon Presents Argyll Rally, there are only three lady rally drivers on the Entry List - and there was nearly only two! What does that say about the sport of rallying in the UK? Motor racing is only marginally better but they do seem to have a few initiatives underway to try and encourage more female participation.

Anyway, when a wee problem developed with Linzi Henderson's Ford Fiesta R2T her appearance at the event was threatened. Coincidentally, there was another rally prepped car in the garage just raring to go. Just one ever so tiny wee problem. It wisnae hers, it was Dad's (Walter's) historic Mk2!

Aileen Forrest
Whether persuasion, bribery or blackmail was involved we'll probably never know, but guess what she'll be driving in Dunoon.

The point is, keep your eye on the results this weekend and raise an extra cheer for Linzi in car 89, Ashleigh Morris in the Ford Fiesta R200 at 92 and Aileen Forrest in her Mitsubishi Evo9 running at 102. 

Here's hoping they gub all the boys!

Monday 21 June 2021

Rally - Argyll entry list

The 'big guns' will be out in force for this weekend's Dunoon Presents Argyll Rally on the 25/26 June. What an entry! Not just quantity but top quality, representing all parts of the UK.   

Unfortunately there is no news as yet about spectators. A decision will be taken on Thursday 24th whether it will be officially a NO SPECTATOR event or whether specific spectator locations will be permitted. Keep your eyes on social media.

Full entry list here:



Sunday 20 June 2021

Rally - Plan B

If you fall out with your best pal and business partner after driving to an event or meeting together, it's always best to have a Plan B for getting home. Or maybe the driver just didn't like the sound or thought of lycra rubbing in places that should never be touched by anything other than Johnson's baby powder. In this case, Kilmarnock was some 75 miles from where they parted ways - and then it started to rain!

Men in Black

No, these are not twa white haired auld gits in black race suits catching up at a recent test day. This is actually a Black & White photo of twa teenagers with blonde hair and blue suits taken 40 years ago. Of course it is!

The future of rallying

An experiment was undertaken at the rally test day by two young apprentice boffins under the guidance of a motor cycle riding mad professor keen to explore the future of rallying as envisaged by those who rule our sport and govern our nation. The idea is for the 'driver' to sit on the rear wing of the autonomous vehicle and drive it using a remote control unit while the socially distancing co-driver runs alongside shouting out the Pace Notes. The idea didn't work. The co-driver simply couldn't synchronise his legs with the car's Launch Control and was too out of puff to keep up the verbal flow of Notes.

Rally - Social distancing

For those whose memory is failing, or for those just too young to know how things were done in pre-Covid times, this is how tech talks and debriefs were conducted before Zoom, this is how such conferences and meetings were conducted - albeit the huddles were a wee bit closer together! Hard to believe now, but folk actually used to greet each other and chat face to face without the need for the internet or any wires, cameras or microphones. The words were magically carried through the air from gob to gob and ear to ear and back again with no picture freezing or loss of signal, and the person you were talking to was a three dimensional living, breathing (most of the time) lump of humanity. It makes you wonder how we all managed without electricity, electronics, batteries, wires and wi-fi, eh?

Rally - The Service Park

At yesterday's Test Day even the rally cars were social distancing! On a more serious note, if 'family' bubbles and social distancing become the norm this will create more pressure on rally organisers to find ever bigger service areas, and that's a tough job at the best of times, even without Covid.

Saturday 19 June 2021

Rally - Hibernation ending?

Wherza rally boots?... No need for rally boots today, its Summer time! So it's the gutties today at a top secret location some where in Scotland. It could be north or south depending on where you live. The reason? The rally car hibernation season is coming to a close and some of this near extinction species is taking tentative steps out in to the open. Hopefully, it's just a start.

Thursday 17 June 2021

Rally - Spectating

The news that the RSAC Scottish Rally will be a Non Spectator event has caused quite a stooshie as we await news of the more imminent Dunoon Presents Argyll Rally on the 25/26 June.

Although Mull Car Club presently has the backing of local and regional Councils, Police and other authorities, there is no guarantee that this support will continue due to the ever changing spread of the Covid virus, although the organisers do remain hopeful.

Due to the nomadic nature of the sport of special stage rallying crowd control is a major issue as far as the various authorities are concerned and rally organisers have to be guided not just by professional advice but by any official instructions which may be imposed from on high.

The idea that spectators on rallies should in theory be safer than those in enclosed spaces, halls or stadiums is valid, but permission to hold such an event still remains subject to Government approval. On that basis, fans and spectators should be contacting local MSPs or the current Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing in the Scottish Government. That is the only legitimate course of action.

Similarly, forest based stage rallies are governed by Forest & Land Scotland and the clue here is in the word 'Scotland'. This is a national body and therefore cannot be expected to declare regional differences in the use of the forest estate, again unless allowed by the Scottish Government. So any individual caught contravening the current rules in one part of the country will have an adverse effect on other regions.

The other issue is that the event has attracted crews from all around the country with different geographical areas being subject to different restrictions which further complicates the decision making process.

On the plus side, Dunoon and the county of Argyll need this potential tourist boost.

For the moment, the sport is stuck between a rock and hard place until the various authorities say otherwise.

All we can do in the meantime is keep an eye on the Argyll Rally Facebook page and Twitter at @ArgyllRally - and perhaps also on this page!