Saturday 31 July 2021

Road - Flummoxed!

I have no idea who the SWB two door Land Rover Defender 90 is aimed at. It's neither a commercial vehicle nor a family car. It fails the dead sheep test as far as farmers go and shooting estates won't like it because it works better as a 2 seater than 4.That's simply down to the difficulty level of gaining access to the rear seats and the undignified egress required thereafter. The 'boot' is tiny and explorers will require a roof rack for their gear. It's also pretty wide exposing shiny flanks to gorse bushes and Scottish thistles if traversing old hill tracks.

Having said, that, and purely on a selfish and personal basis, this is one of the most desirable vehicles on the market. When the LR chaps turned up to reclaim the press appraisal vehicle they had to beat me back with tyre levers.

Regardless of that I want one, the only trouble is, I'll need a winning lottery ticket.


Tuesday 27 July 2021

Rally - Closed Shop Grampian

The organisers of the Grampian Forest Rally have confirmed fears that this year's event on the 14th of August will officially be a 'NON SPECTATOR' event. Although Forest & Land Scotland cannot prevent pedestrians, walkers, ramblers, hikers, bird watchers, flora spotters and berry pickers from entering the estates which they manage, it is to be hoped that folk will respect the organisers' wishes.

Of course quite a few folk were spotted recently peering out between the trees in Argyll and in Dumfries & Galloway but they were mostly sensible and behaved themselves as they wandered about identifying the various species of trees, grasses, floo'ers and weeds whilst the amateur wildlife conservators ensured that the midges had plenty to eat. It was encouraging to note that the passage of rally cars every now and again did little to upset or discourage these nature lovers from their various passions!

And whilst F&LS cannot ban visitors, they can prohibit the sport. Of course it's only a matter of time before such action is taken given current political manoeuvres and longer term intentions so care has to be exercised by fans and followers in the meantime. We are being watched.

Full statement here:



Sunday 25 July 2021

Rally - Bogie's 7th Scottish

There was no short after-rally report last night. After a day in the sun and on baking hot tarmac the heat had fair frazzled your peripatetic reporter. An unfinished job!

If it was hot for those who were based at the Service Area, just imagine those poor sods in their high speed ovens who were out there fighting the good fight. And pity the poor Marshals, if not sandblasted and scorched they were parched and weary. It was a long day, a very long day.

I learned a new phrase yesterday "risk against reward". This marked David Bogie's approach to the rally. Every decision on stage was assessed mentally and each manoeuvre judged accordingly. The result was a clean troublefree rally - and his 7th victory on the Dumfries & Galloway RSAC Scottish Rally.

Jock Armstrong was pleased, albeit almost a minute adrift of the leader, but progress is being made with this new generation of rally car. First time out in a Skoda, Garry Pearson was back in the winners' circle with Rory Young also showing well in a new car. James Wilson was a fighting fifth in the Hyundai after puncturing and striking a huge rock which bent the rear axle and young Elliot Payne rounded off the top six and took top BTRDA points.

George Lepley was the first of the 'non R5' brigade after a day long battle with an anti-lagless Michael Binnie who achieved a 4th consecutive class victory on the Scottish Rally.

Mark McCulloch and Michael Hendry scored a particularly gritty 13th overall and top 2WD finishers in 13th place overall in the Mk2 but perhaps the 'drive of the rally' was 18th placed Peter Stewart ad Harry Marchbank. Peter only picked up his new Peugeot 208 in France a week ago, had 3 runs at the test day, and then blitzed the Ae and Eskdalemuir forests first time out. And yes, I did ask what he had for breakfast - but I'm not telling.

And one more thing. Full marks to a steady and mature approach to the event resulted in 40th overall and top SRC Junior to Johnnie Mackay and Emily 'Esmeralda' Easton-Page who survived when others around wilted. And 'Argyll Rally' star, Keith Riddick blotted his copybook with a roll - not the edible kind!

Early on we lost Freddie Milne with TPS failure, Callum Black with a double puncture and resultant underbody damage, John Wink with an as yet undiagnosed electrical or fuel related problem and Marty McKenna with suspension failure.

Sad to say, road conditions played their part in the results with Ae in particularly showing bad moonscape conditions after days of baking sun and dust, lots of dust. As one competitor described it, "a wall of dust".

There will be a report in next Wednesday's 'Motorsport News' and the usual more comprehensive report in '' shortly afterwards - once I get the dust washed out of personal places that dust has no right to be!

Top Ten:

1, David Bogie/John Rowan (MINI JCW WRC) 0:42:48

2, Jock Armstrong/Cameron Fair (Ford Fiesta Rally2) 0:43:46

3, Garry Pearson/Niall Burns (Škoda Fabia R5) 0:44:35

4, Rory Young/Allan Cathers (Ford Fiesta R5 Mk2) 0:44:43

5, James Wilson/Arthur Kierans (Hyundai i20) 0:44:50

6, Elliot Payne/Rhys Stoneman (Ford Fiesta) 0:44:54

7, Ian Bainbridge/Will Atkins (Škoda Fabia) 0:45:31

8, George Lepley/Tom Woodburn (Mitsubishi Evo10) 0:45:43

9, Tom Llewellin/Ross Whittock (Mitsubishi Mirage R5) 0:45:44

10, Michael Binnie/Claire Mole (Mitsubishi Evo9) 0:46:13

Friday 23 July 2021

The day job

 Scottish Rally on tomorrow, but back to the 'day job' today, driving the Mazda range, including the delightful MX5 - tough, eh?

Thursday 22 July 2021

Rally - Mach1 Blethers

 That’s the few pieces of printable gossip that can be published in a politically correct, family mag like ‘jaggybunnet’ now on line.

As for the adjoining picture, the Bruce family shows that there is hope for the future of rallying and rally marshalling with three generations manning the Special Stage Start Line. Fred Bruce was there with his father Andrew and 15 year old daughter Lauren. It appears that Lauren is every bit as keen as Grandpops Andrew. 

All we need now is a few more families like the Bruce clan, eh? Also in the picture is Stage Commander Wilma. 

The digital age may replace timekeepers and timecards, but it can’t replace Marshals. Think about it, if we replaced Marshals with robots, what would the midges feed on – they are species too!

Rally - Scottish Rally Preview

The full Entry List for Saturday's joint SRC & BTRDA Championships RSAC Scottish Rally is now in the on-line mag.


Sadly, this is a NON SPECTATOR event as decided by those way above the pay grade of amateur rally organisers! So would-be spectators are advised to stay at home and keep up to date with progress via associated websites and appropriate social media outlets. And if that doesn't work, maybe the midges will mount their own bloodthirsty deterrent for those who dare to venture into the Scottish jungle.


The weekly ‘Motorsport News’ will carry a full report next Wednesday and of course the online magazine at ‘’ will carry a comprehensive report on the SRC element shortly afterwards.

Tuesday 20 July 2021

Rally - Mach1 Class Roundup

That's the Class roundup from the Mach1 Stages Rally now in the on-line Mag. Maybe not as comprehensive as usual but there were reasons for that. All, well maybe not 'all' but at least the printable bits, will be explained in the final part of this saga, 'The Blethers' column coming next!

Class 1 Winners

Class 2 Winners

Class 3 Winners