Saturday, 21 May 2022

Rally - Testing times

At a top secret location, somewhere in the western hemisphere, some rally cars and their drivers had gathered ahead of next weekend's Jim Clark and Reivers Rallies. Their task? To refettle and fine tune their cars for the tarmac challenge which lies ahead.

Michael Harbour and David Hardie were there with their Mk2s, Mark McCulloch with his Proton and Peter and Richard Stewart with their Peugeots. Oddly enough both Peter and Richard said they had never been to Kames before (Oops, I've let slip the location, as if the pics didn't give it away!)and hadn't realised what an excellent facility EACC have built up. Despite their tarmac set-up, the wee Peugeots still look as though they're riding high.

Mark was adjusting the set-up having switched from forest to tarmac spec which is quite an operation on the Proton with both front corners needing completely changed including brakes although the rear is a bit more straightforward. David Hardie was there, not for testing purposes, but to give son Grant his first drive in a rally car, but why not testing? That's because he's not going to the Clark - he's going to a wedding on the Saturday. Somebody slipped up, eh? As for Mick he was trying to get his inside front wheel to behave - down boy!


Friday, 20 May 2022

Road - World Record Price

A 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut CoupĂ© has been sold at auction for the world record price of €135,000,000.

One of just two prototypes built by the Mercedes-Benz racing department, the car is named after its creator and chief engineer, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, and has been bought by a private collector

The 300 SLR was based on the W 196 R Grand Prix car which won two World Championships driven by Juan Manuel Fangio, but with its engine enlarged to 3 litres for sports car racing. The car was capable of 180 mph, making it one of the fastest road legal cars to have ever been created at the time.

The Mercedes-­Benz Museum in Stuttgart sold the car with the proceeds being used to establish a worldwide 'Mercedes-Benz Fund' that will provide educational and research scholarships in the areas of environmental science and decarbonisation for young people.

Apparently, invitees to the sale were selected Mercedes customers and international collectors of cars and art who share the corporate values of Mercedes-Benz.

The bidding opened at a price higher than the selling price of the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO sold by RM Sotheby’s in 2018 which previously ranked as the most valuable car ever sold at auction and exceeds the existing record by more the €90,000,000.

And no, it wisnae me who bought it - my invitation must have got lost in the post!


Rally - Nissan JUKE Rally Tribute

Last year Nissan issued some images of a rather special Nissan JUKE to celebrate the company’s participation in the East African Rally 50 years earlier.

Apparently the idea was so well received by the public that they have built a one-off 'rally prepped' car ahead of the  introduction of the new JUKE Hybrid road car this summer.

Admittedly it's more 'rally-raid' than 'rally car', but it begs the question. Would Nissan consider a comeback to rally raids, or even rallying? With the WRC going hybrid, do you think they could be tempted?

Apparently the answer is 'No' but you know what James Bond said:  "Never say never!"

Fingers crossed, eh?


Thursday, 19 May 2022

Road - Wishful thinking

With five M-Sport entries in this weekend's Vodafone Rally De Portugal guess what this week's press appraisal vehicle is? Is that just coincidence? Do you think I could give that chap Loeb a run for his money?

Rally - Yesterday's Photo

Omitting the names yesterday was not an act of forgetfulness, it was a prompt to stir the memory boxes of others. We all have our own memories of times past and they are all different.

George Marshall (on the left) won the Scottish Rally Championship title in 1985. Oddly enough this was an anniversary - of sorts. He scored his first major rally win 37 years ago on this very event. His agricultural business is still located just across the road from this year's Border Rally Service Park, so it only required a short stroll to catch up and re-live the good old days.

Peter Brown (in the middle) won four Scottish Rally Championship Co-driver titles (1981,82,84,86), a feat unmatched till the more recent David Bogie/Kevin Rae championship domination years.

Ken Wood is still very much a part of Scottish rallying more often seen underneath the John Wink Hyundai these days than inside a rally car although the V6 Dolomite is still 'resting' in the garage back home.  He won three Scottish Championship titles in three different cars, the Triumph TR7V8 in 1982, the Rover Vitesse in 1984 and the MG Metro 6R4 in 1986. It was also one of the most recognisable and successful rally sponsor partnerships ever, with Golden Wonder Crisps.

And today's pic? I just couldn't resist this quickly snapped shot from Kames last week. Steaming and wheezing like a burst gasket, Dangerous Des explodes across the Finish line on two wheels. I wonder if he's planning to recce the Jim Clark on his bike!!


Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Rally - Auld Codgers

Mair auld codgers ... It was like a trip down memory lane at last weekend's Border Counties where this trio met up during a quiet spell in Service. Between them they won eight national Scottish Rally Championship titles way back when Pace Notes were banned and turbos 'would never catch on'! Marshals didn't need to be licensed, they were there to support their club and the sport and spectators roamed freely in the woods. Burger vans offered a straight choice - bacon roll or burger, and none of this vegan nonsense. And it was a proper roll too, genuine Scottish fluffy or 'well-fired' morning roll, and none of this bap, brioche or flatbread carry-on. On a more serious note, you could get four gallons of fuel then for the price of one gallon today and forest tyres were a tenth of today's price! Forty years ago life was much simpler and so was rallying - just ask any one of these three.