Wednesday 28 September 2022

Rally - Sahara Adventure

Meanwhile, in a land far, far away ... two intrepid Scottish souls in a classic car are participating in the 2022 Sahara Challenge. Organised by the Historic Endurance Rallying Organisation (HERO) this 12 day endurance rally which started in Malaga in Southern Spain before hopping across the Mediterranean to Tangier will cover some 4500 kms.

The route will take them in and around the Sahara Desert - NINE million square kilometres of sand, rolling dunes and large rock plateaus, whereas Scotland's total land mass is 77,900 sq kms!

It was on that basis that first time Sahara adventurer, ex racing driver Sandy McEwen, purchased a 'rally-prepped' 1940 Ford De Luxe Fordor with a 3.6 ltr V8 producing some 85 hp. Naturally being a competition veteran of great experience, the car was bought sight unseen!

Apparently 'rally-prepped' means different things to different people and there was trouble afoot. The car had to be completely refettled ready for its 'sandy' debut.

Sandy also thought he had better engage the services of a knowledgeable and experienced co-driver for this once in a lifetime challenge. After some diligent, painstaking research he chanced upon one Alan Stark  Esq, the 1992 and 1995 Scottish Rally Championship runner-up co-driver, i.e. they both mixed in the Graham Millar (Rotor Racing) squad and knew each other!

Apparently Alan jumped at the idea before he had time to really sit down and think about it. These HERO organised endurance rallies are not just grand tours for auld gits in auld cars, they are highly competitive, well-organised events attracting younger competitors in auld cars too! The oldest car taking part is a 1914 American LaFrance Type 10 while the most 'modern' is a 1976 Opel Commodore.

Built into the route are numerous tests to assess navigational competency as well as driving skill, and it's a long time since Alan used a Terratrip or twin clocks, let alone a map and compass.

The adventure was due to start on September 19th from Malaga although plans to drive the car there to 'run it in' had to be abandoned at the last minute due to fuel feed problems. Expert help was sought and new fuel lines and pump installed but time was running out so they had to trailer the car to Malaga to make the start proper.

As this is being written the crew are now tackling Day 10 somewhere north of Marrakesh, rather different to Glendaruel or Drummond Hill, eh?

If the sun baked duo ever make it back home, and don't end up in some desert nomad's tent marooned forever to live on coconuts foraged in an oasis, the plan is to catch up with them and let you know how they fared. Hopefully this might just inspire others to have a go and do something different, really different. At least it will prove there is life and challenges after 'proper' stage rallying!



Friday 23 September 2022

Rally - A new beginning

For Sale ... two pairs of rally boots (part worn), one Reporter's Notebook (unused), one Ford Motorsport carbon fibre pen (no ink left), one mechanical pencil (for writing on wet pages) and one bunnet (going threadbare at the edges) as these tools of the trade are no longer needed.

The Galloway Hills Rally was my final event as a motor sports reporter. I didn't want to end my 'career' on an 'English' event so I won't be attending and reporting on the Carlisle Stages. There should be a new kid on the block, or rather young man, on 'Motorsport News' duty and I wish him well.

The on-line 'Jaggy Bunnet' magazine will also be wound down over the coming weeks but there have been requests to at least maintain a presence - we'll see. As for the social media stuff, that will be reduced too.

Looking ahead, I have a big task yet to accomplish. During the Covid lockdown I started writing a book on the history of the Scottish Rally Championship. I quickly realised that it was going to be an awfy big book so the plan has been modified to become a series of six books, each one covering a different decade from the 1960s to the 2010s - and there may well be enough material left over for a seventh book!

Of course there will be regrets, but I've had a blast and don't resent a moment of it. I have reported on events from the USA to Iceland to Greece and all points in between, but I suppose my main achievement has been writing for the weekly 'Motor Sport News' for fifty years, having started way back in 1972, before becoming a full time freelance journalist in 1980. Since then I have written for (and even edited a few) countless magazines and newspapers, but now no more.

Having said that I may yet appear in national print as the author of a column or opinion piece here and there, and perhaps commissioned to write features, but that will be all.

I will of course continue to attend rallies, but purely as a spectator and bystander, and will flatly refuse to push any car out of any ditch. Those days are far gone.

I've had a ball and don't regret a minute of it (well maybe one or two minutes) and will miss all those involved in competing, servicing and officiating - well, nearly all. Most especially Rhona's tablet, Mrs McCombie's caramel tarts, Cruella's rock buns, Shona's luridly coloured tray bakes and the 1990 World Ladies Rally Champion's jam sponge. My BIG Pal Jaggy would just be Pal Jaggy without them.

Thanks everyone for your support over the years and I look forward to seeing you in the stages and service parks.

Gaun yersels yin and a', life's a blast, but only if you red line it. JF

Saturday 17 September 2022

Rally - Galloway Gossip

Gone fishing and Honesty boxes, not to mention sartorial elegance and wet feet. Of course it's all just a normal day on a Scottish rally ...

And the pics? Rally boots - Erskine style! - plus - the Glen Urr ice cream disappeared rather quickly!


Rally - Galloway Hills Classes

That's the full roundup of all the Classes on the recent Galloping Hills now in the on-line mag at:

And the pics? What those legs need are long troosers - and - they must have some awfy big midges at Talnotry. Not content with taking big lumps out of visitors, they'll tackle anything that moves.


Friday 16 September 2022

Rally - Douglas Paterson, 1951 - 2022

Douglas (Dougie) Paterson lost his long and at times arduous struggle with cancer last week when he passed away peacefully at home on Saturday aged just 71 years.

Back in the late 1980s and early 90s he was one of the country's top co-drivers although best known for his campaigns with Andrew Wood and Bob Locke amongst others.

In 1989 when Andrew Wood won his first Scottish Rally Championship title, Dougie lost out on the tie-break to Campbell Roy. In an odd turn of events, Jimmy Girvan finished runner-up to Andrew while Dougie finished runner-up to Jimmy's co-driver, Campbell.

Drivers and co-drivers score separately on Scottish Championship rounds and although Andrew finished the season on 225 points compared to Jimmy's 224, Campbell and Dougie tied on 227. In the case of a tie, the decider is whoever scores most points on the first round. However, Andrew and Dougie missed the Snowman and with it, Dougie missed out on the title.

Dougie accompanied Andrew for three seasons in 1988, 89 and 90 in a succession of cars which included a VW Golf, Audi 90 Quattro and a Ford Sierra Cosworth before joining the Isle of Man based Bob Locke Audi Rally Team. It was soon after that he called time on his rallying career.

However, he also found time to join the organising committee of the Esso Scottish Rally Championship where his knowledge and experience proved invaluable. He proved to be a most articulate and likeable presence on the committee and a valuable and presentable ally when dealing with the sponsors. In fact his name is still linked with the Scottish Rally Championship as the Dougie Paterson Trophy is presented annually to the Scottish Championship Co-driver runner-up.

The funeral service will be held at Dunfermline Crematorium, Masterton Rd, Dunfermline KY11 8QR, on Monday 3rd October 2022, at 13.15 Hrs.