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

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