Sunday 20 November 2022

Rally - Speaking of nutters!

... (see previous Post) ... a weel kent face was spotted in the Land Rover Defender camp at the Scottish Borders Hill Rally. One John Cockburn Esq no less.

It seems the engineer from the sunny side of Perthshire is doing some development work and on-event support for the Bowler Motorsport Dept within Jaguar Land Rover. He is also responsible for the setting up of the Service Area for the 12 Defenders which are contesting the unique Land Rover Defender Challenge this year. Just seven cars had made the long trek north as this was the final round of the nine event series. Even so the guys that made it were full of the joys of Galloway forest motoring.

Just a few months back, the bold lad was out in sunny Spain as part of a three car team contesting the two day, 944 km, Baja Aragon event with three of these Defender Challenge spec cars. First time out Frazer and Spencer Williams finished third in class with Cockburn and Paul Mansfield fourth in class.

Anyway, back to the 'nutter' bit. For those of you with a short memory, or too young to know, John Cockburn was the guy who turned up to contest the Mull Rally in 2004 but, as a Dakar and RallyRaid specialist, his idea of a rally car was rather different to most sensible stage rally folk.

The following is an extract from the very 'MullMurmurs' bulletin published on that event ....

 ..... But for ‘oddball’machines it’s hard to beat John Cockburn’s Range Rover. He appeared with a TomCat last year, a sort of open-air, cutdown version of a Land Rover Defender that had a fight with a demented tin can opener – and lost. Well, our dear old MSA governing body didn’t like this machine and told him to build a ‘proper’ rally car to do ‘proper’ rallies – and this is the result, the outcome of a tortured mind, addled with too much drink. It’s sort of built on a Discovery II Chassis with a Range Rover body grafted on to TomCat suspension, but tucked away at the back of the front bulkhead, almost between the two front seats, is the engine.
And what an engine. It’s big enough for the CalMac Ferry. In fact, stick this in the ‘Isle of Mull’ and we could all water-ski over to the island! It’s a 5 litre V8 with 364 bhp and what a glorious noise – albeit subdued due to the constraints of the person who introduced noise limits for rally cars ....

He and George Bream finished 37th overall that year in a car with a silhouette that looked from the outside like an iron bedstead with a shroud draped over it.

Anyway it would appear that little mellowing has taken place since then as the LR service area featured some Cockburn inspired festive decoration - and it's only November. Gaun yersel JC.


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