Monday 30 January 2023

Rally - The Book!

On the 19th Jan, Facebook ‘disabled’ my public account with no explanation. So far nil response despite repeated attempts to make contact. Oh, for the days of being able to telephone a human being and have a chat!! On that basis keep an eye on this Blog at –

For those who don’t know, work on ‘the book’ is well underway. The first draft of the history of the ‘Scottish Rally Championship 1980-1989’ is being passed to the proof reader tomorrow.

This will be followed by the next one covering 1990-1999 and then another for the 2000s decade and 2010s decade. At that point work will concentrate on the two books covering the 1960s and 1970s as there has never been a concerted effort this side of the border to document this national 60+ year old motor sporting championship – and that’s why this first book will start with the 1980s!

At some point I will make a list of what’s missing from those earlier decades and see if anyone out there has lists of results from past events stashed away in dusty attics or cobwebbed cellars. Please don’t chuck anything out!

Friday 20 January 2023

Rally - Meet & Greet

Within motor sport these days there seems to be a flurry of on-line activity with training courses and seminars catering for all disciplines, plus of course various registration schemes and ‘exams’ for those wishing to qualify for higher grades of Marshalling, organising and officiating.

However, many ordinary club members, competitors and fans will be unaware of the numbers and depth of this on-line resource, although much of this behind the scenes work is necessary and even compulsory in these times of ‘enlightened’ attitudes to Health & Safety not to mention Political Correctness. There are of course still some face to face meetings and discussions arranged at public venues around the country but they seem to be fewer in number these days as folks talk ‘Teams’ or turn to ‘Zoom’.

And that’s a pity, you can’t have a right old argy-bargy over t’internet, because the host can always hit the ‘cancel’ button rather than face criticism or answer awkward questions. When you have a panel of experts facing an assembled throng in a public meeting room or assembly hall it’s much more difficult to escape and if a question has not been adequately answered or explained, the Chair won’t find it as easy to move on to another subject until the matter at hand has been dealt with. Think ‘Question Time’ on the beeb.

Of course there are pluses and minuses to the on-line alternative. Such meetings can be held more often and more easily as required without the cost of hiring rooms and travelling to and from venues which may be quite some distance away for some attendees, especially those in the north or the deep south west. On the other hand some might say (surely not?) that on-line meetings are preferable because those who are being held to account can more easily dodge the pertinent issues and persistent questioners.

With that in mind, Motorsport UK is hosting what could be a rather important meeting later this month to which only two representatives from each motor club will be allowed to join in.

So why will this Club Webinar be different? Facing the great British motor sports club elite will be David Richards CBE, Chair of Motorsport UK, and Hugh Chambers, Chief Executive Officer. Topics to be discussed will include the results from the recent member survey, activities and achievements from 2022, as well as plans for 2023 including Motorsport UK’s Vision 2030. I just hope this will not simply be a ‘talking shop’ but also include a ‘listening shop’.

Mr Chambers has been in his post for five years now while Mr Richards has one year left of his second three year term as Chair. Many promises were made at the start of that ‘new dawn’ but what has been achieved, and missed? Admittedly Covid and Lockdown intervened but I’d still to like to see their Report Card and what might be scrawled across it in black ink - or red!

The meeting is due to start at 7.00pm. I sincerely hope that MS UK have ensured that they have booked a decent time slot and not the standard ‘free’ 55 minute introductory offer period. I also hope that the club reps get themselves armed with their questions beforehand - and ensure they get answers. Motor sport is in a perilous position these days, especially the off-track disciplines. 

Tuesday 17 January 2023

Rally - 2023 Livery

Still not sure about this year’s new livery. After last year’s electrifyingly blue and purple this year’s looks just a wee bit plain – but it does leave scope for a new sponsor to come on board …

Thursday 5 January 2023

Ken & Colin

With regard to the previous post and pictures, a few folk have asked me what Ken and Colin were discussing in the photo of the two of them together. The pics are from a wee story I wrote for Colin’s web site in happier times when he and Ken were ‘hooning’ around, and Ken sent me the pics. 

Here is what they were up to. Kind of sums up the two of them, eh? 

Faster, higher, further!

Tuesday 3 January 2023

Rally - Ken Block

Last year ended on a sour note and the New Year has started badly with more tragic news. Rally driver and extreme sportsman Ken Block was killed yesterday in a snowmobiling accident in Utah, USA.

Despite the impression given by his extreme automotive stunts and social media notoriety, Ken was no ‘daredevil’, he was a skilled engineer and hugely talented driver and motorcycle rider. Everything was planned, practiced and carried out with two singular aims - thrill the audience and step out of, or off, each vehicle in one piece at the end of it.

As an accomplished driver and champion, he was also perhaps the biggest single influence in the promotion of rallying in the States. His internet fame had a direct impact on the sport’s recognition in America introducing new fans and generating a wider acceptance of the sport when he went rallying.

He was also a good pal of Colin McRae and flew over from America to participate in the McRae Rally Tribute event in 2008. This wasn’t a publicity stunt, it was a genuine desire to celebrate the life and times of a like-minded individual – and his friend.

In private, he wasn’t the least bit brash or flamboyant, just a genuine fan of the sport and admitted that Colin had been a big influence and inspiration.

It’s just so sad to lose him, we also have a lot to thank him for.