Wednesday 24 May 2023

Rally - More from 1988

Yesterday’s post on the 1988 Croall Bryson Jim Clark Memorial Rally generated quite a bit of interest, so here’s a bit more from 35 years ago.

The organising team from Berwick & District MC and Border Ecosse CC had produced a printed Programme for the event which had little in common with this year’s glossy, full colour and informative tome which is being sold this year. But back then they had included an article from that nefarious and somewhat mythical character, a certain Jaggy Bunnet Esq, who had been allowed to pen his thoughts. Dangerous perhaps, but in this case quite insightful.

As Round 6 in the national series the 1988 JCMR marked the mid way point in that year’s ten round Esso Scottish Rally Championship. With five rounds already run and four more after the JCMR, this event fell perfectly in the middle so folks were starting to make predictions.

Leading at that half way stage was Colin Valentine from Murray Grierson, Stewart Robertson, Colin McRae with David Gillanders in fifth place in the points tables. That alone was raising eyebrows as Valentine was driving a Group N Mazda 323. OK, it had four wheel drive and a turbo – but Group N?

Colin Valentine and David Gillanders
On the other hand Grierson had his fearsome South African sourced Opel Kadett 400 while Robertson had a Talbot Sunbeam Lotus. As for McRae he started the season in his Vauxhall Nova but a certain Donald Milne loaned him a Nissan 240RS for the Autofit Stages in Argyll and he finished second first time out in the car! Even more impressive was his ninth overall finish on the previous month’s British Midland Scottish Rally and top Scottish Championship points scorer – back driving the diminutive Nova.

Lying fifth in the championship after five rounds was Gillanders. He had three wins to his credit so far in the mighty Metro 6R4, but a non-finish on the Scottish and a poor result on the Granite in a troublesome Group N MG Montego somewhat masked his championship potential.

Donald Milne with Colin McRae
and 'Big Al' Smith looking on
However, the competition took a dramatic turn when both Valentine and reigning Scottish champion Murray Grierson struck trouble on this Kelso based event with McRae holding off Gillanders and Robertson for top points to move into the championship lead - and on course to become the youngest ever Scottish Rally Champion at the end of the year. History was made.

And for those of you intending to spectate or just be out and about on this weekend’s Beatson’s Building Supplies Jim Clark and Reivers Rallies, Mr Bunnet added a few words of wisdom in that 1988 programme which are still relevant today:


     Dinnae staun too close tae cars or track

Anmindyersel when parking oot there

     For if the Polis catch ye it micht be sair!

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