Thursday 31 August 2023

Rally - Eleanor Cordiner

A lovely service for a lovely lady … Earlier today Scottish rallying said goodbye to a true friend of the sport, an avid follower, a behind the scenes stalwart and hard working rally official - and also a successful rally driver, albeit she only contested a few events as a driver!

Eleanor Cordiner, Jonathan Lord’s much loved partner, passed away a couple of weeks ago after a brave fight with cancer, and earlier today the sport paid its respects. She had other interests of course and that became evident through the family’s personal tributes at the service this morning.

She originally met Jonathan when she worked as secretary to the Royal Scottish Automobile Club at its HQ in Blythswood Square in Glasgow. Having already disapproved of her brother Duncan’s rallying activities, she was soon immersed in the sport at the RSAC, especially with the annual International Scottish Rally.

Having previously questioned Duncan’s activities: “Why would anyone take a perfectly good car and thrash it through the woods on gravel roads just to get it dirty?” She soon discovered that there were lots of folk who thought that this was the very reason for the introduction of the automobile!

Despite having to use the services of Jonathan as co-driver and navigator (and also principal sponsor!) she won her class on the 1992 Scotphone Stages Rally driving a 1200cc Lada Challenge car and then scored sufficient points to take the end of season class prize at the Championship awards ceremony. Rally driving ? Nothing to it! Job done.

Our condolences to Jonathan, her family and her huge circle of friends. The sport will miss her.

Friday 25 August 2023

Rally - No going back!

Look out, he’s behind you … After another session with the printer this week, the format of ‘the book’ is pretty much set. So there is no going back on style or content now!

I had an idea of what I wanted, but David who is doing the typesetting and layout at the printer in Hamilton has turned airy-fairy ideas into reality. I didn’t want a fancy ‘coffee table’ type book nor did I want a ‘stamp album’ of pics and texts, but I did want to create a permanent record of forest rallying in Scotland. That has been the sole objective behind this series of books from the start. 

It was never the intention that this book would be read from first page to last like a novel as it was intended to be more of a reference type work that folk can dip into and out of as and when they feel like it. Having said that, there will be folk out there who will indeed read it from cover to cover and if that’s the case then that will be very satisfying - for the next book will follow a similar format!

Whether the mix is right or wrong will be determined by those who read it, and no doubt there will be critics who will complain that the subject hasn’t been covered in sufficient depth, or the wrong pictures have been chosen, or someone has been left out, but this and the following books will have been compiled by someone who was there with notebook in hand and camera at the ready.

However gathering every story and photographing every car and personality is impossible to capture by one person on a one day event with 70, 80, 90 or more crews.

The idea is to educate, inform and entertain and perhaps act as a trigger for personal memories long since dimmed by time. But until someone else comes along to do a better job this will just have to do, for the sport is too important to many of us not to leave a permanent record behind.

Only you lot can decide.

Sunday 20 August 2023

Rally - A ‘trying’ day at Kames

A very determined Willie Pollock and John Marshall won an exciting Afton Glen Meats Kames Rally in their Ford Escort Mk2 at Muirkirk, finishing just nine seconds clear of Steven and Kirsten Irwin in their 1.6 litre Vauxhall Nova. Third was the Vauxhall Corsa of Ross Pringle and Thomas Purvin but Des Campbell and Cameron Dunn lost out on a podium finish after struggling with clutch problems all day and finally being docked a ten minute penalty. With Pollock winning the big class in his 2.3 Escort, Graeme and Jim Rintoul won Class 3 in their 2 litre Fiesta finishing fourth overall.

Martyn Douglas and Mark Thurley scored the 1400cc class win in their Volkswagen Polo but their winning margin over the MG ZR of James and Ian Wilson was a mere five seconds.

In fact the competition was so fierce during the day that some of the grass won’t need to be cut for a couple more weeks while other patches will need to be reseeded!

Thirteen seconds covered the top three in the Junior 1000 event with the Skoda Citigo of Rian Walker and Stuart McBride taking the win by three seconds from the VW Up! of Jack Ryan and Robin Nicolson. Oliver Phillips and Barry Young were third in another Citigo with the Micra of Thomas Milne and Neil Jeffrey doing well to finish fourth out of an excellent field of 17 Junior entries.

With 45 cars entered in the event, this was the biggest rally entry ever run at Kames, thanks be to East Ayrshire Council who had relaxed the Noise Regulation limit for this event. The 7pm curfew therefore enabled the EACC team organisers to run an extra ten cars in their 16 stage programme.

It wasn’t only a packed programme, the public car park overflowed on to the nearby access road although there were also some rather unwelcome visitors on Saturday morning – midges! Bluidy millions of the wee bloodsuckers, no doubt attracted by the unseasonably hospitable weather and the multitude of human flesh on offer.

Provisional results here:

Monday 14 August 2023

Rally - Panic attack

Yesterday morning’s panic attack was entirely unnecessary. Of course I have backups and constantly save stuff so the most I would have lost yesterday morning was about an hour’s worth of work. As it turned out, I lost nothing, but in that moment my stomach hit the floor like a workshop toolbox falling off Drumond Hill. I had been creating a new folder for rejected photographs and just hit the wrong button.

The recognition hit like a burst airline and rather than calmly sitting down and thinking about the recovery process, panic mode set in. With nerves atingle, something stronger than coffee was required. After going through needless computer searches, all that was required was to go into the Recycle Bin and re-install the ‘deleted’ folder. Simples. Still, it was a good excuse for a wee tipple on a Sunday morning.

The printer now has all the text and the first draft is looking good, some 160 A4 pages so far. Now the process of selecting photos is underway and they all have to be captioned. The biggest problem is not so much what to include, but what has to be left out – simply because there is no room.

So here are four more which haven’t made the final cut.

Sunday 13 August 2023

Rally - Nectar of the gods

Hauf past ten oan a Sunday mornin’, an’ ah’m oan the whusky already! Just deleted a hale file o’ rally foties, an’ they’re needit fur the printer ramorra mornin’. Panic. Mind ahwurl while searchin’ fur recovery ideas oan the internetwebbythingy. Mair coanfusion. Tried a’sorts. Then a meenit o’ clarity – the recycle bin!! Why did ah no’ think o’ this furst! Success, joab dun. Foties restoret. Panic wanes. Relief surges. Soothin’ balm needit. Hert rate slows. Found in a wee hauf o’ single malt. Ya beezer. The medicine of the gods.

(Jist this wance ye ken?)

Saturday 12 August 2023

Rally - The disappearing spectator

Rally spectating from the top of log piles has always been considered a very risky business. The Forestry Commission and rally organisers have long recommended in the most robust terms that such viewing points be avoided. Apparently the message did not always get through, even to folk who should know better.

Some 37 years ago (i.e. another couple of pics that won’t make the book!), erstwhile rally driver and professional auctioneer, one Dugald Hamilton Esquire, was spectating with friends on the 1986 Andrews Border Rally and discovered to his cost the dangers of such a practice.

Was the log pile struck by a passing rally car? Nope. Whilst laughing at the antics of the very creative photographer who was taking artistic photos of the rally cars, the earth moved, or in this case the logs moved, and he tumbled over backwards. Fortunately, he landed on his wallet.

Thursday 10 August 2023

Rally - Results dilemma

There are quite a few web sites popping up these days listing results from past events but there does seem to be a wee problem with accuracy. However, the Tynemouth Computer Results Archive is probably the most accurate and yet some of the results in my proposed 1980 - 1989 book differ in certain respects.

If you look back at the Regulations for many Scottish events, and it’s the same in the other UK home countries, they clearly state that the top three overall winners are ineligible for class awards. Sometimes it was the top six and sometimes the top ten, which begs the question – is there a difference between class winners and class award winners? The answer is - Yes.

Even when Official Rally Results were posted at the rally finish back in the day, some clubs displayed them differently. Some clubs showed class winners while others showed award winners. Next time you go looking for historic results bear that in mind and see what you think. Complicating the matter was the fact that not all events shared the same class structure!

However, the matter of actual class winners is important because that was how championship points were allocated. It was also how events were reported in the magazines and newspapers of the time. Further confusion was caused when photographs at prizegivings showed ‘award winners’ but the captions claimed they were class winners.

This has caused me no end of uncertainty and the matter has been discussed with close friends. The result is that my proposed books on the Scottish Rally Championship will list winners and class winners, NOT award winners.

On that basis the book’s published results may differ slightly from those shown elsewhere. But there remains the lingering doubt, should I adhere to ‘official’ published results - or accurate results? Or does it matter?

Hackle Results
For instance, the first two photographs highlight the issue. On the 1981 Heron Rossleigh Hackle Rally, Wilson Girvan is shown as the Class 4 ‘winner’ when in actual fact the leading Class 4 runner was outright rally winner Ken Wood.

That was because the Regulations stated that the top three overall were not eligible for class ‘awards’! And yet the championship co-ordinator of the time had to allocate championship points to the first six in each class. In this case Ken got 6 points, Alan Arneil 5 pts, Dom Buckley 4 pts, and Wilson actually got 3 pts for being fourth in class. But Wilson will have a wee trophy in his cabinet somewhere saying he was the Class 4 winner on that rally!

Hackle Regs
For Dunfermline Car’s Club’s John Wilson Bedroom Stages Rally, the Regs (Pic 3) stated the top five were not eligible for class awards even though the outright winner of the event won his class, i.e. faster through the stages and with a lower elapsed time than the class ‘award’ winner. It was the same on the John Clark BMW Granite City (Pic 4), the top five were not eligible for class awards there either.

So you see my dilemma, do I go with Final Results as published by the event which show Award winners or do I go with actual Class winners - the guys and guyesses who actually won their class competition on the day?

I have chosen accuracy over manipulation, however well meant it might have been, so on that basis, the Results as shown in the Book will be more accurate. Shouldn’t they?

DCC Regs

GCR Regs

Wednesday 9 August 2023

Race - Fast Food

It does seem that Tunnock’s has an appetite for fast delivery van drivers, see previous FB post.

Yesterday’s photocall with Ross Wylie at Scrumptious HQ was reminiscent of another interview for a fast delivery van driver. That was 32 years ago. He also brought a friend with him that day. He didn’t fare any better in the trial run stakes. In fact, neither of them turned out too well, did they? 

On that basis, here's hoping Ross does rather better for himself and his country flying the flag this weekend at the Porsche Supercup race at Knockhill's BTCC motor racing extravaganza. Gaun yersel Ross.

Anyway, in desperation and to keep up with demand for their products, rumour has it that Tunnock’s turned to another Lanarkshire legend, one J Bunnet Esq. That didn’t end well either. The overheating brakes set fire to the wooden spokes and the g-forces generated shattered the wafers and curdled the cream.

Any other suggestions for a suitable van driving applicant?

Has to be safe, fast and reliable – and not have a sweet tooth!!

Tuesday 8 August 2023

Race - Ross Wylie at Knockhill

Refuelling in Uddingston … at the home of the Tunnock’s Teacake and Caramel Wafer.

Leading GT Cup Championship contender Ross Wylie switched categories for last month’s British Formula 1 Grand Prix at Silverstone. This time the Brabham / Mercedes Benz AMG / Ferrari driver made his debut in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup race supporting the F1 GP race card. First time out in the Richardson Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, the Thornhill driver finished 16th overall in a field of 32 cars.

He'll be hoping to finish further up the field this weekend (12/13 August) when the Supercup series moves to Knockhill to support the British Touring Car Championship race weekend at the Fife circuit.

On his way north, Ross stopped off at Tunnock’s Bakeries in Uddingston to ‘re-fuel’! Amongst regular sponsors, The Glenturret, AL-2 Teknik UK, PyroDry and Carronbridge Sawmill, Tunnock’s had joined the Dumfries & Galloway based team to fly the Saltire for this one-off outing at Silverstone in front of the huge (over 400,000) crowd.

The livery will remain on the car for this weekend so Ross paid a visit in person to thank Tunnock’s for their support last month and was greeted by top World Rally Championship Co-driver and Tunnock’s chief biscuit engineer, Stuart Loudon, who was on hand to check out the Porsche.

So if you're visiting Knockhill this weekend, give Ross a cheer in the Flying Teacake!