Thursday 26 October 2023

Lock Horsburgh, 1947 – 2023

Scottish motor sport suffered another sad loss earlier this week (Monday 23rd) when Lock Horsburgh passed away. The shock all the greater because it was so unexpected as he was last seen as busy as ever on the Isle of Mull at the Mull Rally – as usual – just four weeks ago. It is said that no-one is indispensable and whilst that may be true, there is another saying that some folk are irreplaceable. Lock Horsburgh was such an individual.

His is not a name which will be instantly recognised by many folk within Scottish motor sport but all too familiar to those who organise and run clubs and events throughout the country.

A founder member of Glenrothes Motor Sport Club which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, Lock was a Marshal, Stage Commander, qualified Radio crew volunteer and event organiser as well as club committee member and a long serving and valued member of the Scottish Association of Motor Sport Clubs (SAMSC) committee and latterly sat on the Motor Sport UK Regional Committee. His contribution to the sport is quite simply incalculable.

As secretary to the SAMSC he was also able to bring other skills to the role. He founded his own Lomond IT Services Ltd company almost twenty years ago which offered a bespoke software development and support service for all sizes of business as well as local government and housing associations. As such he was well placed to design and maintain the SAMSC website, no mean feat for such a disparate and diverse organisation.

Interested in motor support from an early age he got involved in the road rally and navigational rally scene in the 1970s both as navigator and driver. In 1981 he registered in the Scottish Rally Championship as a co-driver while continuing his own interest as a driver first with a Mini and then a 1300cc Vauxhall Nova. Even when he stopped competing as a driver he continued as a co-driver both on navigational and special stage events.

His competition appearances started to dwindle in the early 2000s as his marshalling and organisational duties assumed an ever more time consuming role, particularly the role of Chief Marshall for numerous events, not just for his club but many others. Assuming responsibility for sourcing and managing dozens of volunteers for an event is no easy task, often likened to herding sheep at best, putting toothpaste back into the tube at worst!

In fact his efforts merited a mention in a 2014 issue of ‘Mull Murmurs’ the on-event news and scandal sheet which was circulated during rally time. The rally and its stalwarts were hit with particularly wet and windy weather that year:-

“ Despite the weather (because we're used to it?) the rally ran well and there appeared to be enough Marshals (just) although Lock Horsburgh was seen deep in despair at times as he shuffled available manpower around the route. Being Chief Marshal is not a position to be envied. That said, the spectators behaved themselves (mostly) and it was encouraging to note that they were standing rather farther back than in the past.”

Lock was more than a Marshall, he was an ‘instructor’, advisor and a source of information and help to newcomers to the dark arts of marshalling. That’s because he was only too well aware of motor sport’s ongoing need to introduce new folk to a sport which is entirely dependent on volunteer helpers. 

He was also an opinionated debater and engaging conversationalist although it has to be said, sometimes too engaging! A simple chat or telephone call could often develop into a full blown debate, exchange of ideas, suggestions, solutions and often additional topics which had little to do with the original reason for the discussion.

He could also be quite infuriating at times, but no-one should confuse ‘nit-picking’ with ‘attention to detail’. It was perhaps his computer software experience that ensured his plans and preparations were usually meticulously planned although sometimes, just sometimes, where there was a choice of doing things the right way or the wrong way, the desired outcome was accomplished ‘Lock’s way’!

‘Irreplaceable’ is certainly the word!

Our thoughts and sympathies go out to Maureen and the family at this very sad time.

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