Thursday 2 November 2023

Rally Book - Great expectations

Some folk seem to be getting awfy excited about this book and I just hope they’re not too disappointed when they get it!

What started during lockdown as a single volume look-back on sixty plus years of the Scottish Rally Championship quickly evolved into a multi-volume record of past championship seasons. That was because of the amount of information that was being left out and so a plan to produce one volume for each decade was evolved. Trouble was there was little in the way of paperwork and records from the early days so a lot of digging and chasing around has been underway and is ongoing.

However, it was easy to start with the 1980s since I had personally kept everything from then until I retired last year. 

Having decided that, writing commenced. Early drafts were shown to close friends. Changes were required. It was too dry, more like a historical reference book than a romp through rallying so a compromise was sought and a format confirmed.

This first volume therefore comprises four sections. Totalling 101 rally reports the first section includes a report on each round of the annual series with top ten results and class winners.

Please note the use of the term class winners. In most rallies the front runners are often excluded from class awards at prizegivings. That can cause a headache for championship co-ordinators as championship points are scored by actual class winners, not class award winners. There is a difference.

Although intended to be a work of reference and a factual record of events, the content also had to be readable and attractive so long reports and long lists of results was a non-starter. I just hope folk agree that the mix is now right.

As for the other three sections they are all photography based. No doubt there will be some folk who feel aggrieved that they are not included but I could only use what I have. I didn’t set out all those years ago to take pictures of everybody, every car and every event for the purpose of writing a book, so it was simply matter of making a selection from what was available. In my defence some folk were more amenable and approachable than others!

I make no apology for introducing a separate ‘McRae’ chapter given the family’s impact on the sport whilst the other two sections simply feature a variety of photographs which hopefully will trigger each individual reader’s own personal memories and recollections of people and events long since passed. For that reason I have deliberately included many of the clubmen and women who make up the majority of rally entries and not just the rally ‘stars’.

Perhaps of particular interest the book notes the beginnings and rise of three of our four world rally champions, Colin McRae, Derek Ringer and Robert Reid with never before seen photographs and tales. And although she commenced her rallying career in the late 1970s, Louise Aitken-Walker’s rise through the ranks is also noted.

Scotland has so far produced nine World Champions on four, three and two motorised wheels, of which four were World Rally titles. That’s not a bad record for a small country of some 6.5 million souls on the north western edge of Europe. 

Not bad at all.

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