Thursday 28 March 2024

Rally - Bygone days

Looking back … With the Asset Alliance Scottish Rally Championship not due to start until next month, forty years ago the national series was already well underway. The Snowman Rally had already been held in February while March always meant the Hackle Rally. Some of those who contested that event are still with us, and still rallying, and some are not.

The rally was won that year by Andrew Wood and Dougie Paterson in a Talbot Sunbeam Lotus from the Ford Escort RS of Donald Heggie and Ian Mungall – and the difference? Two seconds. Andrew finished on 50 mins 25 secs while Donald finished on 50 mins 27 secs.

Just a few photos are shown here, some you will recognise and perhaps some you might not, but the full report and more photos is in the book!

Thursday 21 March 2024

Rally - Murmurs on Mull - Progress?

Some bad news I’m afraid regarding the ‘Murmurs on Mull’ book. I’ve now got the proof back from the printer. However, I had anticipated it would be around 300 pages in length, well, I’m afraid that is not going to be the case, it looks as though it is in fact going to be 356 pages in length !!

It has been suggested by the printer that never has so much drivel been written about so few has-beens, hopefuls and heroes for the enlightenment and entertainment of so many onlookers, rally die-hards and deadbeats - as someone once famous might have said, had he said anything at all.

Anyway, b*gg*r it I thought, so be it, let the print machines roll. Yee Haa!

Thursday 7 March 2024

Rally - Murmurs underway

I’ve signed off the cover of the ‘MullMurmurs’ book and it looks pretty smart. Even though there is no cover sponsor mention or logo on the front cover and the back cover had to be changed, I think it looks pretty good. In fact it might even be better. Plain and simple, just like the author!

On the other hand, the printer wasn’t too keen on the typesetting (I did it!) but I wanted to try and replicate the Murmurs as they were originally reproduced. A difficult task since the Murmurs were printed individually on A4 sheets and this is an A5 book but I told him that was what I wanted. What really surprised me was that he didn’t know what a ‘duplicator’ was but there is a photo in the book and I explained how it worked. Youngsters, eh?

I’ll be getting a full book proof to read shortly and then it’s press the ‘go’ button after that.

I’ll publish details here when ready, but it will be available on-line through the same web site marketing service which is currently selling the Scottish Rally Championship book. I’ll also have copies with me when I visit events, but details of this will also be published here.

Monday 4 March 2024

Rally - MullMurmurs

Good news and not so good news. The good news is that the ‘MullMurmurs’ book is now at the printer’s as of this morning, but the not so good news is that the finished product will be a wee bit dearer than planned. The deal with the cover sponsor fell through a few days back leaving little time to re-arrange things for today. In all fairness the sponsor had a domestic issue to deal with so family matters must come first and so I have no qualms with his decision and we haven’t fallen out.

Fortunately some good friends of the Mull Rally came to the rescue and helped out so I must thank John, Calum, Andy, Neil, James and Kerrie, and Saint Tunnock’s of Biscuitry. Even so I am still the major ‘shareholder’ hence the wee price increase!

I must admit this has been a bit of a scary trip down memory lane going through eighteen years worth of MullMurmurs rally bulletins. What memories this exercise has conjured up! At it’s heart it is still eighteen years of rally reports but written in a rather different ‘less serious’ style than expected of the newspapers and magazines of the time. Some might use the word ‘irreverent’ whereas others might say it is politically incorrect, but that’s how things were, so nothing has been changed for the book.

I have tried to replicate the urgency of the production process, at least that’s my excuse for the mistakes, mis-typing and spelling errors. These have been deliberately left in. The news was gathered in a rush, bashed out hurriedly on a typewriter (later laptop and dot matrix printer) to cut the stencils which were then used to print the bulletins. Once printed they were passed to the distribution teams to get them round the spectators, competitors and local folks on the island. While that was happening, the production team, i.e. me, had packed up and driven on to the next stop to try and get ahead of the rally again to gather and disseminate more news.

Reading through all these bulletins again just made me wonder how we all managed to do it against the clock while attempting to comply with the rally timetable and road closures. Mind you, some tales will never (can’t) be told!

That’s why the style of the book accurately copies the style of the bulletins as they were issued. Rather than tidy it up, that’s just how things were.

It’s all rather different to Brian Molyneux’s book ‘The Best Rally in the World’ which covers the beginnings in 1969 and takes the story up to 1993, so the Murmurs book will fit perfectly picking up the story in 1993 and taking it 2010. Someone else can do the next one, 2011 - …..

Brian’s book is actually out of print so copies are hard to find. On that basis I have asked Neil Molyneux if he has the original draft. If there is enough interest, maybe we could arrange a reprint ???

Anyway, I can now get back to the real job, ‘The Scottish Rally Championship 1990-1999’ which is well underway, but it’s complicated. Many youngsters will be unaware of the trials and tribulations of the time where different handicaps and time penalties were applied to certain four wheel drive cars and turbocharged cars. Methinks that will need a chapter of explanation on its own.

It might be hard to believe, but rallying was a bit more fun back in the day than it is now, or is that just old age, rose tinted specs and grumpiness creeping in? Or can I finish this in two words? Castrol R.

Anyway, I’ll let you know when the Mull book is available.