Friday 28 June 2024

Moffat Classic Car Show

Following its inaugural introduction at the recent Thirlestane show, the ‘Bunnet Book Bazaar’ pop-up shopping experience will make its next appearance at the Moffat Classic Car Show this coming Sunday the 30th June.

On display and for sale will be the complete range of self-published books by one J Fife Esq – all two of them! If anyone wishes to purchase a copy of ‘The Scottish Rally Championship 1980-1989’ and/or a copy of ‘Murmurs on Mull 1993-2010’ for themselves, their family or friends then here is the ideal opperchancity to enrich their Scottish motor rallying knowledge.

Cash or card accepted, but no trade-ins or bartering will be entered into and no Embassy vouchers, Provi cheques, Green Shield stamps, major store loyalty cards or empty ginger bottles will be accepted either!

Obviously cash will be preferred as experience at Thirlestane suggests that on-line card payments from all the on-site stalls and activities can sometimes overload the mobile communications signal system. Having said that, only a few transactions were disrupted last time out.

The appearance at Thirlestane was also beneficial in another respect in that some long-lost sets of rally results from the 1960s and 70s were sourced which will help to plug the gaps in research for ongoing book projects. So if anyone has anything especially from the very early days, your help will be most appreciated.

Anyway, the next book in the series covering the 1990s is well underway, text is written and photographs are being selected.

Look out for the red Transit.

If you can’t make it to the show, the books are still available on-line:

Thursday 27 June 2024

Rally - Jock's Run - added extra

Three weeks ago, the Gray family were guests of Scottish Rugby at Murrayfield and were given the grand tour. As a result of that, a signed Scottish rugby shirt was delivered to the family earlier this week for auction on Saturday. A thoughtful gesture, but Jock's visit had touched the whole team. The whole sport of rugby is only too well aware of the impact that 'wasting diseases' can have on individuals and families following their own recent experiences with MND. It is their hope that the sale of this shirt can make a contribution to the 'CJD Support Network' charity which has been so helpful to the Gray family. So listen out for news of that on Saturday, and if anyone fancies a rather unique display for their own  home, here's your chance.

Tuesday 25 June 2024

Rally - Jock’s Run - Bulletin 3

It looks as though 200 or more cars and their human contents are expected to turn up this Saturday 29th June for the Biggar Young Farmers Club organised fund raiser for the ‘CJD Support Network’ which is doing so much to help support Jock and the Gray family at this desperate time.

It also looks as though the ‘entry list’ will include a five-time British Rally Champion and a former World Champion Co-driver in some old banger with its own heritage. That is, if it starts! There might well be a nice red, although somewhat elderly, box van full of caramel wafers and tea cakes in the parade too.

Given the expected numbers, if anyone else is thinking of attending and haven’t yet advised the BYFC team then it would indeed be most helpful if you let them know. All you have to do is send a Text to 07708 343 889 with a note of your name, vehicle reg and vehicle make/type.

As previously stated this is not a competition, just a gathering of family and friends to generate a bit of funding for a most worthwhile cause. The route is a little over 20 miles in length and it actually runs close by Jock’s family home, so if he can’t make the showground, hopefully he’ll be fit enough to sit in the garden and wave!

Starting from Biggar showground, the entourage should exit the field and turn left down Biggar High Street, turning right on to the B7016 ‘Carnwath’ road. A mile out of town take the right fork on to the unclassified road to Elsrickle, and continue 3 miles or so to go straight over the cross-roads with the A721 - but give way to oncoming traffic on the main road! Just over a mile from there it’s a sharp left turn, back on to the Oggscastle Road to the junction with the A721 where you must take care joining the main road and turn right.

Then it’s onwards through Newbigging to Carnwath turning left at the traffic lights in the ‘town centre’ on to the B7016 passing the Apple Pie Bakery on your left and continue south on the Biggar road. Just beyond the ‘hamlet’ of Libberton (Jock’s home town) make a right on to the unclassified road towards Quothquan, then turn left at the T junction on to the Shieldhill Road passing the old haunted Shieldhill House Hotel to pick up the B7016 again and turn right towards Biggar. Then it’s back up the High Street to the Showground for burgers and ice cream - but not necessarily on the same roll!

Simples, eh? Having said that, the BYFC stalwarts are intending to affix some ‘stage arrows’ along the way to help those who manage to get themselves lost. Either that or just follow the motor bike, car, van, lorry, tractor in front.

Please note that some of these roads are quite narrow so please drive with due care and attention and be courteous to other road users who may be unaware of what’s going on and might get caught up in this procession through no fault of their own.

The ‘entry fee’ is £20 per car and £5 per passenger to be paid on the day. Cash is preferable although cards will be accepted – dependent on the phone signal at the Showground, hence the preference for cash.

For those that would like to attend but can’t make it, donations can still be made via a ‘Just Giving’ page which the BYFC have created:

See you there!

Thursday 13 June 2024

Rally - Jock's Run - Bulletin 2

Biggar Young Farmers Club have plans well in hand for Jock’s Run on Saturday 29th June and so far over 80 vehicles have been signed up, albeit with an unknown number of drivers and passengers so hopefully they won’t run out of burgers and ice cream!

On that note it would be really helpful to know how many are planning on attending. There is now a new method of registering your attendance without the need for Facebook – send a Text to 07708 343 889 – all they need to know is your name, vehicle reg and what vehicle. So far, the automotive ‘entry list’ includes just about every type of automotive conveyance from motor bikes and quads to cars, vans and trucks, not to mention tractors!!

As for the route, it is a little over 20 miles in length and it actually runs close by Jock’s family home, so if he can’t make the showground, hopefully he’ll be fit enough to sit in the garden and wave!

Biggar YFC will have ‘volunteer helpers’ on the day registering folk and their vehicles on arrival and taking the money. Cash is preferred as the phone signal at Biggar Showground can’t be relied on for the card machines, although such machines will be on hand! There will also be a supply of buckets where any spare cash can be deposited. The idea of course is to generate as much in the way of cash donations for the CJD Support Network as possible. CJD is a horrible disease with many similarities to MND and we all know how bad that is. Your support is vital.

After the run, burgers will be available at £3.50, so no rip-off prices like we often see at some other outdoor events and the ice cream is from Taylor’s of Biggar. This has been sampled at length (at much personal cost) to ensure taste and succulence on the day.

Naturally this tasting and testing process will be ongoing. As for the burgers, they haven’t been tested yet, so that’s yet another arduous chore for the organisers!

Wednesday 12 June 2024

Race - Sir Jackie Stewart OBE

To mark Jackie Stewart’s 85th birthday (11th June) Scots born (Motherwell) motoring and motor sports journalist and author Eric Dymock has redesigned and republished a book he wrote over 50 years ago, entitled: “Jackie Stewart World Champion, Ten Years To A Title”.

It was quite a book then, it’s a better book now. Eric was already a well known and highly respected journalist when he wrote this book in conjunction with Jackie himself. In fact Eric knew Jackie before Jackie started motor racing as he had already reported on Jackie’s older brother Jimmy’s career and was also closely following Jim Clark’s career. 

This updated book gives a remarkable and personal insight into Jackie’s early career which commenced in 1959 and ten years later he was world champion in 1969. In both his own words and those of an ever observant Eric Dymock, the book describes Jackie’s progress from amateur to professional and from saloon and sports cars to Formula 1.

Also, a contribution from every sale is going to ‘Race Against Dementia’, a cause which is particularly dear to Sir Jackie’s heart.

The book is on sale now:

The 'Buy Now' button goes to Amazon, which prints and sends copies for £23.75.

On a personal note, I’m no fan of Amazon, but in this case I’ll just have to over-rule my principles and fork out the dosh.

However, I do have my own personal and early memory of JYS. Way back in 1971, and long before he was knighted, Jackie Stewart organised the ‘Jackie Stewart Speed Show’ in the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow which ran from March 27th to April 4th. It cost adults 4 shillings to get in while children were charged 2 shillings, and it was quite a show. I should know, I was in there before the doors opened to the public assisting with the photographic displays.

And you know what? To this day my efforts have never been financially rewarded, although I did receive a gift. I was given a ‘Jackie Stewart set’ which came in a presentation box. Underneath the cellophane cover was a black corduroy bunnet, a pair of thick stemmed JYS sun glasses, a pair of JYS driving gloves and a key ring. And yes, I did wear them and use them!

In all fairness, later commissions were rather more adequately rewarded.

Aye, them were’t days, eh?

Saturday 8 June 2024

Rally - Jock’s Run

On Saturday the 29th of this month (June), Biggar Young Farmers Club are organising and hosting a road run in aid of the CJD Support Network. As many of you already know, Jock Gray has CJD (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease) which is a horrible, cruel, wasting disease and the road run is being organised to generate funds for the CJD support network which is providing the vital care and support which Jock and his family needs at this most trying of times.

Biggar YFC are therefore issuing an open invitation to one and all to ‘run what you brung’ on the 29th, and whilst it would be nice to see some rally cars in the mix, the ‘entry’ is open to anything on two, three, four or more wheels. The ‘Entry Fee’ is £20 per vehicle and £10 per head for each participant in, or on, said vehicle. However, it has been rumoured that some folk are contemplating the hire of something exotic or different and whilst that is a nice gesture, the organisers would rather that such money spent on hiring something be put in the pot, and folk just turn up in their daily runner or domestic runabout. Even the ‘works van’ would be preferable!

The main objective of the exercise is to raise funds for this most worthwhile cause for the care and support of those suffering this rare and complicated disease and which also needs financial support to continue research into a disease about which little is known.

At the conclusion of the run there will be burgers and ice cream on offer, so don’t have a breakfast before you come. Instead have a bite to eat and a chat with likeminded friends and folk. However, a word of caution, if you happen to drop your burger out of your roll be careful what you pick up, Biggar Showfield is regularly used for grazing cows!

The run itself will incorporate local roads around Biggar and Carnwath, to Elsrickle, and back to Biggar, so only around 20 miles or so and should take about 40 minutes. It’s not competitive and not arduous, so just come along and enjoy the camaraderie for a most worthwhile cause.

Participants are asked to gather in Biggar Showfield which is situated on the A702 (T) on the north eastern edge of the town - where the annual Biggar Vintage Rally is held.

Arrive at 10:00 am for an 11:00 am start and return to the field on or after 12 noon.

Road Run in aid of CJD support network | Facebook

Monday 3 June 2024

Show - A busy day

Had a great day out at the weekend at the annual Border Vintage Automobile Club’s ‘Festival of Motoring’ at Thirlestane Castle with lots to see and drool over.

Admittedly I was there for altogether different reasons, I had taken a wee ‘pitch’ in the ‘trade’ area to try and sell my books. I have only written two, so I took along a few other titles which I had gathered over the years. These included some ‘doublers’ of Martin Holmes’ ‘World of Rallying’ and ‘Rallycourse’ annuals plus other titles just to try and have a bit of a red-oot. It certainly helped, drawing in passers by curious to know who this unknown author was with only two books to promote!

The show represented a new market for me, and I had no idea how books with such a niche market appeal would go down with a crowd that was there to see and hear auld caurs, but I was pleasantly surprised. Suffice to say I managed to cover my pitch cost and fuel and had enough to buy a haggis supper at Franchitti’s chippy in Harthill on the way home.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was the number of ex and current rally drivers and co-drivers (and racers!) who were there with family members, weans, wives, girlfriends, partners, pals and their dugs. I suppose it’s just the fascination for all things automotive that attracts even hardened competition enthusiasts to the ordinary and mundane. I met up with folk I hadn’t seen for 30 or 40 years, and aye, some a bit before then too!

I seemed to spend more time catching up and chatting than I did selling books, but that experience has served up a most valuable lesson – next time, cut the chat and sell more books!

So I’m already looking forward to Moffat, Blast from the Past, Biggar and the Cumbria Classic, and who knows maybe a few others.

The attached aerial view of Thirlestane gives some idea of the scale of the show and depending on who you speak to, it’s either the biggest of its type in Scotland or the second biggest – the other one is Glamis. Oddly enough, I did speak to the Glamis folk about a pitch, but I couldn’t justify the investment or maybe they just didn’t want any riff-raff at such a posh event!

Anyway, the arrow shows the red Transit and the Scottish rally bookstall. Kind of puts me in my place, a wee dot in the great landscape of life. The other picture shows the view I had looking straight ahead from my pitch. Nice, eh?

Sunday 2 June 2024

Rally - The Book Roadshow

Open for business .... At the Border Vintage Automobile Club classic car show at Thirlestane Castle just outside Lauder today. 

Allegedly SurrAlan Sugar started his career with a market stall. I have no plans yet to appeal to the Dragons either.

Onwards and upwards, eh?