24 Apr: News and Gossip

… News …

On the Buses

Stevie Brown has teamed up with leading public transport provider Stagecoach Bluebird ahead of this weekend’s McCombie Builders Granite City Rally. Stagecoach Bluebird who serve more than 33,000 customers a day over 100 routes in the North of Scotland will support Stevie and the team on his return to the national series after a year away from the sport.

Naturally Stevie is delighted to be back: “I’m really excited to welcome Stagecoach Bluebird onboard the motorsport adventure. There are a number of similarities we share in our partnership, with a primary focus on professional driving and safety. Rallying is all about following the correct route and running to the time schedule which is a synergy shared with Stagecoach Bluebird as well.”

Claire Burt, marketing manager at Stagecoach North Scotland said: “This is a very positive sponsorship, with a local talented driver and a local event. We are looking forward to working with Stevie and adapting some of his skill-sets within our own internal communications programmes, by applying his planning and racing tactics to various projects.”

Burt explained: “This is a new way to demonstrate to our teams how there is a synergy between all levels of drivers and all types of vehicles, and the importance a rally driver pays to understanding his routes; hazard perception; emphasising the importance of driving in a controlled manner; the need to be aware of safety at all times and the checks a rally driver applies to his vehicle before every event.”

Merrick Rally

Organisers of the GWF Energy Merrick Stages Rally are looking forward to returning to Wigtown in September for the fifth consecutive year.

Jointly promoted by Machars Car Club and Scottish Sporting Car Club, the event, which counts as the penultimate round of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship, has been given new impetus thanks to the support of Dumfries and Galloway Council, as part of its major events strategy.

Clerk of the Course Graham Bisset commented: “The communities we visit on the rally route – and in particular Wigtown – have been very supportive over the years, which assures us of a great welcome to visiting competitors, spectators and officials. We are really pleased to have secured additional backing from Dumfries and Galloway Council, which recognises the rally’s significance as a major event within the region. We look forward to increasing collaboration to develop the event in conjunction with the Council and the people of Galloway.”

Documentation, scrutineering and the prize giving will again be based at Wigtown’s county building, while the Glencaird central service area is located adjacent to the Glentrool stages.

The ‘Merrick’ is also a counter in the Ecosse Challenge, the Five of Clubs Championship, Machars Car Club Championship and Scottish Sporting Car Club Championship.

Details of the event , which takes place on Saturday September 6th, will be published on the website www.merrickstages.co.uk

… Gossip …

‘Highland Hotshot’ David Wilson got in touch earlier this week – from the deep south. He’s out of rallying and out of Scotland and living somewhere in Wiltshire (a stone’ throw from the English Channel, well nearly) but has a few things to get rid of, including two personal car numbers which he has on retention. He has ‘Rally rs’ and ‘rally st’ – RA11YST & RA11YRS – and wondered if any of us lot up here would be interested. The are both currently on eBay but if interested, give David a call on: 07766 724921.

Rallying refugee Alick Kerr turned up at Kames to have a nosey, but he wasn’t in a car. He was riding a 1000cc Yamaha R1. Methinks rallying is a lot safer than one of them. What I did notice that they were scuffed and worn through in a couple of places down his left side – and I don’t reckon it was from leaning against a bar buying drink!

Jordan Black’s Citroen C2 attracted a fair bit of interest at Kames, and that was partly down to the fact that the Ecosse Challenge is re-thinking its future. The days of the Peugeot 205 are surely numbered, but which way to go? That’s the big question. Alex Petrie’s Toyota Yaris prompted some early interest while Ford Fiesta STs have been suggested as a way forward, but perhaps the C2 has something going for it too. According to Jordan, parts are plentiful as the car has been around since 2004, and he is already looking forward to the Aberdeenshire forests this weekend as he reckons the diff on the Citroen is far superior to the Peugeot.

Young Drew Struthers made me chuckle at Kames last weekend when I asked him how things were going: “My Dad thinks I should be out in the garage working on the car, but Mum thinks I should be inside studying for my exams.” There is no need to guess who is winning the argument as it’s obvious from his lack of black fingernails where he is spending most of his time at weekends and evenings. However, there is an inducement hanging in the air. If he does well at his exams, he might just get his Dad’s Talbot Sunbeam next year – after all, faither is too auld and decrepit to drive it any more, eh?

Harry Marchbank was co-driving for Alex Adams at the weekend and intends to concentrate on co-driving for the rest of this year, but he has an ambitious plan. He’s thinking of turning his 1 litre Micra into a 1300 and doing the Mull Rally.

I’m surprised that Graham Bruce managed to finish all 16 stages on last weekend’s Kames as it’s not generally kind to all wheel drive machines, especially those with a problem. Graham broke the tip off a driveshaft and didn’t have a spare. So what did he do? Since it was only about half an inch which had broken off, he packed out the shaft with a big nut and a rubber do’nut, tightened it all up and carried on. Apparently this is known, not as ‘bodging’, but as ‘wurzeling’ in the more countrified parts of Ayrshire. However, he did reckon that he might just treat the car to a new driveshaft before its next outing.

And finally …

I had to laugh. Jordan Black appeared at Kames, not just with a new car, but with a new Hans device. I know it’s a good idea and I’m all for safety, but just watching him struggle with the new-fangled thing trying to get it on before he climbed into the car, and then when that proved such a fiddly footery job, he tried it again inside the car. Trouble is, the Citroen C2 is just a wee car and there isn’t much room with high wing back seats and cages, and this attempt was accompanied by the sounds of plastic clattering off roll cages, the cracking of boney elbow joints plus a colourful verbal array of deep and meaningful celtic expletives. I can’t help wondering just how long it will be before the Cooncil Roads Dept find a puzzling plastic horsehoe shaped device flung over a hedge somewhere in darkest Lanarkshire.