12 Jul: Argyll News & Blethers

… Argyll News & Blethers …

Dear Competitors … The value of attending pre-event rally briefings was emphasised in Argyll when some folk reckoned the Route Notes weren’t quite accurate for a couple of stages. But that was because one had been shortened and another had the start moved on advice from the MSA Safety Delegate and alterations issued. In future, make sure you’re on time and stand closer to the front and LISTEN! Don’t hang about at the back of the crowd gossiping. Honestly, some of you are like a bunch of auld fishwives at times.

And another thing. Although the issue of punctures reared its ugly head on the Argyll Stages, it was really just down to one section of unfinished ‘repaired’ road. Apparently the local chief forester was out watching and didn’t quite appreciate the speed at which cars were passing and the kind of roads which the sport preferred. Point noted and memory box ticked. Fingers crossed for next year, so please don’t be put off.

Having said all that, I did like Claire Mole’s description of conditions in the first stage: “We were like Fred and Wilma Flintstone in that first stage,” and then added, “it was rougher than Sardinia.” And Claire should know, she was probably the most experienced and furthest travelled co-driver on that event and she doesn’t look a day over 21. I’m such a big sook, eh?

John Rintoul was equally succinct: “I was slower than Bill Sturrock through there,” referring to the premier Note Provider’s 20mph route recce DVD!

I had to laugh at Robbie Beattie at first service. The poor soul was in serious discomfort trying to re-arrange his nether-regions: “We flew over one jump in that last stage and landed so hard that the crutch straps nipped my b*lls.” He was still trying to count them and sort them out when he got to service – and I thought he was auditioning for Riverdance.

Gina Walker and Richard Simmonds nearly didn’t make it to the rally start. David O’Brien was driving them to Dunoon on Friday in the Walker pick-up and nearly put the back seat duo through the windscreen during a sudden fierce braking manoeuvre. He forgot the pickup was an automatic. Now, come on, we’ve all done it at some time. Anyway both Gina and Richard survived although they both hit the front seat headrests, but it will take some living down by David.

Cheapskate rallying 1. It’s a wee while since Jim Carty last sat his bum in a rally car, in fact it was the last time that Mull CC tried to resurrect the Argyll Stages 6 years back running out of Oban. Jim actually ran Course Car duties that day in the late John Allan’s beloved Escort. Anyway, the bold Jim was asked to produce his car club membership card at Signing-On in Dunoon and handed over his Glasgow University Motor Club card. Now anyone who knows the white-haired Jim will realise that it’s an awfy long time since he was a student, if indeed he ever was, but all was explained. His daughter Sarah was at Glasgow Uni (and that wasn’t yesterday either!) and she made her Dad a Life Member for what he did for the club. As I said, cheapskate rallying!

Cheapskate rallying 2. The reason that Carty was doing the Argyll Stages was all down to the persistence and persuasion of Tom Coughtrie. 36 years ago, the same duo contested their first Argyll Rally in the very same Escort Mk2 that Tom still has and still uses, so to celebrate this unique occasion, Tom had persuaded Jim to co-drive. Bad move. On the basis that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, Jim proved yet again why he became a driver and not a co-driver. As the rally and service area was based at Dunoon Stadium, the event started and finished there too. Anyway, to get to the Rally Start, the cars left the service area, drove up the hill, round the far edge of the football pitch, past the terraced spectator area to the Holding Area. The cars were then called forward, given their time and then proceeded straight ahead, out the gate to turn right. Our heroes duly did all that was required and left the Start – then turned right, drove back down the far side of the football pitch, behind the stadium back up the Start road past the Controls they had already been through and out the gate – and THEN turned right!

Cheapskate rallying 3. Keeping it in the family, James MacGillivray and Big Fraze were servicing for Coughtrie and Carty (Ian Fraser is married to Sarah Carty) or as James succinctly put it: “We don’t regard this as servicing, we feel we’re doing our bit for Care in the Community.”

In the main report on this year’s Dunoon Presents Argyll Rally there was a brief mention of one Brian Watson Esq who failed to finish due to a puncture in the first stage. This is of course a true statement – but it’s not the full story. When the Lancer punctured a rear tyre, Brian and Caroline were eventually forced to stop and change it. Anyway, Brian gets out, and thinks: “Pheck it, I’ll have a fag first.” So after he has an anger management puff, he gets the jack out and jacks the car up. The jack collapses. Cue another fag break. Then it started to rain so he had to get his jacket out of the back of the car and after sprachling about in and through the cage, needed another calming-down puff. Eventually, he decided to have another go, but when he tried to get the socket bar out of the boot to loosen the wheel nuts he had nothing to cut the tie-wraps! The bar stayed in place as he reached for the fag packet again. This time the decision was taken to go no further and wait for help. So much for dedication and determination. Poor Caroline must have been going nuts.

And finally …

For reasons of good taste and personal safety, the identities of the following must remain secret, but the tale is true and deserves a public airing if only to show the depths of depravity that Scottish rallying is reaching. But it’s not just Scottish rallying where fun is mixed with competition, it would appear that such domestic activities are being exported. For instance, a certain rally team based in the south west headed off to Donegal the other week to contest one of the finest rallies in north west Europeland. The driver of said team needed a service crew and requested the help of two young scallywags, sorry, automotive technicians of high repute, who willingly agreed to accompany said crew in their endeavours. All went well and the crew had a good run, but as is the way of Irish rallying, there was something of a party afterwards. Apparently the celebratory tipple of choice was Zambuca and Baileys and given the sweetness of the concoction had to be washed down with other spirits. Needless to say our two young scallywags, my mistake – again, automotive technicians of high repute, got wellied in with the result that the younger of the two flaked out face down on the sofa oblivious to the world. However, his comrade in arms contrived a seriously dirty trick to play on his pal. Obviously he put some thought into the matter and somehow acquired some jaffa cakes and peanut butter. He then pulled down his compatriot’s trousers and pants, and smeared his buttocks and cleft with this mixture. Pulled his pants and trousers back up, patted them down, and waited for his friend’s return to consciousness at which point the perpetrator inquired of his dear friend after sniffing the air: “Have you shat yourself?” At which point his pal tentatively explored his underwear. One can only imagine the ensuing kerfuffle, eh?

Argyll Rally – [Main Report]

Argyll Rally – [Stage Times]

Argyll Rally – [Class Roundup]