… Speyside News & Blethers …
Forget the R5s, Lancers and Imprezas, one car on the recent Speyside excited the attention and anticipation of more folk than any other, the ex James Ingleby 5.7 litre 1972 Ford Mustang now in the hands of his nephew Jack Ingleby. Co-driven by his sister Grania Watson, the car finished third in class and 43rd overall.
The car hadn’t turned a wheel since a small engine fire 15 years ago and the plan was to refettle it for the East African Safari Classic last year: “The car had been completely rebuilt and a fridge fitted (for cold drinks!) in the back for the Safari but Covid scuppered our plans and we didn’t manage to get over there,” said Jack.
“The Speyside is a local event and seemed ideal to give the car a test run. Ryan Champion came up to set the car up and hopefully give me a few tips at a private test session and that was amazing. I haven’t rallied since the Ford Ka Challenge (he finished 3rd o/a) in 2001 and the Peugeot 206 Cup some twenty years back and those cars were pretty different to the Mustang. They were front wheel drive of course and the Mustang is rear wheel drive but the boys who rebuilt the engine reckon it has 600 bhp.”
“It’s all so different since Grania and I last rallied. We didn’t realise how advanced the Pace Notes were and hadn’t used them before, and didn’t even realise that we got a DVD of the stages. We only collected the stuff on Friday afternoon and looked at it on Friday evening!”
After the rally Jack said: “What a day, what a car. It was all about fun, no risk taking, but the spectators seemed to enjoy it – and the noise!”
One of the spectators was James Ingleby himself out to see the car in action again: “It’s just marvellous to see the car back out again. My wife Moira and I finished 28th on the East African Safari twenty years ago with it and we also did the Midnight Sun to Red Sea and Panama Alaska rallies. In fact my last event with the car was the Granite City 15 years ago – but it does sound wonderful, doesn’t it?”
Speaking of old-timers, it was good to see Dave MacDonald wandering around Keith Service Area. He used to run a garage in Keith itself and rallied a variety of competitive Toyotas throughout the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. He still lives in Keith and claimed to be walking the dog but there was a glint in his eyes as he walked around the machinery.
Also paying a visit to the rally was the 1975 and 1977 Scottish Rally Champion Charles Samson. He has family in the area and always plans a visit to Elgin to visit his grand kids when the rally is on.
Oddly enough both auld geezers looked remarkable fit and well – rallying must be good for the health, eh?
Jim McDowall was a lucky boy ahead of the Speyside. Whilst fitting a new gearbox after the Snowman failure, his son Jamie just happened to notice two teeth missing from the timing belt in the Escort’s engine. That’ll be worth a bonus, eh?
Paddy Munro won his class but he might have done better than 26th overall if he had been paying more attention to the roads and listening to Dave on the Notes: “I got quite distracted at times. There’s a lot of great quarries up here and I kept slowing down to have a look at the material that the FC has!” Aye, you can take the boy out of Kyle, but you can’t take Kyle out of the boy!”
It turns out that the mechanical failure that made Hamish Grant retire the Escort was a broken rear link. The car hit a kerb near the end of SS2 at Cooper Park and broke it. They managed to get it welded up but they were OTL.
When the team went to rescue Ernie and Trish Lee stranded with a broken gear linkage in the BMW, Snowy found an old motorcycle enthusiast in Keith who had a Tig welding kit and got him to weld it up for them. Warren Fairbairn said it must be good as, “I tried to break it and I cannae.” Trouble was by that time the crew had gone OTL although Ernie managed to go out later under SuperRally rules – and he couldn’t break it either.
Stuart and Marc Irvine had a wee bit of better luck for a change finishing 22nd overall in the Hyundai WRC as Stuart said “It’s a good job the last stage was shortened as the car developed a coolant leak, so we had to stop when we got out of the forest and on the way back to the Finish to top it up.”
On his first visit to the Speyside forests, Charles J D R Hopkinson finished 4th in class and 58th overall and said this is an event he’s always wanted to do. Trouble is he lives in Coleford in the Forest of Dean which is awfy far away, but he has family up here and promised himself that once Covid was done with he’d be back up for a family visit and bring the rally car with him. Job done and now he reckons he’ll be back, the stages were so good!
Another visitor was Calum MacKenzie, but he wasn’t alone. Riding shotgun in the service van was daughter Kirsty who was able to answer something that has puzzled my Big Pal Jaggy for some time – what does ‘Co Leig A-mach Thu’ mean? This is from a song by that renowned Western Isles Gaelic rock/folk band Peat and Diesel and it’s so bluidy catchy that it has bothered the big chap birling endlessly around the space between his ears since he heard it. According to Kirsty it’s a kind of slightly insulting slang expression which means ‘Who let you out?’ although according to her faither Calum, she was being polite and offered up a more pithy, but unrepeatable (in a family magazine) translation – and here was me thinking they were nice boys!
And finally … the tale of Kevin Crawford. Apparently there are various versions of this tale but in the absence of an admission by Kevin himself, the following has been cobbled up by interviewing and listening to others who claimed to have witnessed/heard about the incident. It all started in Cooper Park when the Lancer struck a kerb and broke the wheel. The full hub and spokes broke away from the rim so there was no chance of driving out, which meant Kevin and Andrew had no choice but to stop and replace the wheel with the spare. That part is entirely factual – allegedly. However, when the wheel hit the kerb, the Lancer actually mounted the kerb and struck a recently erected new junction box and lamp-post leaving the lamp post leaning over at a weird angle like a Sauchiehall Street drunk on a Saturday night. Now it would appear that two council workmen were spectating at this point and one turned to the other and said: “I tellt the Boss no tae start installing the new lamp posts till efter the rally, but he said it wid be fine!” Afterwards it was reported that Kevin’s KNC Groundworks business was hoping that it would get the public works council contract for the reinstatement of said items and replacements of other units around the Park! Of course, he denies any ulterior motive, it was not deliberate, it was purely accidental – so there!