FIFE

JOHN “Rally fans in Scot­land can be en­cour­aged”

Motor Sport News - - Rally News -

R

ally fans in Scot­land can be en­cour­aged by the en­try list for last week­end’s Arnold Clark - Jurys Inn Snow­man Rally with 117 starters. Some 15 more than last year, and in­clud­ing around 40 first-timers.

Af­ter the gloom that blighted the sport last year, this pro­vided a glim­mer of sun­shine on the hori­zon, or at least it would have had it not been snow­ing a bliz­zard.

It also prompted sug­ges­tions that the MSA might well have to re­think its rules on tyres for events. If safety is the prime con­cern then, to be fair to teams and to tyre sup­pli­ers the dec­la­ra­tion of a ‘Win­ter Rally’ must be made at least a week in ad­vance of the run­ning of the event. Even if they have to err on the side of cau­tion then giv­ing crews the op­tion to run snow tyres has to be made sooner than the day be­fore ( see re­port, page 21).

Ex­treme con­di­tions on Satur­day also high­lighted short­com­ings on re­stricted spec­ta­tor ac­cess to for­est stages. When the or­gan­is­ers had to can­cel plans for spec­ta­tor car parks and view­points last week­end on the first stage it put pres­sure on the oth­ers. The Snow­man Rally is such a huge sport­ing event in the High­lands that it al­ways at­tracts huge crowds, and not just rally fans.

Many oc­ca­sional vis­i­tors have lit­tle idea of the con­di­tions they will face when the weather is fair, let alone foul. Of­fi­cials can­not be blamed for heart at­tacks and bro­ken an­kles ( see re­port), but such is­sues have to be dealt with and com­peti­tors have to be pa­tient. Am­a­teur car clubs and vol­un­teers can only do so much with lim­ited time and re­sources.

How­ever, the in­crease in com­peti­tor num­bers was en­cour­ag­ing and it high­lighted an of­ten over­looked el­e­ment when at­tract­ing new par­tic­i­pants to the sport. While much of the em­pha­sis is made on mak­ing the sport ap­peal to 14 and 17 year olds, teens and twen­ties, we mustn’t over­look the 30s and 40s ei­ther.

This is an age group which is es­tab­lished in the work place and usu­ally has a bit more dis­pos­able in­come. Many of them buy mo­tor­bikes or flash cars for ‘ride-outs’ and ‘meets’ when per­haps they could be per­suaded to have a look at ral­ly­ing.

For in­stance, 36-year-old Steven Crock­ett and 41-year-old Martin Hen­der­son con­tested their first ever rally in a Peu­geot 205. Over the years they have watched, mar­shalled and ser­viced but never com­peted, un­til now.

Seeded at 120 they spent the en­tire day on the ‘wrong’ tyres, had to fix an elec­tri­cal fault in the first stage, re­pair the gear link­age on the se­cond stage and had to cure a fuel feed prob­lem on the fi­nal test. They only got three out of the five stages due to cancellations, but were “ab­so­lutely de­lighted to fin­ish [eighth in class] and look­ing for­ward to the next one”.

You can’t buy en­thu­si­asm like that.

Father and son Mike and An­drew Jor­dan will share a Ford GT40 in the Alan Mann Tro­phy at the Good­wood Mem­bers’ Meet­ing next month.

For­mer GT and Bri­tish Tour­ing Car racer Mike has raced Philip Walker’s GT40 sev­eral times be­fore but this will be the first time that 2013 BTCC cham­pion An­drew has raced the 1960s GT.

“I’ve wanted to race the GT40 for some time and for us to share the car at Good­wood is re­ally cool,” said An­drew. “I’m very lucky to get the chance to drive a car like that. There will be some quick guys there but I’m sure we’ll be one of the stronger pair­ings. I think dad had bet­ter start the race in the day­light with his dodgy eye­sight and I’ll do the se­cond stint as it gets dark!”

Mike Jor­dan, who set pole for the pre­vi­ous all-gt40 race at Good­wood in 2013, added: “It will be fan­tas­tic to share that sort of car with An­drew.”

Their Jor­dan Rac­ing Team will look af­ter the GT40 along­side the Ford Lotus Cortina of Mark Sumpter, which runs in the Whit­more Cup for un­der two-litre pre-1966 tour­ing cars. It will be Sumpter’s first solo race in the car af­ter he took a podium at the Sil­ver­stone Clas­sic when shar­ing it with Jor­dan Sr.

The Jor­dans will also go head-to-head in the Gerry Mar­shall Tro­phy race when An­drew again shares the Mini 1275GT with Nick Swift and Mike part­ners Mike Whi­taker in the ex-gor­don Spice three­l­itre Ford Capri.

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