“Higgy is back on the island again for record run”
here’s nothing particularly special about Kirk Michael, it’s a lovely village in the middle of the British Isles. Predictably and understandably, there’s a 30mph speed limit given the close proximity of houses to the A3. But really, it’s just a regular kind of place.
A regular kind of place that is, apart from when Mark Higgins is pulling more than 150mph on nearby Main Road in a tweaked and tuned Subaru. Higgy’s back on his island again. The Manxman remains one of British motorsport’s most popular figures and most talented rally drivers. Working on the story of his attempt to break the TT lap record for a car for the third time involved a good deal of Youtube research. Inevitably, I got caught up with the Bray Hill tank-slapper for a long time, but it was the footage of his complete 2014 lap that really took time out of my day.
You can have nothing but massive admiration for what Higgins does. Those fortunate enough to have visited the Isle of Man will know what the place is like. Between the villages, the TT course is all sweeping, double-width roads, the kind of place that encourages you to have a go. And we’ve all been there and had a go.
But there’s a world of difference between pushing the national speed limit and holding sixth through a nearly flat right-hander into Ramsay before letting the car drift into the bus stop on the exit of the following left. At 110mph.
We’re all as accustomed as you can ever be to seeing big bikes doing these kind of speeds around the Isle of Man once a year, but seeing Higgins do it in a car that remains so special to our sport is a real treat.
On the subject of the artist formerly known as the Impreza (now called a WRX), watch the whole lap again but tune your ears out of Mark’s commentary and into the rasping boxer bark. It’s music.
Further research led me to another British hero who, like Higgins, could and should have commanded more respect and results in the World Rally Championship: Tony Pond.
Pondy’s lap in a lumbering Rover 827 was just as special 26 years down the line. Granted, it was missing the hold-your-breath-shut-youreyes corner speed, but seeing it bounce along Cronk-y-voddy with the speedo off the clock wasn’t exactly a poor second.
After a seven-week gap between World Rally Championship rounds, it was quite a difficult decision not to fill this space with news of the impending South American adventure. Then there were full-time World RX debuts for Sebastien Loeb and Ken Block in Portugal last weekend, both providing ordinarily great column fodder.
But there’s something about the incongruity of Subaru America’s latest quest.
Not to mention the incongruity of Higgy, the everyday superstar.