Mcrae plays the numbers game 40 years on from Rally GB debut
Rallying is a numbers game: 222, 73, 40, 16. These ones have a very special connection. At car number 222, Jimmy Mcrae celebrated his 73rd birthday (on Friday) 40 years since making his Rally GB debut in a Vauxhall Magnum. He managed 16th overall in the National event.
The five-time British champion was back once again to take on a rally he’s contested off and on since that event in 1976, and with Pauline Gullick on the notes, the duo were as quick and had as much fun as usual.
Their rally was punctuated by a fuel problem, which was causing the car to be sluggish at slow speeds and it struggled to start once it had been switched off.
But as he has done on many occasions, he fought through. The reward and highlight of the weekend? The thousands of fans lined up in Chester town centre singing happy birthday, which he said brought a tear to his eye. “It was lovely to go under the clock and to experience that again, it gave me some great memories,” he said.
He was pushing “as hard as an old man can!” and believe it or not, the Scot still checks the times and is as competitive as ever. “The first stage was covered in mist, halfway through I thought ‘what the hell am I doing here?’ When we got to the end of the stage and saw the times, we were right with the people around us...” he said.