Newsletter January, 2014

Firstly, a somewhat belated Happy New Year to everyone.  I hope you have not been too badly affected by the unusual weather we have had over the past couple of months.   Here is a list of the items of news this month  –

The 2014 Monte Carlo Historique UK Start

The Neil Sisters

New Members

Database Changes

2014 Spring Run – letter from bob Baillie

AGM Snippets

Report from Derek Palmer

Bill Henderson’s Collection Update

Graham Millar’s 40 years in Motorsport

Amusing and Interesting Bits and Pieces

Paisley’s UK start of the 2014 Monte Carlo Classic on Thursday 23rd January:

Once again the Start of the UK leg of the Rally Monte-Carlo Historique and the CC&HMC’s Heritage Run (The Caledonian Classic & Historic Motorsport Club) was in Scotland, in the town of Paisley.   The start took place in front of Paisley Abbey.  As usual Historique Entrants being flagged off first en route to Monaco via 1960+ miles while they were followed by the Heritage Run entrants en route to Luss via the Trossachs.  Wielding the Start flag was none other than Paddy Hopkirk the Monte Rally legend of the 1960’s.  This was very appropriate as it was 50 years since Paddy had won the Monte in his works Mini Cooper S.  Another rally and Irish “celebrity starter” followed the route opening car, namely Rosemary Smith in a Hillman Imp.  There were 10 entrants making for Monaco while another 70 + cars made up the remainder who left the start ramp.Among the latter there were only four VSMA entrants this year en route to Luss.  These were as follows

Tom Bicket and Malcolm Noble in their Ford Anglia

Gordon and Karen Clendinning in Vaxhall Chevette

Donald and Catriona Gordon in thier Austin Healey 3000

Ian Gemmell and David Fotheringham in their Cosworth

The following are photographs taken by member Bill Barr of a few of the starters.  Unfortunately out of the four VSMA representatives Bill only managed to get Donald and Catriona Gordon’s start!

Paddy Hopkirk flagged them all off including the Celebrty 1st Car driven by Rosie Smith just after 6.00pm. After Rosie are just six of the ten Starters who were destined for Monaco ! 

After the Monaco entrants were flagged off, it was the turn of those whose destination was a bit nearer home – Luss! 

It was obvious that Paddy had enjoyed his “Official” duties in Paisley !

Back to the top of this Newsletter

The Neil Sisters:

Pat Smith while sorting out hundreds of her Dad’s coloured slides, and scanning some to keep, came across some from motor sport in the 1940’s and ’50s.  One was of the famous Neil sisters who were one of the very early competitors in the Monte Carlo Rallies after World War II.   She sent it to VSMA to see if we could through some light on them.  Being a member of Lanarkshire Car Club I was able to confirm some details.  You can see the photograph which I have added to the Public Photographic gallery on the website – have a look.  Pat’s Dad had met the pair of them through the late Bill Watson, his great friend at Watson’s of Airdrie.  Any more detail on either Chrissie and Andy would be welcome.

New Members:

We are delighted to welcome Ricky Gauld from Huntly, Aberdeen and Ian Cook, from Linlithgow into the VSMA fold

Members’ Database Changes

Email address is now available for Fulton Beaton and George Cooper. In addition to now having an email address, John Stephen has moved from Glasgow to Northumberland.
Address changes The following members have changed their email addresses – 
Lindsay Kerr,  Derry Dickson,  Ken Hutchison and Ronnie Morrison.

Details of the above additions and changes can be found in the Members and Details section.

Back to the top of this Newsletter

Dear Member,        

Spring Run           

            Friday 25th April to Monday 28th April, 2014

We have reached the time of year when the Spring Run requires to be organised  and, once again, it has been decided that we will return to The Grant Arms Hotel, Grantown-on-Spey.

Those who have already been on one of our “Highland Tours” will agree that the hotel offers an ideal base for our activities and the Management and Staff have always been very welcoming and helpful.

The official proceedings will start around 10.00am on Friday morning with a run mapped from Lomond Shores at Balloch  (on the south side of Loch Lomond) through the Trossachs to a lunchtime halt either in Pitlochry or The House of Bruar. The afternoon run will start from House of Bruar car park at around 2.00pm. There will be a small reception in a Lounge at the hotel at 6.30pm on Friday evening giving a chance for everyone to meet up before dinner.

We are waiting to find out if Gordon Clendinning will be able to attend the weekend with his Scalextric track.  This depends on his commitment to Top Gear.  As before the evenings will be informal and will provide a chance to meet and chat with old friends and competition rivals. Is there a piano?

There will be tours and visits arranged on the Saturday and Sunday and details of these will be provided nearer the time of the event.

Additional Supplementary Regulations, Entry Form and Hotel Booking Form are in PDF format below.   Click on each PDF to open them, then each should be printed out.   As usual, bookings will be on a “first come first served basis”. 

There are limits to the numbers that we can cater for so apply early.  The last weekends at Grantown-on-Spey, Stranraer and Peebles have been successful and I trust that you will find the details of the proposed weekend to be of interest.

Yours sincerely

Bob Baillie, Vice Chairman     

     2014 Spring Run – ASRs           2014 Spring Run – Entry Form   

Back to the top of this Newsletter

A.G.M. Snippets:

I would like to say that we had an overwhelming attendance at our AGM last 15th November but the 14 members who did attend fortunately gave us enough for a quorum.  Thanks are again due to Boyd Tunnock who kindly gave us the use of his premises in Uddingston to hold our AGM, as well as providing us with a welcome buffet reception.
Immediately prior to the AGM, a Special General Meeting was held to amend Article 32 of our Articles of Association which would allow the numbers of Directors to be increased from a maximum of six to eight.
The AGM itself went smoothly as usual with reports from the Executive Directors on the past year’s activities and our accounts – we are still solvent!  There was no change in the election of the Executive –  Jimmy McInnes remains as Chairman, Bob Baillie as Vice-Chairman and Treasurer, while Stuart Parker is still your Secretary. The following members were elected as Ordinary Board Members – Kenny Allen, Barry Crichton, Donald Gordon, Hugh MacKinnon, Duncan Paterson and Andy Watson. They join Adele Paterson and Charlie Young who had remained as Board members from the previous year.  So in addition to our Executive, we now have the full complement of eight Ordinary Board members.

Bill Henderson Website Collection update:  

The Collection now has an Ecurie Ecosse page and a corresponding gallery of photographs.  Click here to view the Bill’s Gallery.
Interestingly, some of Bill’s period photographs of the Ecurie Ecosse cars and transporter featured in the Bonham’s catalogue for the recent sale of the Dick Skipworth collection of Ecurie Ecosse cars. The importance of the Ecurie Ecosse team in motor racing history was reflected in the prices achieved at the auction.

Back to the top of this Newsletter

News from Derek Palmer Team Manager at Pro Motorsport (Scotland) :
To keep you up to date It would seem their attempt on the 1,000cc Land Speed Record which Derek hoped to put to bed in 2013 had to be shelved ‘till 2014 as the Salt at Bonnieville had been wet since they last tested in August 2012 (it was a lake for a month). The final nail in the coffin was that, despite the salt starting to dry, the American budget deficit has meant all parks department staff have been laid off and they had been forced to cancel their permit as the salt flats are closed – so it is 2014 for the record. It will be a good year to do it as it will be 100 years since the first use of the salt for a record attempt LSR racing.
In the meantime the Classic Super Touring Car racing has taken off big time with a big season planned by all for next year so they hope to run their 2 Nissan Primeras in that for the full season.  So with the salt, the Monte, the Touring Cars, Tour Auto and Tour Britannia they should have a good season. 

2013, a year of celebration………

Graham Millar  –  40 years as a competitor, 30 years as a constructor

40 years ago Graham Millar took part in his first motor race at Snetterton circuit. This resulted in the “bug” biting hard and over the next forty years, plenty of motorsport events were undertaken as a competitor, race engineer and team owner.  1973 saw 3 race meetings in a Jim Russell race school car. A third, second and first place saw him being taken aside and told by the manager of the school that he should invest in his own car for the 1974 season. Money was tight so no race car was purchased but thanks to a generous bank manager a loan was granted for a Clan Crusader road car and soon navigation rallies were being undertaken. The 1975 season saw more action with the Clan before it was replaced by a Singer Chamois sport. Plenty of navigational events followed before in 1976 it was converted to a stage rally car. Various rallies were undertaken including a couple of trips to Mull for “the best rally in the world”. 

By 1979 the racing bug had come back and a Dulon FF1600 car was purchased and raced with backing from Lander Alarms. The following season saw a Hawke FF1600 car being used but in 1981, at a wet Knockhill, the car was damaged against the banking.  The team were in shock when the parts required to fix the car came to £350 but after gaining some help from a friend who was a welder, the team made the parts themselves and managed to repair the car for £3.50. Lander Alarms was sold to the RMC group shortly afterwards and as a result, no further backing was forthcoming.  With very little money available to buy a better car, the team decided to build a FF1600 car to their own design for the 1983 season.  This was achieved by April 1983 but there was nothing left in the budget to race the car, which the team had called the RoToR JT1.  After a premium bond win and some backing from a local haulage contractor, John Watson, the car took to the track in June. The car was raced 4 times by Graham Millar before Roy Low had a run in the car. Roy confirmed the car had pace but the teams’ engine let go during his race.  For the final round of the championship, Tom Brown loaned the team an engine and drove the car winning the last race of the season from pole and in so doing, clinched the Scottish Championship.

Over the next few years, Rotor Racing built cars for Formula Ford, Ford 2000, hill climbs and sprints and was competing all over the British Isles. In 1987 the team leader, Graham Millar, was injured at work while trying to rescue a woman from a house fire. Momentum was lost on the racing front but a few road car Rotors were designed and part-built as the team broadened its horizons. Early retirement from the fire service for Graham in 1995 meant a new chapter in the teams’ history when Rotor Racing ran BMW M3s in the Scottish saloon car series for Sandy McEwan and John Kyle. The team also finished the design and build of a minimalist sportscar, the Rotor JT7, that year. British GT racing with a Venturi followed the BMWs as the team expanded into new areas. The loss of a major sponsor in 1999 saw the team withdraw from GT racing but return to club racing.  Later a Mini Cooper driven by John Kyle and supported by Cardowan Creameries was purchased for the 2003 SMRC Mini challenge. Meanwhile, Graham Millar returned to rallying and a few events including a return to the Tour of Mull were undertaken in a Golf GTI.

The first Rotor for the road was registered in 2000 and purchased by a long time supporter of the marque. For 2006 the team helped David Brown, the son of a former Rotor owner, to victory in the Scholarship class of the MSA British Formula Ford Championship. During this time a Rotor Sports 2000 car was built up using a JT7 chassis that the team had kept as a spare. For 2007 a Dallara F3 was purchased for David Brown to race in the British championship but this came to an abrupt end when others out-with the Rotor team failed to do what they said they would and the backer withdrew his support. 2008 saw Graham undertake a couple of S2000 races before the team got the go-ahead to design and build a new car. This was raced in 2010 and the team had a great season before officials of the S2000 club decided it had “an unfair aerodynamic advantage”. No mention was made that the driver was seriously overweight and close to getting his bus pass. As old age beckoned the team went back to their youth and a race and a rally Clan Crusader was built. A broken leg for the driver of the cars put paid to that plan but who knows perhaps one day soon they will be out competing.

They say time flies when you are enjoying yourself and so it must be because when Graham and his team of unpaid helpers discovered that 2013 was a year of anniversaries, 40 years as a competitor and 30 as a constructor of Rotor Road and racing cars, they could not believe where the time had gone. Longtime backers John Kyle and Cardowan Creameries agreed to support the boys in a year of celebration. John loaned the team his JT7 and it was used in the Lowland Speed championship where it won its class and was runner-up in the competition car class. The team hoped to have another more competition Rotor out in the events later in the year but instead found a way to get around the new rules imposed by the Sports 2000 club and raced their modified car in the Pinto races at Donnington and Brands Hatch.

The team also managed to fit in a reunion party in November for all those who have helped them over the years. Past drivers, sponsors and mechanics turned out in force to celebrate their involvement with the team. The venue was good, the buffet was tasty and the stories were excellent.

What of the future? Well, the unpaid group of amateur racers that are Rotor Racing are hoping to continue enjoying their motorsport. Plans are underway to build a new generation of Rotor racing car and if the team, who are all getting on a bit, have the health to continue, will be out on events as they have done for over 40 years.

Back to the top of this Newsletter

Some items to hopefully interest and amuse you :

Some More PARAPROSDOKIANS: I’m sure, like me, you’ve never heard of these.  Apparently, they are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected – frequently humorous.   Winston Churchill loved them!

War does not determine who is right – only who is left.

We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.

Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine

Where there’s a will, there are relatives. 

Three unusual YouTube clips: 

Before you buy a new mobile phone, watch this one!

If this really works it might give you a fright – Unlock a car door with a tennis ball

You thought Special Stages could be rough 1920s Dodge promotional film

Some Amusing stuff from Our Chairman:

One day at kindergarten the Teacher said to the class of 5-year-olds, “I’ll give £10 to the child who can tell me who was the most famous man who ever lived”‘

A little Irish boy put up his hand and said, “It was St Patrick, miss.”  The Teacher said, “Sorry Sean, that’s not correct.”

Then a little Scottish boy put up his hand and said, “It was St Andrew, miss.”  The Teacher replied, “I’m sorry, Hamish, that’s not right either.”

Finally, a little Jewish boy raised his hand and said: “It was Jesus Christ, miss.”  The Teacher said, “That’s absolutely right, Marvin.  Come up here and I’ll give you the £10.”  As the Teacher was giving Marvin his money, she said, “You know, Marvin, since you’re Jewish, I was very surprised you said ‘Jesus Christ'”.

Marvin replied, “Yeah.  In my heart,  I knew it was Moses, but business is business”.

A little girl was talking to her teacher about whales. The teacher said it was physically impossible for a whale to swallow a human because even though it was a very large mammal its throat was very small. The little girl stated that Jonah was swallowed by a whale.  Irritated, the teacher reiterated that a whale could not swallow a human; it was physically impossible. The little girl said, ‘When I get to heaven I will ask Jonah’. The teacher asked, ‘What if Jonah went to hell?’  The little girl replied, ‘Then you ask him’.

And finally:  Another from Chairman, Jimmy McInnes –

A man in Scotland calls his son in London the day before Christmas Eve and says, “I hate to ruin your day but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; forty-five years of misery is enough.”

‘Dad, what are you talking about?’ the son screams.

“We can’t stand the sight of each other any longer,” the father says.  “We’re sick of each other and I’m sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Leeds and tell her.”

Frantically, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone. “Like hell, they’re  getting divorced!” she shouts, “I’ll take care of this!”

She calls Scotland immediately and screams at her father “You are NOT getting divorced.  Don’t do a single thing until I get there.  I’m calling my brother back, and we’ll both be there tomorrow. Until then, don’t do a thing,  DO YOU HEAR ME?” and hangs up.

The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife. ‘Sorted!  They’re coming for Christmas – and they’re paying their own  way.’

That’s all folks………………. !                 

Stuart Parker              January 2014

Back to Archived News Items