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Colin McRae WRC 25 years ago


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Tomorrow, Sunday 22nd November, will be 25 years since Colin McRae became World Rally Champion after a legendary performance on that years Network Q RAC Rally . It’s brought back all sorts of highly emotional memories for myself and my mates who spent 4 days chasing around the country in hired Transit vans . To be at Chester race course at the finish is such a special memory none of us who were there will ever forget . Those donuts ..... !!!
  Here’s some of the very few photos I took . 
  These were at Penmachno , North Wales at a time control between the two Penmachno stages . I think there were 2 stages to run , so on the brink of being Champion. 
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 Teammate Carlos Sainz who Colin comprehensively destroyed . 
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Donut time 

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Subaru 1,2,3 . McRae, Sainz, Burns . 

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Thanks for looking 

  Gary . 
 

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I remember getting up early for that event to go and watch the cars go through Pantperthog (well, early for students anyway). Stayed to watch the whole field go through, which with all the club drivers was much bigger than the fields today (I think, my interest faded in rallying when it became a Citroen fest and the cars stopped being 'similar' to what you could buy for the road). It was obvious how much faster and more accurate the top drivers were further down the field, but even so the clubmen were pretty good. One bloke in a Lada (or all things) seemed to be out of position and he was trying to get past the car in front. Got back to uni to hear that McRae had won the rally and world championship - we expected more in the future but it wasn't to be.

 

Hard to believe this is a quarter of a century ago, I feel old now. Unfortunately, I'm not sure where my photos from that day have gone :(

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19 minutes ago, Spiny said:

Hard to believe this is a quarter of a century ago, I feel old now

I am old now, and old enough to remember his dad, the great Malcolm.

WRT to Ladas, back in my day we had the Wartburgs from the East. Very amusing at stage starts as they would switch the two strokes off to stop them oiling, then turn them on when the marshall held up the "five to go" fingers - and off they went, with a sort of slowly increasing ping, ping, ping sound! Such fun. Of course, they managed class wins, mainly because the crew could roll it, get out, lift it back on its wheels and carry on as if nothing had happened.

Mind you, main excitement back then was my first works A110 in the Scottish borders, maybe Cardrona; into hairpins almost backwards, scrabble for grip and away - breathtaking.

Edited by MR2Don
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2 hours ago, MR2Don said:

I am old now, and old enough to remember his dad, the great Malcolm.

 

Errm - Jimmy?

 

I'm old enough to remember when Mk1 Escorts ruled the roost and works Skodas did battle with works Marinas for 1300 class honours!

 

Saw a TV documentary on Colin recently in which Dave Richards mentioned they were setting up a deal with Colin for the next season just before the awful helicopter crash....

 

Nice pics Gary, thanks for sharing

 

Keith

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10 hours ago, keefr22 said:

Errm - Jimmy?

Errm - YES! Where on earth did I get Malcolm from? I blame Covid, it's getting the better of me. Aha...Malcolm Wilson!

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I always remember Colin driving in 1000 Lakes Rally. he rolled his Subaru Legacy several times, but he definitely came one favorite to spectators.

It was time that there were plenty of clubman racers involved too. It was funny to see for example Moscvitsch team running there.

 

   

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My memories of that day are slightly different - Obviously I was interested in what was happening at the front, but my greater concern was for my mates Pete and Ed, who were competing in a Skoda Favorit in class N1. 


After marshalling at Clumber Park on the Sunday, where Pete and Ed decided that they couldn't miss a golden opportunity to show off in front of their mates by chasing them round the field, I took the week off work to look after my Brother's garage while he followed the event to carry on marshalling.


Fast forward to the end of the event and I dashed from the garage (Last job - rear brakes on a Mk4 Escort) to get home and try and find out some results.


The Internet didn't quite reach the public at large at that point so I had to use the next best thing - The neighbour's teletext....


Imagine my joy to discover that not only - A. Colin had won, but also - B. Pete and Eddie had finished, albeit in last place but that was still a brilliant achievement after brake problems, carburettor issues and running in the jaws of maximum lateness for most of one day.

 

They get to the finish, where they are issued with a couple of small bottles of something fizzy by Ivan Gaskell, the sports reporter, then told to get up on the bonnet of the car.....

 

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Seconds later, Ed, the navigator dressed in the white romper suit, has slipped and gone A over T onto the floor.

 

Happy days.

 

IanJ

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9 hours ago, Bonhoff said:

They get to the finish, where they are issued with a couple of small bottles of something fizzy by Ivan Gaskell, the sports reporter, then told to get up on the bonnet of the car.....

 

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Fantastic - what a brilliant achievment and a great photo to cherish forever....!! Great post Ian!

 

Keith

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I used to love visiting Clumber Park to watch the cars go through. It's literally 40 mins up the road from me. Sadly now I can't travel to Wales to see the cars, it's too far. Plus the cars of today are not like the cars from back then, more like Playstation game cars. Wish they would shake up the whole series and put it back to how it used to be. Proper cars and drivers in a proper rally. God I miss those days!!

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Just now, Steve Noble said:

Proper cars and drivers in a proper rally.

 

That's why I love historic rallying - just hope it can all get going properly again in 2021....

 

Keith

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1 hour ago, Vesa Jussila said:

In those days it was possible build rally car in sensible amount of money and take part to World Championship event.

 

When I was rallying the cost of building and maintaining the car was OK, but I was unfortunately never able to afford the entry fee (never mind fuel, tyres etc) to do the RAC Rally - that one event would have cost as much as a years events for me! (And I was never good enough to get sponsorship...!! 🤣 )

 

Keith

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34 minutes ago, keefr22 said:

 

When I was rallying the cost of building and maintaining the car was OK, but I was unfortunately never able to afford the entry fee (never mind fuel, tyres etc) to do the RAC Rally - that one event would have cost as much as a years events for me! (And I was never good enough to get sponsorship...!! 🤣 )

 

Keith

 

Ditto!!

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21 hours ago, Bonhoff said:

My memories of that day are slightly different - Obviously I was interested in what was happening at the front, but my greater concern was for my mates Pete and Ed, who were competing in a Skoda Favorit in class N1. 


After marshalling at Clumber Park on the Sunday, where Pete and Ed decided that they couldn't miss a golden opportunity to show off in front of their mates by chasing them round the field, I took the week off work to look after my Brother's garage while he followed the event to carry on marshalling.


Fast forward to the end of the event and I dashed from the garage (Last job - rear brakes on a Mk4 Escort) to get home and try and find out some results.


The Internet didn't quite reach the public at large at that point so I had to use the next best thing - The neighbour's teletext....


Imagine my joy to discover that not only - A. Colin had won, but also - B. Pete and Eddie had finished, albeit in last place but that was still a brilliant achievement after brake problems, carburettor issues and running in the jaws of maximum lateness for most of one day.

 

They get to the finish, where they are issued with a couple of small bottles of something fizzy by Ivan Gaskell, the sports reporter, then told to get up on the bonnet of the car.....

 

50632571666_391be3244d_o.jpg

 

Seconds later, Ed, the navigator dressed in the white romper suit, has slipped and gone A over T onto the floor.

 

Happy days.

 

IanJ

Great achievement by your mates, spending the whole rally running in deep ruts from the entire field no doubt . 

 

10 hours ago, Steve Noble said:

I used to love visiting Clumber Park to watch the cars go through. It's literally 40 mins up the road from me. Sadly now I can't travel to Wales to see the cars, it's too far. Plus the cars of today are not like the cars from back then, more like Playstation game cars. Wish they would shake up the whole series and put it back to how it used to be. Proper cars and drivers in a proper rally. God I miss those days!!

We started our week at Clumber , it’s only half an hour from us . We then went to Leeds night halt then Grizedale then back down to Wales Sweet Lamb and onto Penmachno. Then over to Chester for the finish. Two Transit hire vans , four lads in each with empty half ton bags slung from the roof to make hammocks ! We needed 4x2 props to stop the roofs bowing  under the weight !  
  Personally, I think Group A and the early WRC era were World Rallyings best time . Equal cars and plenty of top drivers . 
 

Thanks everyone for your comments and thoughts 

  Gary . 

 

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Unquestionably, McRae was an immensely talented driver, and I have huge respect for the talent, and sheer bravery, of anybody prepared to drive in that aspect of motorsport. 

 

I never saw him drive or compete in the UK, unfortunately, but I lived in Cyprus for a few years and whenever the WRC came to the island, I would spend that particular weekend, that it visited, following as many of the various stages as possible around the island. The weather, generally, was superb of course (with some exceptions !) and obviously managed to watch McRae several times at various years the WRC was held in Cyprus. I loved driving around in the 4 x 4, trying to catch as many of the stages as possible, my favourites being the mountain stages. The added bonus for me was that at the end of each day, I could drive home, relax, then out again the following morning to do it all over again. Happy days! :)

 

After one of the mountain stages once, I was driving back down the mountain to Limassol (where the service park was) and heard a really loud engine behind me. At first I thought it was a loud motorcycle, but looking in my rear view mirror I was surprised to see that it was Colin McRae and co-driver Nicky Grist right up my exhaust pipe!  They were in the Ford Focus that year. To this day I do not know how I did it, but managed to switch my camera on and 'just' managed to take a pic over my shoulder through the rear screen, and another as they overtook me. These below:

 

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The following day during the rally, there was torrential rain during the forest stage, never known rain like it, must of been horrendous to drive in such conditions, I think McRae had a relatively minor crash, but continued.  Then on the final day of the rally he rolled it, and ripped several bits off the car, but again managed to continue and finish the rally overall. Pics below show him going through the river at Kelefos Bridge (during the torrential rain), then a couple I managed to take after he rolled it, and finally three taken at the end of the rally on the seafront at Limassol, after it had been given a quick wash! 

 

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I do have a rather tenuous link to some of this (a VERY tenuous link, truth be told ....) as my sister's former partner used to do alot of rally driving (he was in the Herefordshire/Welsh border area) and at the time Nicky Grist was his co-driver, before Nicky became really well know though, of course. I think they used to do reasonably well too, from what I can gather.

 

 

B)

 

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2 hours ago, Windy37 said:

Great achievement by your mates, spending the whole rally running in deep ruts from the entire field no doubt .

This is so true- My friend said after 1000 Lakes that consumption of sump guards was more that tires. And he was also one of very last cars in route.

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