The 7th Flying Scotsman 2015
17th – 19th April, 2015
The 7th Flying Scotsman 2015 - Rally Reports
Visit the Flying Scotsman Photo Gallery to find Gerard Brown's event photographs
Click the Flying Scotsman Results Book to download a comprehensive results book.
Day Three - Ingliston to Gleneagles
Sunday 19 April 2015 - Gleneagles
The champagne in the bar has only just started to flow as the engines begin to cool down in the car park. There's obviously going to be a lot of lubrication taken on board tonight and even more over the next few weeks in workshops up and down the land.
William Medcalf has won his second consecutive Flying Scotsman Rally despite declaring that he was only here for the beer, in a car which he described as merely having a shakedown. Both he and Tony Brooks held their nerve to seal a well deserved victory on day three of this gruelling vintage car rally.
The only other crew to take two in a row is the dynamic duo of Paul Carter and John Bayliss who won in 2009 & 2010 and who have been on the grid every year since. This year though they could only manage sixth but it’s hats off to them for keeping up the fight to the end.
We left Edinburgh this morning and to get the fluids flowing took in a quick spin round the famous Knockhill track where James Gateley, announced to all that he loved it, was pleased that the sun had shone, was delighted that the car didn't break and that the circuit was the "first chance he'd had to really open up the car since he'd rebuilt it".
Soon enough though the rally was heading for the hills again for some more time & motion exercises against the clock. Lunch was taken at Ballathie House before the run through Glenshee and Glenalmond to the finish line.
With grins as wide as the Forth Bridge the drivers and navigators who'd stayed the course made their way up the driveway of the Gleneagles Hotel to pass under the finish arch with the skirl of the bagpipes, the cracking of the engines and popping of corks providing a magnificent soundtrack which befitted a magnificent event.
Kim Bannister the Clerk of the Course declared himself well please with both the event and the conduct of the drivers whilst relaying a tale of sporting selflessness. "The leading two cars where on the side of the road, I found William Medcalf working on the broken rear axle of the model A Ford along with its owner Bill Cleyndert. Repeatedly Bill said 'leave me William you go on' - William was jeopardising his whole rally by staying behind to help - to which the reply was 'No Bill I want to beat you on the road not by the side of it, now grab that hammer!'".
Kim commented that "this is a tough event to win, but to win in such a style with the backing of your peers is something very special indeed". William himself added that it truly was a "superb event, a great idea starting further north and that he'd found himself fighting for the win in a challenging and competitive field".
Will he go for the hatrick. "I'll quit while I'm ahead".
Second place was collected by Bill Cleyndert and Dan Harrison in that well travelled Ford Model A With third occupied by David Thompson and Alan Smith in a Talbot Alpine
Dinner this evening then was a memorable occasion and the celebrations were led by both Fred Gallagher and Kim Bannister who handed out the silverware to the worthy winners.
Beside the various class and overall awards special trophies were presented for the Spirit of the Rally that went to George Melville and Steve Gipson in their Ford Model A Coupe while the Concourse d'Elegance was awarded to another Ford Model A for the stylish and immaculate presentation of both car and crew.
To sum up the 7th Flying Scotsman in their own words then.....
Bill Cleyndert "...bloody marvellous".
John Bayliss "...great atmosphere, fantastic route, brilliant to see such strong competition from around the world."
Sue Shoosmith "...amazing route, roads, and scenery. A tougher rally, much more competitive but still hugely enjoyable. A great balance."
Day Two - Gosforth Park to Ingliston
Saturday 18 April 2015 - Edinburgh
Left, right, left, right, left, straight on? Not knowing which way to turn; that pretty much summed up the main topic of conversation for the Rally in the bar this evening after a day of rolling hills and remarkable regularities.
As well as being a lot of fun, today was a reminder that this is a tough event and today's jaunt from Newcastle and through the Scottish borders to Edinburgh was one to sort the men from the boys, so to speak.
Incredibly though, the weather continued to look down favourably upon us and to mock the winter weight neck warmers which had been gifted to the crews at signing on. One thing worries me though, our foreign visitors might think that this weather is the norm for this part of the world in April. It’s not.
It was a slightly chilly start however and whilst scraping the ice off the windscreens in Gosforth we heard that there were to be some non starters today. The list included Peter Zernial and Udo Fink along with their beautiful little MG TC who were involved in a minor road accident yesterday which necessitated a precautionary one night hospital stay. We send them our best wishes for a speedy recovery. Peter Livanos and Alex Drouliscous were forced out with ignition problems dogging their low slung Alfa Romeo 8C Zagato. Paul Cowell and Hugo Manners had to abandon the chase because of an electrical fault with the Oldsmobile 30E whilst Nicholas and Lesley Pryor found that their drawing room of a Chevy Opera had sucked up something nasty into the fuel lines. Ever resourceful though and with many trans continental events to their credit they arranged to have their own car delivered to the hotel and set to this morning as a pair of very useful auxiliary sweeps. Owen Turner and Andy Inskip were most appreciative of the help after missing dinner last night to repair the transmission of Rory Henderson and Oliver Sharp. The Bentley was back on the road this morning with everything but reverse gear working so the pressure was on them not to wrong slot on the narrow tracks we found ourselves using today.
Skirting the Cheviot Hills the Rally zig zagged its way through Northumberland to the Scottish Borders where we visited Kelso Show Ground twice either side of a very agreeable lunch which was taken at the rather splendid Roxburghe Estate.
No visit to the Borders would be complete without a visit to the Jim Clark Rooms in Duns where the life of the two times world champion is celebrated and we took on board some excellent coffee and cake soon after meeting up with former chief Marshall Bob Redhead who was on duty along with the usual army of volunteer marshals. Our thanks go out to them all for their efforts with the clock and the clipboard.
The Lammermuir hills were the highlight of the day for most of us as we took in the wide open landscape around Duns. The soundtrack of lambs bleating and curlews calling was joined by that of engines thumping, tyres squealing and navigators swearing.
Bright yellow gorse and broom filled the roadsides and a magnificent vista of the Firth of Forth filled our rear view mirror as we climbed up to the regularity section of Abbey Saint Bathans made famous by the many rally special stages held there over the years.
Interestingly we discovered that James Hutton, the founding father of geology lived and farmed here in the mid 1700s. He kept sheep fattened on turnips for their milk and wool. Hutton himself was very fond of cheese and used to enjoy Parmesan sprinkled on his soup or macaroni but it is said, he grumbled at the cost of it.
William Medcalf and Tony Brooks, our overnight leaders are still in top spot tonight with Bill Cleyndert and Dan Harrison holding second but the big change comes in third place. Paul Carter and John Bayliss have slipped to eighth overall after collecting a 40 second penalty at Duns with their old position now being occupied by David Thomson and Alan Smith.
Tomorrow we leave Edinburgh to go the long way round to Gleneagles, it’s tight at the top and it’s all there to play for.
Day One - Oulton Hall to Gosforth Park
Friday 17 April 2015 - Gosforth Park
We were all up bright and early today and there was a certain sense of purpose alloyed with adrenaline and for some even a little trepidation as we sat down to a fine Yorkshire breakfast complete with black pudding and fried mushrooms. A solid start is essential in this game and most crews had the sense to take what was on offer.
But once the coffee had been drained and the tables had been cleared it was down to the car park for some last minute tinkering, some packing and in the case of Sue Shoosmith and Trina Harley some radiator refilling. This redoubtable duo know they’ve got a leak so they sensibly place two bowls beneath the car every evening. In the morning it’s a case of simply removing the cap and pouring the precious liquid back in.
With such an exotic line up the Flying Scotsman had attracted a lot of local attention and an ITV crew buzzed their way through the paddock talking to the drivers and navigators most of whom were dressed appropriately. Robert Mannix for example sported a kilt whilst Nicholas Bailey was respondent in a red satin waistcoat.
Once such last minute tasks had been taken care of the first car was flagged away at precisely 7.01am by Jane Strange who put in such a marathon flag waving effort it would have made the semaphore boy on HMS victory proud.
Bill Cleyndert, he of Peking to Paris fame was the first away and his well honed alloy body sat glinting in the early morning light as navigator Dan Harrison more used to the modern Endurance Rallying looked after the time card duties.
We had been promised wall to wall sunshine though few of us dared to hope that it would actually happen but over the course of the day we were treated to some stunning landscapes shown to their best effect by the widest blue sky.
it wasn’t to be a day for gazing at the scenery though, there was some serious driving to be done and shortly after leaving the start the Rally faced a test at the local Harewood hill climb which was according to one of the start marshals 'just the thing to settle the breakfast’. Harewood is a fantastic facility and over two laps the crews and the cars were given the opportunity to show just what they were capable of. Olaf Pothoven was the fastest here the first time round in his Bentley Derby closely followed by William Medcalf who was fastest on the second lap in the Bentley Supersports which he insists is merely being run in and that he's only here for the beer!
Charles Menteth thought his Rally was over though as he pulled over at the end of the test with what he thought was a clutch failure but swift attention from Rob Dominy and Bob Harrod had the old Vauxhall running again.
Soon after this high octane excursion we entered the much more bucolic world of Bramham Park for a lengthy regularity along well graded white chalk tracks with glimpses of hidden follies, sunken paths and tree lined avenues. This was indeed a treat on such a day and the many marshals along the route reported many happy crews.
With coffee taken at Aldwark and schoolchildren handing out cakes from Gillamoor primary school (many thanks Mrs Tweddle) you might be forgiven for thinking that there would not be any appetite for lunch as we made our way Eastwards to the coast via another tight and twisting moorland regularity to Whitby for a traditional fish and chips treat taken on the quayside.
Once refuelled and somewhat rested it was back up the road and into the hills again for a navigational time control section and the third regularity of the day. 'Do not follow sat nav' the signpost said as car after car slowed down at the junction, checked themselves against the roadbook and map before pulling away desparate not to drop any time. Gearboxes, steering and brakes were tested to the limit as we progressed across the broken plateau of the N. Yorkshire Moors on our way to the Gosforth night halt via Croft Circuit where Gavin Henderson in a beautifully restored Fraser Nash BMW 328 took first place on the first lap whilst William Medcalf and Tony Brooks took the honours on the second.
Currently then the Medcalf / Brooks Bentley is at the head of the leaderboard with Bill Cleyndert and Dan Harrison in second. Paul Carter and John Bayliss complete the past winners sandwich by sitting in third place.
As the sun dipped below trees and the evening drew then, most crews found themselves safely at the night halt to get on with those routine tasks such as eating drinking, making merry and comparing sun tans.
Old friends new cars. New friends old cars.
Thursday 16 April 2015 - Oulton Hall
Spring is most certainly in the air this weekend as well as a heady whiff of engine fluids, petrol, old leather and waxed cotton. If only we could bottle this scent .....we'd stink.
We are assembled for our very own grand depart in the land of the white rose, God's own County of Yorkshire for the seventh Flying Scotsman Rally. So, dodging golf buggies, men in pastel coloured slacks and stray balls the 108 fabulous cars made their way up a cherry blossom lined driveway into the grounds of the very agreeable Oulton Hall Hotel, Spa and Golf course just outside of Leeds for scrutineering, signing on and the Kim Bannister / Clerk of the Course briefing where the finer points of Vintage rallying were explained to a crowd of more than 200 assembled crew members both novice and experienced.
Ahead of us lies three days of superb motoring something like 750 miles of Britains finest roads and landscapes.
Out in the car park acquaintances were both made and renewed, amidst a frenzy of tyre kicking, back slapping, lip pursing and shoulder shrugging the machinery on display was eyed up, compared and critiqued as the crews started to work on their excuses good and early.
It's a social event first and foremost however but despite this we have seen some evidence of what could be most charitably described as wife swapping by some crews in an attempt to gain any sort of advantage.
We saw, for example, that it was all change for James Gateley who has both a new car, a Cadillac 60 series Coupe and a new navigator having left his previous one, his wife, luxuriating in the Gleneagles hotel which is where he's due to finish on Sunday night. On the clocks this time is David Kirkham who has quite a palmares which includes last year's outright win alongside William Medcalf. If anyone can bring a couple back together it's him.
Nicholas Philips is another guilty party, a one time Alvis driver has also swapped both his car and his wife for this event although he was gracious enough to let Barbara, who is celebrating her birthday today deliver the car to the hotel on a trailer. He's at the wheel of his new Aston Martin Speed Model 2 this weekend whilst his navigator is Willemen Voorvart, a newcomer to ERA events but with many events under his (seat) belt. Welcome aboard.
Nicholas Pryor and Lesley Stockwell are sticking together but have stepped back in time and out of their trusty well travelled Volvo - Victor - and into a car which they describe as being like a drawing room. Their Chevrolet Opera Coupe is softly sprung and finished with chocolate brown velour upholstery. What they'll lack in pace they'll make up for with grace.
It's all change as well with Vintage Bentley supremo, William Medcalf, last year's winner. This year he has brought Tony Brooks in to man the clocks in an immaculate new Supersports Bentley which he tells us he's 'shaking down' for another event. Last seen together on the Alpine Trial William and Tony are heavily fancied again this year but they're playing down their chances.
Max Stephenson, intercontinental Vauxhall driver extraordinaire from Australia meanwhile is navigating for Loiuse Cartledge in her Bentley, while Mark Winkelman and Victor Silveira de Conceicoa return in a Plymouth PB3 coupe.
Gamekeeper turned poacher Simon Ayris has teamed up with Rudi Hug a P2P veteran in a Chevrolet. We last saw Rudi by the side of the road in 2013 in Switzerland nursing an eye patch after suffering an injury in Mongolia. He's firmly back in the saddle though and looking forward to both the next three days and those far Central Asian steppes.
Finally, today is Fred Gallagher's birthday as well but the ERA Vice President, Wales Rally GB director and FIA steward wasn't allowed any time off, even for good behaviour, and he addressed the briefing in the absence of Philip Young. These are big shoes to fill indeed but he's got the entire ERA team behind him.
So, dinner tonight. A taste of things to come, good food, great company and a well stocked bar.