Despite heading further north for this year’s Flying Scotsman Rally, it was a team from the south of the UK that went on to win the three-day 600-mile event, after a ferocious battle for the lead.
Driver William Medcalf from Liss, West Sussex, and navigator David Kirkham from Ruislip, Middlesex, crossed the finish line at Gleneagles, north of Edinburgh, in their Bentley Super Sports to claim the win, with Paul Carter, the leader of Kent County Council, and John Bayliss in the Bentley Derby, less than a minute behind in second place.
After a determined final day’s effort, David Thomson and Alan Smith snatched third place in their Talbot 105 Alpine, just 26 seconds clear of the Jaguar SS100 of Nick Jarvis and Ryan Pickering in fourth, with the Ford Model A of Matthew Abrey in fifth spot.
Each day was laced with several timed tests, a hillclimb, a demanding river crossing, and several regularity-sections, each challenging the cars, drivers and the leaderboard,
The ‘Great Northern’ route started from Birmingham’s Forest of Arden Hotel on Friday morning, travelling through the East Midlands to Derbyshire’ Peak District, Yorkshire, Lancashire, County Durham, Northumberland and over the Scottish Borders.
There were few casualties in terms of retirees. Last year’s second place team of Trina Harley and Sue Shoosmith in the Bentley pulled out after the back axle broke, a problem also incurred by the blue Delahaye of Dirk and Nick Van Praag from Belgium.
The red Jaguar SS100 of Shane Houlihan and Michael Jackson suffered a fuel leak, which lead to the engine catching fire, shooting flames through the louvres in the top of the bonnet. Fortunately the crew was able to use their fire-extinguisher in time to prevent serious damage, and the car continued with blistered paintwork.
Despite arriving at Gleneagles in the pouring rain, the 100 strong crews who had come from all over the world including the USA, Canada and Australia to take part, shrugged off the exhaustion to celebrate their achievements at a gala dinner where most indulged in a ‘wee dram’.
Entries for the 2015 Flying Scotsman Rally, which will venture even further north by starting in Harrogate, Yorkshire, are invited from June but will get snapped up early due to the event’s popularity.
“Despite the wet weather, nobody’s spirits were dampened,” said Rally Director Philip Young. “It’s been a fantastic three-days of epic historic rallying, great camaraderie and good sport, against the stunning backdrop of the British countryside. A great result for all involved.”
The Endurance Rally Association has a track record of over 60 major international events behind them including the new Alpine Trial 2014, the Road to Mandalay 2015 and the Peking to Paris Motoring Challenge, next held in 2016.
For more information on the Alpine Trial or any future Endurance Rally Association event – call +44 (0) 1235 831221 or visit www.endurorally.com.