Scottish motor sport fans are gearing up for the biggest rallying celebration since Colin McRae and Derek Ringer won the 1995 World Rally Championship. It’s been 20 years since their victory celebrations rocked the historic county town of Lanark to its foundations. Taking centre stage this time is Knockhill Circuit in Fife next month over the weekend of 16/17 May.
The commemorative ‘McRae Rally Challenge’ celebrating Great Britain’s first ever outright world rally title and supported by Beatsons’ Building Supplies and EventScotland will incorporate a huge variety of attractions, combining static displays with dramatic on-stage rally action.
Additions to the running order are being added daily, but the planned timetable of events is now beginning to take shape (see below). The entertainment will commence on Saturday morning the 16th of May with two on-track parades by members of the Ford Owners Club and the Subaru Owners Club which will be followed by the tyre shredding antics of top stunt driver Terry Grant.
Once the track marshals have cleared away the ‘debris’ from Terry’s antics there will be an on-track parade of Group B rally cars. Something that will stir the memories of older rally followers while stimulating the hearts and souls of younger fans.
This will be followed by a parade of ‘Colin’s Cars’. Knockhill has managed to gather the biggest collection of competition cars ever seen in Scotland which have been driven by the 1995 world champion during his meteoric career.
During the lunch break, there will be passenger rides for visitors who want to find out first-hand what the sport of autotesting is all about. This is motor sport at its most basic, teaching precision driving skills against the clock in bog-standard production cars.
At the same time, the Knockhill race track and perimeter roads will be converted into a Special Stage for the big action event of the weekend, the ‘McRae Rally Challenge’. The competition will be organised by members of Coltness Car Club, the club to which all three members of Scotland’s rallying royalty, Jim, Colin and Alister belonged.
There will be five competitive runs over the Stage during Saturday afternoon and then on Sunday a further five Stages interspersed with more parades and demonstrations.
Filling in the gap on Saturday evening, a ‘Rally Forum’ chat show will give fans and visitors a chance to hear the people behind the steering wheel. Throughout the weekend, Colin Clark, the World Rally Radio reporter, will attempt to broadcast news and interviews over the Knockhill PA system and local FM station, but even he might struggle to be heard over the assembled horsepower!
The whole event promises to provide a nerve-jangling, ear-tingling, memory jogging exercise in automotive nostalgia. In other words an event not to be missed by motor sports fans.
Adding to the spectacle will be an additional display of cars recalling six times British Rally Champion Jim McRae’s own rallying exploits and those of former British champion and FIA Asia Pacific Champion Alister McRae.
Jim will be undertaking Course Car duties during the rally whilst Alister will be competing alongside another celtic hero, Kris Meeke who is taking a short break from his World Rally Championship duties to contest the ‘McRae Rally Challenge’.