GALLERY AND VIDEO: Courier Country rally buffs set off on 2018’s marvellous Monte

© SuppliedEmilia Kozlowska, 10, who won a competition to design the event start flag, pictured in the Ford Prefect of  Angus crew David Tindal, Alan Falconer and Stephen Woods
Emilia Kozlowska, 10, who won a competition to design the event start flag, pictured in the Ford Prefect of Angus crew David Tindal, Alan Falconer and Stephen Woods

A legendary motorsport challenge has set off from outside historic Paisley Abbey en route to Monte Carlo – with a large Courier Country contingent at its heart.

The town was the only British start point out of six European cities for the 2018 historic rally run.

A record Scottish start entry of around 70 cars set off on the 1500-mile trip to the South of France, cheered on by a huge crowd.

Famous marques, including Porsche, MG, Ford, Saab and Fiat were savoured by the spectators before the crews set off – quickly encountering tricky and traditional Monte conditions not far from home when they encountered several inches of snow on the first leg to Dumfries.

Broughty Ferry’s Douglas Anderson, the UK co-ordinator and the man responsible for bringing the Monte back to Scotland in 2011, led the cars off in his 1961 Triumph Herald Coupe.

He said: “Paisley’s mid-winter carnival – the Monte Carlo Rally start – is back for a record fifth time with a record number of cars heading for the sunshine.

“It’s acknowledged to be the best of all the rally starts around Europe and once again thousands turned out to share the magic of the Monte.”

The Courier Country contingent includes Carnoustie first-timers David Tindal, Alan Falconer and Stephen Woods, who are tackling the event in a newly-restored 1956 Ford Prefect belonging to David’s son, Craig.

Under the Kilts to Carlo banner in the Classique group, they are also raising hundreds of pounds for Prostate Scotland through their debut participation.

More familiar with the challenges which lie ahead in the coming days will be 71-year-old John Roberts and co-driver Oliver Tomlins, who are competing in their seventh Monte.

© Supplied
John Roberts from Angus is tackling the event in his Fiat 124 Coupe

John, from Craichie, near Forfar, will be behind the wheel of his 1972 Fiat 124 Coupe.

He said: “ I previously had a 128 Coupe which we ran for the first two years, but ended up putting it on its roof on the final night of the rally after hitting black ice.

“It is a great event – we’ve actually started in Monte Carlo, itself, as well as Turin and Reims, and started from Glasgow the first year we did it in the Fiat 128.”

Husband and wife team, Jim and Norma Watson from Dunfermline, who are MG fans and have owned a number of different models over the years bought their current MG BGT just to take part in the Classique event.

Although both now retired, they are not taking it easy and when not rallying they sail and are currently restoring a wooden sailing yacht.

The event’s main categories are the Historique class for models which competed in Monte Carlo Rallies between 1955 and 1980, and the Classique category for older cars from as early as 1911 up to 1969.

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