80 cars ready for Scots Monte startposted in OTHER25 | 01 | 2017

    EIGHTY CARS WILL be waved off for the Scottish leg of the Rallye Monte Carlo in Paisley this evening and the event, annually attended by around 10,000 spectators and this year coinciding with Burns' Night, is expected to generate around £1 million for the area.

    “This is the seventh time we’ve started a leg of the historic Rallye Monte Carlo in Glasgow or Paisley,” Dundee-based Douglas Anderson, the UK co-ordinator and the man responsible for bringing the Monte back to Scotland in 2011, said.

    “Scotland hosts one of the seven European starts for the rally and each year it seems to get bigger and bigger, so again we’re expecting a bumper crowd to come and wave the cars off the start ramp.”

    In 2011, the cars started from Glasgow’s Blytheswood Square, the traditional start of the Scottish leg, but the event proved too big for the location. Such was the high number of spectators, allied to the challenging logistics, that the police and health & safety teams recommended a new start venue was found.


    The two following years saw the event start in Clydebank and then Glasgow Green, but today will see the fourth year Paisley has hosted the rally’s start.

    “I think we were a victim of our own success in 2011,” Anderson smiled, but for the last four years Paisley has been fantastic to us. Independent figures say we generate around £1m for the area, so we must be doing something right.”

    With crews coming from as far afield as Dubai, the Outer Hebrides, Ireland and England, Anderson is quick to highlight the significance of the local crews.

    “We’ve encouraged local crews, because that’s the heritage of the event,” he explained. “The whole point of having seven different starting locations was to attract local participants, and that’s what we’ve concentrated on this year.”

    While Anderson will tackle the 1300-mile three-day drive to Monte Carlo in his 1976 MG Midget 1500, the oldest car to leave the start ramp is a 1931 Austin Seven.

    “I’ll tell you what, I wouldn’t fancy doing 1300-miles in it,” Anderson laughed. “They’re brave guys. It’s a bit like riding a motorbike, so good luck to them.”


    After driving nearly 300 miles through the dark to the overnight halt at Barnby Moor in Nottinghamshire, the 80 crews will then set off at 10am tomorrow driving to Dover before stopping overnight in Calais.

    The gruelling section starts on Friday morning when the historic cars embark on the near-800-mile journey, non-stop overnight through the Alps before finally reaching Monte Carlo at 4pm Saturday.

    “It’s a big challenge; it is a long way,” Anderson stated. “And of course, you’re driving through the night. But I think what drives people on is the great feeling you have when you finish in Monte Carlo.

    “We tell ourselves it’s also very glamorous, because we’re driving to the sun in the South of France. You come down over the Alps, where there’s normally snow, into Monte Carlo where it’s usually sunny.

    “So many people say, “I’m not doing that again”, but two weeks later they start planning for the following year. The Rallye Monte Carlo is one of those bugs that when it bites, it just won’t let go.”

    Related: Monte Historique set for Scots launch

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    Jim McGill

    CAPTION (MAIN PICTURE): The Scottish start of the Rallye Monte Carlos is backed by Renfrewshire Council. Provost Anne Hall will help wave-off the 80 cars starting the rally on Wednesday evening. Here — in front of the Robert Burns statue and A-listed ornate Victorian-era fountain in Paisley’s Fountain Gardens — she welcomes a small gathering of the cars which will tackle the event, including Paddy Hopkirk’s Mini, Cuthbert the Rover, a branded Paisley bid for UK City of Culture 2021 Sunbeam, and Douglas Anderson’s MG Midget.

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