I had the pleasure earlier this evening of spending some time with Jimmy McRae and six potential stars of future Scottish rallying. I was chairing a sort if mini-forum, where the youngsters were able to put their questions to Jimmy, and it turned out to be a fascinating half hour.
I can’t say too much about what we discussed or why the group wad convened – that will be explained in due course as part of a much bigger story – but what I can tell you about is the enthusiasm with which Jimmy and the youngsters greeted each other.
None of the juniors had even been born when Jimmy McRae was at his prime, yet they all knew of his achievements and saw him as the highly successful and accomplished driver he is rather than just ‘Colin McRae’s Dad’. Questions about how to get started in rallying, what events to do, how to prime oneself for hitting the stages aged 17 and even what kind of car to buy flowed, and McRae answered them all with the calmness and confidence of a man who knows exactly what’s going on in contemporary rallying.
The other thing that amazed me was the quick-mindedness of the youngsters. Having run tutorials for undergraduates at university, I’ve become all to accustomed to opening the floor to questions and being met with a deathly silence. Not these juniors though. Despite many of them being too young to legally drive a car on the road, it only took a split second for one of them to send a question Jimmy’s way. The others soon followed, speaking confidently and articulately in a manner that would put most of the Chelsea first team to shame. Soon a terrific discussion broke out, and the juniors left with a brief but priceless insight into one I’d the greatest minds ever to take to a rally stage.
All will be revealed over the course of next week, but suffice to say the future of British rallying is safe if these juniors get the support to match their potential. And with figures like Jimmy McRae giving them advice like this, the next generation of Scottish rally stars have the best possible start in climbing the tough rallying ladder.