Yet another young Scottish crew is about to hit the international rallying stage! Graeme Schoneville and Michael Hendry have announced they will contest October’s RACMSA Rally of Scotland, joining dozens of the world’s top rally drivers to take on one of the most grueling rounds of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.
The RACMSA Rally of Scotland marks a high point in what has been a very successful year for the young Scots. All year long Graeme (25) and Michael (20) have been setting the pace in the Brick and Steel Civic Ecosse Challenge, and are homing in on the title in Scotland’s Honda-only rally driving series. Now the pair are setting their sights on making a big impression against some of the fiercest competitors from Europe and beyond.
With Honda UK being very enthusiastic supporters of the Ecosse Challenge, it should come as little surprise to find out that the boys are going to stick with the Japanese marque for their first foray into international rallying. Graeme and Michael will swap their usual Honda Civic EK4 for the newer and more powerful Honda Civic Type R.
The car may be new, but there will be a strong team behind it. The Type R that Schoneville and Hendry will use is supplied by Lancashire firm EuroRallye, one of the UK’s leading experts in two-wheel drive rally cars. Looking after the vehicle on-event will be Perth’s G&M Mechanical Services, who also run the crew’s car on Scottish events. Both EuroRallye and G&M have helped to secure silverware for Honda drivers on previous IRC rounds. The EuroRallye team has gained support from Bollverk Honda Gearboxes – for which EuroRallye are the UK agents – with additional support coming from Glasgow-based Schoneville SAAB.
Driver Graeme, who hails from Carluke in Lanarkshire, can’t wait to attack the Rally of Scotland stages with the same enthusiasm he’s applied to every rally this year. “2011 is my second year driving a Honda Civic in the Ecosse Challenge. The car seems to match my style perfectly and I really enjoy driving it in the forests of Scotland,” comments the service advisor, who works for the family business in Glasgow. “The fact that I am currently leading the championship at the half way point and pleasing the spectators at the same time gives me a great feeling, and I want to approach what is going to be the biggest event of my career with a similar way of thinking.”
“I’ve done all sorts of rallies with all sorts of drivers over the last few years, but this is easily going to be the best,” adds Moray co-driver Michael, a mechanical engineer for Walker’s Shortbread. “Graeme and I have built up a good partnership and I’m looking forward to applying this to some of the new challenges we’ll face on an international-level rally.”
The RACMSA Rally of Scotland runs from Friday 7 to Sunday 9 October. Starting at Stirling Castle, the rally takes in more than 100 miles of Scotland’s most challenging forest roads before finishing with a flat-out blast in front of Scone Palace. It is the tenth round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, and Graeme and Michael will have the chance to score points for Honda Motorsport Europe in the series’ 2WD Cup title race.