Classic & Historic Motorsport Club
Home | About | Events | News | For Sale | Links


Nick English and James Martin study the roadbook

Maurice in the classroom

Marshal Ian Dixon oversees Jim Wilson setting a sight line on a D type

Roadbook in action with Brantz timer clock

Charley Boorman fires up the big 1954 Mk VII

Ben Cussons and Alex Goy having fun in a 1952 C Type

Seaplane at Loch Lomond Cameron House start

Charley Boorman and David Gandy check roadbook

XK140 crosses the control line

Martin / English strap up in their D type long nose

Scotland and Italy at castle

View over the Rest

Charley runs out of road!

Flat battery at castle. Marshals to the rescue

Charley Boorman and David Gandy give interview at castle

Next stop Italy

David Gandy at TC out leaving castle

Mikey Harvey and Jason Barlow pull in for fuel

Clive Beecham and Ian Callum fuel up the Ecurie Ecosse D Type at Inveraray

Stephen Park writes in Glasgow Herald

Graeme Gallaoway's Anglia
Mini Miglia comes to Scotland - 29 April 
Story - Jim Paterson
Photos Andy Thomlinson

Lineup of cars at Loch Lomond
Jaguar brought their Heritage car collection to Scotland for the 2015 Mille Miglia works entry crews to learn and practice the necessary skills on an event put together by your club CCHMSC.  The crews, many of whom were familiar faces, for the eight pre 1957 cars were taught how to read an Italian style road book, what the Italian control boards meant, how to drive the regularities and average speed section, as well as an insight to the timing and tripmeter operation.

The club was delighted to be asked by Jaguar to provide a  'turnkey' solution that would give their guest crews the necessary skills to attempt the Mille Miglia in Italy which this year runs from 14 to 17 May. The club quickly pulled together a team of members, which included Maurice Millar and John Stuart, both of whom have experience of timekeeping on recent Mille Miglia rallies, to create and organise this 'Mini Miglia' event.

With a requirements brief the team quickly designed a route which would provide an opportunity for the crews to practice all the elements of the Mille Miglia, regularities and average speed sections.  Italian regularities are quite different to those used in UK rallies, so the organisers were on a learning curve too.  A roadbook in the Italian style, all in kilometres, was designed, and checked by our club road book guru Dave Spence and Roddie Main, and was used by Maurice in the classroom training prior to letting the crews start the rally. The control boards on route were also produced to the Italian standard, again completely different to those used in the UK.  

The marshalling requirement was immense, with over 40 marshals to cover two off road test sections, one at the Rest and be Thankful, the other at Inveraray Castle, and  three the average speed sections, through Glen Fruin, Hells Glen, and Glen Douglas. Member Bob Shearer organised support from club members and the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club, with club member Ralph Forbes bringing along a group of his motorcycling friends. Together they made the control and management a success on the day.

The cars, 2 long nosed  D Types, 2 C Types,  2 XK 120's, an XK140 and a Mk V11 arrived by covered trailer on the 28th. Ian Callum, Jaguar chief designer, and one of the crew members, later told me that the collection was valued at around the £30 million mark. The celebrity crews joined us on the 29th.  After the classroom session where Maurice took them through the basics of regularities and average speed operation we, got them in their selected cars.

Bob Shearer headed out well ahead of the start to equip all the marshals with their safety kit, and with Timekeeper Kyle Gordon to provide the timing clocks.  Dave Spence and Roddie Main set off in the course car just ahead of the first competitor, to check all was well and the marshals ready.  I had the honour of flagging off the competitors who passed under the CCHMSC club banner. To make the start more realistic we provided a large clock display for the driver to see, and I called the last five seconds 5,4,3,2,1, Go  countdown in Italian, before
raising the Italian flag.

The first test was through Glen Fruin where an average speed section had the crews working on their speed tables to navigate the section to reach the end control, the location of which was not given beforehand. The route continued up the side of Loch Long to Arrochar where the local roads authority had decided to resurface the A83, complete with traffic lights and convoy system. Fortunately Dave Spence was a roads engineer and got to talking with the works foreman, who was also a keen Jaguar enthusiast, and between them made sure the 'green light' was on when the Jaguars arrived at the Arrochar junction. Form Arrochar it was a short sprint to the first regularity on the Rest and be Thankful in Glen Croe.   

Here was where the first serious work started. Mille Miglia regularities are much shorter than we know in the UK, some less than 100 metres. They can also be joined, so that the end of one is the start of the next. Each section is timed to 1/100th of a second with a penalty point for every 100th of a second early or late. A good  timer is required to make sure arrival is spot on.

The clock starts on the first section when the car front wheel runs over a pneumatic tube across the road. We emulated the tube with a piece of orange electrical cable, and a marshal registering their time of day at the instant the front wheel touched the cable. To help the driver judge that point we had fitted sight lines to the cars, a simple device using masking tape on the front wing placed so that when the driver looked down the tape line and saw the orange cable at the other end they were touching the cable with the front wheel. The co-driver then started / stopped the stop watch.

Code boards were placed 25 metres before the control cable, at the control cable and 25 metres after the control cable, as they are in Italy. Four regularities were challenged on the drive up the Rest, which would be repeated later in the day in the reverse direction.

After the Rest and be Thankful regularities came a second average speed section through Hells Glen, using the same rules as Glen Fruin. It was at the end of this section that James Martin and Nick English bottomed out their D Type and loosened the exhaust pipe. Sounding like a tractor James pulled over to await the chase car, carrying mechanics, which didn't arrive. Fortunately Tom Niven and Roger Fry, acting as Closing Car caught them up and with the help of Maxwell Taylor, one of our marshals, spannered the pipe back on, to get James and Nick on their way. Just as well as they were heading for a win on the event.

Another chance to open the throttle round Loch Linnie on the way to Inveraray castle. With cars lined up in front of Inveraray Castle the crews grabbed a well earned refreshment break before heading off for another 3 regularity sections. Leaving the castle we took the cars to the Inveraray petrol station to give crews practice refuelling their cars. As you can see Charley Boorman found the activity amusing. I hope he remembered not to put diesel in the Jaguar Mk V11, and add the lead replacement additive!

Line up at Inveraray castle
A blast back to the Rest and be Thankful for the downhill regularities before heading back to Arrochar, down the side of Loch Long,and into Glen Douglas for a final average speed section. The end of the section rejoined the A82 for the final sprint down to Luss and the last control. A free drive for the last 8 miles, sorry 12.8 kilometres, got the crews back to Cameron house and the finish.

Results were compiled and computed by Maurice Millar, carrying out much of the input on route at the top of the Rest and be Thankful, completing the last sections at the final control in Luss. These would be presented to the crews over dinner, where as you see Charley Boorman with co-driver Giles English, brother of Nick, looks suitably glum when hearing that James Martin and Nick English had pipped them to the winning trophy, which of course had to be the Jaguar cat.

The D-type, driven for the first time in anger by James Martin, was awarded first place in the 'Mini Miglia' regularity trial, followed by the Mk VII of Charley Boorman. The cars and drivers will next meet on the start line in Brescia on May 14th, ready to tackle 1,000-miles through Italy on the 2015 Mille Miglia.

For us all this was a day to remember. A complete event designed and organised in some 3 weeks from the first phone call. It was hard and sometimes difficult work. Would we do it again? Of course we would. Where else would you get an opportunity to be up close to so many prestigious classic cars all in one place on a motor sporting event? The crews were great people and loved every moment of it too, as shown by a round of applause to our club organisers and marshals, from all the crews at the debriefing following the event.

A big thanks to the many marshals that gave up a working day to support this event. without them we could not have done it. Also our thanks to Diane Davidson Kinghorn, and Stephen for the use of the Rest and be Thankful, the Duke of Argyll, the castle staff, and Andrew Montgomery for the use of Inveraray Castle, and the two Alan's and Leo Hannan for help at Cameron House Hotel, not forgetting the CCHMSC girls, Karen and Rona who managed the signing on and chased the celebs out of the castle coffee shop stop . If we are ever asked again to put on another Mini Miglia you will be getting a call from us.

Photos of the day from  Andy Thomlinson  HERE

Jaguar  short video of the event HERE  and HERE

Video from motoring journalist Alex Goy who crewed with RAC Director Ben Cussons
 for XCar magazine  HERE

Read what Bremont founders and drivers Nick and Giles English said HERE

Read what the press have to say. HERE

What the Glasgow Herald crew reported in their DRIVE magazine 

Charley Boorman - never done it before !

James Martin /  Nick English on the Rest and be Thankful

David Gandy reported on his video -" 'Jaguar' created a 
Mini Miglia, up here in Scotland, which was absolutely incredible to be honest. Practising yesterday was great fun." 

Updated 15 May 2015