| Monte Pre- Gala dinner - 22 January
Brian Telfer and Douglas Anderson welcome honoured guests Paddy Hopkirk and Rosemary Smith at the top table.
cars were prepared, the documentation all ready for scrutineering, so
it was time for the entrants and a group of classic car and Monte
enthusiasts to relax before the big day. What better place to hold a
dinner than in the Monte Carlo room at the Blythswood Hotel, former HQ
for the RSAC, and starting venue for many Monte Carlo Rallyes from 1949
greeted and had the opportunity to chat to our special guests of honour Rosemary
Smith and Paddy Hopkirk over a glass of champagne before the
dinner. They seemed as excited as us at the prospect of being
involved once more in a 'Monte', both having competed in the event
during their competitive rallying years.
Brian Telfer acted as Master of Ceremonies, and with everyone in place and the guests
formally introduced we sat down to a fine meal, surrounded by framed
photographs of Monte Carlo events from the fifties and sixties.
We started with a good Scottish plate of cullen skink, followed
by chicken in a white wine sauce and completed the meal with another
Scottish tradition, Cranachan
Fully fed and watered,the diners
sat back to hear Rosemary Smith tell us how she became a works driver
for Rootes, and some of the very interesting and often amusing
stories of life behind the wheel of a Hillman Imp in the early sixties,
and some of her exploits on the snow and ice of the alps on the Monte
After a great round of applause for Rosemary, her
good friend and fellow rallying legend Paddy Hopkirk took up the story
giving us an insight to his early career and life with Henry LIddon on
that famous 1964 event when he drove a Mini Cooper to is first major
win. Paddy thought it wasn't bad for a car designed for a district nurse!
Paddy also presented some exclusive video footage which was produced
for TV adverts to celebrate the original and the new mini, but never
shown in the UK.
finishing Paddy told us a little about the charity SKIDZ, which he
supports. SKIDZ instil key skills and facilitates young people in their
progression into employment or further training in the motor industry,
by offering vocational opportunities in motor mechanics. Under the
guidance of experienced motor technicians, the students work on cars
and motor cycles to learn basic primary skills. For others classes are
conducted in pursuit of more formal qualifications in the motor industry.
It was time to hold our raffle, prizes including posters and memorabilia, plus Monte
scrutineer Ian Higgins donated a bottle of 18 year old Scotch
Whisky, a bottle of Vodka and a bottle of champagne. The whisky or
vodka could prove useful in the alps as Paddy was reported to have put
Gin in the windscreen washer to prevent it freezing on the 1964 event.
raffle was then followed by an auction, the proceeds going
to further support the SKIDZ initiative. Signed posters, including
an original ACM Monte 2014 poster, rally plates, and a signed copy of
Paddy's book 'The Paddy Hopkirk Story' which is now out of print and
collectors can pay £250 for a pristine signed copy,
exciting bidding the final total from both raffle and auction
came to nearly £1500. Not bad for room full of Scotsmen, not
renowned for putting their hands into their wallets!
dinner Paddy and Rosemary were more than happy to sit and chat over a
glass or two, and did so into the small hours. A great evening with two
great legends in the rallying world, and we were lucky to have them
both together for the Monte Carlo Historique pre-gala dinner in
Updated 26 January 2014