THIS weekend will see the Speyside Stages rally roar across Moray, though a holiday mix-up almost drove one Elgin competitor off the road.
Mike Grant will be feeling the heat of the Scottish Rally Championships on Saturday while his regular co-driver Graham Kelman is bathed in sunshine thousands of miles away.
The Elgin garage owner has been competing for six years on the national circuit with lifelong pal Kelman navigating from the passenger seat of his Asbestos Solutions UK-sponsored Subaru Impreza.
But when Kelman got his holiday dates mixed up and booked a trip to Majorca for the week of the rally, the pair were set to miss their big home event.
However, Grant scoured the local scene and discovered Elgin co-driver James Ralph had lost his driver for the event, and was willing to navigate for him.
With entries closing for Saturday’s spectacle, there is a full range of competitors including last year’s winner David Bogie from Dumfries in his brand new Ford Fiesta R5+ car competing against close rival Euan Thorburn from Duns in a Ford Focus WRC.
Bogie is a five-time SRC title winner who won the last event of this season, the Scottish Rally, but is in third place still 30 points behind leader Thorburn.
Of course, the Cooper Park stage is still missing from the event due to Elgin flood alleviation work, but spectators can still watch the ceremonial start at the park beginning at 9am.
Organisers at Elgin’s 63 Car Club say fans will be able to get close to the cars at this point, but have warned people to take care walking around as the cars head up to Grant Lodge.
All spectator car parks for the forest stages are arranged by the club and for more details on spectator areas, rally routes and entry list, visit www.speyside-stages.co.uk.Full story in Northern Scot print version.