The final day of the Scottish Malts 2021, one last chance for places to be made up and results to be settled. The route headed west today, towards Loch Lomond and the famous hill climb at Rest and be Thankful. But would it be bonnie on the Clyde for our getaway Golf drivers, or would there be another twist in this year’s event, that would see the lead change hands again?
What was certain from the outset this morning is that everyone would be getting wet, with a heavy sky that seemed to get ever lower during the days first regularity, which picked a narrow path in the hills above Loch Freuchie and no doubt everyone was taking it steady and hoping that by some miracle the skies would clear as we headed west.
In fact, the opposite happened and with every passing mile the rain increased in intensity and the roads became ever more treacherous. By the time the test at Rest and be Thankful had begun the visibility in the valley was masking the usual tremendous views of Glen Croe and Beinn an Lochain, and the famous ribbon of tarmac was more waterfall in some spots than road. Steady away was the order of the day, although some did suffer minor moments on the ascent and the Porsche 356 of John and Moira Hilbery suffered some mechanical troubles forcing them to sit stranded on the side of the test as all others went past.
Of course, as the law dictates, the weather improved as everyone made their way back down to Loch Lomond for lunch and contemplated the remainder of the afternoons regularities that would do any final sorting that needed to be done. Come the finish and in the end the pairing of Daniel Gresley and Elise Whyte weren’t able to overhaul the deficit to Paul Bloxidge and Ian Canavan in first place, despite accumulating less penalties than them on the day. Third place was maintained by Thursday’s surprise package of Joel Wykeham and David Brown in the Alfa GTV, with another solid day in the saddle.
It was all smiles and jubilation as the cars came into the finish, with a traditional Piper playing the cars across the line. Jigs were danced and champagne was enjoyed as our rally competitors celebrated a wonderful week on the road, no matter where they had finished.
But to the victors the spoils and after an ever-changing leader board our eventual podium celebrated their success with a traditional champagne spraying, a wonderful sight to see after such a long time of not being able to indulge in such frivolities and jollities. The last words should of course go to our winners, Paul Bloxidge and Ian Canavan.
Ian: ‘We’ve done almost a thousand miles through fantastic scenery; it has felt like just the right level of challenge for a green event.’
Paul: ‘I’m over the moon to win, it has been a good long week and as always with the likes of Daniel and Elise a fantastic level of competition and all on superb roads and great locations.’
So that concludes another edition of the Malts adventure, one that has overcome a million challenges to put on and has felt like a real release from the problems of the past 18 months. Long live the Malts!
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