Rally Teams 1970

Willie Lawson
The revival of the SDWS website prompted me to look through old boxes for mementos and I've found two Rallying Medals from 1970 - the BP South Malaysian Rally and the KLM Malaysia Rally.

If I remember correctly the first Rally teams from 8 Coy included Jim Roussell, Mac Bryan and  Rod Harris, later joined by Dave Radford, Jamie Babington-Smith and myself.   Dave Gordon was to have been in one team but his Land Rover crashed on the way to the start in KL and he went to hospital with head injuries.  Apologies to anyone else I've forgotten. We used Army Land Rovers adapted for the purpose and raced both as individuals and as a team.

Somehow we made the acquaintance of a local Scottish rubber plantation owner from Kulai, called Alastair Angus who kindly allowed us to practice on his estate for the tricky jungle stages  of the Rally.   His hospitality was renowned and the only payment he required were copious crates of Tiger from the JB NAAFI.   We enjoyed making his workers scatter when we roared around his estate, often with him in the back of our Land Rover, we were often joined by non-rallying members who had heard of Alastair's get togethers!

His estate was famous for having one of the biggest snakes ever caught in Malaysia, a 36 footer which had caught and eaten several of the estate dogs over the years.   It was a good incentive to stick to the tracks! The Rallies were open to civilian vehicles as well as having the Land Rover class and if it rained during the special jungle stages, crashes were numerous (although we had the benefit of 4 wheel drive, the civvies didn't).

Jamie was my navigator and co-driver in the two rallies I took part in - the KLM was a full 24 hour non stop version and the BP about 12 hours.    At the start of the rally, the navigator was given the route marked by "Tulips" (further details available at Stratford for those interested), no maps were provided by the organisers.  Driving was definitely easier than navigating!