John Cleland: the Monte Carlo Rally starts in Glasgow

One abiding memory was seeing the start of the Monte Carlo Rally in Glasgow. I remember going to the Royal Scottish Automobile Club in Blythswood Square which was where the Rally left from, and watching the cars heading off to Monte Carlo. At the time there were half a dozen starting point all round Europe and one of them was Glasgow.

It was an exciting place to be. Any motorsport event that takes place in a City is (such as) the Birmingham Grand Prix that I took part in a touring car, racing around the streets of Birmingham. The atmosphere was so completely different from anywhere else; it was like the Monaco Grand Prix but in Birmingham. So any time you have a major motorsport event in the middle of a city it has atmosphere, because that’s just the way it is. (At the Monte) you had these old cars leaving and making a racket and it was easily accessible for people because there were no barriers.

Watching them head off to Monte Carlo had a certain magic about it and, of course, I could get to wherever I wanted; being dragged along by my Father might have seemed like a penance to some but for me it was magic. I grew up with the smell and sounds of cars and it was all a bonus.

John Cleland


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Memory added on January 31, 2013


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