All the Johns I have known

Tell us your ongoing tales and experiences with your French car here. Post pictures of your car here as well.

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Dormouse
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Re: All the Johns I have known

Post by Dormouse »

Now, I feel I have been a tad harsh about Deputy Dawg. While we never became BFFs, we did meet up regularly at car club nights and events and he was instrumental in me meeting Partco Alan. That in itself could start a whole new "All the Alan's I have known" with Checkpoint Alan, Autosave Alan and Dingbro Alan but I wont go there, yet. Dawg and I did get on ok, just not bosom buddies.
Juan, however, made lasting changes to my life and outlook and I am forever grateful to him for taking me into his Rally World. We had a lot of laughs, a lot of hard work and long hours and I learned a lot about a lot,, if you get my drift. Two stand out moments for me are the time he missed the ferry from Dunoon back to Greenock because he nipped back to the shops to buy cigars and the "dancing on the table" moment when he won his Rally Class in his second year.
We warned him not to nip to the shops because we were really close to sailing time. I don't think he was amused when we waved back to him as the ferry sailed and he came running down the jetty waving his arms to stop! He was even less amused when he arrived on the next ferry to find us in the hotel up the road, all 3 sheets to the wind and he was the only sober driver to take the "barge" back to Aberdeen! cue "We are Sailing"
In only his second season at serious Stage Rallying he won his class. At the final event in Callander he had invited heaps of friends and work colleagues on the basis that he had all but clinched enough points and, barring DNF, we was pretty secure in his position. I even took LOML along too to join in the celebrations. By the end of the night after some good going celebrations, he found a red table cloth somewhere and tied it round his neck, Superman style, and proceeded to get up on the wooden trestle tables followed by mostly female work mates and danced away to the band for ages.. He was on cloud 9. Next morning he looked like death warmed up and his wallet was even worse but he was still smiling. And it is that smile I will always carry in memories.

Dormouse
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Re: All the Johns I have known

Post by Dormouse »

myglaren wrote:
09 Jun 2021, 08:17
And another two.
Both John Dryden.
One the friend of a friend, the other my brother in law, late wife's twin brother.

I have a filter on my memory that randomises everything and only allows the odd unconnected item through
I know what you mean. My memory seems to work in weird patterns sometimes and, at others, it is pin sharp.

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myglaren
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Re: All the Johns I have known

Post by myglaren »

When mine is pin sharp it usually turns out to be completely wrong.

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mickthemaverick
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Re: All the Johns I have known

Post by mickthemaverick »

Oh no it doesn't!! :-D

Dormouse
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Re: All the Johns I have known

Post by Dormouse »

Time for another John I think. I first met Doctor John through Partco Alan because they both were members of the TR Register. At that time he was really Trainee Doctor John and had a TR6 road car and a Hillman Imp rally car. Alan introduced/conned me into finding out why John's TR6 kept chewing up rear diff mounts.
The very first time I met him was in the "Coach House" garage of his "cottage" in the west end of Aberdeen. The cottage was in the rear grounds of a big house and you got to it up a well maintained lane at the back of the property. There was John, fully gowned up in 2 sets of surgeons' gowns, hats and masks with 3 pairs of surgical gloves on, working on his Imp. Why? Because he was on call as a junior doctor and his phone (Landline) could have rung at any time for him to go urgently into "work". His reasoning was quite simple. The gowns and gloves were very quick to change, covered you up well and, if the bottom set was not soiled, he could arrive dressed to look the part!
Anyway, TR6. I asked him to show what was wrong after I couldn't see anything obvious having had a crawl around the back. So we got in the TR. He shot off and immediately did a handbrake turn in a lane that barely looked wide enough. Shoot back up the lane and then did a full hard stop, immediately hitting reverse and then flick turned it to face the other way. "Did you hear that?" he said. Poor bloody car I thought. Sorry for the "french" - it just feels appropriate in this circumstance.
This was the first of many times I sat in a car with a rally driver and wondered about my own sanity.

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mickthemaverick
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Re: All the Johns I have known

Post by mickthemaverick »

Hmmmmmmm!
Hmmmmmmm!

Dormouse
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Re: All the Johns I have known

Post by Dormouse »

Often felt I needed to be sitting on one of these. Rally Driver's are the ones carrying their brains in a bucket. Navigator's are the ones wearing their helmets back to front so they can't see what's heading towards them. Service crew are the ones you left behind to go the long way round but still expect to be there when you arrive.
PS Juan is alive and well using his preferred Shuggy nickname and is building a soft top TR7 mega V8 by all accounts.

Dormouse
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Re: All the Johns I have known

Post by Dormouse »

Back to Doctor John. John was, for a few years, the Chief Medical Officer for the Granite City Rally. My job was to ferry him about and make sure the Medical Car was always available for an emergency response, with or without John. I managed to borrow the 4x4 Nissan King Cab from the local potato merchant as it made an excellent MO vehicle. Long bed for casualty recovery but an extended cubby cab that let me carry all of Doctor John's kit securely inside. It would have matched an air ambulance such was the thoroughness of his preparations. Now, being a Rally Official's vehicle and a Medical Emergency Vechicle it was fitted with two sets of radios and huge green flashing lights (yes, green) and it had to be scrutineered exactly like a competition car. That's why I needed it for 3 days so it could be prepped, used and then de prepped and checked over again before it was returned.
On one memorable day up around Clashindarroch we heard reports on both radio channels of a serious incident but the radio reception was poor and John wasn't sure if proper cover was available, so we we hit the greens and he said get there as fast as possible as he continued to try to use the radios to get info and report we were on our way. Well, by the end of a ditch hooking very quick dash, John was now sure I wasn't a Miss Daisy and, when it was all over, asked if I would not be so enthusiastic next time he said "go fast" to which I replied "now you know how your co drivers feel"
Rally Drivers 0 .... Service Crews 1

Dormouse
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Re: All the Johns I have known

Post by Dormouse »

You may have noticed I stated "with or without John". This was to ensure the vital medical equipment was never "log jammed" inside a blocked stage. The CMO car had to be available at all times for any doctor to avail themselves of. John, however, was not averse to hitching a lift in the Course Car to get a run through the stage/talk "strategic planning" with the Clerk of the Course! Your's truly still had to get to the the other end of the stage to pick him up - ie, the long way round. I still had to do the radio bit and report/listen to the Medical channel for instructions.
The first time he did it was on a particularly long fast stage and, trust me, the Course cars don't hang about in there. The first car is the Time Keeper. He makes sure the marshals are in post and the stage is ready. Second car in is usually the Clerk of the Course and his car is well on speed to wake the spectators and the marshals up. The third car in (usually) is best described as a high speed snow plough to scare the living daylights out of any errant spectators/marshals. Then the competitors are set off at 1 min intervals when the Clerk of the Course declares the Stage in full use.
When John got to the passage control at the end of the stage his chariot was waiting for him! How? Medical Vehicles are exempt from following the Official Route and years of night navigation rallies had given me the insight to knowing which were the quickest roads to use.
Rally Drivers 0 ... Service Crews 2

Dormouse
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Re: All the Johns I have known

Post by Dormouse »

Now, being stuck outside the stages with the CMO car is a real bummer for a rally fan but, hey ho, someone has to do it as they say. The regulations stopped us entering a stage but it didn't stop us parking in a firebreak road beside it. John decided he would be supplementary MO at a stage near Stonehaven. It had a Double Caution bend in the middle and every rally fan worth their salt knew this meant rolls and crashes. It had lots of marshals, a radio post, a static GP on site, a Saint Johns ambulance (also in the firebreak road) and the Stage Commander was a medic too. So, off we trotted for a full 30yds and reported to the Stage Commander.
All was going as expected and there were masses of spectators (behaving themselves) and a handful of photographers (not behaving themselves).
The Double Caution bend was at the end of a fast section going down a slope into a right hand bend and history said there would be a few rolls and there were. But this year was at a whole new level of excitement. Why? Because a young Colin "crash it or win it" McRae in his Nova was on the entry list. Right on cue he barrelled down the slope and rolled off and ended up straddled on top of a tree stump. Hordes of fans tried to lift him off but it was taking too long so Colin screamed at them to roll him off and then back on his wheels. The crowds dutifully did it and off he shot to the delight of his fans and the photographers. Colin, God rest his cotton socks, was living up to his early reputation and the rest is history as they say.
Last edited by Dormouse on 17 Jun 2021, 09:50, edited 1 time in total.

Dormouse
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Re: All the Johns I have known

Post by Dormouse »

Now all of you are going to be well bored with all these rallying anecdotes so, just to prove there is life outside motorsport, I am going to talk about G gauge.
One of Doctor John's abiding passions was railway modelling. That and shooting. In fact, one wall of the loft above his 4 car garage was all about model trains from Z gauge to G gauge. Not content with rows of glass cabinets, he had an outside G gauge rail layout around his garden elevated on 12" wooden piers so he could cut the grass. It was about 300 ft of track by the time he was finished and it all started inside a wooden garden shed with holes cut in the sides to let his trains come inside to his own "marshalling yard" or just scoot off on different layouts.
He used to pack 2 suitcases one inside the other when he went on holiday to the States because he would fill the second case with Carriages, Track, and The "occasional" Loco. Prices in the States were in dollars what he would have paid in pounds here and at one point you were getting almost 2 dollars to the pound! Those were the days!
John didn't really buy many American style locomotives - he preferred the European style - but track, carriages and scenery he bought by the suitcase load. His collection was impressive especially on a warm summer's evening when the Gin was flowing and his dogs chased the trains round the garden.