Flying Scotsman 2023, Syd Stelvio Day 3 | Edinburgh to Gleneagles
‘Where’s Cros?’ was the question posed as the front runners arrived at the coffee break on the final morning of competition on this year’s Flying Scotsman. Where was Paul Crosby indeed, the overnight leader who should have arrived at the time control first was MIA, last seen on the side of the road with ignition issues. Not the start to the final day’s competition that he or navigator Ali Proctor wanted or needed, but one that had left his nearest rivals licking their lips. Where was Cros?
With seconds to spare before they would begin to pick up time penalties the familiar red and black MG appeared, racing around the line of other cars that were calmly filing into the time control, but there was nothing calm about the occupants of car no 90, they were like coiled springs and Ali was up and out of the seat before the car had even reached a stop, time card in hand and sprinting for the control.
By lunch, they had managed to keep their rivals behind them, and indeed had only picked up one second more of penalty time than the newly second-placed crew of Theo Hunt and James Galliver who had snuck ahead of number 69, Shane Houlihan + Richard Pain, albeit only a second to the good over the BMW Fraser Nash 328.
The morning had been ace, the route tremendous as it twisted and turned over familiar lanes that picked a route through the hills south of the Cairngorms, not that the crews at the sharp end would have noticed, there’s too much at stake at this stage to be enjoying the ride. Those further down, remember this is a large field, may have enjoyed the roads more though, even if the bright sunshine of yesterday had been replaced by a cumulous blanket, that clung to the higher peaks, peaks that are still snow-capped, yet to give in to the rising temperatures of spring.
At the finish the cars began to arrive, Dyas and Taylor first, followed by car no 12 and a familiar question was on the lips of the assembled crowd, ‘where was Cros?’ The word came through that he was on the side of the road before the last test, suffering from a misfire again, and the finishing order of the rally was now in the balance. More cars arrived, still no Cros, more cars and still, no Cros. Eventually though the little MG appeared on the Gleneagles’ drive, coughing, and spluttering its way to the arch and to victory. Despite all the mechanicals, despite all of the stress Paul and Andy had done it, victory was theirs.
In the end, the tight fight for second had gone the way of experience, with Dyas and Tayor doing just enough to hold off Hunt and Galliver who had finished in third, for the third event in a row. I’m sure there will be a touch of disappointment that the young pairing couldn’t go better than their previous finishes, but to be on the podium and in the fight at the head of this field is an incredible achievement ad everyone on the podium should be proud of their accomplishments.
There ends the 2023 Flying Scotsman, congratulations to the winner’s Paul Crosby and Ali Proctor, a hard-earned victory by two deserving and formidable competitors. The Scotsman has celebrated its 18th event in style with a fabulous rally and a podium that is as diverse as the entry this tremendous competition attracts. From all over the world they have come, from Australia, from America and from the UK, all united under the banner of vintage motorsport, all united under the banner of The Flying Scotsman.