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Paisley in international spotlight for Monte Carlo Rally

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Paisley went classic car crazy this evening as thousands braved the weather to soak up the timeless glamour of the Monte Carlo Classic Rally.

The only UK start leg of the world-famous event saw around 70 vehicles set off from outside Paisley Abbey on the 2,688km trek over the Alps to the French Riviera.

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Drivers of lovingly-preserved Porsches, Mini Coopers and Linwood-built Hillman Imps happily mingled with the public, who enjoyed getting up close to the vehicles.

Paisley is one of just five host cities for the event – the others being Barcelona, Copenhagen, Turin and Reims – helping put the town on the map ahead of its bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

The first car over the ramp was driven by Glasgow 2014 judo gold medallist and classic car fanatic Chris Sherrington, who is taking part in the rally.

And he was followed over by Caroline Carslaw, Scotland’s fastest modern lady rally driver, accompanied by a spectacular pyrotechnic send-off.

Renfrewshire Council – which was hosting the event – had laid on a programme of entertainment, with Capital FM’s Des and Jennie helping to warm up the crowd.

There was also kids’ comedy and giant games in Paisley Town Hall, as well as street entertainers out in Abbey Close.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “We are delighted to have welcomed this prestigious event back to Paisley after a successful debut last year.

“Our hosting of this event fits perfectly with the ambitious plans we have to use culture and heritage to drive a wide-ranging programme of regeneration over the next decade.

“That will include a bid for UK City of Culture in 2021 and events like the Monte are helping to establish the town as a key destination on Scotland’s cultural map.”

Douglas Anderson of the Rally Start Committee, added: “This was another memorable occasion enjoyed by young and old alike.

“Once again, Paisley Abbey provided a stunning backdrop to the glamour of the cars, and the public turned out to support the event.

“I would like to wish bon voyage to all the drivers currently on their way to France for the adventure that lies ahead for them.”

Image courtesy of Jeff Holmes[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Excitement building ahead of Monte Carlo Classic Rally return

Monte Carlo at Glencoats 05

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Excitement is building as one of world motorsport’s most glamorous events returns to Paisley this week – and a group of schoolkids got a special preview of what to expect.

Magnificent machines from through the decades will descend on the town centre on Wednesday for the only UK start leg of the Monte Carlo Classic Rally, with around 70 cars leaving from Abbey Close.

Monte Carlo at Glencoats 05

And a group of pupils from Glencoats Primary in Paisley got up close to one of the cars set to take part when a 1962 Austin Healy Sprite turned up in the playground.

The car belongs to Douglas Anderson, chair of the rally start committee, and the man who brought the event back to Scotland in 2010 after a near-40-year absence, netting millions for the country’s economy.

Glencoats is one of four local schools which took part in an art project to celebrate the arrival of the rally, alongside St Peter’s, Langcraigs and St Catherine’s, and some of the pupils will be there on the night.

Wednesday’s start is being hosted by Renfrewshire Council and a programme of entertainment has been laid on from 4pm, before the cars start to leave from 6.45pm.

Capital FM’s Des Clarke and Jennie Cook will be there to entertain the crowds with music and chat, while the Capital FM Street Stars will be out and about getting the crowd involved in some prize giveaways.

Paisley Town Hall will host kids’ comedy with Toybox aka Billy Kirkwood, while there will be street entertainers out and about around Abbey Close, where the cars will assemble.

Renfrewshire’s Deputy Provost John Caldwell, who was also at the school, said: “We had a fantastic night when the Monte Carlo Classic Rally made its debut in the town last year, and anticipation is building ahead of it coming back for 2015.

“Hosting the rally puts the town firmly on the European stage as we are one of only five host cities, alongside Barcelona, Copenhagen, Turin and Reims.

“Being able to attract an event of this calibre is testament to Paisley’s growing reputation as a venue for top-class events.

“And we are looking to build on that ahead of our upcoming bid for UK City of Culture status in 2021.”

Douglas Anderson, chair of the Rally Start Committee, said: “The Monte is an event with a timeless allure and it appeals to people of all ages – as we can see today from the reaction of the schoolkids to the car.

“It is great to see the next generation taking an interest in the event, and who knows, maybe we have a future Monte competitor here today?

“The Rally Start Committee and our partners in Renfrewshire Council have been working hard to ensure the 2015 event is bigger and better than ever and we are all looking forward to another fantastic day in Paisley next week.”

For more information on the event, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/events[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Monte Carlo Challenge for Glasgow 2014 Games Gold Medalist

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Glasgow 2014 Judo Gold Medalist Chris Sherrington is gearing up for a fresh career challenge- the world famous Monte Carlo Classic Rally.

The Broxburn-based 31 year old, whose winning performance at SECC will remain one of the highlights of the Glasgow Games, has been shedding kilos for a return to his previous career in the Marines.

Date: Wednesday 28 January 2015
Time: Entertainment from 4pm, cars leave from 6.45pm
Venue: Abbey Close and Bridge Street, Paisley

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However, the lifelong classic car fanatic could not resist the glamour of a drive at ‘The Monte’ after receiving an official drafting to participate.

Sherrington, who joined the Royal Marine Commandos at seventeen, seeing duty in Iraq before starting his London Olympics and Glasgow Commonwealth Games bid, has built his own 1966 Triumph Spitfire Mk2 from a box of bits.

Now the Olympian and car-loving wife, Zoe, will be in one of the first of the 60 classic cars over the ramp in January for the UK start of the rally, in Paisley.

The rally is back in Paisley after a successful debut last year and Renfrewshire Council is hosting it as part the push before Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture, status 2021.

Talks are also on-going to see if the former Team Scotland Judoka, who hung up his robes after the Games, can drive as far as the European entry point at Rheims.
The inaugural ‘Tour to Reims’ has been added to the revamped 104th event, expected to net over £1 million for the Scottish economy.

“At the moment I am in the middle of a military fitness regime to go back on active duty but I was delighted when the idea of driving at ‘the Monte’ came up and we are looking at the possibility of going as far as Reims, if things fall into place,” said Chris, who is raising money for Help for Heroes.

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“The car I will be driving is one I built myself, the first time in three months. The second time I rebuilt the car, with a modern engine and gearbox, I wrote a build thread on the Club Triumph forum.

“My wife Zoe and I used it to complete a non-stop drive for 48 hours in the Round Britain Reliability Run. To complete that was a major achievement and should hold us in good stead. Thankfully being a Vehicle mechanic meant we had zero defects with the car.

“When you’ve done a gearbox change in the desert in Iraq, you know you can handle most extreme things. My biggest problem in timed events is always wanting to help everyone else, if they experience any bother I’m always the first to pull over to offer help.”

Organisers of the rally, which sets off from Abbey Close in Paisley on January 28th, are delighted to welcome the Sherringtons to the event.

Chris, too, believes the lure of the Monte remains strong, 104 years after Prince Albert established it in the sunshine Principality.

“I knew about the Monte mostly through my wife Zoe because she had a Mini and there was always talk about the great Mini years in the event with the likes of Paddy Hopkirk.

“I remember seeing the old photos of cars struggling up icy mountainsides in the Alps. If you are a lover of classic cars, it is definitely something to be a part of.”

Competitors driving the 2600 km to Monte Carlo from Paisley are to get an extra night’s sleep after French organisers bowed to a request for a rule change.
Unlike the other host cities of Copenhagen, Barcelona, Reims and Turin, Scottish starters usually have to drive through the night before reaching Stage Two in France.

Now they will be given an extra night’s rest before the French stages get underway.
Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan added: “We are delighted to welcome the Monte back for the second year in a row.

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“Last year’s event was hugely popular and Paisley Abbey provided a stunning backdrop for the cars departing from the town centre.

“We are fast establishing the town as a key destination on Scotland’s events map as we head towards our bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

“Being able to attract events of the calibre of the Monte is a major thumbs-up for everything the town has to offer.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Thousands turn out in Paisley to see cars set off for Monte Carlo

Thousands turn out in Paisley to see cars set off for Monte Carlo.

Paisley went classic car crazy this evening as a crowd of around 10,000 turned out to see magnificent machines from through the ages for the Monte Carlo Classic Rally.

A total of 66 vehicles set off from outside Paisley Abbey on the 2,688km trek to the French Riviera at the only UK start leg of the world-famous event.

Drivers of lovingly-preserved Porsches, Triumphs, BMWs and Mini Coopers happily mingled with the public, who enjoyed getting up close to the vehicles.

Irish rallying legend Paddy Hopkirk – who won the rally 50 years ago – joined Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall to wave the cars off on their way to Monte Carlo.

The ceremonial first car over the ramp was driven by 1960s female rallying trailblazer Rosemary Smith, partnered by Douglas Anderson, chair of the Rally Start Committee.

Paisley was joined by Stockholm, Oslo, Barcelona and Reims as a host venue as start legs set off from throughout Europe.

Renfrewshire Council closed off part of the town centre to allow the crowds to line the streets and get the best view of the cars.

The event had a family feel, with entertainment on stage from 4pm, featuring Clyde One DJs and live music.

There was also a link with Renfrewshire’s car-building heritage, with a display of Hillman Imps, built at the former Rootes car plant in nearby Linwood.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “Paisley is fast building a reputation as a venue for top-class town-centre events – and successfully hosting the Rally is just the latest boost to that.

“We were delighted to see the Renfrewshire public get behind the event in such numbers and am sure they enjoyed the spectacle of the occasion.”

Douglas Anderson, chair of the rally start committee, said: “Once again, the response from the public has been incredible.

“This is a truly international spectacle and we hope to bring the event back to Scotland in 2015.”

The cars were due to head south via the M77 and through Mauchline and Cumnock on their way to Monte Carlo, via the Channel Tunnel and over the Alps.

Courtesy of Renfrewshire Council.

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Paisley to host Monte Carlo Classic Rally

Paisley to host Monte Carlo Classic Rally.

Renfrewshire has pulled off a major coup as it gets set to host one of motorsport’s most iconic and world-renowned events – the Monte Carlo Classic Rally.

Up to 100 classic cars dating back to the 1920s will assemble in Paisley town centre before setting off for the glitz and glamour of the French Riviera.

The event – on the evening of 23 January 2014 – will see Paisley as one of five departure points, alongside Barcelona, Stockholm, Oslo and Reims.

Date: 23 January 2014

Time: Entertainment from 4pm, cars leaving from 6pm

Venue: Abbey Close, Paisley

Vehicles driven by classic car lovers will set off from outside Paisley Abbey on the 2,688km adventure to Monte Carlo, via the Channel Tunnel and over the snow-covered French Alps.

Since the event returned to Scotland in 2011, around over 30,000 spectators have watched internationally-famous cars such as Imps, Triumphs, Porsches and Bentleys set off for France.

This year’s event is expected to see the total economic benefit to Scotland top the £4 million mark since 2011.

The entry list is truly global, with crews from Scotland and the UK joining crews from across Europe. Among those are a Mediterranean mega-yacht captain in a 1958 Riley, a Zurich-based world land-speed record hopeful in a Porsche, and two French crews who will travel to Paisley only to go all the way back again.

Residents had a chance to see some classic cars up close for themselves at a launch event outside Paisley Abbey today (Thursday) – including a 1926 Bentley and a Renfrewshire-made Hillman Imp.

There on the day were Rosemary Smith, Irish rally driver of the 1960s, who will be starting the race, and Paul Coulter – who wrote the play Linwood No More about Linwood’s former Hillman Imp factory and who will be taking part in the rally.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “We are delighted to welcome this prestigious event and would like to thank the organisers for bringing it here.

“Being chosen to host an occasion of this calibre is a major thumbs-up for the area and the latest boost to Paisley and Renfrewshire’s fast-growing reputation as a venue for top-class events.

“Our events strategy – including this year’s Royal National Mòd and Spree arts festival – is helping to drive the regeneration of the area and boost local businesses.

“We look forward to another big crowd in January and I’m sure the sight of these magnificent vehicles assembling in the town will be a spectacle not to be missed.”

Douglas Anderson, competitor and spokesman for the Rally Start Committee said: “Since we brought the rally start back to Scotland in 2011, it has surpassed all expectations. It is exciting, colourful and endures in peoples’ imaginations.

“Paisley will be an excellent location as a start venue. It has a stunning visual backdrop, with the historic Abbey and Town Hall.

“It also has quick access to the first stages of the route for the cars of all eras that will be taking part. We know it will be a spectacle which befits such a famous event.”

A still-to-be-announced week-long programme of related events will take place around Renfrewshire to mark the occasion – with the area’s links to the car industry through the former Hillman Imp factory at Linwood set to be celebrated.

Paul Coulter, writer and rally competitor, added: “This year is the 50th anniversary of the production of the first Hillman Imp in the area, and 2014 will be 50 years from the first time Imps took part in the rally.

“Paisley was at one time the epicentre of the Scottish car-building industry and it is fantastic to mark this anniversary with the rally starting from the town.”

You can find information about the rally on its Facebook page.

Images courtesy of Renfrewshire Council.