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MR. SIDEWAYS

Santa was very good to me and for Christmas I received a copy of the new RPM DVD “Mister Sideways...The Glenn Allen Story”. Glenn was a larger than life character who tragically was taken from us in a non-motorsport related accident in November 2007.

A hugely talented rally driver “Big Glenn” had a big heart, a big smile and always big armfuls of opposite lock as he broadsided his Mk.2 Escorts and WRC Toyota Corollas to many wins. In this review of his carer his many friends, fellow competitors, family and sponsors talk fondly of time spent on the stages with this Cookstown hero.

Glenn Allen won the 2007 Northern Ireland Rally Championship and the story of how he did it using no less than three Toyota Corolla WRC’s is compelling viewing.

Among the contributors is Frank Kelly now famous in Ireland for his daring exploits in his “Baby Blue” Mk.2 Escort. Frank tells of how in the 1990’s Glenn popularised the Mk.2 which was in danger of fading away. The sight of a fully committed Glenn Allen made people take note and now the Escort is as popular as it ever was on the rally stages. In those early days Kelly had a rear-wheel-drive Fiesta. He moved up to a Mk.2 to try to match Allen, but then Glenn moved on to four-wheel-drive World Rally Cars! Glenn preferred the loose to tarmac which may seem strange to many as Ireland is renowned for its closed-road stages.

On the Lakeland Stages Rally in the Fermanagh forests back in 2004 Glenn Allen had a massive sixth-gear accident on the final corner of the stage I was timing. I am now the only person alive who witnessed that crash. Sadly my fellow timekeeper that day was Richard Donaldson who has since passed away. Glenn and co-driver Damien Connolly were in a Ford Escort WRC which left the road before the flying finish and rolled over a log pile before coming to rest on a tree stump. I quickly summoned rescue services to the scene who in turn freed the crew. Glenn had broken ribs but Damien escaped without injury. I will never forget the huge accident which due to its ferocity could have been much worse for both driver and co-driver! Damien recalls that incident in the DVD.

The DVD lasts for over an hour and covers all aspects of Glen Allen’s rallying carer from the early days in the Escorts right up to his championship winning year. Other contributors include the Donnelly brothers Eugene and Charlie, Kevin Lynch and Richard Hogg. Glenn’s mother Vera was always his biggest supporter both out on the stages and behind the scenes as his PR! Available from RPM Motorsport’s website for £14.99 Mister Sideways....The Glenn Allen Story is well worth a look!

HAPPY NEW YEAR to all RallyBuzzers

Rally Diary

SAT. 28TH JANUARY
U.A.C. NEW YEAR STAGES

Held at KIRKISTOWN RACE CIRCUIT in Co.Down this is the first stage rally of the year for most of us in Northern Ireland. A non-championship event we as BMMC/BRMC marshals have been asked for help. Mind you I note that a DARK STAGE is being planned so don’t know what time we will be required to stay to. Sign-on is usually from 7am. Hope the weather is kind!

SAT. 4TH FEBRUARY
DEREK WALKER TRIAL

The MG Car Club (Ulster) organise this annual event which includes autotests, trials in muddy fields (weather permitting) and the odd special test. We normally help to run some of the tests. Contact MG’s Carol Willis or our own Fel McIlory if interested. Based this year at TTS Nutts Corner the 20 or so tests will all be in Co.Antrim. Sign-on from 7am. Breakfast baps will be served.

SAT. 11TH FEBRUARY
PACENOTES RALLY MAGAZINE STAGES

Back to KIRKISTOWN again for Round One of the MSA Northern Ireland Rally Championship. Organised by North Armagh Motor Club we should be asked to marshal this one. Sign-on from 7am.