In the early days Jim’s rallying was regarded with doubt and disdain by his parents. Expensive and a waste of his costly Sunbeam Talbot was the view but they couldn’t stop him navigating or co-driving for others! The 1955 International Scottish Rally, organised by the Royal Scottish Automobile Club was unlike its successors with their rough and tumble special stages for reinforced cars. Scottish rallies were gentile affairs, a chance for keen young drivers to go fast!
In May 1955 Billy Potts, Jim’s cousin, needed a stand-in for his regular co-driver. They set off in Potts’s Austin- Healey 100. Billy handed over to his young co-driver. With Jim behind the wheel and going well another Healey passed. That was it, Jim sped up and reached 100mph for the first time. He was 19 years of age!
Jim’s navigating skills were terrible according to Ian Scott-Watson, “no sense of direction” especially when leaning over and reading the map on the back seat!
His performance behind the wheel in he ‘Scottish’ through the Highlands was a taste of amazing times to come.