Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

Thousands to attend Colin McCrea tribute

It promises to be an astonishing tribute to Britain's former rally king Colin McRae.

More than 1000 Subarus, many of them from Ireland north and south, will converge in a 300 mile trek from the 1995 World champion's home town of Lanark to the headquarters of the Subaru World rally team in Banbury this weekend.

They will form a 20-mile long convoy to celebrate the life of the Scottish rally legend who died along with his five-year-old son Jonny in a helicopter crash last September.

Although he also drove for Ford and Citroen, McRae will forever be associated with Subaru, the team that helped him rise through the ranks and the team he rewarded with their first World championship.

The initial convoy of Subarus departs Lanark at 10am next Saturday and will be led by his father, seven times Circuit of Ireland winner Jimmy McRae, in one of Colin's original cars.

By the time it reaches Birmingham, the convoy will have grown to more than 700 cars and will take ten minutes to pass a single point, say the organisers.

On Sunday 1300 cars will gather at the Subaru team's Prodrive base in Banbury from 10am before assembling behind Colin's iconic 1996 Impreza 555 rally car for a second convoy heading north.

On arrival at Prodrive's test track in Warwickshire, they aim to break two official Guinness World Records.

Firstly, the cars will write out ‘COLIN McRAE' in a sign nearly half a mile long and visible to passengers landing at Birmingham airport, and then form a parade of 1300 Subarus stretching to nearly 20 miles long.

While entry to the McRae Gathering has closed, organisers are hoping fans will show their support along the route.

"It would be great to see as many people as possible cheering us along" said Grant Hendry, one of the organisers.

"When the idea of the convoy to commemorate the life of Colin was born, we never imagined 1300 Subarus would be taking part.

"We have Subarus joining us from all over Europe, from Poland and the Ukraine to France and Spain, while some fans are flying in especially from Australia and Argentina to be part of this memorable occasion.

"Colin was a huge favourite in Ireland and we have a large number coming over to join the convoy from Lanark."

The McRae Gathering has already raised more than £25,000 for the McRae family's officially nominated charities and is hoping to raise more money along the route.

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