I can remember the Gestetner; the one that was powered by hand in the boot of a big estate, maybe a Vauxhall Carlton, before the generator came along and the Mercedes estate became the mobile news room and printing press all in one!
They were gospel in their day. Sub headings like “Unofficial leaderboard after special stage 5 …..” just sent the pulse racing as the bulletins arrived hot off the press into the service area or out a car window arriving at a junction on a stage and a few dozen bulletins were handed out to news hungry spectators as they read the latest update on who was unofficially leading the event.
It was the work of a great husband and wife team for years, the late Brian Patterson and his wife Liz.
Brian could be seen stepping about the service area, jotter and biro in hand having a wee chat with competitors, punching in the times then it was back to the car where the margins were pulled in so the report would not run over the preprinted advertisers.
Each page was a masterpiece that gave a perfect snapshot of how the rally was going to that point.
The master copy was lined up on the Gestetner and the sound of the wee generator going was a sign that the very latest up to date report would soon be rolling off the printer and within a half an hour the bulletins would be handed out along the ditches at the furthest away stage of the rally.
Brian and Liz reports were read and studied. These up to the moment reports were part and parcel of rallying and so many years on.
For 2023 the latest live reports for the tarmac championship will be available to stream. It’s produced by HM Productions with a son of the late Brian Patterson, Michael heading up the team in the studio based in Belfast.
From a Donegal angle, presenter Toni Kelly will be out and about at the rally starting with the Galway International this weekend.
We caught up with Toni on Sunday morning in Letterkenny before the team put the final touches to their preparations for a massive effort to recce the locations in Galway that they can transmit from over the weekend of the rally.
Toni will mainly report from the service area based in Loughrea and at the finish ramp in Galway over the weekend and is really looking forward to the challenge of reporting live from the rally from the weekend.
Toni has put in years behind the wheel of a rally car, starting even before she left Loreto Secondary school in Letterkenny.
The talented Letterkenny lass was spotted by Alan Plum Tyndall and was encouraged to get into the presenting which included work with RPM and I Radio where she presented interviews for both TV and Radio.
A few years ago I snapped a photo of the late Manus Kelly standing in Milford Mart service area as Toni Kelly is conducting an interview, one of the latest and lighter cameras is being operated by the man himself Alan Plum Tyndall as they get the views of Manus in his modified days before he won his home rally three times in a row.
This weekend, Toni will be back out on the road with the roving mic as she interviews competitors as they arrive into service to get their views on their progress.
Along with this the live stream will also have cameras at vantage points on the stages and with the Galway Rally having its stages located close together, HM Production are planning to have a live feed from every stage.
The Galway Rally has, at full entry, a load of competitors out in new machinery for the first time as last year’s winner of both the Galway Rally and the Championship for 2022, Josh Moffett, defends both titles.
The way in which rallying has been reported in has changed over the years, from the great team work of Brian and Liz Patterson producing that hot off the press rally report on to paper through to rally fans waiting for that second Thursday night after a rally to tune into to watch RPM on the telly and On The limit Sport.
To the present day where the public themselves are posting their rally clips up on social media from events that they are attending right through to the great work that “On the Pacenote” are doing with Killian brings to us as he gets a few words from the top competitors as they come off the stages right through to the the podcasting platform which preview and reflect of rallying locally, nationally and worldwide.
In the coming rally season, Toni has been invited as a guest speaker on ‘The Irish Rally Podcast’, where she plans to open out the conversation about rallying on up and coming podcasts, have a conversation the people that compete, rallying them and the things that make them tick and talk about things like what it feels like with the joy of winning right through to the feelings that go through your head when things are not so good and you’re losing time on stages.
The 2023 Rally Championship looks great on the way that events will get live coverage that can be streamed out to its audience wherever they are, be it up the road, out on the stage or sitting somewhere on the other side of the world.
This new edition of bringing an old product of reporting interviewing and filmed delivered in a new way is something I look forward to this weekend at the start of the 2023 rallying calendar.