Family can drive you mad – but that’s not always a bad thing

Cameron Fairbairn Rally co-driver. winner of the Scottish Tarmac Rally Championship.
Cameron Fairbairn Rally co-driver. winner of the Scottish Tarmac Rally Championship.

A MOTORING mad family from Kelso are celebrating this week after one of them became the first Borderer ever to win the Scottish Tarmac Rally Championship.

Cameron Fairbairn co-drove Tyndrum’s Allan Brodie to a well deserved win in the hotly-contested championship in their Ford Escort MK2.

The success was all the more sweet for the pair as Cameron, a 38-year-old mechanic and breakdown truck driver with Adam Purves in Lauder, and Brodie are considered mature competitors and have never won anything like this before.

The Escort they used was Allan’s wedding car 20 years ago.

Cameron, who now lives in Galashiels, told TheSouthern: “It was quite a sentimental win for both of us. My dad, Willie Fairbairn, was a petrolhead too, starting in karting, then autocross, then rallying, before sadly passing away 24 years ago aged just 53.”

After finishing third overall in 2010, the crew weren’t even going to contest this year’s event, however, a last-minute change of heart saw the pair giving the championship their support once again.

The duo began their campaign at Ingliston in April, where they finished in the top 10 overall and second in class. In May they travelled to Warcop Ranges near Penrith for the Pendragon Stages and finished second in class.

The Solway Coast Rally on Dundrennan Ranges, Kirkcudbright, saw the pair bring home another second, but they were not so lucky on the Otterburn Ranges, where they just managed to finish the event after developing engine problems.

Cameron and Allan then proceeded to the Isle of Mull, where the rally was a marathon in itself from the start on Friday night to the finish in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Cameron recalled: “The narrow lanes meant you had to remain alert with some 16-mile stages to tackle at top speeds.”

Disappointingly, whilst lying a creditable third in their class, the Escort experienced electrical problems, forcing team Brodie to retire.

Lastly at Crail earlier this month, the pair played it safe, but still managed to finish in ninth, enough to clinch the overall championship win.

And for Cameron, the victory included his whole family who have all competed as navigators or drivers at some point and when not competing have been involved in organising and marshalling events all over the country.

“Mostly because of our dad rallying is in our blood, and this recent success has been very much a team effort,” added Cameron.

Cameron’s brother Martin Fairbairn is car-mad as well, while sister, Val, used to navigate for her husband Stephen Dunn until an accident rallying in 1995 put her out of the frame. Sister Caroline also did a bit of rally driving but stopped when her family came along. Martin’s son McRae Fairbairn, named after Scottish rally legend Colin McRae, plays a big part in the team, helping in the service area with the cars, while Caroline’s husband George Hay has navigated for Stephen.

Completing the set is Val and Stephen’s son Kevin, a very good driver in his own right.

Cameron said: “Kevin definitely has my dad’s skills. He must be watching down on all of us and egging us on. Needless to say, we are quite a mad family.”

Sister Val backed up this theory.

“I think we are a peculiar family to say the least,” she said. “It has certainly kept us all occupied over the years and kept our kids off the streets, so it’s been well worth it.”

Cameron has a 13-year-old daughter Alisha who he spends much of his spare time with, and is trying to encourage into the rallying world.

Cameron and Allan wish to thank their service crew, including Martin, Dougie, James, Stephen and Yvonne, and cooks Val and Susan.