A project to establish a Scottish Motorsport Heritage Centre at the historic Rest and BeThankful hillclimb and rally stage in Argyll has been granted officialcharitable status.
The ScottishCharity Regulator OSCR has approved the project which would pay tribute tothe Scottish motorsport heroes of the past – and present.
It’s planned to be established near the classic hairpin at the top of the Rest which has been an iconic motorsport location for many years in hillclimb, international rallying and motorbike events.
The project isthe brainchild of Douglas Anderson, the Dundee man responsible for the return of the Monte Carlo Rally to Scotland over recent years. His vision is that the centre, on the dramatic hillside, would breathe new life into the popular stopping place and bring tourism spend and jobs to local communities as well as acknowledge the Rest as one of the most important motorsport locations inScotland.
“The location of the proposed building at the Rest and Be Thankful, Argyll, has great significance in motorsport terms because of the famous hill climb races and international rallies,” said Douglas.
“It was seen as the ultimate test for drivers in many ways because of the steepness and conditions and many greats like Jackie Stewart raced there. It is therefore the ideal place to celebrate Scotland’s impressive motorsport heritage.
“The idea is to mark that connection within a permanent exhibition space but the project itself is much more than that. The building would be a multi-use facility which could be used by the local community for film, business and cultural events and there would also be retail and a restaurant area.”
“There would be jobs in the construction phase and full and part-time local jobs when complete.”
The concept has already been given the backing of F1 world champion Sir Jackie Stewart,multiple British Touring Car Champion John Cleland and veteran Scottish rally driverJimmy McRae.
The former British Rally Champion and father of World Champion Colin and his brotherAlister said it would be a fantastic attraction and tribute to Scotland’s place in international motorsport.Jimmy, who still holds the record for the fastest rundown the Rest and Be Thankful Rally stage, said: “The Rest is known around theworld as one of the classic rally stages and is renowned by drivers andmotorsport enthusiasts alike. This project is a tremendous initiative which would acknowledge the important part Scotland has played in international motorsport over many years.”
Discussions with officials from Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, VisitScotland, The Forestry Commission, Transport Scotland, MSPs and local politicians have been positive, with tourism chiefs aware the attraction would bring something unique to the area.
CouncillorAileen Morton, Leader of Argyll and Bute Council said: “This is a really innovative idea; a visitor centre taking in the stunning scenery of the Rest and Be Thankful would surely be very popular. The council is supportive of anything which takes advantage of the area’s natural beauty. If Douglas Anderson’s vision can be realised we would welcome the additional tourists the attraction would bring into the area.”
Now that official charitable status has been granted, the five trustees – all of whom have an involvement in motorsport – are looking to carry out a feasability study ……. and generate financial backing.
Chairman of theTrustees Stan Bernard said: “This is a major project requiring considerable time and effort but my fellow trustees are all passionate about the vision. We really appreciate the help and support we are getting from enthusiastic individuals across all levels of the sport and from local and national government and key organisations.
“Back in the sixties the Rest and Be Thankful was the first hillclimb I competed in and I have fond memories of the place. Most importantly I now have a good feeling about the possibilities to create an attractive Motorsport Heritage Centre which can also be used for the benefit of the local community”.
Renowned businessman and motorsport enthusiast Boyd Tunnock has already made a substantial donation to help get the project underway.