The McDonald & Munro Speyside Stages – which will take place on the 21st & 22nd of April 2023 – has
many reasons to celebrate next year.
2023 will mark the 25th running of the ‘Speyside’ – which has grown to be an eagerly anticipated
fixtures in the Scottish motorsport calendar each year. Since the first rally was held back in 1997, the
event has established itself to be one of the biggest events held in Moray, drawing thousands of
spectators into the area annually.
Further adding to the milestone event, 2023 will see event organisers – The 63 Car Club (Elgin) Ltd –
celebrate their 60th anniversary. Founded in 1963, the Moray-based-club run a busy calendar of
clubman motorsport and social events throughout the year in addition to putting the ‘Speyside’ on.
To honour this dual anniversary event organisers have a special treat lined up for this year’s rally –
which once again benefits from enthusiastic title sponsorship from McDonald & Munro Ltd, an
Elgin-based Electrical, Plumbing, Heating and Mechanical company. 2023 will also mark the 10th
anniversary of the title sponsor partnership between the Speyside Stages and McDonald & Munro
To celebrate this occasion, the event will get underway on the Friday evening (April 21st) with
competitors tackling two short forest stages in the dark before the traditional full day of rally action
on the Saturday. This will give competitors and spectators a rare opportunity to experience the thrill
of forest rallying in the dark.
On Friday after the crews complete scrutineering – which will be held in the centre of Elgin’s
pedestrianised town centre – the rally will move to the centre of Fochabers for a Parc Expose, a
chance for locals and families to meet the competitors and see their rally cars up close with
spotlights fitted before they take on the evening stages.
Starting at 830pm, the crews will head out to compete on two short forest stages. After completing
what will be, for the majority of the competitors, their first experience of forest rallying in the
darkness the crews will return to finish the first evenings competition back in Fochabers some 70
minutes later. To help shake things up, this first leg of the rally will run reverse seeding, where the
darkness will build with the anticipation as the crews battling for the rally win start last on the road.
This experience isn’t just for competitors though, as event organisers plan to arrange a floodlit
spectator area on one of the stages to let the fans experience the spectacle throughout the evening
For anyone supporting the event from home or afar, there will be live coverage streamed on
Facebook page of the Scottish Rally Championship – also at a floodlit area for the best viewing.
After an evening’s excitement, crews will get the chance to fettle themselves and their cars before
the event gets underway from Elgin’s Cooper Park on Saturday (April 22nd) morning. The Park is
another unique feature of the ‘Speyside’ and as is tradition the spectator stage will be ran twice to
get the day underway, this time with the top seeds tackling the stages first.
After the two park blasts, the event will head back out to the forest stages of Moray and West
Aberdeenshire for the remainder of the day – which will see crews tackle over 50 competitive stage
miles for the first time in the event’s history.
Event Clerk of the Course, Neil Shanks, is excited at the prospect of mixing things up in the event
“As a competitor some of my favourite events have featured night stages and when the club were
thinking about ways to mark the Silver Anniversary event I started to explore the possibility of
expanding the event – without extending the timescale for competitors too much. One thing we have
tried to do over the past few runnings of the event is expand the community involvement in the local
area. Running these two stages at night will give us the chance to involve the community in
Fochabers and also take the event back to its roots (the very first ‘Speyside’ in 1997 ran from the
Speymouth Hall). It was too good an opportunity to pass up.”
It’s not only the organisers who are excited as Miguel Gomez, director of title sponsors McDonald &
“The rally is always an event that I look forward to each year, and one that takes priority over
anything else in my calendar on that weekend and with these new changes for the 2023 event it’s
taking it to another level. I’m personally really looking forward to the new experience of watching
the rally crews compete in the dark, as I’m sure many others will be too. We at McDonald & Munro
are very proud to be associated with the 63 Car Club and the event and even though it’s already one
of – if not the best event on the Scottish rallying calendar – the organisers are always thinking ahead
on how to improve things and progress the event further.”
Keep up to date with the event planning, news and information on the rally’s social media
channels as the organisation kicks into gear over the next few months and don’t forget to put
Friday April 21st and Saturday April 22nd 2023 in your diaries now.