The Lanark Highlanders Rugby Club made a creditable showing in their first foray into the world of combat motorsports, finishing third in the mini class at the Perth Fair’s Demolition Derby last Saturday night.
Long-time Highlander, Alex “Smallsie” Small was the man of the hour. He piloted the club-branded, 2001 Honda Civic through the first, difficult heat, serving up a number of fan-favourite collisions to the capacity crowd. At the end of the round, judges had to call a draw, as only the Highlander vehicle and another remained mobile despite extensive damage to the Honda’s rear end and the loss of two tires.
“I think I was selected as the team’s driver because of my history as a very experienced crasher of cars,” says Small. “I have put many cars that look worse than this one into the scrap yards of Almonte.”
Bob Brown of Noonan’s Auto – who donated the Civic to the rugby club for the event – was aided in the pit by Highlander, Eric Smith, who put his welding skills to good use. “I couldn’t believe that Smallsie got through the first heat without even damaging his radiator,” said Smith. Several experienced Derbymen commented on Small’s intuitively clever driving, protecting his driving wheels while disabling others’. Despite that, with a bent axle and two shredded rear tires, the pit crew had a job of work to get the car drivable for the final heat.
The club’s motto, Cha Gheill, which translates from Scots Gaelic roughly as “he will not yield,” was clearly indicative of the performance of man and machine during the final “Survivor Round.”
“I don’t remember much of the event,” admits Small, “and some of the hits were massive. I just used my full-back instincts and thought sadly of all the children I might never have.”