THE STARS GATHER As well as the 21st Century's double World Rally Champion, Marcus Gronholm, the Rally Show at Chatsworth on 7/8 June will be visited by at least one World Rally Champion from the 20th Century: Stig Blomqvist, World Champion in...
THE STARS GATHER
As well as the 21st Century's double World Rally Champion, Marcus Gronholm, the Rally Show at Chatsworth on 7/8 June will be visited by at least one World Rally Champion from the 20th Century: Stig Blomqvist, World Champion in 1984 at the wheel of an Audi quattro, is scheduled to make an appearance at the Show.
It is no coincidence that Blomqvist was also British Rally Champion in 1983. The theme for the whole weekend is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the BRC. The Tesco 99 Octane British Rally Championship contenders will be there in force and will contest four rallies over the Chatsworth stages in the course of the weekend.
The Rally Show at Chatsworth's "History of Rallying" demonstration features examples, some of them the actual cars, of the rally cars which won the BRC during its 50-year history. These range from an ex-works Triumph TR3a and John Sprinzel's original Austin Healey Sprite (PMO200), through Volkswagens (including one of Bill Bengry's original Beetles), Lotus Cortina, Mini Cooper, Triumph 2000, Hillman Imp, Escort Twin Cam and RS1800, Vauxhall Chevette, Opels and Audis, up to a modern Hyundai WRC.
The celebration of the BRC's birthday also means that many of the winning drivers and co-drivers from down the years will be at Chatsworth on that June weekend. Among the drivers are names like Eric Jackson, Roy Fidler, John Bloxham, Will Sparrow, Chris Sclater, Billy Coleman, Russell Brookes, Pentti Airikkala, Jimmy McRae, David Llewellin, Gwyndaf Evans, Mark Higgins, Martin Rowe, Marko Ipatti, Jonny Milner and David Higgins.
One name missing from that list, but who will also be there is Malcolm Wilson - not only attending the Show, but bringing a Ford Focus WRC from his M-Sport company for Gronholm to drive.
Among the co-drivers hoping to attend are Brian Melia, Alan Taylor, Don Barrow, John Brown, Ian Grindrod, Mike Nicholson, Mike Broad, Phil Short, Robert Reid, and Phil Mills.
Both Stuart Turner and David Richards - champion co-drivers first and later highly-successful rally team managers - will also be at Chatsworth. Indeed, they will able to celebrate more than just their success in the BRC, since Chatsworth is paying homage during the weekend to the 40th anniversary of the Ford Escort's debut in rallying, on the San Remo Rally in 1968.
Turner was the man behind the phenomenal success of the BMC Mini Coopers in the 1960s and he was at the helm of Ford Competitions during the even more amazing achievements of the Escort, including its East African Safari victory in 1972 and its complete dominance of the British rally scene. The actual car which won the Safari will be at Chatsworth.
For Richards, too, the Escort was an iconic car: sitting alongside Ari Vatanen, he won first the BRC and then the World Rally Championship, before going on to mastermind Subaru's three WRC Manufacturer titles in the mid-1990s, as well as Drivers titles for Colin McRae and Richard Burns in 1995 and 2001 respectively.
There is still some room in all nine of the rally events. These range from Historic, through Post-Historic, to modern-day WRCars and, of course, the classes comprising the 2008 Tesco 99 Octane British Rally Championship.
Competitors can get entries in the next three weeks and benefit from the cheap additional ticket deal for competitors. After that, it will be difficult and certainly more expensive. The same applies to drivers who want to enter rally-type cars in the popular stage sessions. Entry forms, regulations and applications for additional tickets can all be found on the Show website at http://www.therallyshow.org.
Attractions out on the two asphalt stages - different for Saturday and Sunday - include no fewer than nine competitive rallies, the "History of Rallying" demonstrations, displays by stunt innovator Terry Grant, exhibitions of various exotic rally machinery and stage sessions open to privately-owned cars.
The quantity and quality of cars in action, as well as all the trade and club stands, plus the fact that the June date provides longer daylight hours, means that the Rally Show at Chatsworth 2008 will offer superb value for the enthusiastic rally fan and his or her family. Indeed, Saturday has been designated Family Day, with accompanied children admitted free of charge and with additional attractions for the younger spectators.