Mintex Classic Rally Comes To Yorkshire
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
Back in the 1970/80/90s, the sporting event that had the most people attend each year in the UK was – football, cricket? – no, the RAC Rally that took place each November.
More people watched over the four or five days than watched every Football League match all over the country, put together! People lined the roads, waited in forests for hours to watch the cars howl through, often in the middle of the night.
It was possible to enter a rally in a car that didn’t have a lot of modifications – a roll cage, special seat belts and other safety modifications were essential. This meant that spectators were drawn to a car that often looked very similar to their own car.
Rallies were won and lost on “special stages” where cars were started at one minute intervals and timed between the start and the finish. These special stages were often run in a forest, on loose surface roads, but sometimes even in city centres which brought even more casual spectators along.
The RAC Rally would run over 4 or 5 days, going all over the UK, and the cars would drive around 2,000 miles in total. Over that time the competitors would get one, or sometimes two nights in bed only, the other nights would be spent driving through the nights. Drivers, and support crews, got very tired by the finish!
Yorkshire had its own international rally (an international rally meant that competitors from all over the world could enter) the Mintex Rally. It ran early in the year, which meant that conditions were often quite difficult.
THE MINTEX RALLY YORKSHIRE - 26th to 28th April 2019
The plan is to bring rally cars from the 1970s and 1980s back to places that they can’t go if driven at full speed and places where their owners want to take them, without damaging them. Some of the cars are now worth large sums of money and spare parts are difficult to get, so people don’t want to damage them.
Some of the places that the cars will go in April 2019 could not be driven at full speed as the landowners don’t want that, either. So we have arranged a social weekend where people can drive their cars, plus go to a dinner and other fun social events.
In Bradford the cars will be driven through Bowling Park, as they were in the 1980s, plus they will have a short stop at Pictureville – why not pop along on Saturday 27th April?
There will also be visits to Harewood Hillclimb twice, Rufforth Airfield and the iconic Bramham Park which no self-respecting rally in period could ignore if it was in Yorkshire!
The jewel in the crown, especially for spectators, will be Church Fenton Airfield, where the cars will be for the whole afternoon. There will be three separate runs on the tarmac, replicating regular visits on the Mintex Rally in period, with stops in between for spectators to take photos.
That walking motorsport tome, Graham Robson and former British Rally Champion Russell Brookes will be on site to talk about the cars. Spectators will be able to view from the Airfield’s control tower also, giving a view over almost all of the runs. Tickets for Church Fenton are available in advance from Eventbrite.
Amongst the star drivers taking part will be the Ladies World Champion Driver, Louise Aitken-Walker, former British Champions Billy Coleman and Robin Eyre-Maunsell, multiple Irish Champion Cathal Curley and Terry Harryman, co-driver to as diverse drivers as Paddy Hopkirk, M-Sport Team Principal Malcolm Wilson and World Champion Driver Ari Vatanen.
I was invited to take part in the wonderful event, with a car provided. Sadly, commitments elsewhere forced me to decline, but I may still find time to go along to watch.
www.mintexrallyyorkshire.co.uk to find out more.
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Mintex Classic Rally Comes To Yorkshire, 22nd April 2019, 15:52 PM