Billed as ‘Europe’s Premier Winter Classic Motorsport Show’, this year’s event certainly was a chilly affair. With a winter that seems to be dragging on, it was good to get out and blow away the cobwebs. And, what better place to do that than on the live action rally stage where ‘Rallying with Group B’ blasted a fantastic array of historic rally cars around a lengthened course for this year.
More cars were allowed out to play at the same time and it wasn’t long before the rally stage turned into something approaching Rallycross, with course cutting aplenty and some unauthorized dicing and overtaking. Great fun. Rally legend and double British Rally Champion Russell Brookes roared around in the Works Sunbeam Tiger V8, which was indeed the first Tiger off the production line. This was the first time it had been used in anger in over 20 years. Brookes then jumped into his more familiar ‘Andrews Heat for Hire’ Talbot. Another car that hadn’t been out for twenty or so years was the ‘Golden Wonder’ liveried Rover SD1. The howl of Metro 6R4s, the growl of Audi Quattros, the wuffle of Porsches and the whine of Minis were all music to the ears. A bunch of historic two stroke go-karts also took to the track for some quick blue haze laps.
Happily, the four indoor halls were considerably warmer and housed some real gems. Classic Team Lotus displayed several of Jim Clark’s cars including his 1963 World Championship winning Lotus 25. The Imp Club celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Imp with race, rally and trials versions of the little rear engined marvel while a terrific display of Alpine Renaults marked 40 years since they won the World Rally Championship.
For motorcycle fans there was a tribute to Barry Sheene with four of his works Suzukis on display. Sir Stirling Moss, Murray Walker, Norman Dewis, Tiff Needell and other celebrities were on hand over the weekend, signing endless autographs and chatting with fans.
Club stands, events organisers, book sellers, artists and go faster parts specialists were all present. You could even get yourself declared race fit by certified doctors. There really was something for everyone.