One of my earliest live motorsport memories was one of a raw and alien noise accompanied by headlights flicking through dense trees in the distance. A bizarre scene, standing late at night in the freezing cold with a friend and his father, with whistles blowing and cheers going up through the crowd, the unmistakable approach of a rally car at full speed suddenly put good reason to this otherwise slightly insane place to be in the middle of November.
The Lombard RAC rally was in its day an incredible feat of endurance and a fantastic mix of the professional and the amateur. For several days crews toured the forests and country parks of the United Kingdom with stages taking place both day and night. It is a far cry from modern day circuit racing but in terms of raw adrenaline and awe of a mastery behind the wheel of a car it was quite hard to beat.
The World Rally Championship (WRC) keeps this event alive although it is now called Wales Rally GB and restricted to a small corner of this country. For rally fans, or for you the aspiring motorsport employee there is however some very good news just about to come flat out over the next crest.
A championship reborn
The re-birth of the British Rally championship starts in earnest tomorrow with the Mid Wales Stages. Although this championship had been clinging to life in recent years, it was absent from the calendar in 2015 and had not been well supported for a long time. With new management, new regulations and increased promotion this fantastic championship returns to the forests of Britain, gracing many of the same muddy tracks that I stood beside as a child. The new championship promises to be more professional and competitive than the previous incarnation but I should imagine it will be much more accessible and open series than the WRC and something that you can go and immerse yourself as a spectator. The opening event looks to be well supported but for those of you lucky enough to live in the UK, it will be just 1 of 7 events over the year.
If you want to see raw motorsport, get close to real professional crews in service areas and see just how committed and hard working you have to be to carve a career in racing, get yourself down to one of these events and get involved. Rallies like this depend almost entirely on volunteers for marshalling, crowd control and organisation and so if you are really keen, this championship offers great opportunities to get involved and get muddy. As I always say, you are a product of the people you surround yourself with and you never know what contacts you can make in a place like this. Successful careers can start from very small beginnings but only if you get out and put yourself in the right place.
What are you waiting for ?
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