Added to the list of names of rally champions, both
World and national, who will be attending the Rally
Show at Chatsworth over the weekend of 7/8 June
is that of Ari Vatanen, World Champion in 1981 and
British Open Champion in 1980.
Vatanen, whose principal occupation these days is
as a Member of the European Parliament, will be at
the Rally Show on Saturday only; as still the most
evocative rally driver of the 1980s in Ford Escorts,
Opel Manta 400s and Peugeot 205 T16s, he is
bound to be a big draw, especially for the
During the two days of the Rally Show, nine rallies
are taking place, catering for older rally cars as well
as the most modern ones currently competing in the
Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship.
Entries in the older events are filling up fast, with
the first event already full, but there is always one
exception. There is a special event for Ford Escort
Mk1s sponsored by Tonhire, whose proprietor Roy
Edwards is practically synonymous with the marque.
The owners of Mexicos, Twin Cams, RS2000s and
RS1600s still have a chance to strut their stuff in
front of the crowds if they get their entry in soon.
In the prestige event of the weekend, the final
event on Sunday for the CG Neill Trophy, where
WRCars, Group N and GT cars battle it out, it may
be the GT cars which will attract the most attention.
David Appleby is back with his phenomenal Aston
Martin Rally GT and he will be going head-to-head
with German driver, Olaf Dobberkau in his alarmingly
quick German championship Porsche 996 GT3. This
is a contest which has not previously been seen on
a rally stage in the British Isles.
This not the end of the story by any means. The
past champions – Ari Vatanen, Stig Blomqvist,
Marcus Gronholm, Jimmy McRae, Russell Brookes,
David Llewellin, Billy Coleman, Guy Wilks to mention
just a few of the 30-plus title winners – and the
events are only parts of a very busy weekend for
The History of Rallying this year features cars, some
of them original winners, from the British Rally
Championships of the past 50 years. These range
from Triumph TR3a, Austin Healey Sebring Sprite
and Volkswagen Beetle, through Ford Escorts, Opel
Manta 400s and Audi quattros, to the Hyundai
Accent WRC which won the championship in 2004.
Then there are the Stage Sessions, where owners
of rally-type cars participate in untimed runs over
the stages. If that sounds boring, bear in mind that
there are probably more Lancia Stratos doing the
stage sessions at Chatsworth than Lancia had in
their workshop back in the 1970s!
Between the main events, any number of things
are going on out on the stages, ranging from old
and precious rally cars to stuntman Terry Grant with
his mind-blowing car control (especially when he is
not even in the car!), runs by Alister McRae’s new
Enduro machine and exhibitions of new S2000
machinery – the rally cars of the future.
Away from the serious action, there is plenty more
to see, from wandering round the paddock for a
close-up of the cars and drivers or – if rally cars lose
their attraction – the magnificent house and gardens
of Chatsworth itself.
A jaded spectator craving action might feel like
trying his hand at driving a trials car: a special
course up a not-too-steep hill has been laid out and
multiple British Champion Julian Fack will be on hand
to instruct you before you pay your money and see
if you can guide a trials car to the top. Your
subsequent knowledge of fiddle brakes and hand
throttle technique should raise your standing in the
local saloon bar, even if you don’t make it all the
way up the hill. . .
To cap it all, there is a fun fair, plus a trade
exhibition area featuring everything “from handbags
to hydraulics”. Children under the age of 16 get free
admission on Saturday. The Rally Show at
Chatsworth is building up fast to be an un-missable
event for rally enthusiasts as well as an excellent
day out for everyone else.
Full details are on our website at
http://www.therallyshow.org, including photos and
videos of last year’s action.