RallyDay at Castle Combe – September 2011

Billed as one of the largest such shows dedicated to the popular sport of Rallying, RallyDay at Castle Combe has now been running for over 10 years. and it comprises a mixture of static displays, action on the track, with active participation both in interview and on the circuit by a number of well known names. I attended for the first time in 2010, and enjoyed the event so much that it was not hard to decide to drive the 20 miles from home to go and repeat the experience in 2011. In one respect, it did not get close, and that was the weather. Last year, it was gloriously sunny all day, whereas this time, although you will notice some lovely blue skies in some of the pictures, there were a number of very heavy showers, which caused everyone to dive for cover under whatever awning or gazebo could be located. This meant that the pathways got very churned up and made the fields where the cars were parked something of a challenge come departure time. 10 minutes with a jet wash still does not seem to have got rid of all the mud that is under my car. However, in the interests of concentrating on the good things, here is a summary of what I enjoyed:


This sextet of cars comprised the so-called “Richard Burns Collection”, representing a number of the cars that the late British champion drove during his career.

Hard to believe, but it is 25 years since the launch of the Sierra Cosworth, so to celebrate that fact, a special display formed the centrepiece of the event, with a number of historically significant cars on show.

Two of the very latest WRC machines were on show, with Kris Meeke taking shelter near to his Mini when the 20 minute deluge took place. He was later able to show off when he took the car out on to the track.

Lots of iconic cars to enjoy from the Minis and Lotus Cortinas of the 1960s, through Escorts, to the Ascona and Manta 400s and Sunbeam Lotus of the 1970s and early 1980s, and on to the 306 Maxi of the 1990s, as well as this fabulous Delta S4, and a pair of MG Metro 6R4s.

Providing insight into all this was the voice of rallying himself, Tony Mason. He had a number of interviewees lined up during the day, who were able to provide their insight and perspectives.
A number of Owners Clubs had successfully applied for display space around the event (we were too late to get an Abarthisti presence – I will book earlier in 2012!), all the brands for which had some connection with rallying.


Display here was confined to a small collection of the iconic Quattro road car.

Tucked away among the low budget cars was this, an Enzo.

A trio of 131 based cars comprised the Fiat display, with 2 late model third generation cars joined by a rather nice 131 Abarth.

Numerous regional Ford Owners Clubs had displays that greeted most of the attendees as they made their way from the car parks to the paddock areas. Most of the cars were from the sporting ends of the various model ranges.

Plenty of Escorts, of course, with a good mixture of cars from all four generations, ranging from the Mexico and RS2000s of the first generation, to cars with the same name from the second generation, as well as several RS1600i and RS Turbo third generation cars and a few Mark IVs
There were a small number of Fiesta models. The first generation cars were generally less than 100% as they left the factory, whereas the red RS Turbo looked very much as the Blue Oval intended.
Sierra Cosworths were in evidence of course, with a mixture of the three door hatches and four door saloon models.
There were a trio of Racing Pumas
There was a good showing of the first generation Focus RS as well as plenty of the second generation car.
Several Delta Integrales formed the core of the Lancia Owners Club display.

The quartet of Stratos cars looked good, but close inspection revealed that most of them were not original, but good quality recreations.
The Lancer 2000 Turbo marked the first time that Mitsubishi competed in the high performance saloon market, and a couple of these cars were on show. Seen alongside their modern equivalent, the Evo, they do seem ever so small nowadays.

Plenty of Evos to see, with examples of most model iterations from Evo IV to the current Evo X.
A representative selection of cars from the current range were also on show.
A small gathering of sporting Peugeots, all from the 1990s, and most of which were more loved than cared for. A few were in pretty good and original condition, though.

A quartet of sporting Renaults included an R12 Gordini, an R8 Gordini, the mid-engined R5 Turbo and an R5 GT Turbo hot hatch.

Probably no car is more synonymous in the minds of many people with rallying than the Impreza, and there were vast numbers of the cars on show, with all three basic model types represented. Unsurprisingly, the third generation car was far less prominent, as this model does not seem to have captured the same level of enthusiasm as its predecessors, but there were a few.

As at the 2010 event, the Subaru RB Owners Club had a splendid showing of the two limited edition cars that were produced as a tribute to the late Richard Burns. The RB5, launched in 1999, was based on the first generation car. 444 were made, and the name followed from the number on Richard Burns’s car.
The RB320 was based on the second generation car.
Last year, I recall seeing a long row of the rare 22B P1 cars, and whilst that spectacle was not repeated this year, there were still a number of these two door models to see.
Although the Impreza is the most numerous model type, there were a few other cars, including some Legacys.
Several examples of the Sunbeam Lotus made up the display here. most of them in the later blue colour rather than the initial black and silver of the early cars.

Celica GT-Fours were the display cars here, with some liveried up to recreate the cars that enjoyed rally success in their day.

There were a pair of the “droop snoot” Firenza models, along with an Irmscher 4000 version of the Opel badged Omega, a badge engineered version of the Carlton. Undepicted are a Lotus Carlton and a Chevette HSR.

There was a comprehensive display of Land-Rover vehicles that had participated in a variety of Camel Trophy events.

No doubt revelling in the conditions, a number of Bowler Wildcats were in action on a “4×4 rally raid” course. Ben Collins, better known as the former Stig, was one of the chauffeurs, and I was surprised to learn via Facebook after the event that one of my college friends was his passenger!
Several other vehicles, equally well designed for the mud, were also on show.
This was an interesting event, which even the constant downpours could not spoil. Had it been bathed in autumn sunshine, as was the case in 2010, I am sure that the crowds would have been far bigger. Here’s to 2012.
2011-09-18 18:20:37

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