Classic rally drivers are heading for Torbay
THE ROADS of the English Riviera will reverberate to the sounds of throaty exhausts when more than 70 classic rallying enthusiasts from all over Europe gather in Torquay.
They will be in Torbay on Thursday November 8 with their cars for the start of the 11th International Rally of the Tests.
The event, the largest of its kind in Britain, and a round of the FIA European Championship for Classic Regularity Rallies, is a nostalgic re-creation of the Golden years of British rallying in the 1950s and 60s.
Starting from Torquay on Thursday November 8th, it will take competitors on a three-day, 1200km journey through the West Country and Wales to the finish in Chester.
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Cars entered so far range from big-engined beasts including Aston Martin and Sunbeam Tiger to Morris Minors and Minis.
The event is organised by the Classic Rally Association, which was founded in 1988 and has grown to be the most respected organisation of its kind in Europe.
Torquay was chosen for the start of this year's event as it is also the 80th Anniversary of the very first RAC Rally of Great Britain which finished in the Bay in 1932.
That event attracted an entry of 341 cars from nine different starting points converging on Torquay after a 1000-mile five-day drive.
The “winner” of that inaugural event is recorded as being Colonel A.H. Loughborough in a Lanchester 15/18.
However, some sources claim that in fact he sat in the back whilst his (unnamed) chauffeur actually drove the winning car.
Unlike 1932, all the cars on this year's Rally of the Tests will definitely be driven by their owners, who are also encouraged to wear suitable period dress to ensure complete authenticity.
The high-quality entry boasts large contingents of competitors from Holland and Ireland as well as the UK, while other countries represented include Italy, Belgium, Sweden and the Isle of Man.
On Thursday November 8, Rally HQ will be at the Grand Hotel on Torquay seafront with a short warm-up event for competitors that evening in the Torbay area.
A spokesman for the event said: "With the valued support of Torbay Council, The English Riviera Company and Torbay Town Centres Ltd, the public will be able to see all the cars and crews at either the official start at Cockington Court from 5.30pm on November 8, at the Grand Hotel during the day or at the same place from 7.30pm the same evening.
The cars will leave Torquay early the following morning for the drive to the first overnight halt at Bristol.
From there the event continues to the second overnight halt at Llandrindod Wells in central Wales before the final day's run to the finish in Chester on Sunday November 11.