Wyedean forest rally
I’ve had a brilliant day out yesterday with friends Robin and Alex, spectating at the Wyedean Forest Rally. We were up at the crack of dawn to get to the Welsh border at a reasonable time. It was a really thick frost – opening the car’s doors at 6am reminded me of the time machine in Back to the Future! The electric windows didn’t start to work until we were passing Swindon and there was still frozen ice on the roof when we eventually arrived in a rather snowy car park.
Maneuvering the car around that car park was hilarious. Needless to say we quickly became stuck in a trough where it was necessary to climb a hill to either get out or get in to a parking space. With wide summer tyres and rear wheel drive it looked for a few moments as though we’d never even manage to leave, let along park and get to see any rally action. Lateral thinking came to the rescue: Robin and Alex sat in the boot, and with the extra tonnage over the rear axle we were able to easily drive up the hill and park neatly. Result!
We arrived at special stage three well before the first cars ran. It was covered in snow and ice – the organisers were doing their best to get it cleared.
We took our time wandering along the track, soaking up the scenery and deciding where the best place would be to see the most action. The Wyedean forest looked stunning as the sun lit the winter landscape.
Before long the first of the special cars was out. Just look at how icy it was!
This was a strange looking chariot:
There were some larger than normal intervals between the cars. We don’t know why but it would make sense that there were many crashes and difficulties getting to the start point; even the public roads were treacherous! Robin went for a brief skate up the track to warm himself.
The specials were mainly Novas and Rovers, so with all due respect to the rally juniors, I didn’t take many photos. Robin was a little nonplussed.
There were some cars we liked though, like this little 106 romping along.
This MkII was fantastic, permanently oversteering all the way, even on the straights! I wish I had videoed him.
After the specials had run (those with numbers starting with a ‘2’), the vintage class came out (numbers starting with a ‘3’). Some real heroes here! Let’s start with an Opel that was beautifully steering from the rear:
A classic 60’s Volvo doing the same:
Lovely MkI Escort:
This Saab was FWD, yet managed to oversteer in front of us into a bit of a ditch. We were on hand to assist, but he managed to do most the work himself and get on his way.
At least I think that’s a Saab. In any case, we’d found a nice icy corner, and after a spot of lunch we were ready to see the rally proper. The fastest cars sound like dragons in the forest. Where the earlier cars has tip-toed their way across the ice, the four wheel drive monsters just dug in, tore up the surface and charged on. In the next sequence of photos, look how quickly the surface changes from ice to ploughed mud.
Car one, Andy Burton, in his Peugeot Cosworth. Andy suffered a horrible accident at the Wyedean last time we saw it in the snow (2007), so I was pleased to once again see him at full attack.
Andy won last year, but that wasn’t to be the case this year – he finished third. First place went to car 5, Nik Elsmore. He was really shifting!
As you can imagine, I took hundreds of photos, and I won’t put them all in this post; instead I’ll put them on a web page and link to them all at the end. Here are a few choice pictures to whet your appetite from throughout the day.
Overall, an excellent day out. I’m pleased I finally managed to drag Robin to a decent British rally event – something he is unlikely to see often as he is emigrating to California in two weeks.