Tour Britannia 16th -19th June 2011
Now just 10 days away, this year's Tour Britannia race/rally event has assembled a glittering array of cars and an intriguing route in record time - less than 9 months after it's last running in September 2010.
Organising team led by the redoubtable Alec Poole, supported by Fred Gallagher. Grahame White and Andy Gibson, all successful competitors, have put together a route that should please everyone, containing a cornucopia of stages and venues steeped in motor sport folklore, some featured on the original Tour of Britain of the seventies.
Starting on Friday morning at the prestigious Celtic Manor Hotel, scene of Europe's victory over the USA in September's Ryder Cup, the rally goes straight to a 5 mile stage in nearby Cwmcarn Forest Drive before driving to the renown Welsh Motor sport complex at Pembrey for rally stages and races.
Leaving Pembrey, competitors have a scenic drive over classic mid Wales rally roads to the next stage over the notorious Epynt ranges, scene of carnage when one particular 70's Tour of Britain ran across in early morning fog! This year's co drivers would do well to swat-up on the topography and formidable history of this legendary motor sport venue - for reasons of survival!
From Epynt, survivors traverse the picturesque Brecon Beacons to tackle a new 1.7 mile stage Bryn Bach before returning to the luxury of the Celtic Manor for a well deserved bath and dinner whilst service crews fettle hard-used machinery - phew, what a great day's competition on some of the best rally roads in the UK.
Saturday sees no let-up for the hard pressed crews as they head east across the Severn Bridge for a rally stage at Castle Combe race circuit followed by a short 1.2 mile sprint stage at Weston Woods and then to Badminton; more used to horsepower of different type, for another stage, before a return to Castle Combe for the day's races, held in front of the circuit's knowledgeable and appreciative spectators. Tired crews then cross back over the Severn for a 9 mile stage in Caerwent before returning to rally HQ at the Celtic Manor where frantic spannering activity is assured!
Sunday is not classed as a day of rest in Tour Britannia parlance and competitors are away from the sanctuary of their hotel rooms early for a return to the nearby Caerwent stage before a run through the Forest of Dean for a visit to the home of the gentile Bugatti Owners Club at Prescott where cars will have a run on the world famous, not so gentile hill climb near Winchcombe, before heading for a stage at the little known Tusmore Park close to the home of British Motor Racing - Silverstone, for the final races and where hard-worked crews can explore the recently opened Grand Prix pit complex.
The rally circus then repairs to the Whittlebury Hall Hotel for the prize giving dinner and where tales of superlative car control, heroism, innovation and derring-do will be swapped among the 76 crews late into the night ? don't miss it!
The International Rally Driver's Club is represented on the event by secretary Tony Graham, co-driving for brother Steve in their immaculate Lancia Fulvia 1300 in the well supported regularity category, pop along and say hello.
Full details of route, timetable and entry list available from:- www.tourbritannia.com
7th June, 2011