Wednesday, October 31 2012
Stage rallying returns to Oulton Park this weekend for the first time since the RAC Rally visited the Cheshire venue nearly 20 years ago. The Neil Howard Stage Rally, organised by the Bolton-Le-Moors Car Club, takes place on Saturday 10 November and is set to be a popular addition to the venue's race calendar, with nearly 100 cars already entered.
The rally dates back to the late 1970s, when it was known as 'The Clubman's Rally'. Originally taking place as a road rally on the lanes of Lancashire, it soon changed to a stage rally. By 1985 the event utilised a single venue format, which proved to be very popular. Moving from Haddock Park Racecourse, Haydock Park, Aintree Race Circuit, Anglesey, Park Hall and Melbourne Airfield; the Cheshire circuit will become the rally's new base this November.
The rally is now the club's premier event and attracts competitors from all over the country. The event's title was changed after Neil Howard, then Secretary of the Clubman's Rally when it was held at Aintree, passed away. A trophy in his name was then presented to the organisers by his parents.
The event will use sections of the famously challenging Oulton Park circuit and the picturesque parkland setting will provide a superb backdrop to the action. A total of eight stages will cover 53 miles, with the first four in the traditional clockwise circuit direction then the afternoon four will be in the opposite direction. The event will run from 9am to 5pm, ending under cover of darkness.
Amongst the strong entry list can be found an eclectic range of cars, including rally specials such as the Subaru Impreza and Mitsubishi Evo, plus Ford Escort and Skoda Fabia WRC-specification vehicles. Classics include the 70s rear-wheel drive Ford Escort and Talbot Sunbeam, whilst a Group B Metro 6R4 will undoubtedly be a crowd favourite. In addition, kit cars, hatchbacks and even a Ford Anglia and Triumph Dolomite will take to the stages.
Rally Organiser Darren Spann said: "There is a rear buzz around the community for rallying's return to Oulton Park for the first time since the RAC Rally in 1993 as the venue offers facilities far in excess of those normally associated with this type of event and will be an ideal opportunity for spectators to bring along the whole family. A mark of the venue's popularity is how quickly we filled our entry - we received over 100 applications within five days, including eight World Rally Cars, and we are still receiving them by the day. Bolton-Le-Moors Car Club can't wait to host the event!"
Tickets for the Neil Howard Stage Rally at Oulton Park on 10 November are available in advance from £10, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.