A Glance in the Mirror

It has been a wonderful year, with April’s fabulous Samurai Challenge in Japan, the thrilling Paris-Prague Rally in June and the spectacular Odyssey Italia in September. Once again we extend our congratulations to the overall winners, respectively Martinus and Josephina Aaldering (1936 Alvis Speed 25), Martin and Olivia Hunt (1937 Frazer Nash-BMW 328) and Bill and Jacqui Cleyndert (1924 Bentley 3/4.5) and to all the other crews who now have a Rally Round award on their shelves. That said, we haven’t forgotten all those whose ambitions were cruelly thwarted by misfortune, mechanical or otherwise. We trust you had fun anyway, which is the main thing. And in spite of rallying’s unpredictable character, one thing is certain – you’re sure to do better next time!

Wedding Bells

Speaking of congratulations, we also want to send our very warmest good wishes to ever-cheerful and deservedly popular Rally Round marshalls Baz and Danielle Green, who recently tied the marital knot. We trust they both arrived at the church on time!

Our attention is now focused on forthcoming adventures. The next couple of years are going to be intensely busy and exciting, with Rally Round events all over the world. First up is the Paris-Amsterdam Rally (17-23 June), celebrating two of the greatest achievements in motoring history – the first long-distance drive in a motor car, by Bertha Benz and two of her teenage children in 1888, and the first international race, from Paris to Amsterdam and back in 1898. Route designer and Clerk of the Course Fred Bent has recently competed two detailed route recces, and his first report is now available to read on our website event page. He’s found some marvellous roads and delightful refreshment halts on the route through France, Luxembourg, Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands, and with visits to several iconic motorsport venues including Reims-Gueux, Hockenheim, Solitude and the legendary Nurburgring Nordschleife, not to mention Spa Francorchamps, the competition for both the Charles Jarrott Trophy and the Classic Category Award is going to be terrific. We’ve already received a fascinating variety of entries, ranging from two big 14.5-litre American LaFrance Roadsters to an unmissably bright yellow Alpine A110 and two Ford Mustangs on a shakedown test for the year’s second big adventure, Rally Round Africa (see below). Another recent entrant of note is our old pal Richard Cunningham, who secured his place at a charity auction at Kensington Palace the in aid of the Fly Navy Heritage Trust, which works to preserve Britain’s historic naval aircraft (click here for details). Rally Round donated a Paris-Amsterdam entry to the auction and ever-competitive Richard was the highest bidder. The evening also included a preview of the ‘Diana: Her Fashion Story’ exhibition, and given Richard’s unforgettable sartorial achievements on previous Rally Round events we were somewhat relieved that none of the dresses were included in the auction – we’re already having nightmares about what Richard might wear for the rally’s glamorous river cruise through Frankfurt, let alone our lunch halt at Castle Frankenstein…


London Calling

Before all that, and rather closer to home, Rally Round will be at the 2018 London Classic Car Show at ExCeL in Docklands from Thursday 15-to Sunday 18 February; you’ll find us on stand HM184 on the Main Aisle, so please do pop along and say hello. We will be running a prize draw for a free place on June’s Paris-Amsterdam Rally, and the winner will be announced on the Sunday – more details to follow. For information about the Show, visit www.thelondonclassiccarshow.co.uk

Rallying Around

In May 2018, following Kim Bannister’s return from our Himalayan recce, he and David Wenman will be indulging their love of rallying in Ireland, aboard David’s 1975 Chrysler. This club rallying is meat and drink to Kim, and hopefully the practice will enable David to score a better result on Paris-Amsterdam, which he’s entered with his 2017 Paris-Prague co-driver Geoff Robinson. They’ll be driving a 1929 American LaFrance, but whether they’ll be able to match the performance of rally stalwarts John and Catherine Harrison and their faithful 1917 model remains to be seen

The Tin Cup

Not to be outdone, Liz Wenman and Heidi Winterbourne have entered the Rally Preparation Services Tin Cup Trial over the weekend of 21-22 July 2018. Held to celebrate the 10th anniversary of RPS, the Trial is a two-day event taking in the best of the Cotswolds and surrounding areas with fun tests, the odd regularity and above all good company. Liz will be campaigning her 1954 ex-Maurice Gatsonides works Triumph TR2, while Heidi will be blatting around in the ex-works 1969 Ford Cortina Lotus she drove on our 2014 Road to Mandalay Rally – her biggest challenge might be finding someone brave enough to take the navigator’s seat, but it will certainly be nice to let someone else do the organising for once!

Safe European Home

Our friends at RPS have also launched another new venture – the Stand Alone Storage Company – SASCo for short – which provides safe and secure storage for all types of vehicles. SASCO’s location in the heart of England makes it easy for overseas adventurers to take part in UK or European events such as Paris-Amsterdam, as it’s much simpler – and cheaper – to transport a car to the start line from the UK than to ship it half-way around the world (and back again). Of course RPS can also prepare the car in advance, so all you have to do is turn up and enjoy the drive. To find out more visit www.standalonestorage.com

New Garage Band

Evidently preferring the M2 to the M20, our old chums Dean Staples and Ian Langford have opened a new repair, restoration and rally preparation workshop, Lenham Classic and Sports Cars, which is located at Bredgar, near Sittingbourne, Kent, a few miles north of Andy Actman’s Lenham Sports Cars in Harrietsham. With more than 50 years experience between them, Dean and Ian will continue to deliver an impeccable service, whether you require a simple oil change, expert advice or a full restoration to road, race or rally specification. For more information visit www.lenhamclassics.co.uk, email lenhamclassics@btinternet.com or telephone +44 (0)1795 830286 / 01795 830288.


Running AMOC

The Aston Martin Owners’ Club is arranging a ‘taster day’ at the Curborough sprint circuit, near Litchfield, Staffordshire, on 15 March next year. It will be an informal opportunity to take your car out on a Sprint circuit, where cars run one at a time. You can bring any car you like and a qualified instructor, current championship competitors and a scrutineer will be on hand to assist and advise you. The cost is £140 for AMOC Members and £150 for non-members, so if you’d like to know more about Sprint competition or simply fancy a fun day out at the track, contact Ben Valbret – email ben.events@amoc.org or call 01865 893935.

Speaking of Aston Martins, we’d like to congratulate all the 2017 season winners of the various AMOC Racing championships, who recently received their prizes at a glittering evening at the Mercure Noke Hotel in St Albans – you can peruse a full list at www.amocracing.com. Also on the website are details of next year’s race meetings, which include 12 May at Oulton Park, 23 June at Brands Hatch, 29 July at Donington Park, 1 September at Snetterton and 6 October at Silverstone. You might even consider competing – you don’t necessarily need an Aston Martin and novices are always welcome. Rally Round will be attending most of the above meetings and we hope to see you there.

Our Friends Electric

Not just looking forward but thinking ahead, Rally Round is supporting an all-new event, the 2018 Tech.Driven rally from London to Swansea on 19 May. Organized by TechHub, the global community for tech entrepreneurs and startups (www.techhub.com), the rally is for electric, hybrid, alternative-fuel and innovative-technology vehicles, and will run from TechHub Shoreditch via The Barbican, Windsor Castle, Clifton Suspension Bridge and the Welsh Parliament in Cardiff to finish at TechHub Swansea; aside from these control points, participants will devise their own best route, sharing their progress on social media. Held in conjunction with the DVLA, Tech.Driven aims to promote advances in automotive technology and is sure to be a fascinating event, attracting some of the biggest names in the industry; for more information on how to get involved, visit www.techdrivenrally.com


Holden Morgan Workshop

In the Holden Morgan workshop, company boss Jeremy Holden is preparing a 1955 Morgan Plus 4 for Rally Round Africa – we’re looking forward to seeing it in Dar es Salaam.

We recommend a visit to www.rpsrally.com/car-sales/cars-for-sale, where you’ll find a mouth-watering selection of vintage and classic rally cars for sale, including a couple that have previously run well on Rally Round events. Don’t forget to buy plenty of wrapping paper!

With all good wishes from Liz, Heidi, Kim and the rest of the Rally Round team.