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Monday 14th November 2011

Rally GB: Retro Style

Rear-drive Escorts would be a good way to spice up WRC, unexpected oncoming traffic not so much




Christian Geistdörfer, Terry Harryman, Derek Ringer, Robert Reid: just some of the great co-driving names in the wonderful sport of rallying. My name, most definitely and absolutely, will never be on that list. Sure, like any bloke I like to think I can tell one end of the map from the other, and take pride in plotting a route the old fashioned way, especially if it means out-witting the sat nav system.

Now that's what PH calls a proper rally car
Now that's what PH calls a proper rally car
But rally pace notes? As with any code or language, if you 'get it' then it makes perfect sense; if you don't, well, they simply become numbers and marks scribbled onto paper. The fact we're running the stage in the wrong direction first, and hence I'll need to read them backwards, makes the task yet more hopeless.

And then there's the car I'm sitting in. Arguably the quintessential rally car of all time, the Ford Escort Mk2 RS1800 doesn't want to know much about anything below 7,000rpm. It is also entirely comfortable with being ragged to 9,500rpm, at which point it sounds - and feels through the chassis - like the most savage, over-sized, industrial chainsaw ever built. It's so angry you imagine it wants to rip a chunk of front bulkhead off and start chewing on it while using it's pistons as missiles around the service car park.

Look of fear successfully hidden by full-face lid
Look of fear successfully hidden by full-face lid
The Escort in question is Jim Whelan's LSV 171 in Eddie Stobart livery. Built in 2006 by Prepfab Motorsport, Jimmy McRae drove it to victory in the RAC Rally, also securing the pre-1981 category in the Historic Rally Championship that same year. When new it was tested by the late Colin McRae for his father, and Alister McRae also drove it to win the historic category in his brother's memorial rally. Whichever way you look at it, if you love rallying, it's a very special bit of kit, and although it's now been rebuilt to pristine show standard that doesn't stop its owner using it in anger on events such as the Rally Clasico Isla Mallorca.

We're at Great Orme, Llandudno in North Wales, ready for stages one and two of Wales Rally GB - part of a warm-up act of classic rally cars to run through the stage before Loeb and co show up.

McRaes of all generations have graced this Escort
McRaes of all generations have graced this Escort
Belted into the Escort so tightly I fear for the integrity of my privates, we have a long wait to get going as the stage is blocked by a media car obstructing, of all things, a double-decker bus doing VIP tours. When we finally get to drop the hammer, the 260bhp Sherwood 2-litre BDG howls its head off and we slither off the line as I try not to giggle like an idiot. The acceleration is suitably fierce through the short-ratio, five-speed ZF 'box, while I try not to make the novice's mistake of nudging the horn button on the footrest with my boot.

Sadly - although thankfully without any tragic consequences - the fun stops (very) abruptly when it becomes apparent that various FIA cars have been let into the stage at the other end, a liberal smearing of Kumho's finest testament to the ensuing 'moment' along with a hefty dry cleaning bill.

Shortly before 'moment' with oncoming car
Shortly before 'moment' with oncoming car
So we can only apologise to the fans out on the craggy cliff top as the organisers pull the plug and we have to trundle slowly through the stage in both directions, with most of the classic cars cancelled altogether. It's very, very frustrating, but just for a brief moment Jim hangs back and then devours a sequence of corners and straights with commitment: sideways and with that glorious Mk2 bark echoing off the rocks. From the co-driver's seat it is an unforgettable experience. However good it looks and sounds from the outside, you can be sure it's even better when you're sat inside...

The current troubles of the WRC are a frequent topic of heated debate among most motorsport enthusiasts, and rightly so. The A55 to Llandudno was quiet and seemed entirely devoid of the mud-splattered Impreza, Evo and hot hatch convoys of yesteryear, once ferrying tired rally fans to the next stage complete with dodgy service station snacks and dog-eared map books. The cars, the events, the competition, the prices, the media, the TV coverage, the FIA - there are many issues to discuss and no room for it here, but while it's far too simplistic to blame any one area, even with rose-tinted spectacles firmly removed, it's obvious that a drifting, rear-drive rally car at 9,500rpm has plenty of teach the current generation cars when it comes to raw entertainment. Long live the RS1800.

LSV 171 on a proper workout in 2008...
LSV 171 on a proper workout in 2008...
...A Mr A McRae at the wheel
...A Mr A McRae at the wheel




   

 

Adam Towler
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Author Discussion

PSBuckshot

Original Poster:

4,868 posts

42 months

[news] 
Monday 14th November 2011 quote quote all
I saw some lovely Escorts there over the weekend. Such a standout sound compared to the other rally cars. cloud9

EDLT

14,708 posts

89 months

[news] 
Monday 14th November 2011 quote quote all
I'm sure you had a nice time, but this thread is about to fill with retards crying over the loss of Group B.

PSBuckshot

Original Poster:

4,868 posts

42 months

[news] 
Monday 14th November 2011 quote quote all
EDLT said:
I'm sure you had a nice time, but this thread is about to fill with retards crying over the loss of Group B.
Indeed but it isn't like Rally is boring now.
Still has fast cars driving like mad in difficult terrain and spectators can get very close to the action. I don't think there is a sport that offers what Rally does to its spectators.

Mastodon2

8,740 posts

48 months

[news] 
Monday 14th November 2011 quote quote all
EDLT said:
I'm sure you had a nice time, but this thread is about to fill with retards crying over the loss of Group B.
An unrivalled period of free-thinking, technological advancement, incredible design and a huge jump in pace over the cars that went before - whats not to love? What is not to miss? The Japanese wars of the 90s were exciting and spawned many great cars, but the Group B days were a mix of brilliance and lunacy that made the sport truly invigorating. As good as WRC is watch today, watching little Citroens and Fiestas is hardly as exciting.

LordGrover

21,829 posts

95 months

[news] 
Monday 14th November 2011 quote quote all
There was an original Rothmans Escort for sale locally recently - it was stickered at more than twice what I paid for my first house. I don't know if it actually sold for that much though.
Advertisement

craigbunyan

89 posts

83 months

[news] 
Monday 14th November 2011 quote quote all
Wait, what?

They let cars into the other end of the stage running in the opposite direction!!!

I hope someone got a proper roasting for that potentially catastrophic f***k up!

Lovely car BTW. smile

tbtstt

181 posts

64 months

[news] 
Monday 14th November 2011 quote quote all
EDLT said:
I'm sure you had a nice time, but this thread is about to fill with retards crying over the loss of Group B.
Ha! Not the most delicate way of saying it, but I agree. The Group B was a fantastic period of rallying, but its resurrection is not the overnight fix for WRC that everyone seems to think it is.

Deviating off topic slightly, but the Group A period remains my fave period of modern rally. The 2.0L WRC cars are fantastic machines, but the homologation requirements of Group A placed the shortest distance between World Rally and mass produced showroom car that 4wd rallying has seen to date. And consider the performance icons that were born in that period: Impreza, Evo, Escort Cossie, GTi-R, Celica GT4...

...with the FiA wanting to bring manufacturers back, this sort of rule set is unlikely to come back to WRC any time soon, but for me it remains the best period of rallying as both a spectator and car enthusiast.

Referring back to the main article, I personally didn't attend the WRC this year as, of all the UK based rally events, it is by far the expensive and most restrictive to attend. I'd much rather spend the same money on attending a number of the smaller rallies in the UK (where you can see a variety of 2wd and 4wd, WRC and bespoke, rally cars) then the single WRC round.

Hopefully the return of more manufacturers will bring some interest back to WRC; full time MINI next year, the start of participation from VW and more manufacturers are supposedly developing cars as well. Plus someone needs to break Loeb's stranglehold on the title, his dominance is becoming boring!

Blayney

553 posts

69 months

[news] 
Monday 14th November 2011 quote quote all
Surely a good reason to support local rallies. There are plenty of opportunities to see mk1 and mk2 escorts blasting through the countryside. And a lot rarer machinery too. I also particularly enjoy seeing Darrians attack tarmac stages, what a fantastic and purposeful looking beast.

soda

1,131 posts

44 months

[news] 
Monday 14th November 2011 quote quote all
Blayney said:
Surely a good reason to support local rallies. There are plenty of opportunities to see mk1 and mk2 escorts blasting through the countryside. And a lot rarer machinery too. I also particularly enjoy seeing Darrians attack tarmac stages, what a fantastic and purposeful looking beast.
Couldn't agree more, no shortage of classics tearing up the roads over this side of the Irish sea.

Mk2 Escorts in particular are well represented, and who wouldn't want to watch this -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BBdv7QL7YY

epom

2,401 posts

44 months

[news] 
Monday 14th November 2011 quote quote all
superb car and colours clap

tbtstt

181 posts

64 months

[news] 
Monday 14th November 2011 quote quote all
Blayney said:
Surely a good reason to support local rallies. There are plenty of opportunities to see mk1 and mk2 escorts blasting through the countryside. And a lot rarer machinery too.
Absolutely! Was at the Tempest (Aldershot) a fortnight ago and, for a "local" rally the entry list was superb. Loads of Mk.II Escorts, a mix of Group N machines, a handful of ex-WRC monsters and all sorts of classic odds and ends mixed in there as well.

As I said in my previous post far more appealing then the WRC at present. Plus there were no ridiculously high entry fees to spectate and, when you were watching, you weren't penned in to a restricted viewing area (like the WRC).

Of all the current rally series its the Irish Tarmac Championships that has got my vote the last couple of years. Great entry lists, close competition and some of the tightest stages you've ever seen!

M666 EVO

882 posts

45 months

[news] 
Monday 14th November 2011 quote quote all
Mastodon2 said:
EDLT said:
I'm sure you had a nice time, but this thread is about to fill with retards crying over the loss of Group B.
An unrivalled period of free-thinking, technological advancement, incredible design and a huge jump in pace over the cars that went before - whats not to love? What is not to miss? The Japanese wars of the 90s were exciting and spawned many great cars, but the Group B days were a mix of brilliance and lunacy that made the sport truly invigorating. As good as WRC is watch today, watching little Citroens and Fiestas is hardly as exciting.
BRING BACK GROUP B...

Oh sorry was I a bit late?

What he said though laugh

Welshwonder

215 posts

71 months

[news] 
Monday 14th November 2011 quote quote all
You wouldn't have seen many mud splattered Evos Imprezas on the A55 - we didn't need to use the A55! I was in a lowly fiesta diesel and came straight up from Clocaenog to Llandudno behind the tail end runners of the rally. I was a little surprised there weren't more mud splattered cars on the Llandudno seafront but some did turn up a little later. I was glad it was dark because it seemed we were the only people walking about with mud all over our trousers!

I did however notice the lack of the usual machinery in the forest car parks. In the past even I would have been there in a Jap turbo or French hot hatch. The last time I spectated on WRGB it was like turning up to a Subaru club day! Not so this time. That, I think, is a very very sad sign of the times.

AllNines

345 posts

65 months

[news] 
Monday 14th November 2011 quote quote all
Oh, can we make a bit more of the monumental cock-up by the organisers please? Historic rally cars being brought from all parts of the country to give a demonstration, only to be called off because they couldn't close a closed road. Blooming marvellous. Not to mention the danger involved for the three cars that started and then met oncoming traffic.

Germany and Spain don't seem to have such problems on their WRC rounds...

furious

ArnageWRC

631 posts

42 months

[news] 
Monday 14th November 2011 quote quote all
If you want to see retro cars driven in anger, then there is the RogerAlbertClark Rally, in 3 weeks time.

The best Rally in the UK....


http://www.rogeralbertclarkrally.org/



Small Car

679 posts

82 months

[news] 
Monday 14th November 2011 quote quote all
Jim on an average night out in Liverpool...

Http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dqM3krL6os&fea...



andy-integrale

271 posts

74 months

[news] 
Monday 14th November 2011 quote quote all
ArnageWRC said:
If you want to see retro cars driven in anger, then there is the RogerAlbertClark Rally, in 3 weeks time.

The best Rally in the UK....


http://www.rogeralbertclarkrally.org/
Fancy reliving my youth and following this, sleeping in the car at night, from start to finish.....

Heater in the Grale is a bit pants though and I am getting a bit nesh in my old age :-)

loko

313 posts

47 months

[news] 
Monday 14th November 2011 quote quote all
i,ve always fancied going along to a local one but how do you find out whats on where and when?

YorkshirePudding

1,834 posts

68 months

[news] 
Monday 14th November 2011 quote quote all
loko said:
i,ve always fancied going along to a local one but how do you find out whats on where and when?
Try this,

http://www.itsmymotorsport.co.uk/

Over X mas,

http://www.northallerton-ac.co.uk/xmas/index.html

smile

Zletsgo

221 posts

99 months

[news] 
Tuesday 15th November 2011 quote quote all
I was hugging the side of a hillside watching you go round the Orme, I wondered what happened to the other 7 cars that were promised.
Although the pace past us was slower than hoped it still sounded excellent, especially the V8 Firenza that was barking behind you smile

As for A55 being quiet - seems we all managed to make our way on to the hill in an orderly manner - local press had 10000 down as having been there, a good turn out I'd say
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