PH Blog: Harris goes retro rally nuts

If watching rally videos on YouTube was an A-Level subject, these would be at the core of the curriculum.

This event was organised by the Welsh Counties Car Club, and yet contains more quality drivers than you could find on a modern round of the WRC. Waldegard, Mikkola, Ekland, Brookes and McRae Snr. to name but a few. Plus Murray commentating.

It's a kind of gravel hillclimb, like a mini Pikes Peak in the middle of an uncharacteristically dry Wales but run with an aggregate time on an uphill, then a downhill time.

But why is it so significant? Well, it brings together the most disparate collection of cars imaginable for a competitive, contemporary event. Honest front-engined RWD machines in the Chevette and Ascona, the loopy 290hp Rover SD1, mid-engined Stratos and then the 4WD Quattro.

This is the sport's past, present and future on display for a single, brief moment. It's like having Senna, Schumacher and Vettel in the same race.

It also represents a time when works machinery couldn't stop the likes of Terry Kaby, British champion in 1980, beating people like Bjorn Waldegard. Terry never quite made it to the very top level, not for lack of talent, and he's still coaching, testing and immersed in the sport today. What a legend.

I know these are quite long, grainy vids, and the dust is an issue. But the angle and language of the cars is mesmerising.


Part 1

Part 2

Part 3



Comments (70) Join the discussion on the forum

  • dave stew 06 Jan 2012

    I was a big rally fan in the 80s and went to all the usual events including the Manx International in 85 and 86. It was a truly great era of the sideways RWD heroes and the staccato banging, flame spitting quattros bullying the forests into submission.

    My personal heroes were Jimmy McRae and Tony Pond (plus of course Michelle Mouton!)

    Great times, great cars. Oh, and I drove two Opel Mantas and a MK2 RS2000 in that period!

  • namnol 06 Jan 2012

    This is a rally vid that gets me laughing

  • phast 06 Jan 2012

    best lunch break for ages, loved the SD1

  • phast 06 Jan 2012

    Namnol that link is brilliant, "F***ing show off"

  • J4CKO 06 Jan 2012

    Cool stuff.

    Do any of the rally games for the various consoles get anywhere close to simulating these kind of cars, all the racing games do seem to have a fixation with Subaru Imprezas, very nice but I want a Manta or HSR.

    Also, was thinking about unsung rally cars, ok these are crowd pleasers of old, wonderful they are too but my favourite was the old Audi 200, the quattros dowdy sister that still went like the clappers, will never forget seeing one go of the road in some rally and I though it was curtains for his race but it just span all four wheels and buggered off sharpish, in a similar vein the old Legacy never seems to get much love compared to the Impreza, maybe its worth a thread of its own at some point, not now perhaps as this has a fair ways to run yet.

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