If you're joining us in Wales for the WRC next weekend here's everything you need to know!
It's November; the clocks have turned back, the temperatures are dropping and they're playing Christmas songs on the radio... In better news, November also means it's time for Wales Rally GB! Thousands will descend on the Welsh forests in their thermals and hats for the final round of the World Rally Championship next weekend. If you've never been to a rally before, the experience is like no other.
You can hear the cars coming from miles away - the sound of a 300hp WRC car, the exhaust crackling through the trees followed by the shriek of a marshal's whistle and air horns as it get closer. The smell of the pine trees, bacon cooking on camping stoves, burning clutches, melting rubber and unburnt petrol - it really is something you'll never forget.
As we'll be in Llandudno next week for our inaugural Wales Rally GB Sunday Service, we've put together a beginner's guide to the rally to complement the Wales Rally GB guide. Essentially if you haven't been before, here's the guide you need for tips and advice to make the most of a great weekend!
Arriving an hour before a stage is leaving it a bit late in all honesty. With many spectators arriving the night before the later you leave it the further away from the stage you'll be, with quite possibly an hours walk to the stage from your car.
I'd also make a torch an essential item realistically. if arriving for the first stages at 9am Friday, 7:30am Saturday and 8:30am Sunday it is going to be still quite dark. and when leaving the stages for the afternoon runs, it'll be dark by 5pmish. the light on your phone isn't adequate enough to spot all the dangers a forest floor will present.
A power bar will be a good idea to charge cameras/phones if your staying put during stages.
A small camping chair or stool will come in handy for the wait.
I really would recommend hanging about for the National crews. some of them are in it purely for the spectacle so will be "balls out" at every opportunity.
Plan your clothing and waterproofs, and then double it. there's nothing worse than sitting around all day in wet cold clothes.
And lastly. As a marshal for this event I cant stress enough the importance of listening to the marshals instructions. With the whole of British rallying under scrutiny at the moment there is a real risk to its continued future if people still conduct themselves as they did on stages earlier this year. I'd also like to apologise in advance for any of you who encounter the jobs worth marshal, sadly not all of us are able to use some leniency. If they are instructed by their sector official that no one can move from the designated zones then they really will try and keep you there, despite you being in a safe area. The problem of "once a year marshals" is still an issue to regulars, however with marshal numbers in decline we need them as a necessary evil to keep the event safely staffed. Please also don't hate us because we allow the media to stand where we say you are not allowed too. they sign on to the event like marshals so do get more freedom to roam. But if the safety cars are all happy with where they are, even if it is in a prohibited location, then we cant do anything to move them. however they should still be conducting themselves safely while on stage, as they are being scrutinised too as some media personnel are contributing to the issues around British rallying.
If you do encounter media or marshals that are taking the piss with things then report it to a radio car, take a note of the media persons number, or a marshals name and report it to the radio car. They can be removed from the stage if required. (media personnel will all have white tabard with a florescent section with a number on, this is their media accreditation number)
Flying38Italian05 Nov 2015
Nice article and very useful advice in the previous post. However how about the Friday stages?
moribund06 Nov 2015
Yes 1 hour before stage running is too late, even for a 7:30am stage. Aim to arrive a minimum of 2 hours before to allow time to park and walk to your preferred viewing point.
Rally GB has been very busy the last few years which leads to a great atmosphere but also means that the "car parks" (actually the verges of narrow muddy forestry tracks) become chaotic in the last hour before a stage runs.
RyanTank06 Nov 2015
be prepared for long tailbacks when leaving stages too. as many people will only hang around for the top 10 then move on to another stage. this causes bottlenecks for people leaving the stage against people arriving. factor this into moving about for the day. And as above poster, don't expect actual car parks (with the exception of parts of sweet lamb), its mainly single track forestry roads with cars on either side. which makes moving about difficult.
Also be aware of the local plod out with speed vans and radar guns when moving about the stages
moribund06 Nov 2015
But don't let any of that put you off, seeing any of the top 10 contenders attack a stage literally feet in front of you has to be one of the all-time great Motorsport experiences.
Last year there was a synchronised gasp from about 1,000 people when Latvala exploded out of the woods sideways onto the bit we could see. The speed was properly shocking, and I've been going for years!