Want to start Rallying - Historic RWD etc

Want to start Rallying - Historic RWD etc

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urquattroGus

Original Poster:

992 posts

129 months

Monday 2nd July 2018
quotequote all
I fancy giving rallying a go, perhaps 3-4 events a year.

I want to be driving on loose surfaces mostly, stage rallying etc.

I would like to start getting my license etc and really i would like to partake in a friendly championship, I was thinking I would like something historic and RWD.

I have sent off to join the Historic Rally Car register.

The plan would be, if I get all serious, to sell a car I own for something like £25K and try to buy a nicely prepped car for something like £15-20K.

Perhaps a 1600 Talbot sunbeam, some kind of Escort, or something like that.

Does this sound like a feasible plan? Should I be starting with hill climbing or sprinting???

I really don't much like the idea o road rallies or endurance rallies.

I'm in Essex so would need to find something in the southeast to learn if possible, preferably closer than wales anyway.... I did have a go at Brands Hatch recently in the GT86, surpisingly fun smile

Finding a Co- Driver etc worries me about stage rallies, does anyone actually want to do it, everyone wants to drive!?

andy97

3,517 posts

161 months

Monday 2nd July 2018
quotequote all
I am in a similar position to you except have done the licence (I recommend Bill Gwynne Rally School at Turweston Airfield near Silverstone) and have a car, but still have not done a rally yet for a variety of boring reasons. However, what I have discovered is that rallying is a little bit of an information desert and mostly not in the 21 st century with respect to social media and the Internet so it's quite difficult to get useful info for the uninitiated.

Inevitably you will be advised to "join your local club", but not many of us have time to go along to monthly meetings these days and find out info from face to face conversations, so it's great that you have asked these questions here. Maybe PH can help,bring rallying in to the 21st century.

It's also worth joining the British Rally Forum and the "Rally Log in and natter" FB page to get access to some info.

It's difficult to advise on what sort of car to get but Escorts are clearly easy to get parts and help for, more so than almost any other rally car so that would be a good place to start. However, the historic rally world is really very strong on period authenticity so be careful. Plenty of escorts (and indeed, many older cars) are not eligible for the HRCR series. There is, sadly, nothing like the "quasi historic/ classic" racing world that you find with the CSCC or some other clubs etc where sensible and cost effective mods are allowed even if that means that cars are not FIA compliant!

Oh, and truly historic cars tend to be expensive as they have to comply with the homologation forms of the day.

On the other hand, many aspects of rallying are truly Libre and this why you find plenty of "modern spec" escorts with 2.5 litre bespoke racing engines or fitted with Vauxhall Red Tops or Duratecs, and sequential gearboxes etc. And they can be eye watering,y expensive.

I don't know the numbers, but I would suggest that truly historic rallying is a much smaller minority part of uk rallying in terms of numbers of competitors, compared to circuit racing.

Do you really want to take part in historic rallying, or do you just want to rally an older car? Plenty of people take the latter approach, and the vast majority of events cater for cars of all ages, you are just up against each other in simple engine capacity class splits.

Do you really want to rally on the loose or will Tarmac and concrete surfice? I suspect that forest rallying is much more expensive but, as I said earlier, I am not an expert here, but that is my guess.

Do you want to do multi-venue rallies or single venue? The latter I suspect are cheaper as the car doesn't need to be taxed or insured for the road and you don't need a mobile service Crew etc; you can just have a central servicing park so probably need fewer people to help.

Do you really want to rally RWD? Not that many affordable historic options with good spares and prep availability??? Except the escort. Discuss?! How about rallying something like an MX5 - don't laugh, it can be done and there is excellent spares availability and people like Paul Sheard have done it. Another option is a BMW Compact. Cars like this can be a good choice because they are not too expensive to buy, good spares availability and they are lighter than more modern cars.

If FWD is an option, an MG ZR is a good car which is supposed to handle well. Not historic yet though. 205s are great but, again, can be expensive to build or buy in proper historic spec.

People will volunteer to be co-drivers - the British Rally Forumis good again here, but in the early days I suspect you will be paying all the bills. Later on, some co-drivers may contribute.

There are starting to be some rally track days now, particularly at places like Anglesey and Brands Hatch (I think) ahead of the MSVR Circuit Rally championship, and this allows some none competitive rally type experience, albeit mostly on sealed surfaces. It might be difficult to find something similar for the loose, unless you go to the rally schools.

For a car, have a look at "Donedeal.ie" and search for rally cars for sale. It's an Irish site but there are more rally cars for sale over there and cheaper than in the UK.


To put this all in perspective, I bought a non- historic escort from Ireland, with a Vauxhall 1600 engine. When I eventually get out in it it will be on single venue type rallies and I will be competing in the up to 1600 class against modern hatches as well as older cars such as 205s etc. It was a cheap(ish) buy but to put it in proper historic spec would probably cost double or more likely triple the purchase cost at least. Even if I fitted it with a Pinto engine, it would not be truly historic spec because of the other mods already done to it.

I intend to rally my car on 2-4. single venue sealed surface events per year and just have fun. I will largely be competing for my own enjoyment and probably won't be competitive in class but what the hell. I would love to buy a historic spec escort, or convert mine, but it's just not ralistic for my budget.

Hopefully, someone with more knowledge than me will be along to offer better advice!


Edited by andy97 on Tuesday 3rd July 00:04

urquattroGus

Original Poster:

992 posts

129 months

Tuesday 3rd July 2018
quotequote all
andy97 said:
I am in a similar position to you except have done the licence (I recommend Bill Gwynne Rally School at Turweston Airfield near Silverstone) and have a car, but still have not done a rally yet for a variety of boring reasons. However, what I have discovered is that rallying is a little bit of an information desert and mostly not in the 21 st century with respect to social media and the Internet so it's quite difficult to get useful info for the uninitiated.

Inevitably you will be advised to "join your local club", but not many of us have time to go along to monthly meetings these days and find out info from face to face conversations, so it's great that you have asked these questions here. Maybe PH can help,bring rallying in to the 21st century.

It's also worth joining the British Rally Forum and the "Rally Log in and natter" FB page to get access to some info.

It's difficult to advise on what sort of car to get but Escorts are clearly easy to get parts and help for, more so than almost any other rally car so that would be a good place to start. However, the historic rally world is really very strong on period authenticity so be careful. Plenty of escorts (and indeed, many older cars) are not eligible for the HRCR series. There is, sadly, nothing like the "quasi historic/ classic" racing world that you find with the CSCC or some other clubs etc where sensible and cost effective mods are allowed even if that means that cars are not FIA compliant!

Oh, and truly historic cars tend to be expensive as they have to comply with the homologation forms of the day.

On the other hand, many aspects of rallying are truly Libre and this why you find plenty of "modern spec" escorts with 2.5 litre bespoke racing engines or fitted with Vauxhall Red Tops or Duratecs, and sequential gearboxes etc. And they can be eye watering,y expensive.

I don't know the numbers, but I would suggest that truly historic rallying is a much smaller minority part of uk rallying in terms of numbers of competitors, compared to circuit racing.

Do you really want to take part in historic rallying, or do you just want to rally an older car? Plenty of people take the latter approach, and the vast majority of events cater for cars of all ages, you are just up against each other in simple engine capacity class splits.

Do you really want to rally on the loose or will Tarmac and concrete surfice? I suspect that forest rallying is much more expensive but, as I said earlier, I am not an expert here, but that is my guess.

Do you want to do multi-venue rallies or single venue? The latter I suspect are cheaper as the car doesn't need to be taxed or insured for the road and you don't need a mobile service Crew etc; you can just have a central servicing park so probably need fewer people to help.

Do you really want to rally RWD? Not that many affordable historic options with good spares and prep availability??? Except the escort. Discuss?! How about rallying something like an MX5 - don't laugh, it can be done and there is excellent spares availability and people like Paul Sheard have done it. Another option is a BMW Compact. Cars like this can be a good choice because they are not too expensive to buy, good spares availability and they are lighter than more modern cars.

If FWD is an option, an MG ZR is a good car which is supposed to handle well. Not historic yet though. 205s are great but, again, can be expensive to build or buy in proper historic spec.

People will volunteer to be co-drivers - the British Rally Forumis good again here, but in the early days I suspect you will be paying all the bills. Later on, some co-drivers may contribute.

There are starting to be some rally track days now, particularly at places like Anglesey and Brands Hatch (I think) ahead of the MSVR Circuit Rally championship, and this allows some none competitive rally type experience, albeit mostly on sealed surfaces. It might be difficult to find something similar for the loose, unless you go to the rally schools.

For a car, have a look at "Donedeal.ie" and search for rally cars for sale. It's an Irish site but there are more rally cars for sale over there and cheaper than in the UK.


To put this all in perspective, I bought a non- historic escort from Ireland, with a Vauxhall 1600 engine. When I eventually get out in it it will be on single venue type rallies and I will be competing in the up to 1600 class against modern hatches as well as older cars such as 205s etc. It was a cheap(ish) buy but to put it in proper historic spec would probably cost double or more likely triple the purchase cost at least. Even if I fitted it with a Pinto engine, it would not be truly historic spec because of the other mods already done to it.

I intend to rally my car on 2-4. single venue sealed surface events per year and just have fun. I will largely be competing for my own enjoyment and probably won't be competitive in class but what the hell. I would love to buy a historic spec escort, or convert mine, but it's just not ralistic for my budget.

Hopefully, someone with more knowledge than me will be along to offer better advice!


Edited by andy97 on Tuesday 3rd July 00:04
Thank you for taking the time to write such a comprehensive reply. A lot of food for thought.

I see what you mean, a shame to get stuck with an old car that does not qualify for historic events unless you go in with your eyes open and go for one or the other, although both appeal, like most things it will come down to budget I suppose.

The BMW compact is a pretty good idea as an alternative. I basically want to get something sorted and quick enough to feel that it's a real challenge, take part to be competitive etc although I accept this will no doubt take a long time to build up the experience.

I know that maybe strictly speaking i should start in a 100bhp front wheel drive hatch (which I'm sure is great fun too), but life its too short

Just looked and found the BMW Rallying forum, got to be worth a look!

fat80b

804 posts

160 months

Tuesday 3rd July 2018
quotequote all
some interesting stuff.

I rally a Mk2 pinto based escort here in East Anglia which is nearly Historic spec (or it would be if I put drums back on the back).

I have done about 10 stage rallies across the UK in the last 2 years all of them rounds of the MSN circuit rally championship. It is great fun. I don't think Historic is something to aim for personally. The Historic class seems to be an add on rather than the main event round here.

My route in (which is what I would recommend) would be to join a club. I know the other chap said don't bother with this but I have been a member of Chelmsford MC for 5 years and I have never ever been to a club meeting. This is not why you join a club... the club gives access to the events and like minded individuals that will help you out along the way.

To start, buy a Mazda MX5 and enter Targa rallies here in the East. You will get to drive flat out on loose surfaces and will learn to drive. You will meet the above mentioned clubby people all of whom will have plenty of advice of what car to buy and what to do and you will likely find a willing co-driver as well.

To do this, you need the minimum amount of cash to get going. You can buy a car for a couple of grand, £50 entry fee and you will be off. You can then learn to drive on these events that don't require large amounts of cash invested before you get to the start line. Here in the East, there are plenty of events within 45 minutes or so to choose from. There is even a local championship to get stuck into.

Stage rallying costs me roughly £1K per event and I do it on the cheap, Targas, almost nothing in comparison.

Do this for a couple of years, throw the Mazda away and then buy the rally car. Shake it down on Targa events, then enter stage events. If you do it this way, you will be competitive-ish on the stages. If you go straight into stage, it may be a little trickier.

Donington stages in the wet with less than half the power of most of the other cars but finished well.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMG-sBxtBy4

Same car on a Targa


Mark A S

1,136 posts

127 months

Tuesday 3rd July 2018
quotequote all
Having been fortunate enough to have rallied on all surfaces back in the day before Mk 2 Escorts etc were historic, and again a few years ago, my advice would be firstly go and have a day at Bill’s [ Gwynne] driving one of his old school Mk 2’s as they are a decent representative of a Historic spec Mk 2.

Afterwards if you get the bug [beware its Very addictive] then take your time to find a suitable car. Do your homework, ask around, something other than an Escort is likely to be cheaper [Sunbeam etc is a good idea] but Escorts are Very user friendly.
Around 150 bhp in a sub 1000kg RWD car will be plenty to start off with on gravel and be fun.

I would not start in the forests, do some single venues preferable with loose ish sections, learn your car, build up the speed slowly and your confidence before venturing in the woods. Forest Rallying is FANTASTIC fun but Very easy to destroy your car, so slowly slowly at first. Don’t be disappointed if you get to the end of a stage and find someone in a similar car has taken a minute off of you, it happens, either their car is better, they have local knowledge [ which helps Enormously in the forests ] of they simply have more talent, most of all, ENJOY it smile

Good luck.

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V8mate

41,849 posts

128 months

Tuesday 3rd July 2018
quotequote all
urquattroGus said:
I fancy giving rallying a go, perhaps 3-4 events a year.

I'm in Essex ...
Unless you're wedded to loose surfaces, wasn't it the Chelmsford club who managed to organise the first closed roads, stage rally in England recently, up in Tendring?


ETA: Yep, it was they...

https://chelmsfordmc.co.uk/


andy97

3,517 posts

161 months

Tuesday 3rd July 2018
quotequote all
Some great advice so far. I think if i was wedded to rallying in the forests eventually, i would still be looking at something like the Land Rover Freelander Challenge.

Just to clarify my comment on membership of clubs; you should join one, i think you have to to get entries, but when i have asked similar questions about finding information, i have often been told to go to my local club night and talk to people. However, time is precious and its not really compatible with family life and working away.

The circuit racing world is much more accessible in my view and easier to find info out from a much smaller number of national racing clubs, with a few full time staff. There is also a greater number of racing forums to glean info from.

Edited by andy97 on Tuesday 3rd July 13:30

jamescodriver

359 posts

132 months

Tuesday 3rd July 2018
quotequote all
Have you thought about hiring a car for a few rallies? it might seem an expensive way to start but they can create a full arrive and drive package for you so you dont have to worry about getting the car there / service crew / codrivers / where to go / what to do / how to do it..

Someone like Pete Gwynne (Pete Gwynne Motorsport) has a fleet of Suzuki Swifts that he hires out or John Goff in rallyme.co.uk does loads of different cars..

the less "other stuff" you have to worry about on your first event the better and it will help you enjoy it and not make a costly mistake -

i've done a few rallies over the years so feel free to ask anything...


rscott

8,451 posts

130 months

Tuesday 3rd July 2018
quotequote all
V8mate said:
urquattroGus said:
I fancy giving rallying a go, perhaps 3-4 events a year.

I'm in Essex ...
Unless you're wedded to loose surfaces, wasn't it the Chelmsford club who managed to organise the first closed roads, stage rally in England recently, up in Tendring?


ETA: Yep, it was they...

https://chelmsfordmc.co.uk/
Certainly was - and was a superbly run event. They're hopefully holding it again next year too.

I think something like 65 of the 120 entrants were MK2 Escorts of varying specs. The rest ranged from a 'proper' Mini Cooper, Micras, Corsas, a few MGZRs, through Imprezas and Evos to a 6R4 and some a brand new Fiesta R5 or two.

There was only one serious accident - a MK2 barrel rolled across a farmer's field, but no injuries and it was back on the road a few weeks later.

23 minutes of highlights here - https://youtu.be/_Lt_CI_4ZRU

thepawbroon

663 posts

123 months

Wednesday 4th July 2018
quotequote all
Some great advice above - I would also recommend having at go a Bill Gwynne's and thinking about hiring a car for the first few events.

Also, the MSVR Circuit Rally Championship have announced their dates the good thing about these events is that the crews and cars are very accessible, and the central servicing means they are back in the service area quite a lot. So you can go and look around what cars people are using, have a chat, get some ideas.

cheers
D
Round 1 - November 3rd 2018 - Neil Howard Stages in association with Graham Coffey & Co. Solicitors, Oulton Park.
Round 2 - November 18th 2018 - North Humberside Motor Club Cadwell Park Stages. Cadwell Park.
Round 3 - December 8th & 9th 2018 - Knockhill Stages. Knockhill.
Round 4 - January 19th 2019 - Brands Hatch Stages. Brands Hatch.
Round 5 - February 16th 2019 - Snetterton Stages. Snetterton.
Round 6 - March 3rd 2019 - Donington Rally. Donington Park.
Round 7 - March 17th 2019 - Lee Holland Rally. Anglesey.
Round 8 - April 7th 2019 - Cadwell Stages. Cadwell Park.
Reserve - April 14th 2019 – SMC Stages. Anglesey Circuit.

bloomen

2,085 posts

98 months

Wednesday 4th July 2018
quotequote all
I'd be vastly more inclined to hire something myself, especially if it's only a few events per year.

urquattroGus

Original Poster:

992 posts

129 months

Wednesday 4th July 2018
quotequote all
Hiring a car sounds exciting! And lower risk if for some reason I hated rallying smile

Thank You for all of the very helpful replies.

urquattroGus

Original Poster:

992 posts

129 months

Tuesday 12th March
quotequote all
Just been and done the "Forest Experience" in Wales in a MK2 Escort. Also has a go in a group N scoobie.

Loved the opportunity to drive on something more like a real stage.

Instructor said I was "on it" to set the fastest timed run of the group until I turned the wrong way, d'oh!

This has re-ignited my fledgling desires to go rallying! going to look at doing license and perhaps hiring for an event!

300bhp/ton

36,057 posts

129 months

Tuesday 12th March
quotequote all
Interesting thread and some good info.

andy97

3,517 posts

161 months

Thursday 14th March
quotequote all
There is now a BMW Compact rally series in the UK for relatively basic/ cost effective spec cars, similar to the BMW Compact race series.

Details are here: https://www.clubmanmotorsport.com/bimmacup-uk

The Compact is upgradeable from the BMW parts bin later if you wish ( eg 3 Series engines etc)

Paul Sheard is promoting the MX5 rally class within the tarmac MSV/ MSN Circuit Rally Chsmpionship too. Mk2 MX5s are cheap to buy and spares in abundent supply. Paul Sheard is running a hire one which has standard suspension, brakes and engine and looks fantastic fun and was reliable on the Snetterton and Donington rounds i saw. If i didnt already have a car i would seriously look at this route. I doubt that rallying can be done cheaper.

chunder27

1,632 posts

147 months

Thursday 14th March
quotequote all
The Sheard cars are very well put together, and pretty quick. Although one was heavily damaged at Snett. I think Greensall is trying to do the same thing actually with the GT86. Seen a couple of cars with him at Donington. No shock, he probably has links to a dealer or something.

Not my idea of fun, but a great way to get out there

andy97

3,517 posts

161 months

Thursday 14th March
quotequote all
chunder27 said:
The Sheard cars are very well put together, and pretty quick. Although one was heavily damaged at Snett. I think Greensall is trying to do the same thing actually with the GT86. Seen a couple of cars with him at Donington. No shock, he probably has links to a dealer or something.

Not my idea of fun, but a great way to get out there
I think the Sheard car damaged at Snetterton was a Mk3 Mx5 and not running in the MX5 only class as that class is for 1600-1800cc cars, whilst this Mk3 was a 2 litre running in the 1600-2000cc class. The driver simply braked a bit late going in to one of the hairpins and went straight in in to a tyre stack, I think.

Nigel Greensall did a couple of events last year in a Paul Sheard MX5 Mk2 to prove the concept. He may be trying to do a similar thing with GT86s now, and they seem to be very good cars, but probably a bit more expensive to buy than a Mk2 MX5 and not so many around in breakers yards to get spares for.

Hope they are both (and the Bimmer Cup) succesful - the sport needs entry level categories that don't cost a fortune. It would be good if someone could recreate the Pat Flynn Peugeot 205 / BMW 318 Challenge. For fwd, how about a Skoda Fabia class? 1.4 Turbo with a DSG sequential gearbox - strip out, bolt in cage, defined dampers and the mandatory Blue book safety gear (a car to "Rally First" type regs basically. What's not to like?

chunder27

1,632 posts

147 months

Thursday 14th March
quotequote all
I agree, my only issue is that they are not that interesting to watch, and probably don't offer the same sort of experience as even a fairly low key Mk2 Escort or Sunbeam or Avenger did back in the day in terms of being able to chuck it about a bit, they are both fairly low powered, running on asphalt events.

These circuit rallies are only that, pure circuit, a new driver really only gets to try pure circuit stages, I know that's the point, but I think a bit of variety and some mixed surface thrown in now and then might encourage them even more, as something like a GT86 or MX5 owuld be far more fun on gravelly stuff too.

For me, other than the novelty of timing and servicing, running one of these events in a car very under powered is akin to circuit racing or hillclimbing.

Not that I am complaining, the more the merrier for rallying, but for me at least these events are just about rallies. Certainly not akin to a decent single venue or multi venue tarmac rally of yesteryear.

Jerry Can

2,116 posts

162 months

Thursday 14th March
quotequote all
chunder27 said:
I agree, my only issue is that they are not that interesting to watch, and probably don't offer the same sort of experience as even a fairly low key Mk2 Escort or Sunbeam or Avenger did back in the day in terms of being able to chuck it about a bit, they are both fairly low powered, running on asphalt events.

These circuit rallies are only that, pure circuit, a new driver really only gets to try pure circuit stages, I know that's the point, but I think a bit of variety and some mixed surface thrown in now and then might encourage them even more, as something like a GT86 or MX5 owuld be far more fun on gravelly stuff too.

For me, other than the novelty of timing and servicing, running one of these events in a car very under powered is akin to circuit racing or hillclimbing.

Not that I am complaining, the more the merrier for rallying, but for me at least these events are just about rallies. Certainly not akin to a decent single venue or multi venue tarmac rally of yesteryear.
what if someone uses the new closed road rules to make a single venue tarmac rally, on er.. tarmac. Time trials would also be possible opening the competition to single seaters and race cars, although the max length of a TT as laid out in the blue book would have to change.

I can see a growth in the sport in the UK if a single venue 10 miles tarmac stage rally was created using closed roads. If you could find a route that looped back to somewhere near the start, and you had service centrally it might even be better than real rallying. I think the Dutch and Belgians call them 'Short rallies'. Just as I could see a growth in participation if TT's were made longer and open to anything including bikes.

chunder27

1,632 posts

147 months

Thursday 14th March
quotequote all
Agreed

I think the closed road rule is the future as things sit right now, but not for the times after that. At least until the MSA get the arse in gear and stop being so defensive.

If you think about it logically, what is the safest place to have rallies? Single venues or circuits right?

Not forests, not closed roads and not ,multi venue.

They are pushing this because they can, insurance and previous have made it this way, but in reality an airfield is far safer. All that is needed is a way of stopping joe public wandering about. Not as easy as you think.

but from what I saw there were plenty of people watching in Clacton in non spec areas, especially if you clicked Clacton rally on youtube!

All it's gonna take is one awful day and it's all gone. And we will be full circle, but let's hope not eh.