Lombard Rally Bath to visit East Devon this Saturday

PUBLISHED: 08:10 17 October 2018 | UPDATED: 09:05 18 October 2018

Racing driver Stig Blomqvis. Picture STEFAN WARTER

Racing driver Stig Blomqvis. Picture STEFAN WARTER

©Stefan Warter/Audi AG

The Lombard Rally Bath will recreate part of what the Lombard RAC Rally was to rally fans throughout England, Wales and Scotland, giving drivers the opportunity to revisit some of the stages which were central to the competition in 1976 when the city of Bath was home to the world championship event, writes Geoffrey Pickett

The Lombard Rally Bath will visit such iconic stages such as Longleat and Cricket St Thomas, but enthusiasts who appreciate rallying of the 1970s and 1980s will only be able to witness the evocative machines in the environment of a stage utilised in 1976 at Wiscombe Park this coming Saturday (October 20).

On this occasion the hill climb course will be used ‘in the correct direction’, unlike 42 years ago when the stage saw the cars descending the hill climb course then climbing through the paddock area before tackling ‘Whitmoor Drive’.

As befits an event which pays homage to a halcyon period of rallying, the opportunity to get up close and personal with the drivers and cars will be a feature of the action at Wiscombe Park where spectator facilities will include commentary, interviews, refreshments and toilets.

The Lombard Rally Bath is a ‘tour’ type of event and not a competitive rally, but with stars from the world stage of rallying one can expect to witness enthusiastic driving nonetheless as the stars of yesteryear are re-united with their mounts of decades ago or machines which have been built especially for this event.

Amongst those stars will be Stig Blomqvist with co-driver Bjorn ‘Captain’ Cederberg in a group B specification Audi Quattro. The Swede, now domiciled in the United Kingdom, claimed the World Rally Championship in 1984 as a factory Audi driver and finished runner-up the following year in addition to claiming the British Rally Championship in 1983.

Another World Champion who will be partaking in the commemorative event will be Louise Aitken-Walker, who claimed her place in history by becoming the first ever Ladies’ World Champion in 1990. Two further British Rally Champions grace the entry list in the form of Jimmy McCrae and David Llewellin. The former, in fact, took the tile on five occasions between 1981 and 1988 as well as the European tile. The Scot is of course famous for his exploits in Vauxhalls and the iconic Rothmans liveried Opel Manta 400.

Welshman Llewellin took a brace of British titles, in 1989 and 1990, at the wheel of a Toyota Celica GT-Four, but is also remembered for his exploits in the raucous V6 powered MG Metro 6R4.

The event location is west of Southleigh near Colyton, East Devon. Access from the A3052 and B3174 is signposted by the AA. The post code is EX24 6JE. Entrance to the competitors’ paddock is free as is car parking. Admission is £5 for adults and accompanied children under 14 are admitted free on both days.

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