Road-book for the future

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As the number of historic rallies blossoms, two organisations aim to tidy up the calendar

The news that two historic rally organisations, HERO and the Classic Rally Association, are to form a joint venture made me wonder who was taking over whom. But “nobody’s taking over anyone,” CRA’s Jeremy Dickson tells me. “We’ve collaborated with HERO for a long time to avoid date clashes; this is a way of sharing some resources and planning ahead.”

Thanks to new backing, HERO has shiffed the business up a gear, with its own fleet of rally cars on top of core events such as LeJog and Scottish Malts. CRA is pretty much a two-man show with no formal office. Despite that, CRA runs major rallies among others the Classic Marathon, which in 1988 confirmed historic rallying as a thriving new sport. That was created by Philip Young, now running the Endurance Rally Association which organises seriously long-distance bashes such as PekingParis. So tidying up the field makes sense. The two partner outfits will retain their own identities and events while sharing admin and offices. “Competitors won’t see any difference,” says Jeremy, And from 2014 we’ll look at perhaps alternating the big, complex events maybe a Marathon one year, LeJog the next.”

But there’s one sure date for CRA: 2013 will be the 25th anniversary of the first Classic Marathon, and I’ll be there. I navigated for the late Don Pither on that seminal first challenge, in his ex-works Sunbeam Tiger, and I still recall my ankles burning with the heat from 4.7-litres of Chrysler exhaust as we bellowed up and down gravelled Alpine passes. I’ve even dug out my original-issue 1988 Marathon sweatshirt ready for the day.

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