Rally beats Covid restrictions with drive-in viewing area

Historic Racing

Spectators will be able to watch this year's Lombard Rally Bath trackside from their cars, as the October event offers Covid-compliant live viewing

Audi Quattro through Cheddar Gorge

Audi Quattro through Cheddar Gorge: rally runs in the South-West

Lombard Rally Bath

A drive-in viewing area will give spectators a rare sight of live rallying in Britain this year, with a new Covid-compliant option at the Lombard Rally Bath.

Up to 400 fans will be able to watch part of the historic rally trackside from their own cars, in an effort to beat mass-gathering restrictions.

The drive-in location, near Cirencester, Gloucestershire, is the only official spectator spot and promises a front-row view of more than 100 classic rally cars, passing several times.

Group B entrants to the October 17 rally include Audi Quattros, Ford RS200s and a Mazda RX7, with Minis, Alpine A110s, Triumph TR7 V8s and numerous Ford Escorts also in the field.

Lombard rally Porsche 911

Porsche 911 among the entries in this year’s rally

Lombard Rally Bath

Demonstrations of other rally and competition cars are promised, along with competitor interviews and commentary. Spectators will be able to order food and drinks to their vehicles and will be asked to remain in their cars apart from lavatory visits.

Covid restrictions forced the cancellation of this year’s Wales Rally GB and the remainder of the British Rally Championship, but historic rallying has been offering some live viewing opportunities. The Historic Endurance Rallying Association reported spectators lining streets earlier this month as it resumed competition.

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The Lombard Rally Bath revisits stages from the Lombard Rally in the 1970s and 1980s, and usually attracts more than 10,000 spectators. Cars run on un-timed special stages.

Organiser Tim Nash, said that the drive-in tickets, along with pay-per-view live streaming would help generate much-needed revenue for the event.

“In order for this year’s Lombard Bath Rally to take place, we needed to change the way the rally serves its customers to make the event financially viable,” he said.

“Hosting a small number of spectators on a drive-in basis aligned with broadcasting the event live is a fantastic alternative for us and something we will adopt in the future too.

“I believe hybrid events, where physical and virtual tickets are sold, is something the public will have to get used to for a long time.”

Attendees will be told the precise location of the viewing area after ordering. Nash said that there is space for 80 cars with up to five spectators in each vehicle.  Tickets for the drive-in spaces cost from £15 and are available from TicketCo, along with live-streaming passes.