This year’s route heads into Northumberland’s Kielder Forest before heading into Scotland on Saturday with classic stages at Ae, Craik and Twiglees. The rally moves from its Carlisle base to Welshpool on Saturday night; the Welsh stages on Sunday and Monday take in Dyfnant, Gartheiniog and the Walters Arena for a total of 350 forest stage miles.
Its authenticity stretches to requiring original yellow-hued bulbs to light the night stages — a world away from the clear white beams of modern cars.
“This is genuine original special stage rallying where you are tested day and night,” says Tony Jardine, the former F1 presenter, who is entering his freshly rebuilt Hillman Avenger with co-driver Allan Harryman, whose father read pace notes for Ari Vatanen and Paddy Hopkirk.
“It’s as rallying used to be with the best sections of forest in England, Scotland and Wales — a test of the driver as much as the machine, with not a lot of downtime from one day to the next.”
Jardine first competed in rallying with a Hillman Avenger and his memories of its reliability and handling influenced his decision to campaign the car in a field full of Ford Escorts.
But, given the length and and challenge of the rally, he’s still likely to need the services of his chase car, with mechanics who can service the Avenger between stages.
He’ll also be hoping to avoid the teething troubles he suffered testing in the Coedwig Pencelyn forest, where a detached fanbelt and failing brake system were among the issues to be ironed out.
Jardine’s entry is also an example of how historic rallying is moving with the times. His is thought to be the first where the carbon use is entirely offset by a new service from his current employer, HERO-ERA events.
The Net-Hero app allows drivers to select their vehicle, calculate the carbon emissions produced at any event and then offset them, giving historic racing a way of before synthetic fuels offer the ability to race historic cars without generating carbon.
The full entry, including service vehicles and travel emissions will be offset by purchasing carbon credits.
Watch live coverage of the rally on the Roger Albert Clark Facebook page