Crews faces ultimate asphalt challenge to celebrate 50 years of Rally Isle of Man
The 50th Anniversary Rally Isle of Man, powered by Microgaming, starts on Thursday evening with three challenging days ahead for crews on the longest rally in the British Isles this year.
The combined organising team from both Rally Isle of Man and Druidale Motor Club has laid on a whopping 196 stage miles across the island over the traditional roads used since the events inception, though in many cases with new configurations. Double-lap tests and side by side starts, allied to town centre stages, should provide plenty of action to thrill the crowds.
The event is a round of the Irish Historic Tarmac Rally Championship and a crucial double-points scorer for the Eurocars Motorsport Manx Rally Championship. As a result it has attracted 105 crews from the island, around the British Isles and as far as Belgium and Japan, plus a dozen iconic cars as part of the Rallying with Group B team demonstration.
As in 2012, there are three sections to the rally. Rallee Classicagh caters for the historic crews, whilst the Manx International Rally title covers the modern machinery. The Manx Trophy Rally tackles Friday evening and Saturday’s stages.
Rallee Classicagh is led into action by Leeds’ Darren Moon in his Ford Escort MkII, but last years victor faces a strong opposition including Omagh’s Ryan Barrett, the 2010 Manx Historic winner who scored a crushing victory in the category on last months Ulster Historic Rally in his MkII Escort, and former winner David Stokes in a MkI version.
The Manx International Rally section also looks hugely competitive. Carnforth teenager Arron Newby is top seed with local co-driver Rob Fagg in their TEG Sport Subaru. The opposition includes all the leading home crews including last year’s winners Steve Quine and Richard Skinner (Mitsubishi Evo IX), who took victory on a dramatic final stage twelve months ago. Multiple Manx champion Nigel Cannell, Sean Kelly, Andrew Leece and Steve Colley are all in various Mitsubishi’s and all intend to give this one their all.
Evoking memories of the first 25 years of the events history, crews will assemble on the walkway on Loch Promenade from 6pm on Thursday for a ceremonial start, offering fans the chance to see the cars and teams up close as part of an evening on ‘the prom’.
The Villa Marina test, introduced last year and hugely popular with spectators as crews tackle the stage in pairs, is the centerpiece of a six stage opening evening. Marine Drive, Ellerslie and Snuff the Wind are all on the menu before crews return for the seafront stage, and Tholt-e-Will and Druidale to Little London follow into the darkness.
Friday is a 13-stage day, headlined by the extended Castletown stages in the evening, finishing at the Southern 100 start/finish line and the Shore Hotel, Gansey respectively. Before that the 12 hour day starts with side by side start line for two separate stages at St Marks, with one also featuring roads used more than once on a loop. The same stages complete the day, again heading into darkness. New double-lap tests at The Cronk and Bretney also feature, along with an extended Staarvey stage.
Crews have what must be the ultimate wake-up call on Saturday morning, a helter-skelter second trip down Tholt-e-Will! It’s the first of eight stages to conclude, the final four of which are all over 11 miles long, ensuring that completing this anniversary edition will be a real achievement in its own right.
The rally concludes with the now traditional Classic stage, joining the TT course at Cronk-ny-Mona and heading to the TT finish line, shortly after 3.30pm. There is free access to the Grandstand for all, so head along and see the champagne sprayed!
As ever, the action can’t happen unless the stages are sufficiently marshaled. If you can help, even for only a few hours please head along to the Rally HQ at the TT Grandstand (Monday 9am to 5pm/Tuesday & Wednesday 5pm to 7pm).
The Grandstand is also the sole service area throughout the event, and will host scrutineering throughout the day on Thursday.
The challenge has been laid down and the crews have picked up the gauntlet; we’ll raise a toast to the long history of this event come Saturday night, by which time a new chapter will have been written.
For further editorial information contact:
Chris Boyde, Rally Isle of Man Media firstname.lastname@example.org +44 (0)7624 476 608
Anna McCanney, Rally Isle of Man Office email@example.com +44 (0)1624 852 440