Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The Tour Of Cheshire Historic Road Rally

After a promising week of Spring sunshine it was a shame that persistent drizzle tried hard to dampen the enthusiasm for the Tour Of Cheshire. It tried but failed – how could anyone not be persuaded by the sight of so many classic Porsche 911s, Mini Coopers, Triumphs and all manner of other historic machinery touring the Cheshire lanes?

After consulting the spectator information on the website I decided to start the day by meeting the event at the High Legh Garden Centre where the competitors gathered at about 10:15am for a short car park autotest. Standing at the side of the road watching the cars trickle in was magical, it was fantastic to see them confusing the elderly Garden Centre shoppers. If I’d studied the entry list more closely I’d have been prepared for the most surprising car of the event, but as it was my jaw dropped when I saw the stunning 1939 Lancia Aprilia come into view as it made its way to the parking area.

Car 0 - Robert & John Kiff - 1959 VW BeetleCar 48 - Fred Gallagher & Sue Sanders - 1939 Lancia Aprilia

Car 1 - Howard Warren & Cath Woodman - 1965 Porsche 911Car 23 - John Larkin & Steve Skepper - 1966 Morris Cooper S

In between camera clicks it was interesting to take stock of how the cars handled the small circuit. The Minis were clearly the most agile, the 911s sounded the most glorious, although the V8 TR7 and the Sunbeam Tigers ran them close. The Fulvia HF looked stunning, as did the Alfa Giulias, but I think most of all I really wanted a Triumph 2000 - surprisingly chuckable for something of that size.

Car 38 - Richard Fisher & Paul Holmberg - 1972 Lancia Fulvia HFCar 62 - Phil Hargreaves & Paul Simmons - 1972 Rover 2000TC

Car 50 - Jayne Wignall & Peter Rushforth - 1963 Alfa Romeo Giulia SprintCar 59 - Daniel Knight & James Abbatt - 1973 Volkswagen Beetle 1303S

After watching most of the cars leave to continue through the lanes I headed off to Beeston cattle market to meet them there for a faster, more open sprint section. The drizzly rain wasn’t good for my camera but it was still fine for spectating, and as the cars were all parked up for lunch it was great to be able to have a proper look round the Austin Westminsters, Lotus Cortinas and the lovely Volvo Amazons.

The Tour of Cheshire Historic Road Rally 2011Car 31 - David Dunlop/Barry Kendal & Shon Gosling - 1955 Austin A90 Westminster

Car 30 -  John Fox & Nick Bloxham - 1967 Ford Lotus CortinaCar 64 - John & Iain Pearson - 1966 Volvo 122S

Click to see the full gallery of the 2011 Tour Of Cheshire.

I’ll definitely be out to watch again next year.

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