Spectating on Rallies in the 1980's

The Good Old Days of Group B Rallying

Peugeot 205 T16 group B rally car


When I was a teenager back in the early 80's we would go spectating or marshalling on Rallies every other weekend whenever there was one near by, be that Road Rallying, Stage Rallying or Rallycross.

When it came to November however, you would find us out all over the UK watching and marshalling on the RAC Rally or Lombard RAC Rally or just the RAC as it was called back in the day.

First you had to find out the route, you could buy a rally route map book or just try and figure it out yourselves. Then try and figure out how much you could fit in to your schedule.

MG Metro 6R4 Group B Rally Car on the RAC Rally

You also had to be back to your local area in time to Marshal on your own motor clubs rally stage, If you had volunteered, which you would have done if you wanted to see the cars and drivers up close.

We'd do the usual Sunday Spectator Stages which used to cost five pound to get in, but we'd hide person in the boot so only paid for three and split the cost.

Then it was into the forests, travelling hundreds of miles trying to out smart the Police who had blocked the roads on our chosen route or re-navigate round them to find our way in to the forest stage. 

We would walk for miles to spend an hour watching the top World Rally Championship Drivers of the time, then walk all the way back, have something to eat and drink then drive loads more miles to do it all again.

Audi Quattro S1 group b rally car

We would cover the entire country from the Midlands (spectator stages), to Wales for a day, then up North to the Yorkshire forests where we were usually marshalling, then up to Kielder Forest, then on to Scotland and down to the Cumbrian stages in the Lake District, depending which way it went.

We'd usually fit in three or four stages a day, sleeping in the car, eating on the way and usually a stop over at home for one night when nearby.

The Rally Cars would be serviced on the road side at a local garage, a lay by or just a farm track, so there was plenty to see all along the route. Group B rally cars would blast past you while sat in traffic through a small town or village on their way to the next stage, control point or service area.

To be continued...


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