Celebrities, great cars, massive crowds and excellent weather are the combining factors that have led organisers to hail this year’s Rallyday at Castle Combe Circuit, which took place on Saturday 20th September, as “the best ever” since the event was first held in 2001.
Reports confirmed that over 10,000 people flocked to the Wiltshire racing circuit to visit the UK’s premier rally show, no doubt drawn by the opportunity of seeing many of the big names and iconic cars from the sport, both close up in the paddock and in action on the track.
Two of the main attractions were the BP Ford Abu Dhabi rally team driver – and currently second in the World Rally standings - Mikko Hirvonen, who impressed in his Focus WRC on the Feature Rally Stage. There was also the familiar and always spectacular sight of a Mitsubishi World Rally Car being put through its paces, this year an MML prepared WRC05 being driven by reigning British Champion Guy Wilks.
Also joining-in were other well-known names from the world of rallying, including Gwyndaf Evans - who made a welcome return to Rallyday, Russell Brooks - who drove one of his former Andrews Heat For Hire Talbot Sunbeam and an Opel Manta, Pentti Arikkala and David Llewellin - who demonstrated Audi UK’s awesome Quattro S1 Evo2. A rare sight indeed!
Adding to this year’s spectacle was a Rallycross demonstration which used part of the race-track and the infield. With cars in excess of 500bhp being driven so enthusiastically, this new addition proved a big hit with the crowds.
Also taking place on the circuit infield was a demonstration of Rally Raid vehicles, which included the Bowler Nemesis, Desert Warriors, an eight-wheel-drive Tatra truck – in addition there was demonstration of the former works Peugeot 405 T16 which was driven in the1988 Paris-Dakar Rally.
Combine all this activity with hoards of car club displays, trade stands and other track demonstrations – plus clear blue skys and no hint of rain whatsoever – it all went to make this year’s Rallyday a truly memorable occasion.
“We’re absolutely delighted with the success of Rallyday 2008”, said principal organisers Brian Stubbings and Darin Frow. “The feedback we’ve received so far has been incredible and we’d like to thank everyone for their support and kind words. It proves the show has a winning formula – and one which we aim to continue into 2009.”