“November 2016 will see this event return to the historic regularity rallying calendar, it will retain its traditional and authentic format.
From its inception in 1932, the RAC Rally has been at the pinnacle and forefront of motor sport worldwide, it has attracted many of the leading lights to compete in what has always been regarded as one of the toughest and challenging events ever. That first year saw no less than 341 competitors leave the start from nine different towns and converge on the seaside town of Torquay. Each different starting point comprised a route of around 1000 miles with four check points along the way. There was no official winner but the ‘competitor with fewest penalties’ went to Colonel A H Loughborough in his Lanchester.
After the war, the RAC Rally was renamed ‘The RAC Rally of the Tests’ and resumed with a much more demanding format with more emphasis on the driving tests and navigational challenges that are such an important part of the Rally of the Tests we know today. Bournemouth was its finishing point in 1951. Best performance went to Ian and Pat Appleyard who would go on to be an inspiration to other competitors during the fifties and into the sixties. The event proved so popular that only the Suez Canal Crisis in 1957 and the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in 1967 could prevent it running annually – the RAC Rally was here to stay.
It was a golden era for rallying, entries would often soar above 200 with many of the ‘Works’ teams fielding entries – the interest in the competitors and cars was huge and gave rise to many household names. The fifties saw a shift from the touring style of event of the thirties into one that challenged both driver and navigator alike with driving tests and legs during both the day and night time. 1960 was the final running of ‘the RAC Rally of the Tests’ after the organisers had negotiated the use of a three-mile section of forest road in Argyll, Scotland that proved so popular that the following year the forests of the UK were opened up to the event.
In 1961 the RAC Rally of the Forests was born, it was to be a ground breaking move that cemented the future of stage rallying in the UK and was won by Erik Carlsson who was navigated by HERO founder John Brown in a Saab 96.
HERO Events are delighted to announce that with the support of the Royal Automobile Club and RAC Motoring Services we will continue to grow the event in its current and authentic format. We invite you to take part in this historic occasion, we are sure it will capture the imagination and affection of the public as they witness these magnificent vehicles and crews battling for supremacy once again.”