Tour of Cheshire History

First published November 2016 (for the ToC website).

TOUR OF CHESHIRE – by Nigel Raeburn

This is our historic daylight road rally which first ran in 2004.  The format is typically about 12 ‘Special Tests’ on private land and 6 to 8 Regularity Sections on the public roads joined up by relaxed Transport Sections.  Total mileage is about 140 and largely within the county of Cheshire although we have had excursions into adjacent counties and even into Wales.

Graham Maxwell was the event’s originator and he was Clerk of the Course in 2004, with Nigel Raeburn taking over from 2005.  Nigel had responsibility for the road sections and Shon Gosling (Assistant CoC) for the special tests.  In 2009 Mike Harrison took over as CoC with Lorna Harrison i/c admin and road sections and Duncan Wild i/c the tests.

From its outset we have tried to make the event more than just a good rally but a real ‘occasion’ with scenic venues and route, good quality food at lunch and the finish, coffee and tea (or even ice cream!) stops and a sense of history created by the presence of many rally stars of old who come along to marshal, present awards etc..  Alan Jolley has done a great job persuading so many old timers to come along and we have had awards presented by Roy Fidler, Russell Brookes, Tony Fall, Barrie Williams, John Bloxham and Stuart Turner and others as well as ‘cabaret’ spots by Tony Mason, Stuart Turner, Peter Valentine and Barrie Williams and others while waiting for the results to be finalised.

The event is a round of the HRCR (Historic Rally Car Register) Clubman Rally Championship and the ANWCC Historic Road Rally Championship which has assured us of a good entry in both quality and quantity with competitors coming from all corners of the country.  The cars have to be pre-1985 which means they are mostly sports cars like MGAs, MGBs, Austin Healeys, Spridgets, TRs etc or Minis, Mk 1 Escorts, Cortinas, Rapiers etc – which make a fine sight when all are gathered at the start or finish.  We have managed to get close to a full field of 75 cars most years.

Our Test venues have included some famous Cheshire locations (Capesthorne Hall, Tatton Park, Jodrell Bank, Oulton Park, Cholmondeley Castle etc) and some less notable like Middlewich Sewage Works!  In 2008 we ran a super 18 mile Time Control section at Swynnerton Army Camp.  We have a good relationship with the Bolesworth Castle Estate near Tattenhall who have provided us with a number of good venues.  Recent events have used Beeston and Shrewsbury Cattle Markets and the ‘Tarmac’ factory site at Delamere as popular test venues.  In 2004 the Rally HQ and start/finish was Radbroke Hall but for 2005 we moved to Cranage Hall, a conference centre near Holmes Chapel, in 2009 we had a split signing-on/start/finish with Demon Tweeks/Tattenhall/Booths Hall and in 2010 we moved to the Wild Boar Hotel at Beeston and we have stayed there until 2014 when we moved to a nearby pub, the Bickerton Poacher.

We are very grateful to the varied array of sponsors who have helped the event either financially or materially – the finances of such an event are a delicate balancing act.  We need around 200 marshals to run it effectively and are grateful to our own members and those of other Clubs who make this possible.  A key feature of our event has been our link with the North West Air Ambulance charity and we have raised in excess of £20,000 for their much-needed funds.

Winners:

National B (main event)

2004. Adam Wiseberg/Cath Woodman (Porsche 911)

2005. Nick Payne/Anthony Preston (Ford Cortina GT)

2006. Jim Deacon/Dave Wilson (Ford Escort RS2000)

2007. Paul Hernaman/Ray Crowther (Porsche 911)

2008.   Bob Taylor/Jeanne Taylor (Austin Mini)

2009.   Neil Dowie/David Taylor (Triumph GT6)

2010.   Howard Warren/Cath Woodman (Porsche 911)

2011.   Howard Warren/Cath Woodman (Porsche 911)

2012.   John Ruddock/David Taylor (Ford Escort)

2013.   Matt Warren/Cath Woodman (Ford Escort)

2014.   Andrew Mallagh/Paul Harley (Porsche 911)

2015.   Matt Warren/Guy Woodcock (Ford Escort)

2016.   Matt Warren/Andy Pullen (Ford Escort)

Clubmans event

We ran this sub-section just two times:

2005.    Mike Tomlin/Peter Ward (Alvis TL 12/60)

2006.    Dr Peter Opie/James Opie (Triumph TR3A)

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