Thrilling stage of RAC rally in Bradley Stoke

Paddy Hopkirk prepares to wave away a competitor in the Bradley Stoke stage of the 2016 RAC Rally of the Tests.

Scores of cars screeching around a car park in a business zone might sound like something that would interest the police, but the drivers of vintage cars being hurled around the car park of the RAC HQ in Bradley Stoke early on Saturday 5th November had nothing to fear from the boys in blue, for they were taking part in a special stage of the 2016 RAC Rally of the Tests.

The first car to arrive, at around 8am, was the red 1960s Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint of overnight leaders John Abel and Martyn Taylor. They had the honour of being the first car to be waved off by Paddy Hopkirk – the famous Mini rally driver and Monte Carlo Rally winner. He was to honour every single car by flagging them away from the start line with the Union Flag.

The tight, twisting course weaved around the car park and proved a fitting ‘test’ for competitors. The classic Minis proved particularly popular with spectators, while the Mk1 Ford Escorts and Porsche 911s were a dramatic sight.

With cars setting off every minute, action was non-stop and the crowds emerged thrilled and breathless as the final runs were completed around 10am.

The three-day rally, which finished in Chester on Sunday 6th November, was eventually won by Andy Lane and Richard Crozier in their Volvo 123GT.

Photo: Paddy Hopkirk prepares to wave away a competitor. [Credit: Shaun King]

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This article originally appeared in the December 2016 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on pages 34 & 35). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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