John King and Tracy King are back for more as well, in the Triumph Dolomite that you can expect to see going mostly sideways on the tests with John’s ever-exuberant driving style that took him to fourth place in the 2022 championship, with Tracy finishing fifth in the navigator’s competition and they are certainly a pair to watch this year. Joining John in the exuberant category will be late entry Elliot Dale, who will no doubt be throwing his Escort around the tests, and the only thing louder than his car will be navigator Charlotte Ryall directing him where to go.
The cars entered into this first round are certainly varied, spanning nearly 60 years of motoring. They range from the ’30s right up to 1990 and it is certainly pleasing to see five pre-war cars on the event, including veterans of the recent Flying Scotsman event, including Mike Farrall and Zach Burns, and John Lomas and Peter Moore who will both be flying the Riley flag, as well as competing with their daughters.
But just what can be expected from round one? Well, according to route planner and Clerk of the Course George Mullins, the rolling countryside of Wiltshire as well as a test venue that will offer some very quick and exciting tests. We can’t say too much but the drivers will definitely be tanking it along whilst the navigators bellow instructions. The tests are on the long side as well, making excellent use of the space afforded by the venue. George grew up rallying in the lanes of Devon, and whilst there are one or two narrow thoroughfares on this event he has tried to avoid anything too constricted to keep the event flowing. “The narrow lanes are great,” he says, “but we want to avoid the competitors having to avoid too much oncoming traffic, so they can get on with enjoying the event rather than getting stressed about losing time.” The regularities themselves will be a good mixture of long and short and will feature some pleasant surprises in amongst the more regular roads.