Running immaculate vintage racing cars at glamorous racetracks is highly agreeable, but life is not all glamour and glitz. The foundations of professional motorsport were laid on the efforts of thousands of clubmen: highly passionate amateur racers and rally drivers. Our business evolved from Francis’ own clubman rallying days and we continue to support grass roots racers and rally drivers.
Peter Lythell (in action below) is a great example of the clubman spirit. Competing in this weekend’s Rally Isle of Man with co-driver Gill Cotton in a 1972 Porsche 911 2.4, Peter enjoys the pure fun of driving and is a regular entrant in the Manx Historic/Rally Isle of Man. We recently prepared Peter’s car for the rally and it will take the start later today.
The 911 is well suited to Manx Tarmac and our cars have previously won here; Richard taking victory alongside John Bennie back in 2007. Classic 911 rally cars are well suited to the tight and twisty stages and the open high-speed sections, many of which come straight from the legendary TT course.
Rally Isle of Man route
Starting in the centre of Douglas on Thursday lunchtime, the rally kicks off with the five-mile stage at Marine Drive before making its way across to Clanna Road for stage two. A special stage in Douglas town centre follows, before the night stage in and around King Edward Bay. The day’s final test is SS5 at Baldhoon, which is expected to run beyond midnight.
Barring any mechanical mishaps, the drivers should be in bed by 1am and will certainly need their beauty sleep, as Friday has a full programme. The day begins with the eight-mile Little London stage, which starts towards the west of the island. From here, the cars charge back to Douglas before heading for stage seven at Kella (11.21 miles) and on to stage eight at Tholt y Will.
Stage nine starts well south of Tholt on the outskirts of Peel: getting to the start will make for interesting traffic jams. Then its back to Clanna Road (9.83 miles) for the second time before heading for Oatlands and entering Douglas once more. Castletown hosts the start of stages twelve and thirteen and there are three more stages before the day draws to a close, just before 1am on Saturday morning.
The drivers must all be up early for the final day’s running. The first car enters the Little London stage at 8.15am on Saturday, then heads north to tackle the eleven-mile Kella stage for the final time. Sand Quarry is stage nineteen, then there is one last run along Marine Drive before heading into the centre of the island for the final stage: The Classic.
Rally Isle of Man is always a challenging event. One of the old school rallies, designed to put competitors through the wringer, crews that successfully reach the finish are elated and exhausted. We wish Peter and Gill the very best of luck: fingers crossed for a safe and reliable rally.