Over the Spring Bank Holiday, the 60th run of the Association of Land Rover Clubs (www.alrc.co.uk) annual National Rally returned to Copford Farm near Horam in East Sussex under the expert management of the Southern Rover Owners Club (www.sroc.co.uk) . This was the sixth National Rally run by the club, and the second at Copford Farm, thanks to the support of the land owner, Alex Gingell.
One of the biggest factors at a National Rally is the weather. A thunderstorm on the Friday night gave the site a good soaking leaving competitors and event officials worried as to how the event would pan out. Heavy rain can turn competition sections that have been tried and tested for months into undrivable quagmires. But, if the sun decides to come out and play, the undrivable becomes the clearable if the ground dries out. A wet event provides changing challenges related to what time of day different groups arrive at the more demanding sections.
Events were run in a slightly different order to recent years with the Road Taxed Vehicle trial (RTV) kicking things off on the Saturday, followed that evening by the Team Recovery. Sunday was Cross Country Vehicle trial (CCV) day, or as it is known to stalwarts of the ALRC ‘The Trial’. This was followed by the Comp Safari, (basically racing in mostly modified Land Rovers) on the Bank Holiday Monday, the order that SROC generally runs their big events.
There was also a Tyro trial for less experienced or younger drivers, a bike trial for the even younger, and a selection of shiny Series Land Rovers in the Concours d'Elegance.
Despite the entry deadline being extended, the overall number of competitors was a tad lower this year, with less than 100 drivers signed on for the biggest event, the CCV, but this is not unusual when the rally is at one of the extreme ends of the country. However, it was good to see the number of enthusiasts who had turned up to spend the weekend marshalling, many of whom were not competing. Without these volunteers we could not run motorsport events.
The full story will be out in the shops in LRO on June 15th.