A very fine turn out of the great and the good from marathon rally history were reunited at the Gaydon Heritage Motor Centre on Sunday 31st May for the ERA sponsored Historic Marathon Rally Show.
Event organiser Ted Taylor said: “We had about 500 attendees including 65 famous names for what was a lovely reunion of both the historic marathon cars and crews of the era. It was great to see so many of the drivers and navigators catching up and some even still debating results with their old rivals. The weather may have not been as we would have liked it but the atmosphere and camaraderie definitely was!”
Among the names, Circuit of Ireland – 1964 ladies winner, and Tulip Rally – 1965 outright winner, Rosemary Smith came over from Ireland as a special guest. As well as many other career highs Rosemary was among those who were involved in the infamous and controversial headlights affair when she was disqualified from the 1966 Monte Carlo Rally after winning the Ladies Prize. Ex Ford Team boss Stuart Turner also came along and kept the seminar audience entertained in his usual inimitable style.
With 150 classic and historic cars on display, highlights included one of the surviving London-Mexico World Cup Triumph 2.5PIs; KNW 798 the 2.5PI that Brian Culcheth piloted on the East African Safari in 1972; and Austin and Morris 1800s from both the London to Sydney Marathons and the first World Cup Rally.
The ERA was well represented with a fantastic line-up of cars including Phil Garratt and Kieron Brown’s Peking to Paris 2013 winning Chevrolet Coupe, Michael O’Shea’s Jaguar SS, Alan Smith’s Morris Minor, and David Spurling’s 1953 Morgan plus 4, all of which were also Peking to Paris entrants. It was also good to meet and chat with many other other Endurance Rally Association past and current competitors.
Bill Cleyndert’s Morris 1800 made another splash as the Casablanca and Classic Safari Rally car took guest of honour Rosemary Smith for a ride on the demonstration parade.
David Blackhurst’s Ford Focus used in the 2001 World Cup Rally also made an appearance alongside Sheila Wright’s Land Rover that competed in the 2002 London to Athens World Cup and the London to Tunisia Rally.
In addition, there were two of Philip Young’s past rally cars on display. The Magenta kit car that Philip drove on the 1977 London to Sydney, his first ever International rally, and his 1986 MG Maestro that was used by Jane Edgington and Gill Cotton in the 2012 London to Cape Town Rally. A third car, the Austin Healey 3000 that Philip drove in the Himalayan Rally remains on show in the Gaydon museum.
Jane Strange from the ERA said: “It was a great day and the ERA would like to thank all those who kindly displayed their cars and joined us for the event as well as the many personalities who attended including Rosemary Smith and ERA Vice-President Willy Cave.”