The 2021 edition of the Roger Albert Clark rally will be the longest, toughest, most competitive and best supported event yet in the 14-year story of the rally that sets out to recreate the RAC Rallies of the 1970s and 1980s.
Running from 25 November through to the afternoon of Monday 29 November, this five-day adventure takes in forest special stages in Scotland, England and Wales, and covers a whopping 330 competitive miles to make it the longest UK special stage rally for more than 20 years.
Building on the success of the last edition of the bi-ennial event, the response for 2021 overwhelmed the organisers as almost 200 competitors applied for a place. Gradually, those numbers have been whittled down, but it seems likely that a capacity field of 150 cars will set out from Carlisle on the opening leg of the rally. A fantastic line-up of leading contenders will do battle over five days. Running concurrently is the Roger Albert Clark open rally for any two-wheel drive car.
At the head of the action Northern Irishman Martin McCormack will aim to be the first driver to score a hat-trick of titles in the overall event with his Ford Escort Mk2, but he faces the toughest opposition ever as young guns Craig Breen, Matt Edwards, Osian Pryce and Rhys Yates all take time out of their modern rallying programmes to switch to Ford Escort MK2s for this special occasion.
Breen’s presence on the entry list is a massive boost for the event, although it remains subject to confirmation, given that he recently signed a two-year deal with MSport to head Ford’s WRC campaign. If he does get time out to run a 40-year old Ford, instead of the latest hybrid Puma, He will be a massive draw for the rally fans.
British champion Matt Edwards considers this event unfinished business and will be keen to add it to his impressive tally while Pryce and Yates both have pace to be winners. From the regular historic ranks, Jason Pritchard, Nick Elliott, former winner Matthew Robinson, veteran Steve Bannister and 2019 podium finisher Roger Chilman all add immense quality to what is a fantastic entry list.
But this is not just about the big guns at the top of the entry. This is about the ordinary guys having a fantastic experience and tackling probably the most challenging rally they will ever take on. Among them will be the evergreen Bob Bean now 83-years young having yet another run in his Lotus Cortina, and sure to be a contender for class success. It will be an epic experience for all those who are competing, servicing rally cars and simply out watching in the forests. There is no other event quite like it.
These stories are all from the pages of Historic Motor Racing News. Some have been abbreviated for this web site. If you'd like to receive the full version, please visit our subscription page where you will find postal subscriptions available. A full subscription also entitles you to access the current issue online (available soon), so you can take it with you and read it anywhere, and we are working on providing full access to our archives of back issues exclusively for our subscribers.