The Vintage Sports Car Club’s annual Autumn Rally headed north for this year’s event and in recognition of its Lancashire location it was christened ‘The Bowland Rally’.
Hurst Green Village Hall, five miles west of Clitheroe, served as Rally HQ and it was here that the 24 car field assembled late one Saturday morning in readiness for the early afternoon start. Immediately ahead of them was a 55 mile opening leg comprising of a loop that circumvented Clitheroe before bringing competitors back to Rally HQ for afternoon tea. Then, suitably refreshed, as light began to fade into total darkness they would embark on the second leg of the rally, a 30 plus mile northerly loop that returned them to Hurst Green for a post rally hot pot supper.
A wide variety of marques and models that spanned six decades, from the 1920s to the 1970s, tackled the event that initially headed south-east, via Great Mitton, to Whalley. Heading north from here the route quickly swung east and north east using some little used single track lanes before reaching TC1 near Pendleton Hall. From there came the quick dash over Pendleton Moor and the Nick of Pendle to Sabden where a right-turn took them past the Pendle Witch (a local hostelry not to be confused with any ladies riding broomsticks!) and back towards Whalley.
Having reached TC2 it was then hairpin left onto the Old Roman Road, another single-track byway, before taking an anti-clockwise route around the eastern side of Pendle Hill. On arriving in Downham, a popular location for a number of period films and television series as it is devoid of road markings, satellite dishes and TV aerials, a right turn beckoned en-route to Gisburn. Bolton by Bowland, Grindleton, West Bradford and Waddington all featured on the final section of the opening leg.
The second leg looped around Longridge Fell before crews made the long ascent up Jeffrey Hill with the later runners reaching this point as the light all but faded away. After heading north to Dunsop Bridge and Slaidburn many late runners elected to ‘cut and run’ omitting the loop to the west of Cow Ark in a bid to reach supper before it went cold!
Taking the Class 1 honours were John Potter and Nicky Staniforth in their 1927 Alvis 12/50 TG C&E Sports while Class 2 honours went to the 1939 Morgan 4/4 of Simon and Jessica Parson. Nicholas and Claire Lees took a convincing Class 5 win in their 1969 Porsche 912 but the drive of the day, and night, came from Paul Crosby and Nick Pullan who had a clear run in their 1963 Porsche 356.