Grizedale Stages Rally 2017 was notable for a number of firsts. The first ever win by the Proton Iriz R5, driven by Ollie Mellors. The first time the Lakeland Motor Museum hosted the start of a rally. The first time Chapel House Plantation had ever been used for rallying. And the first time a ferry had ever been used on a rally in mainland Britain as part of the route.
“Don’t do it” they kept telling us, “It’ll never work”. But for those of you who haven’t seen the Sideways Media film – watch it here; SIDEWAYSMEDIA VIDEO – you’ll see how this unique feature of the rally fitted together. And we even ran to time!! Well done us.
Crews started with the unique backdrop of the Lakeland Motor Museum. Then straight into the never-rallied-before Chapel House Plantation, a short but flowing stage which proved to have a tricky, loose surface due the lack of previous use – trickier for some than others, with a couple of “offs”!! – and a stunning view over Windermere as the competitors went round for a second stage to get it “right this time!” Chapel House isn’t owned by the Forestry Commission and it had taken several years to negotiate its’ use. Well done us.
Then on to a long stage through Grizedale West, via the Windermere ferry, courtesy of Cumbria County Council. Did I mention the ferry?
Anyway, something to get their teeth into with 13+ miles of the best forest in England. The competitors were in need of the service halt which followed at the brilliant Skelwith Fold caravan park near Ambleside. 134 acres of pristine woodland holiday park, now swarming with 80 burbling rally cars and their service crews. Are they mad?! Our sincere thanks to the owners and managers of Skelwith Fold for their continued and invaluable support.
Then it was back to Grizedale – to try and get that one “right this time” – with a tour of the lanes of the area whilst avoiding the Hawkshead Christmas Market. Then the crews finished off with the short stage up on Broughton Moor, again running twice (to get it “right this……) before finishing back at Skelwith Fold for the champagne-spraying and awards presentation. (Little stone hippos in case you are wondering) 41 miles of slippery forest tracks covered in just 43 mins 29 sec. Well done Ollie.
So that just left the clearing up to be done, which due to the early finish in Grizedale, was done in record time, partly thanks to the thousands of spectators who did as asked and took their rubbish home with them. Well done them.
After that the organisers retired to the public houses of Coniston to consume large amounts of alcohol and talk b******ks about how fast we’d all been all day. Well done us.