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The Lombard RAC Rally which took entrants on a 2,000 mile plus route all around the UK was hugely popular in the 1970s and 1980s, Strange as it sounds today, it was in those days the largest attended spectator sporting event in the country – more spectators watched over its late November weekend, than attended every football league match added together over any weekend. The Rally attracted drivers from many counties and was considered the toughest in the World. In the early 1970s the rally was frequently based in Yorkshire, the sponsors wanted it to move its base to other parts of the UK and Bath was selected as its base for 1976, 1980, 1983 and 1986, covering a period when its popularity and toughness were at its height.

What is a Lombard Rally Bath

The organisers saw events on mainland Europe bringing out historic rally cars, many of which could not be rallied competitively today, their drivers simply not wanting to risk damage to them due to their value.

These demonstration events take the pressure off, allowing drivers to drive as quickly, or slowly, as they see fit. Tim Nash, the originator of the event, took part in the 1976 Bath rally and based the initial 2018 route around part of that year.

Since that time, various routes to period-style rally stages have been followed, with social events bookending the event. We have now been promoting historic rally car demonstration events all over the UK for four years, bringing a spectacle previously unseen in the UK.

This taps into a pool of historic rally cars from classic Minis and Hillman Imps from the 1960s, through the ever-popular Ford Escort, Triumph TR7V8s, Talbot Sunbeams, and Vauxhalls from the 1970s, through later cars such as Audi Quattros, Opels, Peugeot 205s – preferably thirty plus years old.

We bring hero drivers from the period to drive suitable cars to add further authenticity, for instance in 2021 we reunited the 1976 winning co-driver, Stuart Pegg, with the Cossack Ford Escort that he competed in that year.

We have hosted the Ladies World Champion driver, Louise Aitken-Walker twice, as we have the 1983 World Champion and twice winner of the RAC Rally, Stig Blomqvist, and twice showroom class champion, Bror Danielsson. Others include Ford and Peugeot factory driver Kalle Grundell, Hillman factory driver Robin Eyre-Maunsell, Irish Champion Cathal Curley, and Ford factory drivers Barry Lee and Gwyndaf Evans.


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All in all, Bath Festival of Motoring is a Fantastic Family Day Out