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Travelling sideways at rather ridiculous speeds and seemingly at the very limit of control, while navigating narrow roads or even mere tracks covered by loose gravel or snow and ice, and just to add to the excitement often lined by either mountainous drops or thick forrest. All in a days work for a rally driver. And that’s why rallying is perhaps the most challenging and therefore also the most exciting segment of motorsport.

Many will tell you that Group B of the early and mid eighties was the pinnacle of rallying. In fact, I believe I too might have written words to that effect on these very pages. In terms of the technical specifications of the rally cars and in terms of sheer speed it’s difficult to argue against it. But just because it’s the pinnacle, doesn’t mean it has to be our favourite era. Bring on the seventies thank you very much…

To me personally, I think the seventies provided us enthusiasts with the very best of rallying – at least from an entertainment point of view. It was the decade where rallying became a proper professional sport with some serious financial investment from several Works teams, thereby giving us some truly stunning rally machines to drool over. Yet, there was still a thoroughly pleasing grassroot atmosphere to the whole thing. True grit and a desire to overcome any obstacle. In many ways, it was the era of rallying which gave us the best of both worlds. It is in my opinion also the era which gave us the biggest names within rallying: Roger Clark, Björn Waldegaard, Walter Röhrl, Stig Blomkvist, Ari Vatenen, Markku Alen and Sandro Munari to name but a few. Well, and seeing as we at ViaRETRO love sharing great automotive video’s with you, I really don’t need much more of an excuse for this next one.

It’s a marathon of a video though! So find a quiet corner where family and work won’t interfere, make yourself comfortable in your favourite armchair with a G&T or maybe even a Single Malt, and sit back and enjoy this cavalcade of 1970’s rallying.

It’s probably highly unlikely… but should you after this massive injection of seventies rallying still be longing for more, I can highly recommend a revisit of Claus’s adventures from the co-driver seat of a hard-charging Skoda 130 RS. Read the impressive story here.

And if all of this has you thinking that you simply must do something similar with your life to make it worth living – well, then firstly I salute you Sir! And second, let me point you in the direction of our very own rally-junkie, Dave, and not least his introduction to Historic Regularity Rallying right here.

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5 Responses

  1. Dave Leadbetter
    Ah yes, the days before unnecessary regulation, central servicing and office hours rallying. In comparison to today the sprint events were like marathons and the actual marathons were unimaginably gruelling. Costs were still low enough to make it feasible to have service barges and chase cars follow an event non-stop for 5 days, and the RAC Rally was the biggest spectator event in the UK. With the WRC now long diluted to a shadow of its former self it’s actually the historics that offer the closest chance to replicate proper rallying with the likes of the Roger Albert Clark rally. The world may have changed for the worst but there are still little pockets where spirit lives on. Catch it while you can.
    Reply
  2. Rob
    A great bit of film and although I didn’t realise at the time a great era. Brings back memories of watching the RAC in Trentham where I saw Bruno Saby drive an Alpine A110. Watching the A110’s inevitable successor the Stratos, not quite to my liking in the styling department but a very effective car. The Escorts never failed to entertain of course .
    Reply
  3. Claus Ebberfeld
    I can very, very much recommend a visit in the German Eifel mountains for the Eifel Rally Festival: Besides a plethora of the great Seventies stuff you can add more Group B than anywhere else, obscurities from Citroën SM to Jidé, and all extremely accessible and spectator-orientated. Although not a competitive event, it actually attract more spectators than the modern championship rallies.

    And now I remember an old idea I once had for an article: Some rally champion should lend me his Escort and teach me how to drive properly sideways. Anyone?

    Reply
  4. Anders Bilidt
    Rob, considering just how much I enjoyed the video, I can only imagine how thrilling it must have been to be there in person!

    Claus, once you find that Escort-owning World Champion, please remember to invite me along too… ;-)

    Reply

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