Rallying is in the Skelton DNA. I was aged around 10 when I first taken to watch the then Lombard RAC Rally by my Dad & Grandad. Years pass, the name changed to Network Q RAC Rally but still we Skeltons tramped through cold muddy forests to watch it. So I was really pleased when I asked my brother what he would like for his 40th birthday present (sorry R Kid…had to slip that bit in!!) & he said: “Let’s wind the clock back & get tickets for the 2016 Wales Rally GB.”
We used to drive into the forests & sleep over-night in the car 15 years ago…. “We’re both a bit older & wiser now, we’ll booked B&Bs this time though!!!”
Day 1: Friday
Well rested after a lovely steak dinner & a few pints of local Welsh beer in The Glengower Hotel, Aberystwyth. We woke at 05:45 & were soon on the road to our first stage of the day, SS2 Sweet Lamb. As we drove out of Aberystwyth & started to climb slowly into the mountains, the mist appeared.
By the time we got into the Sweet Lamb stage we were literally in the cloud base…visibility was patchy at best. It didn’t seem to make much difference as the lead drivers blasted in to view.
Spectating on mutual stage rallies like this is all about managing your time….watch enough cars through to see the best of the action & then get back to your car. Before driving on to leapfrog the rally cars & get into another stage ahead of them. Our 2nd stage for today was in the forest of Myherin. Much higher up the mountain than Sweet Lamb & we were really in the clouds now & it was thick fog!
The speed these top drivers attack the treacherous muddy forest tracks in the fog was quite amazing!!
Day 2: Saturday
Alarm went off earlier today as we had to pack our bags & leave our base for the first 2 days. We can’t recommend The Glengower Hotel enough, friendly bar staff, good beer & great food. At the end of today’s spectating we were moving north to The Cambrian Hotel in Llangollen. First there was some spectating to do in Dyfi Forest.
The timings of the first car into each stage today married with the logistics of getting between the stages, we decided to stay in the 1 forest. Dyfi Forest was to host SS10, re-run again later in the day as SS13, also the National Rally would then use the stage an hour after the last WRC car went through….3 stages for the price of 1, bargain!!
Looks like we weren’t the only ones up early that morning!!
For the 2nd run through the stage the mist & fog finally cleared. Now I could really get to grips with finding some good angles for photos.
The National Drivers didn’t fail to deliver with exciting driving too.
Day 3: Sunday
Another 6:00am start & out of the hotel before breakfast again (I think we should book just ‘B’ next time as we never saw the ‘&B’ bit all weekend!). For the last day of the rally we decided to head to Clocaenog Forest & watch the 2 runs of the stage as SS17 & SS20. This stage always has a soft spot for me as it was the last stage when I drove the 1994 Network Q RAC Rally. It had been a tough 4 day rally & I had visited the scenery at high speed on more than one occasion. so much so that I don’t think any 2 wheels were still pointing in the same direction!!….(sorry if you drifted off there)
One spectator decided there was only one way to get the shot he wanted….to put his GoPro in the middle of the track!!
My 2016 Wales Rally GB long weekend ended with tired, aching legs, but we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. We saw some of the worlds best rally drivers absolutely flat out in some very testing conditions. Hopefully captured some great images from the forests you can see a larger collection from the rally in Photo Galleries.
Happy Birthday R Kid!!!