Having competed on Wales Rally GB in both 2013 and 2014, in 2015 we joined the team in Rally HQ volunteering alongside the IMS staff and helping with signing on for both the International and National events, as well as staffing the rally office and assisting with competitor and other queries.
We were asked if we’d help again in 2016, to which we said yes, and it was off to Deeside for a week. The 2015 event saw rain and high winds but the slightly earlier in the year October date for 2016 saw a very mild Wales in comparison.
Whilst competing on the event would of course be the pinnacle, being there is a good alternative and you still get the buzz and atmosphere of the service park. Whilst there wasn’t an opportunity to see any of the cars on the stages, we were part of a display in Chester on the Friday afternoon. After the National cars had been through the control and over the ramp, a group of cars including ourselves in Muriel went over and were interviewed to show the diversity of rally cars that have competed, alongside some iconic rally cars.
The area we had displayed in had been relatively quiet with a few conversations with the public, but once we passed the control and turned 90 right onto Eastgate Street, the crowds and noise were phenomenal. Everywhere we looked there were people waving and cheering, with the street level crowds many people deep and many lining the numerous balconies that are a feature of the picturesque town. It was really some experience, and great to be a part of, before we passed under the famous Chester clock.
We filmed our experience live and streamed it on Facebook, so whilst it might not be the best quality, it gives a good view of what it was like for us; Muriel in Chester.
After Chester, which was one of our highlights of the week, it was back to Rally HQ for a couple more days. Once the rally is underway, the office becomes quieter, until cars and crews come back to service at the end of the day and queries start coming in. It was good to catch up with a number of friends (and see them finish the National rally!), perhaps we’ll be back out in the Welsh forests ourselves one day