Gone were the early Road Rallies where Caravan Club members, often with some car rallying experience, hitched up their family caravan and set off on a weekend adventure.
Changes to the road section, which now took part on private forest roads, pioneered safe higher speeds but also increased the risk of damage. All drivers would be penalised for knocks to their outfits, but professional works teams did not have to foot the financial bill and often took more chances.
For the amateur competitor the threat of damage to their caravan was too big. Between 1973 and 1976 the number of entrants had halved.
Out of the ashes came the National Track Tests. Held at Silverstone, the events included the manoeuvrability tests and Concours d'Elegance. These types of tests continued in varying forms for decades to come. The Economy Run was later introduced and pioneered the development of eco-friendly outfits, taking caravanning to a greener future.
In 1954 the Club set up the Road Rally event with an aim to encourage the development of caravans in the UK. To gain a leading edge, competitors and manufacturers alike busily modified caravans prior to the events. This led to many new innovations.
From the introduction of higher speed limits to vast improvements in van stability and safety, The Caravan Road Rallies left a lasting legacy for the holiday caravanner on the roads of Britain.
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