> Rise of the Professionals

The Professionals.

Rally crews had a smashing time.

Pat Moss-Carlsson, Erica Barrett and Liz Crellin of the Surrey Caravan Group Team at the 1973 prize giving.

By the late 1960s the face of the rallies was changing.

From the early days the events gave caravan manufacturers and traders a great opportunity to prove the ability of their vans along with showing new developments and gadgets.

By the late 1960s the competition was hotting up and caravan businesses went on a quest for the top award spots and created groups of skilled drivers to fly the flag for their brand.

These professional groups were known as works teams. Even well–known rally drivers such as Roger Clark, Tony Pond and Pat Moss-Carlsson were attracted to the competition in the 1970s and sponsored to take part by the trade.

Testing time for towers.

Managing Director of Elddis caravans receives the Brighton Trophy for the third year running, 1973.

Commenting in the 1970s, the former Editor of The Caravan Magazine Martin Lumby observed how the events differed from the early days. 

He wrote that ‘Things have changed so much since … I first competed in 1955 … it’s all a lot more professional. Yes, and commercial too.’

When recently asked about the changes to the professionalism of the event in the 1970s, Caravans International works team driver Lyle Cathcart recalled that by 1975 a network of service crews had sprung up behind the scenes. Not unlike today's Formula One teams, mechanics and caterers went along to support the competitors. This was all in great contrast to the early days of the competition when the driver and co–driver undertook any work needed on their outfit.

In 1974 the rally was renamed from The Caravan Club British Caravan Road Rally to The Caravan Club International Road Rally to reflect its wider appeal.

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