> The Birth of Caravan Road Rallies

The Birth

Caravan History In The Making

Road Rally competitor numbers which were displayed on the outfit of Club member Edgar Thorne, 1960s.

By the 1950s a hunger for competitive rallying had grown in caravanning circles as there had been no similar event since 1938.

Competitions at social rallies had grown to be a popular feature amongst amateur caravanners. However, there was no event where caravan traders and manufacturers could showcase the roadworthiness and design of their vans at a competitive level.

The then Caravan Club wanted a public platform to demonstrate the safety and stability of caravans. They also wanted to encourage caravan development and by inviting competitors from the trade. Caravan Road Rallies championed innovation.

It will be the buzz for years in caravan circles.

Plastic commemorative rally plaques collected by Road Rally committee member Laurie Simmons, 1950s to '60s.

In 1954 The Caravan Club announced its plans for the first British Caravan Road Rally competition.

The event created such a buzz that more people had entered than there were places available – even before the application forms had been printed.

Designed to ‘give a stiff but strictly practical and realistic test’ of cars and caravans, the competition was planned to contain a variety of sections including timed driving, fast towing, reversing, wheel changing, acceleration and braking.

Colin Witter, founder of Witter Towbars, and his son Brendan at the first British Caravan Road Rally, Cheltenham, 1954.

Caravan Club members hitched up their holiday vans, and traders set off with their newest models, all in the quest for the coveted Caravan Trophy.

The Caravan magazine reported that the event ‘was the first in what looks like being a long series'. The competition proved extremely popular with caravanners who returned year after year to compete and enjoy the friendly social spirit of the events.

Witness the relaxed family atmosphere behind the scenes at the 1968 Caravan Road Rally at Mallory Park:

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