‘”Ten seconds to go … five … four … three … two … one.” With a shout from the enthusiastic crowd, and a wave from marshal Bert Wilson’s small flag, the first outfit left Crystal Palace’
Taking place on public roads, the road section of the rally tested navigation and timekeeping during both the day and night.
In 1954, when the majority of competitors were Caravan Club members, the starting points were spread across the UK to reduce travel before the start. They then navigated towards a central point and covered around 250 miles (402 kilometres) over the course of the weekend. By the mid 1960s the route was standardised and all competitors set off from the same point. By 1976 the route had risen to ‘no more than 500’ miles (804 kilometres).
Penalty points were given to competitors who were either too early or too late at time controls placed en–route.
The controls were manned by the huge team of volunteer marshals recruited for the events. Times taken to complete sections of the route were recorded for each competitor.
Due to the length of the road section routes, the cost of fuel could make competing expensive. At some events petrol companies, keen to show support, supplied fuel free of charge. However, like other forms of motor sport, the event could also be a victim to petrol shortages. As a result the event was cancelled in the years 1957 and 1974.
Take a trip on the road section of the 1968 Caravan Club British Caravan Road Rally:
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