THE Rockingham Stages Rally returns to the Northamptonshire circuit for an eighth season this weekend (December 10/11) with reigning champion Tony Racey looking to defend his title.
Representing Langworth Motorsport, Racey and his co-driver Paul Heath won the title for the first-time last year, and will once again be the main pairing to beat in their Subaru Impreza over the challenging two-day tarmac event.
Last year’s runner-up Stuart Bliss will be looking to go one better in his Honda Civic with his co-driver Richard Marsh, however after being seeded fifth for this year’s event the Bristol Motor Club pair could find it a challenge.
Joint organisers Thame Motorsport Club and Middlesex County Automobile Club will utilise the whole circuit including new for this year the narrow access road behind the main Rockingham Grandstand Building.
Each stage is between eight and 10 miles long, and uses a combination of the in-field circuit and the UK’s only banked oval circuit plus the inner paddock and access tunnels, providing 90 miles of competitive motoring for the 60 entrants.
Six stages take place on Saturday, which includes the now infamous two stages in the dark, which guarantees to provide entertainment. A further six stages take place on Sunday.
A whole host of machines will be taking part with a number of well-known manufacturers being represented including Ford, Subaru, Vauxhall, Honda, BMW, Mini, Peugeot, Alpine and Mitsubishi.
Rockingham Director Charlotte Orton, said: “Unfortunately due to the adverse weather conditions last year’s event had to be held behind closed doors but we are looking forward to welcoming spectators back for what should be a fantastic weekend of rallying.
“The Rockingham Stages has established itself firmly on the calendar and has become the traditional finale to a fantastic and varied motorsport programme on offer at the circuit this season.”
Peter Wood of Thame Motorsport Club, who is the Rally Manager for the event, said: “We are very pleased to be back at this excellent first class venue. The combination of a brilliant road surface, time of year, and stages in the dark add to the unique atmosphere at Rockingham.”
The action starts at midday on Saturday and 10am on Sunday. Spectators only need to pay £10 per car to come and watch the action - so bring a friend and share the cost. Visit rockinghamstages.co.uk for more information about the event.