What makes the Manx Rally so special?
It’s Ari Vatanen hanging Black Beauty in hedge after hedge in an epic 1982 race with Jimmy Mcrae. Or Patrick Snijers’ rasping M3 six years on. It’s deciding what tyres to bolt on when you’re standing in 21 degrees and bright sunshine on the seafront… but it’s 14 degrees and pouring with rain on Injebreck.
It’s called Rally Isle of Man, but it’s the Manx; it’s run in July, but it runs in September; the BRC’S ended without it, but it is the end of the British Rally Championship season.
Servicing out of the TT paddock, driving up and down Glencrutchery Road past the famous leaderboard. Or watching Snaefell disappear as another Irish Sea mist rolls in to change the weather. Again. These are the things that make this event what it is. This piece of rock halfway between Belfast and Whitehaven is a special place for motorsport fans year-round. And, with the Manx Grand Prix done, September is about four wheels tearing up some of the world’s finest and most unpredictable lanes.
And, believe me, these roads really are that good. Colin Mcrae always insisted the Isle of Man deserved a world championship round of its own. And who are we to argue?
Craig Breen, Elfyn Evans and Mark Higgins will bring a special magic. Higgins probably more so: he’s won it more times than anybody, he’s from the place and, don’t forget, he’s king of the Island after lapping the TT course at an average speed of close on 130mph. He might not have 600bhp and DRS on his DMACK Fiesta, but the intensity and excitement will be just the same.