Historics steal Manx limelight
Nowhere is the current historic exodus from the forests more amply demonstrated than in the entry for Rally Isle of Man.
The unprecedented historic entry totals 65 cars as competitors from five historic championships come together at this Mecca of asphalt rallying. It is an entry that surpasses any entry on this year’s gravel programme and the appeal of the event is as strong as ever. At 160 stage miles between Thursday evening and Saturday afternoon, it is the longest and toughest historic event on the 2016 UK schedule.
Many crews are chasing the Mintex MSA British Historic Championship which, like its stablemate the R.A.C. Historic Asphalt Championship, has a doubleheader format.
The HRCR Old Stagers Historic Championship brings a horde of Minis, including three from Japan, while the HRCR Stage Masters Challenge and the Irish Historic Tarmac Rally Championship complete the line-up.
Sadly, 2015 historic winner Rob Smith now seems unlikely to run after rolling his Ford Escort Mk2 out of the Harry Flatters, but the field is still rammed with quality and four drivers stand out.
Reigning BHRC champion Jason Pritchard, former IOM winner Ryan Barrett, Ryan’s elder brother Paul and Guy Woodcock are the top seeds but a whole raft of rivals could well be in the mix by the time the survivors show boat their way over the finish line at the TT grandstands on Saturday.