Members of Wolverhampton and South Staffs Car Club face one of their biggest challenges ever as they organise The Bulldog International Rally of North Wales.
This event, which takes place on March 28, incorporates for the first time, the opening rounds of two of the UK's two major rally championships, the MSA British Rally Championship and the Dunlop/Gambia British Historic Rally Championship.
In addition, the event will comprise a qualifying round of several regional clubman's championships including the prestigious Rallying UK.com Welsh National Stage Rally Championship and the BRC Challenge.
The West Midlands-based organising team, under rally manager Kevin Witton, have faced a tough challenge in order to get the event up and running as it is only a few months since they ran the much-acclaimed Bulldog National and Clubman Rally in October 2008.
The high profile event will create quite a spectacle for motorsport fans. At the head of the field will run the beautiful historic cars from past eras, before the modern, state-of-the-art four-wheel drive machinery. There will also be a trio of manufacturer-promoted, single-make championships in which Britain's next generation of world class rally stars go head to head in hot hatchbacks. The popular clubman drivers are also catered for and can always be relied upon to provide plenty of entertainment in a wide variety of vehicles.
"The organising team spent most of their Christmas break driving around North Wales to find the best possible places for the rally start and finish,” Witton explained. “We need venues close to the motorway network for ease of access as this is an international event and people will be coming from all over the UK and abroad.
“We also need hundreds of hotel rooms for the weekend as well as large areas of hard standing where the competitors can safely service their cars. The workload to source all of this is enormous, especially as it is borne by motor club members who do it voluntarily for their love of rallying in their spare time.
“With so many crews expected to compete on this season opener, we have decided to split the events between two main towns. The International event will be based at Bala whilst the Historic and National crews will run from Llangollen. This should ensure there is sufficient space for everyone.
“All competitive driving will take place on the forest tracks in the classic Welsh stages of Aberhirnant, Dyfi, Dyfnant and Gartheiniog which are universally recognised as being some of the best gravel rally stages in the world.
“Although there is work to be done I am confident the event will live up to expectations."