Yesterday saw the press day for the 2016 RAC Rally of the Tests in Oxfordshire, ahead of the rally that takes place between the 3rd – 6th of November, retaining its traditional and authentic format, in a series of challenging routes running between Bournemouth – Bristol – Stoke – Chester.
Paddy Hopkirk attended the press day with two of his Minis which are amongst the most iconic Minis in the history of rallying, 33 EJB (replica of his Monte Carlo winning Mini) and 6 EMO (the 1990 Pirelli Classic Marathon Winner), brought along by Mini Sport, who lovingly care for them on behalf of Paddy.
Paddy Hopkirk owned 6 EMO is particularly poignant this year as it will be one of the historic rally cars participating, being driven by the current HRCR Clubman’s Champion Steve Entwistle.
Having participated in the Rally of the Tests back in 2013 in his Orangebox Mini with the backing of Mini Sport, Steve thoroughly enjoyed the rally wanting to compete again. There was a discussion last December between Steve and Chris Harper (Mini Sport MD), regarding Steve’s plans for 2016, with his Orangebox being off the road until 2017 requiring a full rebuild. Having mentioned that the RAC would be back sponsoring the Rally of the Tests, both raising the profile of the rally and bringing back the ‘RAC Rally’ that originally ran in 1932. It was suggested, that should Paddy approve, Steve would rally in 6 EMO. A meeting was arranged with Paddy, Chris and Steve and the plans presented. Steve was given the green light with Mini Sport set to do the rally preparation etc, on 6 EMO.
Hoping to get his name on the prestigious Peall trophy, pictured left with Paddy Hopkirk, Steve will be competing with his navigator Henry Carr in the Mini Cooper S 6 EMO, beginning at Bournemouth.
Following in Paddy Hopkirk and navigator Henry Liddon’s footsteps back in 1963 when they competed in Mini Cooper S 8 EMO and even using the same tests at Porlock Hill and Bovington Camp, only at the start of the event.
Steve was also in attendance and had a great meeting with Paddy, who have both said they thoroughly enjoyed their time at the press day and Steve is now looking forward to the start of what is sure to be a great rally.
Good luck Steve!