The Herefordshire town of Leominster is gearing up for the start of the Roger Albert Clark Rally when the longest and toughest special stage rally in Great Britain starts from the town on Thursday (21st November). Over 130 cars from across the UK and Europe will gather at Brightwells on the edge of the town ahead of five days of timed competition on the forest tracks of Wales, Northumberland and southern Scotland before the rally finishes in Carlisle on Monday afternoon (25th November).
The arrival of this important biennial event is a major boost to businesses in the Leominster area at an otherwise quiet time of the year for tourism. Hotels in Leominster, Ludlow and Hereford are all booked up and the rally brings up to Ł500,000 into the local economy.
During Thursday the competing cars will undergo safety and eligibility checks at Brightwells from 10am. Later, from 3pm, the cars will line up in Broad Street in the town centre ahead of the official start at 4pm.
Spectators are welcome, without charge, but will not be able to park at Brightwells. Parking is available in the Broad Street Car Park, which is a three-minute walk via a signed path. The parking fee is £2.50 for a full day. The 60-page event spectator programme will be on sale at Brightwells, giving full details of the route and competitors.
Event manager Colin Heppenstall says brining the rally to Leominster for the second time has been a very good move. “The team at Brightwells has been very supportive of our event and recognise the financial boost it brings to the region,” said Heppenstall. “Leominster is also an ideal base before the rally heads into the Welsh forests on Thursday evening and again on Friday.”
The competitors will return to Brightwells from 6.45pm on Thursday before re-starting from 7.30am on Friday. After more special stages in Wales during Friday, the entire rally moves north to Carlisle for the remaining three days.