Tuesday, 1 March 2011


In the mid to late 80s there was a rally championship class for near standard Lada 1300s, it was well supported and quite competitive as they were super cheap to buy and run. Of course with them being a bit steady you were always at the back of the field but if there were a dozen or so entered it was a laugh. I had one for a while that i couldn't shift so we signed up for the Northern section and did a couple of local events.
The second one was in some disused quarries (Cowm) above Rochdale and took place on a blazing hot day in summer. With early morning scrutineering over we were told to wait in Whitworth as overnight the quarry had been inhabited by a bike gang, we thought they meant lads on field bikes but it turned out to be a big MC party. The police went to mediate and somehow got them all to leave, it was quite a sight as we drove up to the stages with 100's of assorted chops coming the other way. A few hung about to watch and didn't seem too put out at the early end to their weekend. Unfortunately this was all a bit much for a few rally crews who turned round and went home fearing a mass return later in the day.
About 40 cars finally started what turned out to be the roughest stages most of us had ever seen, there were big drops, huge rocks and potholes the size of craters, again after one stage a few more retired while they still had a car.
This was brilliant fun in a Lada though, almost impossible to wreck we just went flat out (which wasn't very fast) everywhere and finished 10th overall, first 1300cc and first Lada and went home with a case of wine as the rally was sponsored by a wine merchant. The floor and front bulkhead were so bent that the pedal box moved up about 2" and the doors wouldn't open properly by the finish.
As far as i know Cowm was never used again for a rally but is now an off road centre for 4WD events and Trials.
The Lada got sold off after that to someone else with a sense of humour and no ambitions towards being World Champion.

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