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Opinion: Why the UK needs a rally festival


Importantly, at least two of the current events have ambitions in that direction, even though the journey will not be easy. Rallying undoubtedly faces many challenges, not least wide-ranging green issues, but it also needs to bring in new blood as competitors, organisers, marshals and fans.

Taking the action to the people, rather than hiding it away in remote forests, would be a real boost for a branch of the sport that has suffered dreadfully over the past two years. 

How it works: The Formula Ford festival

The glory days when everyone’s favourite knockout junior motor racing contest was the ‘Big One’ for all aspiring grand prix stars of tomorrow are long gone. But like the FA Cup, the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch is still thriving and this weekend celebrates its 50th running.

The category may be less ‘relevant’ than it used to be, but its popularity has been prolonged by its scattering of historic categories covering every generation since Brands Hatch’s great impresario John Webb came up with a new, accessible form of single-seater motor racing for cars powered by Ford’s 1600cc engine in 1967.

Over two days, heats, followed by semi-finals, last-chance races and grand finals offer fantastic cut-and-thrust, wall-to-wall motor racing. Will it be cold? Of course. Will it be wet? Probably. Will it be the highlight of many a diehard’s racing season? Every time.

Motorsport greats: Dan Wheldon



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