Lancashire Automobile Club – 120 Not Out

Wow the Club is now 120 years old!

Starting out in 1902 as the East Lancashire Automobile Club the club was to become the second oldest motor Club in the UK. Other clubs may claim earlier roots but the LAC (the ‘East’ was dropped after a few years) has a continuous history.

The Club has organised events from it’s inception with ‘reliability trials’ being the initial offering to members. These events were quickly followed by Sprints and hillclimbs before the first world war. After the war rallies became the main focus. Following the second world war the Club continued with rallies organising some of the biggest events in the UK including the Morecambe Rally. LAC members earned a reputation in international rallies in Europe. In the 1960’s hillclimbs and sprints became the main focus with events like the Tholt-y-Will Hillclimb on the Isle of Man and sprints at Woodvale and later Oulton Park. The Club also played a major role in both organising the Rally of Great Britain and running stages on the event usually at Whinnlatter in the Lake District. A ‘new’ event, The Manchester to Blackpool Veteran Vintage Car Run (a true rally in the sense it had road timing and a special test) became an annual event.

The 1970’s saw a new venture into motor racing with races at the short lived Longridge Racing Circuit near Preston. Sprints and Hillclimbs continued with events at Scammonden Dam, Baitings Dam, Woodvale, Oulton Park and Longridge. Rallies such as the New Year Rally, Demdike and the Manchester Blackpool evolved with changes to national regulations for road rallies. The association with the RAC Rally of Great Britain continued and over the decade the Club ran stages at Holker Hall in the Lake district and North Wales.

The 1980’s saw a continuation in the Club’s Sprinting and Hillclimbing activities with events at Baitings Scammonden, Woodvale and towards the end of the decade 3 Sisters near Wigan. The Manchester to Blackpool lost its competitive element due to further changes in regulations and other road runs including the Coast to Coast were developed.

Moving to the 1990’s the Club changed direction to concentrate on the road runs but sprints at 3 Sisters continued in association with Chester Motor Club. Events we know today such as the St Georges Day Run, Manchester to Blackpool, Coast to Coast Fellsman and Highland either continued or were developed.

The 2000’s kicked off with organising the Sir William Lyons Cantenary event for Jaguar comprising of 5 days of runs with visits to various venues during the week and finishing at Jaguars Browns Lane Factory. Entrants came from around the globe and the Club was proud to show off the attractions of the north west of England.

We have continued to offer members some great social events including the annual Dinner Dance and Prize Presentation with a Sportsmans Luncheon every three years with the highest quality speakers.

Today the Club continues to thrive with an increasing membership both in terms of members and participants. The road events continue to prove popular although this yea the last Manchester to Blackpool was held due to the increased urban sprawl making an attractive route harder to organise. The Club wanted to go out on a high and we believe all who took part had a great event to remember.

The Highland has been superceded by the Border Rievers event and plans are afoot to replace the Manchester to Blackpool. A new concept has been to jointly organise events with other Club’s to widen the number of entrants and organisational team.

The Club is proud to have been part of the organisation ad running of the second ‘closed road stage rally’ in England so perhaps a return to the Club’s roots may be an idea for the future.

In the meantime the Club had a get together at The Cafe Lazio in Samlesbury to celebrate 120 years and members brought along their cars for others to appreciate. Sad news during the day with the passing of the Queen was recognised with a minutes silence lead by the Club’s President, Eileen Dyson. The event proved a great success and some of the pictures taken by Mike Wood at set out below.