Morecambe Rally 1959
Following our earlier video on the Lancashire Automobile Club’s Morecambe Rally in the early 1950’s we now have a film of the event in 1959 before it moved into the forests.
We are privileged that Mike Wood competed on several Morecambe Rallies and here are some of his recollections and memories which give more detail and correct some misapprehensions about the event.
“I will endeavour to explain the event as far as I can remember. I competed on at least four or five Morecambe’s, winning the event outright with John Waddington in 1956. The late LAC member Bobby Parkes won it in 1955, I think John and I finished 3rd.
Let me explain how the event really ran, incidentally it was rated by the RAC as a National Rally, of which at the time there were just a few other Nationals. From memory they were National Birmingham Post Rally, National London Rally (held in Wales), National Plymouth Rally, National Rally of the Dams (Peak Districts) and I think the National Cats Eyes Rally (held in the South East) and of course our own National Morecambe Rally.
The format of how these events broadly evolved, was mostly the same, I will endeavour to relate how our 1956 Morecambe ran. There were various start controls scattered about the country with competitors eventually converging on one point which was generally the start of the, 200 miles approx, of night navigation section, usually the winner was decided here, in all the LAC Morecambe Rally’s that I did there was never any regularity sections.
The event started on a Friday and in 1956 we opted to start from Pontefract, I have to say not by chance, John had somehow discovered where the early numbers would start, always a advantage to be a early number and it was Pontefract were these competitors started.
All the competitors eventually converged on Skipton and after a brief rest, probably until it got dark, we’re were restarted on the night section, from memory, in 1956 this was mostly in the Lake District area. The night section was very competitive, difficult navigation with very fast driving required to try and make the many time controls on time.
At the end of this exciting night, competitors arrived at the final control at the Midland Hotel, Morecambe for a well-earned breakfast and a bit of sleep. Again, from memory, I think there were driving tests on the promenade on Saturday afternoon and in the evening there was a dinner dance and I think a fair amount of booze may have been consumed.
On the Sunday morning the final driving test took place, this being the famous Monte Morecambe Test. Soon after this the results were announced the prize giving then took place on the band stand, usually with the Mayor of Morecambe in attendance.
Just as an aside, the 1956 National Morecambe Rally was sponsored by the Daily Mirror and apart from the usual silver ware being handed out, the winners, John and myself, received a cheque for £100, a decent amount in those days.
Just as another aside, John and I had a wonderful year in 1956, apart from winning the National Morecambe Rally we also won the National Birmingham Post Rally, the National Plymouth Rally and the National London Rally, four Nationals in a row, not bad eh.”
Many thanks Mike.
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