"The Welsh Rally" is a true "labour of love" for Martin Leonard (McTaff on here) and Mark Griffin. Only Tony Gardiner's "RAC Rally Action" comes anywhere near capturing the appeal of a major event for the ordinary motor club people - and that makes no attempt to provide entry/result data or the in depth analysis of its appeal that this book does.
This is the complete package. Like any motorsport history, from the date of publication onwards, new data will become available and I am already noticing minor additions I could have made in my own meagre contribution, limited to just one narrow area. For popular appeal it necessarily has to draw on the experiences of the top drivers (but who could have expected quite so much background on Ari Vatanen's first trip to Britain, or that the man himself would so promptly agree to turn up in Brecon earlier this year for the launch?).
That the "Welsh" was "the Clubman's International" is well known to all those who ever took part - and, with 240 accepted entries over each of several years, that is a lot of people. This book brings home to a more modern readership the addictive attraction rallying once was and how achievable the highest levels were. It was never possible for the ordinary club driver to take part in International races in the same way and racing history is now written mostly by those who watched rather than "did". That is not to neglect the Welsh Rally spectators and the extent of their committment and specialist knowledge is well covered. In some respects a sad contrast with today, when lager-swilling morons are putting at risk the use of some of the very same North Wales forests and the far more socially acceptable mountain bikers are taking over so many classic forest stages elsewhere.
If you want to understand the appeal of rallying and are not one of the overwhelming majority of club competitors who took part in this branch of the sport rather than any other, read this book if you read no other book on rallying. It will help understanding of why the devil we ever did it. As the late Dave Finch once said after several beers: "If we didn't do it, we'd have nothing to talk about for the rest of the year".
The Welsh has inevitably gone the way of the Liege, the Gulf London and the "old" RAC. Big brother won't trust us to be out of bed for even one night these days. Read this book to remember or learn the way it once was. No one is going to get rich from you doing so but it might encourage others to take on similar tasks. Now, who's for the Gulf London...?
Edited by RS2000, 27 December 2010 - 16:32.