Rallycross has not always been very good at recognising or celebrating it’s past but over the last handful of years this has begun to change. The Retro/Historic movement is in some part responsible for this, but so to is the FIA World Rallycross Championship’s readiness to tip its hat to the past.
For much of the five-plus decades rallycross has existed cars were simply used until they could be used no more; the good bits then transplanted to a new body and used again. Reuse and recycle is on the money in the modern day but back then it was just necessity and practicality; a worn-out rallycross car had negligible value so the only way to keep stay in the game was to resell – for it was most usually the bodyshell that gave up first. What this means is that a lot of those cars that formed the history of rallycross no longer exist. Top flight cars were sold down to lower levels where they were used until they could be used no more. There are cars tucked away in garages, sheds and barns and some of those have re-emerged in recent years. Most likely there are more to be rediscovered.
In the last few years we have seen old cars and very often the drivers who raced them, pushed into the spotlight. The British and French rounds of the World Rallycross Championship have been at the forefront of this movement. Perhaps the high point for this at Lydden in 2017 where the circuit and World RX honoured the 50th anniversary of the first rallycross event. The blending of ancient and modern, the respect for the past and the part it played in rallycross being what it is today.
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Britain’s Retro Rallycross has probably been the pacesetter in getting old cars back into play, and encouraging recreations of classic cars. The Rallycross Legends movement in France is more about the authentic than the recreated. And we recently looked at the flourishing Historic Trophy in the Czech Republic. All of this is, of course, a Good Thing. Historic competition has been an enormous growth area in motor sport over the last decade. For the largest part it rallycross has not benefitted in the same way as racing and rallying, so this steady growth of interest and recognition should welcomed and encouraged. Embrace the future, respect the past.