Sunday, 14 February 2010

Things that go brrrrmmmmm in the night...

I live on the sort of road full of tight twisty turns and vertiginous hills that, were one designing a Good Road for Driving, one would include and then people would say: "Don't be ridiculous"!

Goodness knows how this road evolved. It's not the sort of road one would happily drove cattle along and only a fool would tackle Rhiw Coch in anything without at least reliable brakes, if not ABS.

It is impassable in snow. We've had days this year in which the road just could not be attempted. It has hill after hill after hill, and I should know because I have have run up and down every single one of them.

So, all in all, it is entirely perfect for the annual night rally run by the Teifi Valley Motor Club. Two weeks ago, amidst four inches of snow and sensibly on a quad bike, one of the organisers delivered the letter informing us of this year's event, a pre-Valentine's treat of night time revving engines.

The skies were clear again, it wasn't snowing and conditions, I should think, were pretty much perfect. The first car passed at 11.30pm or thereabouts, followed by sporadic others and then, at about 1.30am, queues of them, all revving engines and testosterone-charged gear changing.

This year, as an extra-special treat, the bottom of our driveway was the venue for a stop check, so every single rally car paused at the end of our drive before revving away noisily up the hill past our neighbours' farm.

The marshals backed their Audi into the bottom of our driveway and stood (bravely) in a puddle of torchlight in the road waiting for each car. Some drivers slowed in good time, paused quietly, drove away. Others skidded to a halt, revved wildly, roared away.

I ambled around the fields in the dark for about half and hour or so watching the fun. Yes it's noisy, but it's great to see these cars enjoying the bends and turns of the road and there's a certain amount of joy in the fact that, in these days of crazy health and safety rules, events like these can still take place.

These guys weren't hanging about - they were as flat out as they could be. You wouldn't tackle these roads at those speeds without being pretty sure you won't encounter another car coming towards you. I'd love to drive this road - my normal school run - under those conditions (but perhaps without the kids in the back clutching their Baby Annabells!)

It's terrific, noisy, old-fashioned fun. Perhaps there are a few tired souls about today, kept awake by the noisy cars, especially those who live right next to the road. But long may it last. If loud, dangerous, bonkers stuff like this was banned it would be a very dull world.


  1. When I was a kid we would sometimes go off at weekends with friends to watch mad drivers in far flung corners of rural fields welly thier motors at high speed around impossible bends and the noise and dust and excitement were fantastic! Add black cold night to all that and you have the perfect recipe for fun I should imagine!Long may it last, you can alwasy sleep another time!

  2. Haven't seen that lot, but we did get stuck in a side road by a tractor rally coughing by.

  3. We live on a very road - hairpin bends (have one outside the front paddock and gate in fact!) and steep hills and more hairpin bends. I suppose it is the Towy Valley equivalent of your Teifi Valley lot who come past our door in the wee small hours, but the sounds and the experience is pretty much identical to yours! The joys of country living . . .

  4. I couldn't agree more, I am nodding my head furiously here. It would be a dull old world without idiots doing dangerous things every now and then.

  5. Great post, and great comments too! I used to live in Lincolnshire (flat, but all the roads have 90deg turns with water on either side) and we had the same thing once a year. I like my peace and quiet, but I just loved the rally. It was noisy, but the people doing it were polite and helpful, and it was a pleasure to have it going on. Sad to think that one day everything like this will be banned - either because some children could possibly get horrible diseases from the fumes or, more likely, because someone is enjoying him/herself, and that can't be allowed.

    Rally on - and I speak as someone with no interest in cars whatever.

  6. Used to go rallying in a previous life, those were the days or rather nights. Eldest son is now manager of a rally team here in Scotland. Long may dangerous, bonkers stuff continue.

  7. Been away for a while so nice to catch up on your recent posts - not in Wales as house being gutted by builders (sob), but be back soon

  8. Hi PM - it's been a while but I'm doing a marathon catch-up session this morning, lovely to read you again!

    In a past life I spent a snowy night in a VW in a Welsh forest waiting for early morning rally stages, and woke to other spectators cooking breakfast on the revving engine of their vans. Magic.


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