The Ford Parts Cheviot Stages Rally
Whickham & District Motor Club and Hadrian Motor Sports Club, joint organisers of the Ford Parts Cheviot Stages Rally, which was planned to run over the weekend of the 21st and 22nd October, regret to advise that the event will not take place this year on the Otterburn Training Estate.
Ford Parts Cheviot Stages Rally Cancelled
Demand for use of the Otterburn Training Estate is extremely high and we have been advised by the Estate that large numbers of Military bookings have been taken to use the ranges. This has led to our request to use the ranges on our scheduled weekend to be withdrawn. This has come at a time we were making great headway with tenants and had secured use of parts of the range not used for many years.
We have investigated other potential dates to run the event but have been advised that none are available currently. Consequently there will unfortunately be no stage rallies on the Otterburn Training Estate this year.
About the Cheviot Stages Rally
The Cheviot Stages is the club’s main rally event and has been running since the early 1980’s on the challenging tarmac roads of the MOD’s Otterburn Ranges training area. In 1983 the event joined the inaugural National Asphalt Rally Championship and has been a feature of national and local championships for over 40 years, only occasionally interrupted by the MOD’s training requirements and the COVID pandemic.
The event traditionally runs in the late Autumn, apart from a few years in the late 1990’s, running in February at the behest of the National Championship and the unique ranges weather of all four seasons in one day adds an extra challenge.
The event has attracted the cream of national and local rallying talent over the years, with the most successful driver being the late John Price, whose record of 10 victories is unsurpassed. Early events were a challenge to driver, co-driver and car as they offered around 100 miles of stages on the narrow, undulating moorland roads with many blind crests, hidden dips, bumps and sharp bends.
By using all available roads on the ranges, a stage of almost 22 miles in length was possible and was the longest tarmac stage in the country. Nearly all crews have a tale to tell of visiting the scenery on Otterburn at some point in their careers!
In the mid 2000’s, development work on the ranges to accommodate larger MOD vehicles widened many of the roads and smoothed out a lot of the bumps. The challenge to competitors still remained, though and speeds increased, leading to a greater need for chicanes and tightened junctions to be used to slow cars and maintain safety.
In later years, the availability of roads for stage use has been restricted and events have only been able to run around 60 miles of stages, although the event’s organising team have been working with the MOD and the tenant farmers to try and reopen some of the roads where access is currently unavailable.
Unfortunately, the ongoing situation in Ukraine has led to an increased demand for training on the MOD’s UK estate and it has not been possible to obtain use of the ranges for the 2023 rally. It is hoped that the situation improves for next year and the intention is for the Cheviot Stages to return in September 2024.
Join the Club
New members are always welcome.
We meet every Thursday evening from around 8:00pm at Kibblesworth Workmens Club.
If you're thinking of coming along, please do email us and let us know, as we would hate to think you came along and nobody spoke to you.