Steve Entwistle in his Orangebox.
Originally founded in 1932, the RAC Rally of the Tests is notorious for being one of the toughest and most challenging events around, testing both the car and driver. The 3rd-6th of November sees the return of this event as a regular on the rally calendar, retaining both it’s traditional and authentic format in a series of challenging routes running between Bournemouth – Bristol – Stoke – Chester.
Steve ‘s Orangebox Mini.
Having participated in the Rally of the Tests back in 2013 in his Orangebox Mini, with the backing of Mini Sport, Steve had stated that he thoroughly enjoyed himself and would love to compete again. There was then a discussion last December between Steve and Chris Harper (Mini Sport MD), regarding Steve’s plans for 2016, with his Orangebox being off the road until 2017 requiring a full rebuild. Having mentioned that the RAC would be back sponsoring the Rally of the Tests, both raising the profile of the rally and bringing back the ‘RAC Rally’ that originally ran in 1932. It was suggested, that should Paddy approve, Steve would rally in 6 EMO. A meeting was arranged with Paddy, Chris and Steve and the plans presented. Steve was given the green light with Mini Sport set to do the rally preparation etc, on 6 EMO.
Paddy Hopkirk holding the prestigious Peall trophy.
Steve has told Hero that he, “mentioned that I would love to do the RAC Rally of The Tests as it is the real deal, the iconic blue and white rally plates, travelling from town to town in the UK, there’s not another event quite like it. I did it in 2013 with Bob Hargreaves and it struck me as being a real test with a great mixture of daylight sections and road rally like night sections – where I cut my teeth. Last week I was down in Wales testing with Mini Sport in Paddy’s other car, 6 EMO which was used by him to win the Classic Marathon and by Roger Clark to take 6th on the Manx Historic in. Paddy has given his blessing for me to use 6 EMO on the RAC Rally of The Tests and be partnered by Henry Carr for the event, we had the initial discussions just after the HRCR Open Day at Gaydon and shortly afterwards I received the call from Chris Harper of Mini Sport that Paddy was extremely excited I was going to use the car, I’m still pinching myself. It has brought to fruition the support from my family and friends have given me over the years, Mini Sport have been brilliant with me and since I worked for them years ago I have kept in touch and felt like a part of the family.”
6 EMO on the ramps here at Mini Sport in preparation for the 2016 Rally of the Tests.
A massive ‘GOOD LUCK’ from all here at Mini Sport to Steve Entwistle and his navigator Henry Carr, who will be hoping to get their hands on the prestigious Peall trophy in November!
You can read more about Paddy Hopkirk in his interview from the RAC Rally of the Tests 2016 press day here courtesy of HERO.