Garstang rally brothers Andrew and John Gardner are gearing up for this weekend’s Blackpool-based 2014 Legend Fires North West Stages Rally, which promises to be the toughest in the event’s 17-year history.
No fewer than six former winners are in the 110 car line-up that attracts thousands of motorsport fans to the Fylde Coast for one of the North West’s biggest rally events.
The Gardner brothers have their sights set on success in the Class B category for cars up to 1600cc in which they are entered in their Peugeot 206 Super Cup Car.
The pair have previous experience of the event having won the best novice awards after finishing 34th in a Subaru Impreza in 2012.
This year driver Andrew and younger brother John, who fills the co-driver’s seat, face some new challenges with stages they have never competed on before, but the pair are confident they will make it through to the finish.
The six former winners who are competing this year are reigning champion Paul Bird, five times winner Steve Simpson, John Stone, Kevin Procter, Tony Bardy and Darren Doherty, who are looking to add to their tally of victories.
Spectators can catch the action at the TRAX Motorsport Centre, off Preston’s Riversway from around 6.30pm or on Blackpool’s North promenade between 8 and 10.30pm
Saturday mornings action centres on Fleetwood whilst the afternoon sees return visits to the Preston and Blackpool stages.
It also promises to be a busy weekend for students from Myerscough College, who are fielding a four-car team in the rally and also undertaking promotional roles in the Rally Village and on the spectator stages.
The college’s head of motorsport and mechanisation Belinda Cookson said: “Weekends like this give the students crucial real life experience on events where they’ll be working alongside potential employers.”
The event will also include a two-day motorshow at Norbreck’s Norcalympia Exhibition Area, which also plays host to the pre-rally scrutineering, Friday night’s parc ferme and Saturday evening’s post rally champagne finish.
The Rally Village will feature motors from a number of multiple motorsport disciplines, including stock cars, hot rods, drifting, rallycross and tractor pulling.