Route Outline

Newcastle to Peebles

29th October - 1st November 2009

Continuing their efforts to combine tradition and innovation, Fred Bent and his team have sought out classic test venues from the heyday of the original "Tests" as well as unearthing new sites never before used for rallying.

This year's event boasts over 30 special tests that should provide something for everyone with stately homes, farm tracks, forest roads, military establishments and race circuits all being included.

In addition, the route includes around 15 regularities, exploring scenic country roads and challenging private land venues, and two "Testing" evening TC sections that both crew members should enjoy.

Prologue: Thursday - Newcastle

The Thursday evening "Prologue" will follow what has become an established format with a couple of tests and regularity sections in the Derwent Valley before returning to the Rally HQ for the traditional welcome dinner.

Day 1: Friday - Newcastle to Kendal

Spectacular scenery and glorious roads

Friday competition gets underway with some interesting new tests and regularities as the route criss-crosses the county border between Durham and North Yorkshire during the morning section. This includes a visit to the superb Croft Racing Circuit favoured by the original “Testers”, although back then it was Croft Airfield and the track would have been unlike the carefully manicured facility of today.

Following a lunch halt at the magnificent Bowes Museum, the afternoon section heads west into Cumbria and the Eastern Lakeland Fells, where the art of bridge building is still in its infancy, so crews are advised to invest in a can of WD40! The event remains in this area, formerly known as Westmoreland, for a supper halt and the evening section.

Details of the evening section will not be made available until the event, but as most crews will know, this is wonderful rally territory and they have an enjoyable evening in prospect before arriving at the overnight halt, in the "Old Grey Town" of Kendal on the edge of the Lake District.

Circuit Training

Day 2: Saturday - Kendal to Glasgow

An early start is required on Saturday as the MTC, at the Squirrel Inn on the Lowther Estate near Penrith, is a 45 minute drive from the overnight hotel. From here, it is straight into a series of tests and a regularity section before crossing into Scotland near Gretna Green.

Once into Scotland, the route turns west to pass through Dumfries and a visit to a super new test site before the lunch halt at a charming country house hotel near to Mabie Forest. In the afternoon, the route heads towards the coast at Kirkcudbright via further competitive sections before a visit to the David Coulthard Museum in Twynholm for a tea halt.

Striking north from Twynholm, a regularity section takes crews to the dramatic Drumlanrig Castle for another test before a final regularity precedes a supper halt at a pleasant loch-side hotel. The second short evening section then follows and the darkness at this point is perhaps a blessing as the route pass through a former lead mining area and hence, a less scenic part of Scotland on route to the overnight hotel on the banks of the Clyde in Glasgow.

Day 3: Sunday - Glasgow to Peebles

The iconic Peebles Hydro hotel

The final leg of the 2009 event starts with a visit to a testing hillclimb venue close to Glasgow. A short regularity then takes crews north to cross the Forth River en-route to Knockhill Racing Circuit for a series of tests.

After a quick breather for a coffee in the Pit Stop cafe, crews will set out south for the next tests at Ingliston - another popular venue from the heyday of the Rally of the Tests. Skirting Edinburgh, further new tests follow at Thirlestane Castle and Bowhill House, near Selkirk interspersed by scenic regularities.

Concentrated plotting

From Bowhill, the route turns north towards the rally finish in the small Scottish Borders town of Peebles, set amidst the attractive scenery of the Tweed Valley.

The Rally HQ and Prizegiving Dinner will be at the Hydro Hotel, dubbed the ‘Grand Old Lady of the Borders’. This iconic hotel has considerable rallying provenance, being a popular "Tests" rest halt, and should provide a perfect combination of relaxed informality and the elegance of another age for the 2009 "Testers".