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Flying Scotsman Rally ready to depart

THE ninth Flying Scotsman Rally, Britain’s most famous competitive vintage car rally, will start this Friday (March 31) with more than 100 participants crossing the start line at Slaley Hall, Northumberland.

For this year, the youngest car to take on the 800-mile event, organised by the Endurance Rally Association (ERA), is a 1948 MG TC while the oldest is an Itala 40 dating from 1907. The 2016 winning combination of the 1931 Talbot 105 Alpine of Gareth Burnett and Martyn Taylor also return to the entry list.

The 2017 Rally will give enthusiasts the rare opportunity to appreciate some truly exquisite machinery, ranging from a 1937 SS Jaguar 100 and a 1925 Vauxhall 30/98 to a 1938 BMW 328 and a 1933 Aston Martin Le Mans.

The competitors will face some very changeable weather and a demanding array of roads through the north of England and Scotland over three days of intensive driving that would defeat many modern cars.

ERA Rally Director Fred Gallagher said: “Each year we have ventured further and further north. Our goal was to explore more of Scotland before we return to the original format for the tenth anniversary in 2018. The line-up is exceptional and we can guarantee that whatever the weather, the motoring will be second to none.”

The first stage commences at Slaley Hall in Hexham, and the route encompasses the stunning forest lands of Castle O’er, the Eskdalemuir moorlands and the Moorfoot Hills before crews and cars alike can take a well-earned rest at the four-star country house hotel of Dalmahoy, situated just outside of Edinburgh.

On Saturday, the entrants head towards the Forth Road Bridge before progressing towards the Cairngorm Mountains. Before nightfall, they will have to navigate the remote highways in the regions of Braemar, one of the coldest places in the UK and Tomintoul, believed to be the highest village in the Scottish Highlands.

After a night’s respite at Aviemore, Sunday will see the many drivers attempting to improve their standings in the results as they journey along the roads around the Forest of Athol and Loch Tay. Crews will be able to refresh themselves at the renowned Bridge of Balgie tea rooms before they reach the finishing line at Gleneagles Hotel in the late afternoon.

The Rally, sponsored by Dunhill London, will conclude with the traditional accompaniment of bagpipes and popping corks.

Over the past nine years, the event has firmly established itself as one of the major fixtures in the motoring calendar, famed for the chance to experience some of the most beautiful scenery in Western Europe.

Above all, the Flying Scotsman Rally is an occasion in which some of the world’s finest cars can be driven in the way that they were originally intended to be enjoyed.

For more details including all the results and the latest updates on all forthcoming ERA events, visit http://www.endurorally.com.

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