Banbury gears up to welcome classic Monte Carlo Rally

Banbury mayor Colin Clarke and Cllr Kieron Mallon with John Lomas and Dan Hunter, of Blue Diamond Riley Services, whose 1949 MG TC which will take part in the Monte Carlo Rallye when it passes through Banbury NNL-180116-113157001
Banbury mayor Colin Clarke and Cllr Kieron Mallon with John Lomas and Dan Hunter, of Blue Diamond Riley Services, whose 1949 MG TC which will take part in the Monte Carlo Rallye when it passes through Banbury NNL-180116-113157001
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Shoppers in Banbury were given a sneak preview of what to expect when the Rallye Monte Carlo Historique and Classique passes through the town next month.

John Lomas and Dan Hunter of Blue Diamond Riley Services in Bicester presented their 1949 MG TC car to Banbury mayor Colin Clarke and Cherwell District Councillor Kieron Mallon on January 9.

The car will be on display in Market Place when the rally comes to town NNL-180116-113145001

The car will be on display in Market Place when the rally comes to town NNL-180116-113145001

On January 31, the pair will set off from Paisley near Glasgow with the Classique aspect of the rally, stopping at an official passage control in Banbury the next day before finishing in Monte Carlo on February 4.

Mr Lomas, who lives in Banbury during the week, said: “This is a fantastic event and a great opportunity to promote vintage cars to the community and enthuse the younger generation.

“It will be especially poignant this year as it will make an official stop in Banbury where we can involve our local community in this historic event.”

The rally will comprise a 1,500 mile journey, starting in Scotland, passing through England, across the Channel to France before finishing in Monaco with a black tie dinner.

For the first time since 1962, the rally will pass through Banbury, stopping in Bridge Street and Market Place where visitors will be able to admire the cars and speak with the drivers.

Cllr Mallon said: “This is a momentous occasion for Banbury and I would encourage everyone to make a conscious effort to come along and be part of this historic event.

“The Monte Carlo Rally attracts worldwide attention so we are proud to literally put Banbury on the map.”

The participants will be joined by up to 100 classic and vintage cars in a static display which includes famous rally vehicles from local firms Prodrive, Brackley-based BGM and Tuthill Porsche.

Blue Diamond will also be offering free repairs for the rally drivers and will bring along a small collection of cars for the display.

These will include two 1930’s Riley’s that competed in the Monte Carlo Rally, a 1931 Riley 9 ‘WD’ which competed the event in 2016 and also a 1936 Riley Sprite which competed in the event in 1937.

Banbury Market will run as usual with additional stalls selling tea, coffee and street food to cater for the crowds.

Cllr Clarke said: “The Monte Carlo Rally will bring international interest to Banbury so is a unique opportunity to promote all the other wonderful aspects of our community including the history, the old town and local businesses.

“By bringing together residents, visitors, and businesses, we can join together to promote our wonderful town and highlight the fantastic attractions we have to offer.”

The event takes place between 10am and 3.30pm – from 1.30pm the rally vehicles will leave the town at one minute intervals.

During the event, Bridge Street and Market Place will be closed to traffic.