Rally worth the trip 0
If you’re one of the many who close-up the cottage around Thanksgiving weekend consider making a change this year that includes a trip to Bancroft in late November.
While not always the nicest weather, a trip to Bancroft on Nov. 23 and 24 will give you enough excitement to stay warm for a few days.
Each November, high performance cars flood into the town for an incredibly exciting event. After racing all summer at different locations across the country, rally drivers from Canada and the U.S. hit Bancroft for the final event of the Canadian Rally Championships.
Tall Pines is the final race for a group of competitors who are willing to go all out and drive hard to take home a title.
If you’re not familiar with rally, it’s an interesting sport. Cars with all-wheel drive and super-charged engines race through our back roads one after another. They transition from gravel to hard top to dirt at high speeds with one driver behind the wheel and a co-driver giving directions and course notes in the passenger seat.
For those of us who drive these roads every day the event is that much more thrilling.
The cars are fast and often don’t make the tight corners; ending up in pieces.
Each year there are more than 50 cars that enter but stage after gruelling stage, the numbers drop and only the best and those with lots of luck will finish.
Because of the late November race date the weather is always part of the excitement. In the past five years there have been snow events, icy-cold windy events and last year’s unseasonably warm temperatures were a treat for spectators. And when it comes to spectating, many of those who return year after year are hoping for the magical winter roads/summer ditches combination that challenges drivers and sends car after car into our rocky, dry and unforgiving ditches.
The rally runs in different stages through the Saturday and spectators are given details on where they can watch. The majority of fans end up at the Iron Bridge spectating area to hang with other enthusiasts and enjoy the live commentating. There are barbecues, chip trucks and lots of camaraderie.
The staging area and rally headquarters transforms the Dungannon Recreation Centre in L’Amable into a race fan’s paradise with cars and their teams ready to interact with the public. You can wander through the teams and watch as they repair cars, swap tires and study course notes.
Food is always served out of the community centre for those needing a bite to eat or a place to have a rest.
The rally organizers started a VIP program in 2002 and it has sold-out each year. Providing transportation to viewing areas and heated spectating stages, a catered meal and access to the awards event, it’s a great way to get a close look at rally.
Tall Pines does well for a number of reasons. It’s extremely interactive and participants are happy to chat with fans. The spectators are friendly and knowledgeable and the event is just plain exciting.
You don’t just see the cars as they power by; you feel the sounds of their engines deep in your gut as they get closer and then as they shoot up the gravel going past the cheering fans.
These drivers take on the locals roads the way we all want to. They have courage, great cars and a fearlessness that makes Tall Pines worth a trip in late November.
For more on Tall Pines please visit tallpinesrally.com.