International Rallying: Another Stuart Turner Car Rally Book

Stuart Turner is one of my favorite authors.  Probably because he is the one of the most prolific writers about car rallying.  He was a top navigator in the major car rallies of the late 1950s and early 1960s.  Then he became the Competition Manager at the British Motor Corporation (BMC) in 1961.  During this period he converted the BMC works rally team from a team of “gentlemen” rally drivers to a team of professional rally drivers.  Under Turner’s direction the BMC rally team with their Minis and Austin-Healey cars were the dominant rally team of that era.  The book that I have been reading “International Rallying”, written in 1965, was Stuart Turner’s second book.

International Rallying Cover

The time that Turner covers in this book was a period of transition in the major international rallies of the day.  This is demonstrated by the first couple of sentences of the book: “Five years ago it was possible to begin a book on rallying with the words “A rally is not a race”; this book deals with international rallying and the statement is no longer quite so apt.  The increase in tourist traffic over much of the most popular rally territory has forced organizers to plan events featuring easy runs between major time controls, with a series of special speed tests interspersed among these legs, over closed roads, where cars are timed against the clock.”  This is now the conventional way that rallying is conducted for the World Rally Championship as in many stage or performance rally series and has been the case in North America since the early 1970s.

Andrew Cowan Rover 1965 Acropolis

Andrew Cowan’s Rover 2000 At The 1965 Acropolis Rally

One of things that I noticed with some dismay while reading Turner’s book is that some of the challenges with car rallying in 1965 are still challenges in 2014.  Some of those challenges are the cost and time required to compete in major rallies.

Morely Twins MGB Monte

Morley Brothers Won Their Class In The 1964 Monte Carlo Rally

In much of the book Turner uses his experiences in the Monte Carlo rally as the basis or as examples to support a point that Turner is making.  Clearly in 1965 the Monte Carlo Rally was the biggest rally of the year when it comes to publicity, which obviously is very important to the car manufacturers.  The book has a number of images of rallying in the Monte Carlo rally such as the photo above of the Morley brothers on the historic Col de Turini in a MGB.

Triumph TR4 Winter Rally

Jean-Jacques Thuner At The Monte Carlo Rally In A Works TR4

In the book Stuart Turner makes some comments on some of the major international rallies of the day.  In his opinion the Alpine Rally is expensive and takes a long time to compete in especially when recce is included.  However Turner said that the Alpine Rally is a good way to get noticed, as a good finish in the Alpine Rally is indicative of a very good rally team and works team managers would notice.  Turner says that the Liege rally was the rally up to and including the 1964 running of this event.  This was a very tough, fast event, but the reality of increasing traffic on the roads caused the event to be slowed down considerably in 1965.  The Liege rally eventually just faded away.

In summary this is another good book that I am glad I added to my collection of books about rallying.

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