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Douglas Anderson (left) with Cllr Mallon and a classic car from the Oxford Motor Club
Douglas Anderson (left) with Cllr Mallon and a classic car from the Oxford Motor Club

Iconic Monte Carlo Rally returns to Banbury after 50 year absence.

The famous Monte Carlo Rally is set to return to Banbury in February 2018 after an absence of 50 years.

In January 1962 crowds filled Horse Fair from edge to edge, in the hope getting close to the cars and crews taking part in the Rallye Monte Carlo Historique.

On Thursday, 1 February 2018 the rally returns to Banbury, with an official passage control point in the Market Place.

Douglas Anderson, coordinator of the UK leg of the rally, said:

“We want to spread the word about the rally and perhaps help the places we stop at along the way. It can be quite surprising what a boost it can be for a town.

“It starts at Paisley Abbey in Scotland and brings in £1million for local businesses. People come from all over Scotland, Ireland and England to wave off the drivers and they stay in hotels, eat out and shop.

“But not just that, it puts a smile on people’s faces. There’s the ethos and glamour of the rally, it’s an adventure across the continent passing through the snowy Alps, in classic, but somewhat unreliable cars.’

“With stories of break downs and people stopping to help, there’s a great feeling around the rally so we want to share that feeling with motorsport and non-motorsport fans alike.”

Cllr Kieron Mallon sits on the executive for Cherwell District Council and is ward member for Banbury, Calthorpe and Easington.

He said:

“Fifty years ago Banbury was part of the rally, so it’s fantastic to see it back again. It shows Banbury as a destination, not only for business, but for visitors and tourists.

“Having 20 or 30 veteran cars rumbling around about Banbury and the Market Place will be a fantastic sight that will add to the energy and vibrancy we already know exists in the town whilst giving a post-Christmas boost to town traders.”

Between 11.30am and 1.30pm on Thursday, 1 February around 20 to 30 classic cars will pass through the town and road closures will be in place (to be published in due course).

Last year the event saw 10,000 people gather at the start point in Scotland to wave the drivers off on the first leg of the rally.

This year organisers hope Banbury residents and businesses offer their enthusiastic support to the crews for the second part of the UK leg.

The event will coincide with Banbury Charter Market which will include additional food stalls to help keep out the cold and sustain the crowds, whilst Oxford Motor Club will have a display of classic cars.

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