National Series grasstrack racing returns to the York Rally!

yr-artwork01We are proud to welcome racers of the National Endurance Grass Track League and National Short Distance Grass League back to the Rally!

The grasstrack racing arena will be the centrepiece of the  revived Rally, and we hope for a top class field of competitors.

Adult/Junior ( male and female) racing will be on the Saturday, and Youth racing on Sunday.

Entries are now live via the British Cycling website: see full race details and how to enter (online or by post) via British Cycling.

All of the latest details and info will be added to the Grasstrack Racing page on the Rally website.

If anyone has any pictures of the grasstrack events at past Rallies, we’d love to use some to help promote this event!  Please email, or just leave a comment below this story.

The Saddlebag Sale (cycle jumble) is back!

More shortly from the meeting – there are plenty of developments to catch up with!

But for now just a note that the Saddlebag Sale cycle jumble is now confirmed as running on the Sunday morning of the Rally, with doors opening to buyers from 11AM. Sellers can set up from 10AM.

Entry will be free with a show programme (costing £1), otherwise £1.

Sellers (strictly secondhand goods only) can book tables for £10 – but there are just 50 available, and it will be first come first served. Online bookings are open now – this is always a popular event so get in early to be sure of a space!

Meeting and AGM – this Saturday!

Just a reminder that we’re meeting again as the York Rally Committee (and having our AGM) this Saturday (29th November) at 10AM, downstairs at ‘Your Bike Shed’ in Micklegate, York.

All are very welcome to attend, whether you’re just curious, would like to make a suggestion, or would like to volunteer.

Here ‘s some of us at a previous meeting:

York Rally meeting, Sept 2015
York Rally meeting, Sept 2015



Book in the next month to get the lowest campsite prices!

2010 York Rally - riders set off past the site. Photo: Peter Eland
2010 York Rally – riders set off past the site. Photo: Peter Eland

Just a note that the ‘super earlybird’ campsite booking rates end a month today, as you’ll see on the campsite bookings page – you’ll need to book before the 20th December to enjoy the largest discounts.

Earlybird reductions do continue after that, but to a lesser extent, until the 6th April 2015 – then bookings are at full price until they close on the 1st of June. After that, you’ll need to book in on arrival…

Early bookings really do help the Rally – not only with much-needed funds to help cover the up-front costs of staging the event, but also for planning and site layout purposes. The sooner we have an idea of confirmed numbers, the earlier we can start making firm arrangements for the various parts of the site!

Finally, thanks from the campsite team and the whole committee to everyone who has already booked in!

The road race that ran to the Rally

More scanning! We’re back in 1963, with a major road race running from London to York, and ending in front of the crowds at the Knavesmire:

1963-200miler-cover (Large)

The full programme shows a list of entrants, prize money and an (unfortunately not very legible) list of officials and supporters:

Most interesting perhaps is the route:

1963 london to york route (Large)

Not sure it’d be so easy to arrange a race up the A1 today!

We also have a clipping from (I assume) one of the cycling mags of the day:

1963-200miler-report (Large)

One day, perhaps, we’ll attract a race finish back to the revived Rally!

Scanning the ’60s

Committee member Dave Bishop has been preserving an archive of York Rally materials for over half a century, and he’s kindly made it available for the new Rally website. So I’ve made a start on the scanning, with a look back to the 1960s. Click any image to enlarge – and I have the original scans at twice this resolution for the archives.

We’ll start with the Rally pennant for 1960:


and the design was little changed for 1961:


For 1962, however, the pennant had changed orientation and added ribbons:


That’s all the pennants we have for this decade.  Unfortunately, even after our previous article on the subject we still don’t know much about these Rally pennants. Who designed them? Where were they flown?

Anyway, onwards to 1963, and the show programme!


Note the sponsorship and back cover advert from the Daily Mail – an illustration perhaps of the national significance of the Rally in its heyday.

So far I’ve just scanned covers and the centre pages of the show programmes – there might be a copyright issue if I reproduced the whole publication. Also, to preserve Dave’s copies it’s nice not to force every page flat onto the scanner. So this was at the middle of 1963’s programme:


The preceding pages show the event schedule, leading up to this spread all about Sunday afternoon.  The picture, with a child in what looks like a nicely crafted cycle trailer, is presumably from the ‘Cycling Families’ event at 1.40pm. “Families are invited to come into the arena for inspection by the judges. Prizes are awarded for smartness of family and originality of equipment.” One to revive for 2015?

The next programme we have is 1967:


Cycle computers have perhaps moved on a tad since the Lucas Cyclometer was being advertised… chapeau to the graphic designer, too, for a striking cover layout. And inside on the centre pages we have:


a ‘Sunday Afternoon Spectacular‘ no less! The ‘Cycling Families‘ event has been replaced, I note, with the ‘Bicycle Belle Competition – to find the girl who symbolizes the spirit of the 1967 CTC Rally and the open-air enthusiasm of the cycle-tourist.  Personal appearance, suitability of dress and riding style are among factors taken into consideration by the judges.” Not really appropriate for 2015, I think most would agree.

Our final item from the ’60s is this envelope dated 1969, which contains just a subscription reminder. I’ve blurred the recipient address on this web version – it’s not inconceivable that it’s still valid.


More lovely artwork – and note how even the postmark promotes the 25th ‘Silver Jubilee’ Rally!

Surveying the Knavesmire perimeter track – with video!

A number of organisations have now expressed an interest in staging races or displays on the permimeter track on the Knavesmire during the 2015 York Rally – this would be great to see!

The track is a consistent 3.2 m wide (10′ 6″), checked in several places around the course. The length available for racing is around 1.59 miles (about 2.56 km) starting from near the main site entrance. If the start is placed just after the Cherry Lane entrance at the far side of the course, then there is 1.08 miles or 1.74 km available.  Maps and distances via the excellent

To give potential event organisers a better idea of the track I nipped out today between some heavy showers and took this video: watch in HD for best quality (and you may as well turn sound off – it’s mostly just wind noise):

And as Vimeo keeps giving me errors on playback here it is via Youtube, too:

We are fairly certain that the works obviously in progress  in the video (especially just before the Cherry Lane entrance) will all be completed well before the Rally in June 2015, and the piles of soil spilling onto the track will be gone by then too.

The only slightly awkward bit for racing machines might be the soft crossing just after the Cherry Lane entrance. We’ll check with the racecourse as to whether that will be removed before June, to leave firm track, or not. In any case, even if starting races just after this, there’s a clear mile of track to go, plus around 140 yards of the finishing straight left over as a slow-down zone.

I also took a series of photos as I went around – the details are in the captions:

If anyone wants any further details – or pictures/video from a dry day nearer the time – please just let us know.

We could also check the distances more accurately if necessary using one of those wheel-type surveying devices, as one of our Committee has access to one – seen here in action surveying the grass track area last week!


Campsite bookings are open – online and by post!

Earlybird bookings at much reduced rates are now open for the 2015 York Rally campsite!

The site will be run along traditional lines, with a separate (motor vehicle free) area for lightweight campers and plenty of pitches for caravans/motorhomes. Socialising and mingling on the campsite with fellow cyclists is one of the highlights of the Rally experience for many.

You can book by post or online now – see the campsite booking page!

Also, as you may have noticed we’ve reorganised the website now that the Sportive has happened, and we’ll fill out the sections with more information about the 2015 event as the various aspects are confirmed.

Finally, as you’ll see on the Past Events and History page, we’re looking for a volunteer to take on managing that side of the site – or just to collate and provide material for me to post up. Please get in touch ( if you can help!