History & Photos: 1945-2012

The York Rally has a long history, and we hope to expand this section of the website extensively in due course with historic images, recollections and stories from Rallies past.

This page covers the years from the founding of the Rally in 1945 to its temporary demise after the 2012 event, during which time it ran under the auspices of the CTC.

There are separate pages for events run since the Rally’s revival in 2015 under a new, independent organising committee – find them here.


  • The York Rally is born! For now, scroll down below the images (we’ll restructure this page eventually). Dave Bishop has kindly provided this summary of the Rally’s foundation in 1945 to start the ball rolling.
  • We’ve posted a gallery of historic pennants of York Rally. Who can tell us more? Read the article.
  • And from the Dave Bishop collection here’s a selection of scans from the ’60s: more pennants, show programmes and even an envelope!
  • The road race that ran to the Rally: all about the 1963 London to York race, which ended at York’s Knavesmire.
  • Were you at the Rally in 1965? Some great pics and a request for information on the ‘Bootie’ folding cycle, exhibited that year, are here.
  • From Paul Reid’s collection, we have scans of 1949, 1962 and 1975 CTC publications which feature the Rally…
  • More articles, recollections etc. are always welcome!

Image gallery

1940s and 1950s

1960s and 1970s

1980s and 1990s

2000 onwards

All contributions are welcome, especially from the early years. Until we have a historian in place to collate these properly, please email your images at the best quality available to the Publicity Officer (see the About Us page) with as much description as you can. Please make it clear who should be credited for each photograph and be sure you have the rights to make the image available for use here.

The York Rally is born

Dave Bishop has kindly provided this summary of the Rally’s foundation in 1945 to start the ball rolling.

This year, 2014, it is 70 years since the first Rally was held on the Knavesmire.

The idea of a cycle rally originated from an idea from the Hull and East Riding District Association at a meeting of the District Association committee on 18th December 1944. C.A.Pratt raised the question of the possibility of organising an annual inter-DA meet with the object of encouraging closer collaboration between neighbouring DAs. This led to a meeting held in York on 18th March 1945 when the Yorkshire Inter-DA Committee came into being.

Those attending the meeting were:

  • Mid-Yorkshire DA: Mrs L.Bennett, R.G.M.Carmichael-Riddell, A.Fox, W.Firth.
  • Sheffield DA: Mrs J.Brufton, E.Gill, H.Lancaster, K.E.Stainton.
  • Teeside DA: L.Dawson, G.Jeffcote, F.Rowntree, G.Claxton-Smith.
  • Hull & East Riding DA: Mr & Mrs C.A.Pratt, H.E.Harland, G.E.Munson.

A simple decision was made to hold a rally “in or near York” in July 1945. Each DA was asked to donate ten shillings towards initial expenses. The title of the event would be “The Grand All-Yorkshire Cyclists Rally”.

Right from the never-to-be-forgotten Sunday in September 1945 when the very first York Rally was held on the beautiful Knavesmire, the event proved to have tremendous appeal. And it was repeated for 68 years until its temporary demise in 2013.