Never has so much rain fallen in such a small area.
Or at least that’s how it felt being out on the stages for the 2015 running of the FIA World Rally Championships visit to Wales Rally GB. As me and fellow colleague Tom Loomes trudged away from the final stage on Sunday everything was wet. Rain was pouring down from all angles as the wind picked spread the heavy rain across the valley.
My camera had packed in (presumably water in the battery compartment or something along those lines), my walking boots had developed an uncomfortable leak which made them feel something akin to walking with goldfish bowls on either foot, my waterproof coat was failing at it’s primary purpose and to top it all off I was freezing cold as the sharp winter wind whipped around the forests of Wales.
The Brenig special stage was not a place that anyone really wanted to be on Sunday morning.
That said Wales Rally GB is never supposed to be a walk in the park for spectators and competitors. Some of the most challenging conditions were unleashed on Wales as Hurricane Barney whipped through the countryside creating changeable grip levels and puddles the size of lakes spread sporadically throughout the stages.
So, with the horrible weather why were the car parks for almost every stage completely rammed full?
That’s because rally fans are made of tough stuff. They expect the conditions to be horrible on Wales Rally GB, it’s part of it’s fantastic history – rain, sleet, snow, fog, hail (yes, we had some of that this year!), high winds, flooding…everything is possible for this rally so coming prepared for anything is a given. At no other motorsport event will you watch fans turning up so prepared to watch a spectacle like this. Full on waterproof gear with and everything possible to keep as dry and as warm as possible.
Watch as fans turn up to the forests hours before they can even remotely be called a ‘special stage’. British rally fans are made of tough stuff and that honestly makes them some of the best in the world.
You won’t find an event like Wales Rally GB anywhere else in the world, and whilst it does move a few weeks earlier in the FIA WRC calendar for 2016 I guarantee none of it’s charm will be lost. So let it rain, snow and throw whatever the Welsh weather feels like challenging us with – I’ll be there waiting to the world’s best rally drivers tackle some of the most incredible stretches of road in the Wales.