A good route, good start venue, good lunch halt and a good entry list would tick most of the boxes , and the 2021 Andy Mort Tour had all of these – and more.
After missing out last year to Covid, the 2300 Club promised to put on an event to remember in 2021.
And they were rewarded with an entry list that was almost full within a week of opening, the original 50 car limit extended to 60 to accommodate the surge of interest.
Club members Walter Bateson and Dave Barritt produced an amazing 125-mile route that was challenging but not damaging, and encompassed some of the most well-known road rally roads in Lancashire, Cumbria and North Yorkshire.
The Club also paid tribute to Trevor Roberts, who sadly passed away last year, with his famous Mini Cooper S 24 FTE running at car one in the hands of Mini Sport’s Michael Anderson.
He had the honour of leading the field away from West Bradford village hall, flagged off by Trevor’s widow Ann, who was delighted to see the car back in action, and 2300 Club president Joan Molyneux.
A meticulously-prepared tulip road book was provided to ensure navigators kept on the right route, however it was noted that several crews managed to get confused early on by the tricky ‘left-then-right’ junction in the centre of Waddington!
From there, the field headed west, negotiating the spider’s web of narrow lanes around Beacon Fell Country Park. The correct route took everyone on the southern loop, although several crews reported taking the more scenic northern loop instead….
From Beacon Fell, the route headed north, running parallel with the M6 passing Barnacre, Woodacre (who remembers Woodacre Ford from Morecambe Road Rally days?), Scorton, through Dolphinhome, and on up to Quernmore before the most eagerly anticipated section on the Tour.
The legendary Haylots.
It’s a tight and twisty ribbon of tarmac that has been used for decades on road rallies, the Rally of the Tests and Le Jog. Although run strictly to Road Traffic Act speed limits, it gave all the crews the chance to sample one of the sport’s most famous stretches of road.
After a short run down to Wray, there was a one-hour lunch halt at Bridge House Farm, who did everyone proud with a fabulous barbeque lunch and hot drinks. It also gave everyone chance to relax and recount tales of the morning’s adventures in the picturesque surroundings of the tearooms.
Not everyone though, such is the nature of old cars that running repairs are always needed, and Michael Anderson spent much of the lunch halt under 24 FTE sorting out the brakes which had spectacularly failed at Beacon Fell.
With another ceremonial start from Bridge House, the afternoon section took in Wennington, Melling, Arkholme and over Docker Moor, before a long loop north around Kirkby Lonsdale, cars then joining the A583 for a short run before turning off for Burton in Lonsdale.
As the sun finally broke cover for the first time, the Tour finished off with a real drivers road over the moors between Clapham and Gisburn Forest, a glorious 10-mile section that gave everyone the chance for some spirited motoring before heading for the finish.
As always, the signature ‘Special Test’ at Castle Cement car park proved an entertaining end to the day, before a welcome tea back at West Bradford Village Hall.
The smiles on everyone’s faces told their own story: the 2021 Andy Mort Tour was outstanding success from start to finish.