Monte Carlo or bust

Monte Carlo Rally at Ye Olde Bell Hotel.
Monte Carlo Rally at Ye Olde Bell Hotel.

DONCASTER may have missed out on the Tour de France, but sports fans weren’t left disappointed when the famous Monte Carlo Rally roared into our region.

Record crowds flocked to The Ye Olde Bell at Barnby Moor to catch a glimpse of scores of drivers making the marathon trek from snowy Glasgow to sunkissed Monte Carlo on the French Riveria.

The 2,000km drive, this year in its 102nd running, is classed as one of the world’s most glamorous motoring events with drivers from across the globe signing up for the event down the years.

Hotel spokesman said Sue Wilson said: “The Monte Carlo Rally is one of the most famous motorsport events in the world and we were honoured that the Ye Olde Bell was chosen as an official checkpoint. We had more than 200 people coming along to see the drivers.”

The hotel, just off the A1, was the midway stopping off point for the cars en route from Glasgow, which was chosen as one of the event’s host cities for 2013.

The race was originally created in 1911 by Prince Albert to entice wealthy car owners to the famous casinos of the French Riviera and the annual pilgrimage from start points all over Europe is now synonymous with glamour, human adventure and beautiful cars.

Among the particpiants this year were Craig Lowndes, Richard Davison and Gary Poole, re-enacting the expolits of Davison’s father Lex who competed on the 1953 Monte Carlo Rally.

The Aussie trio started from Glasgow on Australia Day in an identical Holden vehicle with the same Australian registration number and Monte competition plate 177 - and travelled down to Ye Olde Bell just like the 1953 team would have done.

Craig is one of Australia’s most celebrated sportsmen, having been the country’s V8 Supercar champion three times and winner of the famous Bathurst 1000 saloon car race an amazing five times. After leavng our region, drivers then crossed the Channel for the start of the famous concentration runs in the Alps. Over 40 classic cars, inclduing Porsches and Lancias from the 1920s to the 1980s plus a further 60 cars competing in special support events crossed the pub’s start ramp.