Snapshot, 1985: If you go down to the Welsh woods today…

It’s November 1985, and deep in the Welsh forest, a group of hardy British rally enthusiasts are finally rewarded for their before-dawn trek as the Group B boys finally make their passes, leaving nothing in their wake but turbo chirrups, licks of flame, showers of mud, and racing hearts…

It’s small wonder that rallying has superseded Formula 1 as Britain’s most popular motorsport. In spite of the frigid temperatures, unrelenting drizzle, and knee-deep mud, there’s something undeniably romantic about standing in the middle of nowhere and watching a snarling Group B rally car flash past in an eruption of noise, speed, and colour. Here, somewhere deep in the Welsh forest during the Lombard RAC Rally of Great Britain, the flying Finn Markku Alén wrestles his flame-belching Lancia Delta S4 around a hairpin on route to second overall, frustratingly one place behind his teammate Henri Toivonen. Before long, owing to a series of fatal accidents, the days where you can quite literally reach out and touch the cars as they pass will be over and Group B will be resigned to the history books forever. 

Photo: Bob Martin via Getty Images ©