As a child growing up in the England of the 1980’s my tastes, and those of friends and classmates, were largely defined by fairly narrow perimeters. With no internet, interests and heroes were formed through three television networks, one of which also ran the only radio station I can remember anyone listening to.
All this meant that the rare sporting events which were broadcast on television, or the large concerts held at venues like Wembley Stadium were hard to escape. Lesser sports also held attention, due to the lack of televisual options on those long dull days when nothing else was happening. I developed a passing interest in Rugby League and Darts, as well as motor sports.
Rally driving couldn’t have been more enjoyable to watch if it tried. Featuring the type of cars you would find parked outside the local supermarket, but plastered in stickers, it seemed more reachable than say, Formula 1. The locations were also places I had either been to, or didn’t seem wildy exotic. In short, it looked like huge fun, and imminently possible.
Banged up, muddy, actual living breathing rally cars form part of my childhood memories. My family lived across the street from a mechanic from the Peugeot-Talbot team. He might have only had a car fresh from a rally in his drive way once,although the importance, and freshness, of that memory would suggest I woke up every Monday morning around 1986 to the fantastic sight of a filthy and dented Peugeot 205. But that’s memories for you. Not to be trusted, although no less enjoyable for that fact.
My eldest daughter is now about the age I was when I was watching motor sports on tv, seeing rally cars in my neighbour’s drive, and developing the pub quiz level understanding of motor vehicles I have today. How will she remember our wander around a Levin field last Sunday, taking in the sites of the hot rods and muscle cars gathered? And how will those memories be skewed or aided by the images shown here? But perhaps you can’t plan memories. The mind has a mind of its own.