International eyes will be on Brampton when rallying returns to the town’s streets.
The Pirelli Rally ceremonial start in Carlisle city centre.
This part of north Cumbria is preparing to host the finish of the 2017 Pirelli International Rally – and it is hoped the race will bring a welcome boost to the economy.
In recent years Brampton has hosted a sprint of the Tour of Britain cycling race as well as a stage in the Blue Streak Targa Rally, organised by Spadeadam Motor Club.
Both events packed the town centre, with people arriving to see the action.
David Moorat, chairman of the parish council, was “greatly encouraged” by organisers setting their sights on Brampton.
He wants to build on previous successess and expects B&Bs to see an influx of bookings, while cafes, pubs and shops will have more potential customers thanks to the world-famous rally.
“Putting Brampton on the map isn’t our first objective. Our first objective is to help businesses in Brampton survive and do well from such an international event,” said Mr Moorat.
“We’ve earned a good reputation and it really is encouraging to see this being taken up by the Pirelli Rally.”
The rally, which is a key fixture in Cumbria’s sporting calendar, usually starts from Carlisle and returns to the city after drivers battle it out at Kielder Forest.
Brampton sits on the route and has previously been included in the rally.
Now, it will play a bigger part in the event when the rally cars make their way to the finish line on April 30.
The parish council was approached last year and members were keen to host the ceremonial finish.
The centre, which will feature a big screen TV, car displays and the Pirelli Formula 1 simulator, will be closed off and the first of the cars is expected between noon and early afternoon.
“It’s one of the biggest sporting events in Cumbria in the year,” said Brian Kinghorn, chairman of the organising committee for Pirelli International Rally.
“We will be bringing the British Rally Championship section of the event, which is the international section, back to finish there.
“It’s an experiment to see how it works in Brampton but I’m sure it will be absolutely great.”
He continued: “We sincerely hope the people of Brampton will turn out and come and support it.
“We’ll try and make it as good an atmosphere as we possibly can.
“We realise that a road closure causes a little bit of disruption from a parking point of view but hopefully all the business will be open and certainly the cafe, pubs and shops will get some good business out of it.”
The rally is run on an international permit and is a round of the FIA International Celtic Rally Championship.