Video: Group B Rally

There are two schools of thought when it comes to drugs in sport. The main one is that athletes should be as natural as possible. They should compete to the best of their natural ability and in doing so, the nobility of sport is maintained.

The lesser-followed school of thought is that athletes should just go for it. Show exactly how far a human being can take themselves using whatever chemical assistance they can find. They know the risks, it’s their choice. Get out there and set some records.

Personally, I’m all for the first school of thought – preserve the nobility of sport. There have to be rules to ensure a reasonable playing field. The on-drugs crowd might produce some spectacular performances from time to time, but the cost just won’t be worth it.

Exhibit A for the defence is this 10-minute video on Group B rally. The era 1982-86 is remembered as the golden era of rallying and this video will show you why. The cars and the performances were just amazing.

But….. just like a no-holds barred sporting competition pumped up on drugs, sooner or later you realise you’re watching freaks. And sooner or later someone’s going to die pushing the limits just that little bit too far.

Enjoy amazing. But be thankful for what we’ve got.

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  1. My favorite story of the “Killer Bs” came from famous driver Ari Vatanen: Spectators were so crazed and brazen– and close– that it was a tradition to slap the sides of the car with your bare hands as it flew by at frightening speeds. When they finished a leg one time, the mechanics noticed a disembodied finger (?!?!) in the cars’ panel gaps!!

  2. Maybe the Group B cars where like athletes on steroids, but it was the time where Formula 1 was also showcasing what is the maximum power/speed of a car.

    Nowadays everything is highly regularised, only for the sake of safety, and accidents are still happening, see last weeks NASCAR race.

    Funny enough that cars with more power than those group B are now street legal, and those are driven by, by far, worse drivers.

  3. I was so lucky to be able to watch these monsters live when I was a teenager. This circus arrived to my home town once a year for the Rally of the 1000 Lakes.

  4. In my view the problem was not with the ever increasing power of the cars themselves but with the ever increasing stupidity of the spectators!
    Modern rally cars are just as powerful now and the sport highly regulated but just two weeks ago a spectator was tragically killed on the very first stage of the Snowman rally here in Scotland and the car involved was not a particularly powerful car. It was just bad luck and a tragic accident.
    I have been lucky enough to marshal stages of the Scottish Rally and I can tell you, you don’t want to be standing behind one of these cars when it tears off at the start of a stage. One of my co-marshals got a rather large rock in the shin from the wheels of a car as it left the start line!
    Thankfully, spectators are under better control now and have a better awareness of just how powerful and quick these machines can be.