Includes of the Castrol/Autosport National Rallye Championship was the Talbot Sunbeam TI Challenge. It was formed for young race drivers. There they could proved their driving ability. The touring car champion Bernard Unett (1936-2000), which was involved in the development of the Sunbeam Rallye works cars, was the co-ordinator of this Challenge. The challange had attracted some experienced names. Rob James campaigned a Talbot in one season and both Colin Mack and Stewart Robertson were on the RAC Rallye, finished first and second in class. One of the hopefullest drivers was Kevin Stones, he has taken the major award in 1980, a Talbot Sunbeam Lotus for use 1981 Castrol/Autosport National Championships. Many competitors registered for the series hace made their way to the busy workshops of Des O' Dell in Coventry. The Challenge provides the teams an opportunity to get a competive race car for a little budget. Depending on the specifications of the original car it should be possible to build a Sunbeam TI for around £ 5000. It was possible to complete a race car from parts available from Talbot Special Tuning. The regulations of this series was as follows: With regard to the motor, it gives freedom in type of camshaft, manifold systems but not the carburettor or ignition, and allow the use of oil coolers. The cylinder block and head must remain externally indentifiable as standart components, and obviously the bore and stroke must remain as in the Workshop Manual. The maximum power of the motors was between 130-150 bhp.


Co-ordinator Bernard Unett and race driver Kevin Stones

The gearbox ratios were free, provided that the original casings are retained, limited slip differentials are permitted, and the axle may be welded and plated provided that the axle tube width was not increased. No alterations are allowed to the basic silhouette of the vehicle or any bodywork reworking, so the maximum width of whell s was 7ins. The basic suspension must remained unaltered. Springs and dampers were unrestricted, the brake systems, too. This was the area where quick drivers could make real gains. The car basically had a simple configuration and because of this, it appeared that it had no really bad vices. There were some awards of the Challenge. There was an award of £100 to the driver who sets up the greatest number of stage fastest times on an event, irrespective of whether that driver finished the rallye or not. The class winner received £125 on each rallye with the Championship winner took £500 at the end of each year.

Special thanks to Steve Conry from www.asoc.co.uk