The idea for Three Castles was born in 2001, at the height of a foot and mouth epidemic that was hitting North Wales badly. Tourism was at a standstill; many small businesses had no livelihood to speak of.
Our concept was that an international, high status Classic Car rally, properly designed and run, could help the region to recover. It would bring income itself, directly in the form of hotel rooms, food and petrol sales, but just as importantly it would showcase this beautiful area to a new generation of people who maybe hadn't visited before, or who had not been to North Wales since childhood, and so, impact on tourism development.
With the help of far sighted individuals in local economic development and tourism bodies, who provided encouragement and then, some seed-corn finance, we launched Three Castles in February 2002, announcing the first Three Castles Welsh Classic Trial for that June.
In retrospect, we were a little early. That first year the entry didn't take off, and we had to cancel the event. But neither we, nor our supporters, lost heart. Instead, we planned over a longer time frame, found an enthusiastic sponsor for 2003 in Quinton Hazell plc, whose first factory had been built at Colwyn Bay, moved the event to a new home in Llandudno, and relaunched for 2003.
Suddenly, we were a success. 110 cars took the start for that first Three Castles, and many of those same competitors were new to rallying of any kind. That first event would seem a little tame today, with no competition at all until the second day, but it laid the foundations for future success.
As we look forward to our sixteenth year, we continue to try to ensure that the experience remains at the highest level. To date well over a thousand competing crews have enjoyed a Three Castles Welsh Classic Trial.
"A great event which we very much enjoyed and the fact that it all (or almost all) went smoothly is a tribute to you and the team - it would be impressive in an event with half the number of entrants, let alone 130-odd."
Andrew & Tanya Castell, Scotland 2010
"… the real high for me was the quality of the food at all the stops & especially how well the vegetarian option was catered for. Normally we get forgotten about … but you worked your magic & the veggie option was top notch, so thank you!"
Richard Roberts, England, 2012.
"Compared to other U.K. based rallies, the Three Castles scores Top Marks for organization and hospitality..."
Jayne Wignall, England 2010