It all started with a Motorsport Day in 2007.  Although Lewis Car Club had been in existence since 1973, organising Hill Climbs, Autotests and Navigational Rallies, a Closed Stage Rally was not even considered due to the absence of forestry in the islands.  The only sizeable area of mature Woodland was the Lews Castle Grounds in Stornoway, an idyllic town park frequented by walkers and runners but certainly no place for a Rally …….. or was it?
In August 2007, Lewis Car Club organised a Motorsport Day at Lewis Karting Centre.  On the programme were a Karting Grand Prix, Minimoto Races, a Show & Shine and Supercar Rides.  The Supercar Rides were the first time road cars had used the tight and twisty Karting circuit in anger and they proved a huge success.  A Ferrari F430, a Jaguar XK150 and various Porsches ferried paying passengers around the circuit with proceeds going to Bethesda Nursing Home & Hospice and the Alpha Project.
On the back of this success, Lewis Car Club agreed to invite island Rally Drivers (six of them) to bring their cars over from the mainland for an on track demonstration at the 2008 Motorsport Day.  In May 2008, a couple of the Committee members of Lewis Car Club had a brainwave – the six Rally Cars were booked to come over from the mainland on the Friday evening and would be lying idle on the Saturday morning, waiting for the Motorsport Day.  It was agreed to write to The Stornoway Trust, owners of Lews Castle Grounds, to see whether there would be any possibility of running the six cars through Lews Castle Grounds on the Saturday morning.  Cars racing through ‘The Grounds’ was unheard of and little was expected from this letter.  Lewis Car Club was as surprised as anyone when The Stornoway Trust unanimously agreed to support a Rally in Lews Castle Grounds providing the proceeds went to local Charity.
And so Rally Hebrides 2008 was hastily put together with all proceeds allocated to Bethesda Nursing Home & Hospice.  Once word of the event got out among the Scottish Rally Championship community, the entry list soon expanded to 10, including 2008 Scottish Rally Champion, Jimmy Girvan and the Metro 6R4 of John Mackenzie.  Scrutineering took place in the stunning atmosphere of Studio Alba on the Friday evening followed by a Ceremonial Town Centre Start on Saturday morning with Stornoway Trust Chairman, Charlie Nicolson, flagging off the cars.  Two Stages were run in Lews Castle Grounds followed by a Tarmac Superspecial at Lewis Karting Centre to replace the Motorsport Day.  An after Rally dinner for organisers and crews rounded off a day which raised £7,000 for Bethesda Nursing Home & Hospice.
Images from Rally Hebrides 2008