Part 1 – Anchorage AK to Boise ID

Monday 1 August saw me get up at first light and take a taxi to Heathrow for the long couple of flights to Anchorage, Alaska, to meet up with Sarah Ormerod and her brand new Toyota Tacoma truck and begin the first recce for Rally the Globe’s epic Alaska to Mexico Marathon Rally. Due to the time difference, my Monday lasted 32 hours and it was around 10.00 pm local that I arrived at the hotel and fell into bed. Luckily, I had no jetlag (that was waiting for me on my return!) and slept soundly until breakfast time.

After a day sorting out the start location and prepping Sarah’s Tacoma with two Monits, a Garmin 276, an iPad with Pocket Earth for mapping, TomTom for city centre navigation and a cool box filled with water and “emergency rations”, we left Anchorage, the last big city we would see for almost two weeks.

Less than 40km out of town the scenery became spectacular and the quiet roads a joy on which to drive. We got a warm welcome at Alaska Raceway Park, a splendid complex which will be a great place to start day one’s competitive action. The stunning scenery continued to the event’s first regularity section, 15 km of smooth gravel over a gentle pass amidst snowy peaks and ice-blue lakes in the Talkeetna Mountains.

We hope to run a test at a roadside speedway later that morning, before an early lunch will be taken just up the road, followed by the long but spectacular drive north, with a planned Passage Control at one of the best viewpoints for Mount Denali (formerly McKinley). Our final stop of the day was at a magnificent brewery complex with excellent light food, a variety of drinks and lots to see, so the schedule will be such that these can be enjoyed by all. From there it was onwards to Fairbanks, at almost 65 degrees latitude, the most northerly point of the event.

Day 2 heads south and east, direction Canada and The Yukon. The weather was still magnificent, and we followed the Tanana River for miles marvelling at the tens of thousands of logs floating in the opposite direction, towards the Yukon River. The Denali mountain range was still visible in the distance and stops for photographs were plentiful. We found a short-but-sweet gravel regularity before morning coffee in a welcoming establishment, from which it was 175 km following the Alaska Highway to Tok (pronounced toke) before turning off onto the Taylor Highway towards Chicken. Chicken features strongly on the map of Alaska but is in reality a collection of wooden cafes, souvenir shops, a single gas pump and some very welcoming people. We found a splendid location for a late lunch and the best coffee of the trip so far, before joining the gravel Roof of the World Highway with its smooth surface and wonderful vistas. Sixty-six kilometres later we were at the Canadian frontier, before an amazing 105 km of gravel took us down to the Yukon River and a small ferry into Dawson City. The town has an amazing frontier feel and we expected to see John Wayne on every corner. We decided to pass on our hotel’s Sourtoe Cocktail however, a drink with a mummified human toe….

A terrific regularity starts off the following day, after which we saw our first black bears. “Bear Right” became the day’s most overused navigational instruction and I sensed I was alone in the truck in finding that funny…. We emerged onto the Klondike Highway and there was a real “middle of nowhere” feel with infrequent, isolated fuel stations sometimes with an associated simple diner. We later found a peach of a regularity that followed a lake shore for a considerable distance. The surface was great despite the road disappearing from the map from time to time! The final stop of the day in Carmacks has fuel as well as the best stocked store we had seen, so this place was quickly identified as our final Passage Control before descending into Whitehorse. This town was a real surprise with a good selection of bars and restaurants, so we have set aside a free evening for people to explore.

Every foodie website had the Alpine Bakery at the top of its list, so we stopped there for breakfast coffees and croissants and a picnic takeaway for lunch. After getting back on gravel we found a challenging regularity with a fox standing guard on the start line (he couldn’t guarantee he would be there next year however). Ten changes of direction in 22km will reward those who had a quiet Friday night!

In the Yukon, Carcross Desert is a little taste of Arabia more than 60 degrees north of the equator. Our selected brunch stop is at a resort on the shores of a beautiful lake, before heading back on the Alaska Highway where fuel stations were as rare as ever, the rally will be advised to fill up wherever they can. At Teslin we discovered our first long metal grid surfaced bridge and the Tacoma had a bit of a mind of its own as to which way it should go. We look forward to reports of how older, narrower tyres fare… Side roads that do not finish in a dead end are very rare in the area but we did identify some sections of old road running parallel to the highway that we have deemed to be run as tests. Short but fun, with the route into our night halt in Watson Lake following on from this.

Sunday morning dawned dry with fluffy white clouds and blue skies. Before setting off for Fort Nelson we had a look at the Signpost Forest, where thousands of signposts from all over the world have been fixed, right next to the Tourist Information Centre. We thought it would be fun to do something with the rally cars there, and a helpful lady we met showed us a function room capable of hosting a rally dinner. Plans are currently being hatched for dinner in Watson Lake, so stay tuned for more details nearer the time.

The Yukon had impressed us both with its beauty, remoteness and sheer size, and now we were entering British Columbia, although amazingly there was no sign to denote either province. As we headed south we were both scanning side roads for a potential test or regularity and 75 km later one presented itself on our left. Test 5-1 “The Compromise” is a combination of Sarah’s ambitious ideas of driving down steep inclines into dry rivers, and my cautious almost straight short gravel track plans! The scenery was getting even more spectacular and we frequently stopped for photographs in a stunning valley where we saw mountain goats, buffalo and some moose. Enough bridges of various construction to satisfy the most ardent pontephile (we made the word up but think it should enter common usage) before we rolled into Fort Nelson.

First thing Monday morning we investigated a promising looking loop road marked on our long out-of-print British Columbia road atlas. The gravel road was smooth, wide and fairly fast but definitely a good wake up test to start the day. The really amazing bit came right after the end of the section, however. Without giving too much away let’s just say that various means of transport converge on one spectacular, breath-taking point. Back on the Alaska Highway we were both taken by with the wide, green verges and plentiful, now deciduous trees. On another exceptional gravel section, thirteen changes of direction in 20 km will keep the navigators busy before re-joining the great highway again. The final gravel section of the day was 25 km round Inga Lake, my favourite of the day although Sarah preferred the previous one. Like so many things on the recce we agreed to differ! We plan to run a couple of tests in Fort St John with the friendly folks at the Northern Lights Raceway, before our descent into Dawson Creek. With a decent hotel, plentiful garages, bars and restaurants we decided this would be the place for a non-driving day, both on the recce and the rally.

After a day of scanning road books, writing up notes, laundry and truck washing, we headed west the following morning, remarking on the spectacular views at Pine River. We found a beautiful gravel road skirting Moberly Lake, well defined on both the paper map and Google… and then the road deteriorated. The Satnav said “Go straight” but there was a two-metre-deep ditch across the road. With lots of other roads in the area we were unconcerned – as the crow flies the asphalt main road was less than five kilometres away – but four hours later we were still looking. At one point we crossed a stream on a rudimentary, two-plank “bridge”. I congratulated Sarah on her skill and bravery and got a tense reply of “I wouldn’t want to do that again”. Five hundred metres later the road disappeared completely, and she had to repeat the manoeuvre! At least this time I got to video it correctly. We eventually retraced our steps over 100km back to Chetwynd where we arrived at around six in the afternoon to discover not a single hotel had any availability, so reluctantly we carried on to our planned stop in Prince George, almost 400km ahead. We phoned the excellent Coast Hotel to tell them we would be arriving very late and the wonderful staff arranged for hot soup and a bottle of wine to be waiting for us in the ready to close bar.

Heading south out of Prince George we quickly turned off the main road and after 40km found some fast, smooth gravel. After half an hour or so things started to get twistier and we pulled into a lay-by on the shores of Cleswuncut Lake to plot a regularity start and stretch our legs. That’s when I noticed the rear right tyre was deflated. Sarah’s foresight in buying an extra spare steel rim and tyre before leaving home in New Mexico suddenly seemed like a very good idea. In no time at all she had the bottle jack under the rear spring, wheel nuts were loosened, and the spare wheel mounted. At no time did my chinos get dusty…..

Back on the road the regularity was scenic and we continued to follow the gravel for a further 65km before arriving in the town of Quesnel, where a pair of potential tests were plotted at the end of the aptly named Racing Road. We lost further time with a closed road that caused a 50km detour, but found a great rally lunch halt in a roadside micro-brewery which serves light plates of food. As we continued south, the scenery was getting ever more spectacular and a final gravel section of the day was identified at Edmund Lake. An afternoon coffee stop was found opposite a wonderful antique store which had a couple of old cars out front, including an Austin Metropolitan, a car my father taught me to scorn from an early age! Due to our lateness that evening, we ended up with a Chinese delivered to the hotel – one of the most welcome home-delivery meals of my life!

It very much felt we had now left the wide-open spaces and “new-frontier” feel behind, with towns and villages much more frequent and quite a wide choice of roads to take. Mid-morning Sarah spotted what looked like an old race circuit on our right. We found a wonderful, time-warp, oval raceway, and the proprietor of the wood frame business in the former paddock could not have been more welcoming – so we plan a test in the style of 1960’s NASCAR racing. In the middle of Canada’s extensive but somewhat unknown wine area, we discovered a splendid winery where we hope to have a lunch stop. As our route continued, we stumbled across an extensive motor sports facility where negotiations to use the track are ongoing. From there it was a short drive to the stunning lakeside town of Osoyoos, our last night in Canada.

It was only four kilometres from our hotel to the U.S. border and a swift customs check. Our first 25km gravel section in the Okanogan Forest in Washington State was very similar to that which we had experienced in British Columbia, but things then quickly changed. The Western-style store in Riverside on the back road along the Okanogan River got our attention and that was quickly followed by what we both agreed was the finest regularity section of the event so far. We capped it at 30km but could happily have carried on for the same distance again. The vistas had become large again and there were wonderful rock formations to be seen on all sides, before a twisty, climbing road over the well-named Punish Mountain. We will wait and see what a further winter, and hopefully Springtime regrade, does to this road before letting the 48 Hour Car crew decide if we use it. The views are extraordinary, and this is a Marathon event so the chances are high. From there it was an easy drive into Leavenworth, a German-themed village with Bierkellers, Lederhosen and Alpine Horns as far as the eye could see.

With a swift “Auf Wiedersehen” we left early next morning, direction Walla Walla. We tried a back road over a mountain but after a promising start it deteriorated into a poor cart track and we abandoned it. We did find a splendid race circuit that was unattended, however, the local gun club were present in force and Sarah, as a former resident of Detroit, kept diving for cover. Back in safety we found Jim Smith Road and felt compelled to run a regularity over it and an adjoining gravel road. A longish flat run found us surprisingly on the edge of a canyon surrounded by vines. A bit too early for a tasting we settled for a coffee….honest. We were now heading due east following Crab Creek, a splendid dirt road. A short test was found just off to our right before the “No Horse Settlement” of Corfu which was totally deserted. Our plans for a Passage Control with sun-loungers and beach balls didn’t seem to amuse our colleagues nearly as much as they did us! We stuck to the back roads and found a wonderfully twisty road through a canyon before emerging onto Highway 12 for a few kilometres. This leg of the rally will be the starting point for the second recce, so we decided to go directly to Walla Walla, the centre of the Washington State wine industry with 30 or more tasting rooms within a short walk of our excellent hotel. Competitors on the rally will have a free day to sample the wonderful local wines and explore the many restaurants.

And so to the final day of this particular recce and the road to Boise, Idaho. Our plan was to investigate a few potential regularities in Oregon and this we successfully did before stopping at the quirky Blue Banana coffee shack that has a Volkswagen Beetle embedded in the back wall! A definite stop for the event. We had plans to reward ourselves with a fine dinner in town but the hotel bar, situated on the banks of a river, had three gentlemen of a certain age playing Van Morrison style blues so we sat in the open air with fish and chips and a bottle of Idaho’s finest red wine as the sun went down on a very successful recce.

Part 2 – Leavenworth WA to Tucson AZ

Having completed the recce from Anchorage, Alaska to the Canadian border, and a little beyond, back in August, it was time to continue through the 48 States and take things as far as the Mexican border.

My wife Hayley and I boarded a British Airways 787 at Heathrow on the morning of September 19th bound for Seattle on the Pacific coast in Washington state. With an eight-hour time difference it felt odd to arrive just before midday and the afternoon was spent exploring the city and desperately trying to stay awake.

After a good night’s sleep, we woke early and picked up our rental SUV, a Chevrolet Traverse with four-wheel-drive to cope with the gravel roads we hoped to find. We proceeded directly to Leavenworth where we had unfinished business after the first recce. One of our local competitors had kindly researched a road that we had seen on the map, but didn’t have time to explore, and it was a winner. Car and driver coped well with the sinuous gravel tracks and we arrived at our hotel looking forward to the days and weeks ahead.

Wednesday morning began almost immediately with a new section over the mountains directly east of Leavenworth and we saw what was to be the first of many “Big Views”. Once we descended into the valley, fruit trees were everywhere and continued to be so for the next couple of days. On reflection, the test next to the very active gun club didn’t seem such a good idea so we headed on to the “Jim Smith Road” regularity where once again I missed the tricky left turn onto gravel. Be forewarned! A fairly fast section then took us to our proposed brunch halt in a very large winery before we headed south to a long gravel section through Crab Creek. Along the way an abandoned side road will be used for a short test. Alternating gravel and asphalt took us through lovely, rolling countryside where we took a quick stop amongst the peach trees. A very twisty road on the map turned out to be a track in a canyon following a stream for 12 or so kilometres. A wonderfully stocked, massive general store a short distance away will be the perfect venue for afternoon refreshments before a pleasant run through farmlands on the back roads to Walla Walla where the rally will have a free day to sample the splendid local wines.

Almost immediately after leaving our hotel we passed into the state of Oregon. The Lincoln Mountain Highway regularity covered 22 kilometres of relatively smooth gravel with big views off to our right. Morning coffee will be taken in a tiny café with a Volkswagen embedded in the rear wall, and a small aeroplane in the roof, while serving the best coffee we experienced all trip. Luckily, we took fuel in the small town of Joseph as it would be 150 kilometres before we saw another station. Our route through the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest was all twisty asphalt and we plan a self-catered lunch at the spectacular Hell’s Canyon Overlook where the local magnetic fields caused our Monit to keep counting even when we were stopped! We descended to the impressive Snake River that forms the boundary between Oregon and Idaho. In the latter state we found some smooth gravel roads through big farms as we headed due south to our hotel in the state capital, Boise.

Next morning the superb Immigrant Road took us over the Danskin Mountains and into Sun Valley. We took a short detour to visit Castle Rocks before descending into the Snake River Plain, our first really flat landscape since leaving Canada. The lure of the mountains to our left was too much, however, and we headed briefly northeast to introduce Hayley to the upmarket town of Hailey. Back on the plain we positioned a Passage Control amongst the lava fields of the Craters of the Moon Wilderness. Nearby Arco was apparently the first city on earth to be powered by nuclear energy. There are a number of disused reactors nearby and a raceway in the very strange settlement of Atomic City, population 29…. From there a short drive due east took us to Idaho Falls.

Tuesday is a short day for the rally competitors as we are heading to lively Jackson Hole. We identified a couple of test venues first thing before a fairly long forest regularity on gravel. Then, after passing into Wyoming, we stopped to admire the view from the Teton Pass at 2,570 metres above sea level. The rally may have a free afternoon, but we headed on south for what was to be a frustrating 24 hours of recce. The scenery was terrific as we followed the asphalt all the way to Alpine where we turned onto gravel. The road was wonderful for about 30 kilometres until we arrived at a junction where there was a lonely fisherman. I tried to catch his attention to enquire about the road conditions, but he couldn’t hear me. Our usually reliable map suggested the road ahead would become asphalt. In fact, it deteriorated massively, and we were forced to retrace our tracks back to Alpine and follow a rather tedious road to our booked accommodation in Afton, near where we expected to emerge from the back roads. The best option we could find for dinner was a Burger King that Hayley and I ate on the patio of the Holiday Inn Express. It’s not all glamour on recce.

Early next morning we came up with a totally new plan. Back to Alpine for the third time, we noted a possible alternative asphalt route before approaching what we now referred to as Fisherman’s Junction from the other direction. That road, that looked totally unpromising on the map, turned out to be fabulous and by midday we had a terrific route plotted. We were by now well behind schedule and heading due south on a cloudless evening proved very challenging for the driver with the setting sun in her eyes. We crossed into Utah in the dark and wearily found our intended hotel in Park City.

The hotel proved to be fine for the recce but not suitable for the rally itself, so we spent a few hours the next morning looking for an alternative, something we found in nearby Heber City. The only way to avoid the traffic of Salt Lake City seemed to be a doubtful looking gravel road over the wonderfully named Baldy Mountain but when we got there it was freshly coated in the smoothest asphalt. This was shortly followed by Skyline Drive where we stopped a planned regularity early so that competitors can enjoy the wonderful views. South of Huntington we found ourselves on wide, smooth gravel roads that sped us over a dusty plain that seemed to stretch to the horizon. An intriguing twisty road featured on the map and suddenly there was a bend sign and the road descended into a magnificent hidden canyon. I won’t say much more, but this was one of the absolute highlights of the entire route. A fast road took us to Moab and the scenery just kept getting better and better.

Like the rally we took a day off from driving in Moab. The town is full of 4×4 rental companies and big-tyred Jeeps are everywhere. It became apparent that these all follow pretty much the same, well-trodden trails so we spent some time rescheduling our route ahead to combine maximum spectacle with minimum traffic.

First thing Saturday morning we headed for Geyser Pass in the La Sal Mountains. At over 3,200 metres (10,500 feet) this is the highest point on the entire route. From there it was but a short drive, with a test scheduled along the way, to the Needles Overlook where the views of the Canyonlands National Park and the Colorado River took our breath away. A charming lunch spot was noted in Monticello. The day ended with us following the spectacular Comb Ridge along a challenging gravel road as far as Bluff where we will stay surrounded on all sides by impressive rock formations.

Our chosen route the following day turned out to be unacceptably rough, so we turned and approached the Valley of the Gods from the southeast rather than the northwest. This had the advantage of the early morning sun lighting the amazing landscape in a perfect manner. We took morning coffee in the wonderfully named settlement of Mexican Hat on the San Juan River. We then found gravel roads in the Navajo Indian lands that will form the basis of an interesting Time Control section before descending to Page and the impressive Glen Canyon Dam. The day’s final timing point will be at a historic motel in Kanab, allowing competitors to take their time as we travel west through the Zion National Park to Springdale and our final night in Utah.

We headed into Arizona, our final US State of the trip, and quickly became confused. Passing through the many Indian Reservations along the way, the automatic clocks in our rent truck and GPS kept changing. It turns out that those Native American Reservations all run on different time to the rest of Arizona.

We will pick a time for the rally and stick to it. We found a lovely regularity through Warm Springs Canyon before coffee at Jacob Lake. We headed east to Marble Canyon and crossed our old friend the Colorado River before heading due south towards Flagstaff. Along the way we plotted anther Time Control section west of a settlement called The Gap. “Mind the Gap” as they say on the London Underground! Flagstaff was the biggest city we had seen since Anchorage, and we started to get the feeling that this sector of the recce was almost over.

Heading south next morning on the final leg of this trip we were on the lookout for interesting gravel roads. After a few disappointments, Fire Control Road, after coffee in Pine, was a good choice. Soon after we saw our first proper cactus, and then a gravel section over Cactus Butte where there were literally tens of thousands of the things. This was a challenging road in parts, but Hayley considered it unmissable, and we did see a brand new Chevrolet Camaro at a trail head in the middle of the section.

Those competitors looking for an easier afternoon can take the asphalt on the west side of Theodore Roosevelt Lake and soon re-join the official route. From there it was a simple drive down to Tucson and the luxury of the Hacienda del Sol Resort, where we reflected on a tough but rewarding couple of weeks.

Part 3 – Tucson AZ to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

As RtG’s West Country Cloverleaf event was ending in Taunton, Somerset I was aboard an American Airlines Airbus en-route to Tucson, Arizona, via Dallas. Arriving mid-afternoon, Sarah Ormerod and her trusty Toyota Tacoma picked me up and we headed for the Hilton in the east of the city. Despite the hour, our rooms were not ready, so the ever-resourceful Sarah guided us to a nearby Mexican restaurant where a couple of margaritas and a large plate of fajitas put us in the mood for the food and drink to come. Realising at 9.00pm that it was 24 hours since my alarm had gone off back home in Farnham, I called it a night.

After a solid night’s sleep, we met for breakfast. To my surprise there was a toaster that actually worked, a rarity in American hotels of all grades. Sarah and her geologist father Steve had already made the roadbook to the day’s first test, a great kart circuit on the city’s southern flanks. On the way in I noticed a NASCAR oval circuit almost directly opposite. I suggested we turn in, a move firmly resisted by my driver who claimed to have spent many hours of her life emailing and calling without ever receiving a reply. Since the gate was open and there were signs of life, I insisted we give it a go which did not go down well with my colleague. Ten minutes later Sarah was demanding I took shots of her with her new best friends as they exchanged phone numbers amid promises of life-lasting friendship, wonderful on-track action, and a guest appearance by the legendary Hershel McGriff, the oldest man to start a NASCAR race at the age of 90! The kart circuit will be fun too…..

All too soon we headed south. We cut a corner on a 40-kilometre gravel section through Native American country that led us to the small settlement of Why, where we were disappointed that the locals had not foreseen our plans for wonderful business names in the community, that had kept us laughing for miles. An open stretch of land to the south of the town will be the venue for a test where we expect Mark Appleton to come up with a layout worthy of the name ‘Why Knot?’.

From there it was a simple run to the border despite entering the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument where the giant prickly things looked exactly the same as they had all day. The border itself was a shock since we didn’t stop! No one wanted to see papers, passports, or anything else, probably due to us being in a US registered truck. We spent the next 20 minutes waiting to be stopped and sent back, before relaxing, and then bemoaning the lack of Mexican stamps in our passports. It was then a simple run to Puerto Peñasco, where our hotel was surprisingly good, and the welcome from top management even better. A staff “Day of the Dead” costume competition, and a couple of tequilas later, we knew we were now in Mexico with Cabo in sight.

Bright (well maybe not, after an evening sampling the bars of “Little Beirut” by the hotel), and early we set off following the Sea of Cortez on our left. The scenery was like nothing so far encountered with sand spits over the road from time to time and vast salt flats that I know from my Dakar days as Chotts, but Sarah tells me are known as Sabkahs in the Gulf. The pre-asphalt, old road was visible from time to time, so we enlisted it as an unusual regularity section.  After some spectacular rock formations, we skirted the southern flanks of the city of Mexicali, home to over 200 Chinese restaurants! There we discovered that every urban junction in Baja has a stop sign that the locals mostly ignore – we christened them “Stoptional” and came up with a new mnemonic for the road book, S.O.T.M.S.S. – “straight on through many stop signs”, a cousin to S.O.T.M.T.L. – “straight on through many traffic lights”….. Soon we were free of population and traffic as we headed south. Interesting roads beckoned but mostly proved to be full of false promises, petering out into fields of rubble. Gradually we became aware of what looked like rally service trucks and found ourselves amongst competitors ‘pre-running” the route of the Baja 1000. We admired the 1000 bhp trucks with several feet of suspension travel before soliciting the advice of the navigators as to which roads might just be passable for us. It turns out that a big hurricane in 2021 washed out many roads and the authorities are still working to repair the damage. More on this later when we meet Pedro Lopez. San Felipe’s pompously named Grand Marina Hotel turned out to be anything but, and we vowed to find a better option for the rally on our way back north, a few days hence.

Heading south along the coast we soon found our new rally friends from the day before and followed their tracks for a few kilometres to create a navigationally interesting regularity. Morning refreshments will be taken at CowPatty, a beach shack that is too eccentric to describe, as were both the barman and owner, an old Californian hippie who never went back. A couple more tests on the old road running parallel to the asphalt kept us amused before approaching Coco’s Corner, a legendary place for Baja 1000 competitors. Coco is sadly no longer with us, his shack has fallen into even greater disrepair, and the old gravel Highway 56 is now impassable so we followed the excellent new asphalt through the mountains to our midday halt. A surprisingly good sandwich appeared from an unpromising looking kitchen before we were quickly on our way. With an epic gravel section to go we decided to be sensible so changed plans and found rooms in Bahia de Los Angeles. The small hotel was excellent and the views amazing, the whole place reminding me of the Kenyan coast 40 years ago.

The following morning, we were straight into a 180-kilometre long gravel section, the very essence of a marathon event. The roads will need some attention before we arrive but there were signs of works beginning. Wonderful views, hidden ranches and spectacular cacti will make this a section never to be forgotten. From there it was a very short drive to Guerrero Negro where the hotel was surprisingly good, the tyre shop very helpful, the fuel station dog very happy to have some leftover food, and the margaritas the best yet!

Day 28 of the rally will be a transit section but with plenty of interesting things to see as we cross from the Pacific coast back to the Sea of Cortez. There were some big views as we descended into Santa Rosalia, an old French Colonial mining town. Opposite the fuel station there are the remains of some extraordinary pieces of industrial equipment, many storeys high. We look forward to some of the more engineering literate amongst you to explain to us what we were admiring. A little further down the coast we discovered the splendid Mulegé Brew Company which will host the day’s only Passage Control and where there will be time to sample the excellent food on offer. We entered Loreto just as darkness was falling and the Day of the Dead celebrations were beginning. The excellent La Mision hotel greeted us with Italian-chef made pizzas in the open air as we realised there were only two days remaining to Cabo.

Out of Loreto on our penultimate morning the road to Mision San Javier looked attractive on the map and the gravel thereafter was rated to be of the highest quality so we set off with a spring in our step. The asphalt climb was everything we hoped, twisty and spectacular with numerous smooth water crossings to keep the photographers happy. San Javier itself is a beautiful little place, quiet with clear mountain air. We then set off on the gravel. After two kilometres we had made seven rough river crossings. We stopped two locals in a rusty pick up coming the other way and tried my very basic Spanish. “El camino es bueno?” I asked hopefully. “Non. El camino es mal” they replied with a laugh looking at the two crestfallen gringos. We reluctantly turned and went back to San Javier for a regroup.

As I studied the maps, Sarah saw an ambulance so, of course, began a conversation with the local paramedic. Our new friend couldn’t have been more helpful and soon we had made arrangements to use the asphalt road before parking the cars in the picturesque square and taking refreshments at his mother’s café. We will then run another section down the hill back to the coast. Later, on our way south we spotted a gravel oval circuit, and a maze of nearby roads, so plotted a test before identifying a very suitable location for a lunch break. Our overnight stop was in La Paz, the capital of Baja California South, and the end of our 29th day of rallying.

Our, by now shredded, Baja Atlas that had promised so much over the previous days indicated a good quality gravel road that went over a mountain before following the ocean for a while. It started impressively but had the occasional stony section where we looked at one another, unsure whether to continue or turn. We decided to keep on to the end and make a decision there, but not before Sarah voiced how happy a grader would make her feel. And then, a few kilometres later Pedro Lopez came into our lives, driving as big a grader as could ever fit on that particular road. He assured us he was heading in the direction from which we had come and would continue all the way through the section. We thanked him profusely and arranged to meet him in 2023! Safely back on asphalt, we found a great little restaurant for a pre-podium regroup, and then made our way to Cabo and the finish hotel. It had been an intense 10 days, and different in every respect from that which we had seen in the US and Canada but promises to be a scenic delight and a wonderful Latin American experience.

See you in Anchorage!


Rally the Globe are absolutely delighted to have been crowned the winners of the Competitive Event of the Year Award for the Generations Rally 2022, at a glitzy awards evening at the Royal Automobile Club’s Historic Awards in London.

The judges said:

“Rally the Globe’s Generations Rally 2022 was well-conceived, organised and executed. It was designed to encourage mixed-generation teams of all ages and levels of experience to enjoy their vintage and classic cars of all shapes and sizes on legendary roads in some of the most beautiful parts of Northern England. As an introduction to classic rallying, it was superb.”

As an organisation which has just passed its fourth birthday, and has spent two of those years under the shadow of a pandemic, we are honoured to have recognition not just for the event, but for Rally the Globe as a club and the fantastic team of many talented and experienced individuals who worked together to deliver the Generations Rally, both behind the scenes and on the ground. We are also grateful for the support of all of those who entered the event and threw themselves whole-heartedly into making it an incredible success. 

Graham Goodwin, Chairman, said “To be shortlisted for this award was a real treat and a confirmation of the innovation and experience than runs through Rally the Globe. To win the award is the icing on the cake and is a lovely confirmation that we are making a serious contribution to the sport of historic rallying. We have come a long way in a short space of time, but we are not complacent. Watch this space!”    

Mark Appleton, Clerk of the Course, added “The idea for the Generations Rally was hatched in the very early stages of Rally the Globe’s journey as a way to share our wonderful sport with younger family members and we’re over the moon to win this award. To receive plaudits such as these in the prestigious surroundings of the RAC, that has nurtured and influenced the development of motorsport and motoring itself, makes it all the more special.  The Generations Rally and RtG is going from strength to strength and we can’t wait to welcome crews to the second edition in a few months’ time.”

Congratulations to all the winners and finalists at what was a fantastic celebration of historic motoring.


Photography © – Rob Cadman


• End-of-season celebration on the moors of Devon and Cornwall
• Four days of driving competition and convivial camaraderie 
• Whetting appetites for future escapades exploring America and Asia
• Soaring demand sees some 2023 entry lists already at full capacity

Last week’s splendid West Country Cloverleaf (24-27 October) has not only brought the curtain down on a sparkling programme of Rally the Globe events in 2022, but also whetted appetites for even more exciting automotive adventures to come.

In the wake of the pandemic, this year’s cleverly arranged calendar commenced close to home with the innovative Generations Rally set in the English Lake District and was swiftly followed by ever more adventurous forays as international travel has returned to normal.

The super-successful Carrera España, set largely in the mountains of Northern Spain, paved the way for Rally the Globe’s epic Ypres to Istanbul Challenge, which traversed eight different countries as crews competed from the Belgian rally capital in Flanders to the Bosphorus and the gateway to Asia.

Building on these triumphs, preparations for two even longer distance Marathon category endurance events are well advanced. With enthusiasm for four-wheeled global exploration restored, the first of these – the North American based Alaska to Mexico (27 August – 26 September 2023) is already sold out, with a reserve list. The second – the Road to Hanoi (27 January – 23 February 2024) – is filling up fast.

In the meantime, Rally the Globe’s 2023 diary also includes a repeat of the Generations Rally (24-26 March), the Vintage Shamrock (8-11 May) being organised together with Irish Racing Green and the Carrera Riviera (4-15 June). The first of these is already full with a reserve list, while only a few places remain on the entry lists for the other two.

Paving the way for forthcoming pleasures, the West Country Cloverleaf was based at Hotel Endsleigh – the Duke of Bedford’s former fishing and hunting lodge taken exclusively for three nights – with competitive Tests and Regularity sections set in the rolling moorlands and idyllic countryside of Devon and Cornwall.

Entries were restricted to members of the not-for-profit-club, and a full capacity 19 field featured a wide mix of vintage and classic cars (all dating back to pre-31 December 1976) ranging from the 1925 Bentley Supersports of Graham and Marina Goodwin up to the 1973 Datsun 240Z of Andrew and Shirley Laing. An eye-catching array of Aston Martins, Jaguars and Fraser Nashes were also on the roster alongside other automotive icons. Providing wonderful diversity these included a pair of Porsche 911s, a Triumph TR3A, two Fraser Nash-BMW 328s and a very distinctive Chrysler 75 Roadster.

After the completion of morning technical checks and paperwork, the opening day included competitive sections in the autumnal Blackdown Hills, at the Exeter Chiefs rugby ground and in the wilds of Dartmoor.

Day two was again set exploring rural Devon and featured five more challenging Tests and two Regularities as well as a surprise end-of-day trip to the Dingles Fairground Museum where the crews were free to spend some old-fashioned quality time on the dodgem cars, ghost train and waltzers!

The third day was the longest – and sunniest – of the rally. The spectacular 153-mile route included four Tests and three Regularities staged largely on the Cornish side of the border and ventured via the rocky tors of Bodmin Moor to the craggy headlands of King Arthur’s magical kingdom.

The final morning took crews back over a now foggy Dartmoor and via some further Tests at the Mansell Raceway to a prizegiving lunch at the Castle Hotel in Taunton.

Following the ‘fun first’ tradition of Rally the Globe’s more relaxed Cloverleaf events, there were no individual winners. The rally, instead, had been divided into teams. These random groupings then competed for the top spot based on the total number of penalties accrued en route and times gained by each individual team member.

After four days comprising 15 Tests and eight Regularities, those topping the timing charts were the experienced quartet comprising Andrew and Ann Boland (1960 Jaguar XK150S), Charles and Kit Graves (1958 Jaguar XK150), Neil and Peta Oatley (1967 Lancia Fulvia) and Keith Graham and Susan Hoffmann (1969 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL). Full results are available via the website.

More importantly, all the crews were unanimous in their praise for the sortie to the west country. Five star feedback has included: ‘Thanks to the Rally the Globe team for a brilliant Cloverleaf’, ‘What a fabulous event and lovely crowd to enjoy it with’ and ‘fantastic event, great team, great fun and great people’.

Clerk of the Course, Mark Appleton, was equally delighted. “It was the perfect end to the year,” he enthused. “We have been building up the adventure with increasingly ambitious overseas rallies, so it was nice to come back home for what was in many ways a celebratory event for our members. We struck gold with Hotel Endsleigh which gave us an amazing base to explore the more remote parts of this beautiful corner of England.”

Appleton is even more pleased to see the spiralling popularity of Rally the Globe’s unique style of premium driving experiences for owners of vintage and classic cars dating back to 1976 or earlier.

“Many of our forthcoming events such as the repeat of Generations and what’s sure to be an epic Alaska to Mexico Marathon are already at full capacity with waiting lists now open. Others such as the Vintage Shamrock and Road to Hanoi are filling up fast, too,” he reported. “The future is both busy and bright!”

Indeed, with so many great events in the pipeline Fred Gallagher, Rally the Globe’s well-respected Rally Director, has had little time to savour the successes of the West Country Cloverleaf. He has already arrived in the USA to complete preparations for next summer’s incredible North American adventure, which will take crews from the snow-capped mountains of Alaska to the tropical beaches of the Baja Peninsula.


We are delighted that our Generations Rally has been shortlisted for Motorsport Event of the Year at The Historic Motoring Awards, and also for Competitive Event of the Year at the Royal Automobile Club’s Historic Awards.

In 2021, our Cloverleaf series narrowly missed out after being named as one of the finalists for the Historic Motoring Awards Motorsport Event of the Year.

This year, our Generations Rally 2022 is on the category’s shortlist, as well as being on the RAC’s shortlist too, and we couldn’t be more pleased to be in with a chance of winning an acclaimed industry award. 

The rally in March saw 73 cars line up at the start line in the Lake District, for 3 days in glorious sunshine (no, really!) competing with their family members. All crews were made up of members from two different generations, with the youngest competitor being just 13 years old and the oldest being over 80. 

The route covered the Yorkshire Dales, Lake District and Pennines and gave those who were new to this type of event the chance to learn and hone their navigating and driving skills across the long weekend.

We are up against some tough competition for both of these award again this year, but we very much look forward to the winners being announced in London on 16 November for The Historic Motoring Awards and on the 24 November for the RAC Historic Awards.


  • Exciting new partnership with Irish Racing Green 
  • Award-winning vintage rallying showcase shifts up a gear
  • Pre-registration open for next event in May 2023

Rally the Globe is delighted to announce that it has been invited to partner Irish Racing Green in the organisation of the Shamrock Vintage Challenge, a much-loved annual event for pre-war cars which has been hailed as putting the fun back into rallying in Ireland.

First staged in 2018, The Shamrock is the well-received brainchild of three vastly experienced and enthusiastic individuals: Mickey Gabbett, Michael Jackson and Shane Houlihan.

Their combined passions for driving legendary cars competitively on Ireland’s remarkably scenic and traffic-free roads have produced one of the popular sport’s most desirable and enjoyable of all historic rallies. Indeed, in just its second year, the lauded event was awarded the coveted ‘Spirit of FIVA’ award by the Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens.

Last year’s Shamrock attracted a full 50-car entry with participants travelling from all round the world with their evocative Alvises, Aston Martins, Bentleys, Frazer Nashes, Rileys, Talbots and other early motoring icons not only to compete but also to savour the renowned hospitality of the Irish.

Such has been the success of the Shamrock’s unique character and flavoursome appeal, that the founders floated the idea of a partnership  with Rally the Globe in order to ensure that the event will continue to go from strength to strength.

As a specialist – though not-for-profit club – Rally the Globe will provide their professional touch in key areas such as pre-event promotion, route book production, on-event logistics and mechanical support, while the Irish Racing Green team will continue to supply the inspiration and in depth knowledge to produce remarkable routes, varied tests and that extra spark that has come to define the Shamrock.

“It’s really a win-win scenario,” confirmed Jackson. “We will be there sharing the wonderful Shamrock spirit that we’ve created while maximising Rally the Globe’s proven expertise in the actual management of the event. What’s more, we know just how much Rally the Globe shares our passion for the Shamrock as so many of its leading lights have competed wholeheartedly in previous years.” 

Indeed both Rally the Globe’s Chairman Graham Goodwin (photo above) and Chief Operating Officer Mark Appleton were top six finishers back in May this year, while Rally Director Fred Gallagher (photo below bottom) competed in 2019. Gallagher also hails from Belfast, so is no stranger to the many, many delights Ireland has to offer.

“For so many great reasons, I’m thrilled that Rally the Globe has been asked to play such a significant role in the future of what has quickly become one of the truly unmissable fixtures on the vintage and classic car rallying calendar,” enthused a delighted Gallagher.

“The Shamrock may have only run three times but it has already, quite rightly, earned itself a massive reputation. The countryside is beautiful, the open roads are epically uncongested, the pubs are fantastic with proper Guinness and the Irish hospitality is world famous – all the right ingredients for the perfect old-school rally.” 

“It’s great kudos for Rally the Globe that Irish Racing Green approached us about establishing this new partnership,” added Goodwin. “As I experienced for myself earlier this year, they have created a huge hit enriched with wonderful Irish quirkiness and now, together, we will build further on what’s already been achieved.”

The springtime date for next year’s Shamrock – 8-11 May – has already been announced and all those keen to secure a place on the coveted 2023 start list can pre-register their interest via links on both Rally the Globe and Irish Racing Green websites.

Although there are hopes to expand entries a little, numbers will be limited by available accommodation and, with Rally the Globe events often reaching full capacity, participants are encouraged to register early.


  • Incredible European escapade puts trans-continental rallying back on the map 
  • Victories for classic Porsche 911 and vintage Bentley crews
  • 20 days of amazing competition across eight countries
  • Paving the way for great upcoming events exploring America and Asia

Billed as taking competitors from Belgium’s rally capital to the edge of the Orient, Rally the Globe’s latest incredible driving adventure has been widely applauded as the club’s most significant success to date.

The epic Ypres to Istanbul Challenge (13 June-3 July), which finished with a well-earned prize-giving ceremony aboard a boat cruising on the Bosphorus on Sunday, was not only Rally the Globe’s longest ever event but also – more importantly – heralded the return of great, trans-continental motoring escapades for vintage and classic cars after the lifting of pandemic-induced travel restrictions.

The welcome European adventure also acted as the perfect trailblazer for next year’s Alaska to Mexico Marathon and the Road to Hanoi Marathon which follows early in 2024. Illustrating the pent-up enthusiasm among participants for these amazing, life-enhancing experiences, the former already has a full entry list with a reserve list now open and limited places on the latter are also filling up swiftly.

Fuelling these passions, the Ypres to Istanbul Challenge traversed eight countries and included nearly 80 competitive sections on the spectacular 5,500kms/3,500-mile route. As a ‘Challenge’ category event these were staged on both asphalt and gravel surfaces, often exploring the more remote areas of these regions.

The action started with both Regularity and Speed tests on the well-rallied roads in Flanders with poignant reminders of the battles fought between 1914 and 1918, including a moving visit to the Menin Gate. Leaving Ypres the competitors journeyed on through the Ardennes and the Eifel to the winelands of the Mosselle and Rhine and a first rest day in the beautiful city of Prague.

The route then headed southeast through the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary and Romania – four countries in just five days – before a second rest day to re-fettle cars and refresh crews in Bucharest.

The final section then headed east stopping short of the shores of Black Sea by taking a tortuous route over the mountains to the Turkish border and onto the spectacular finish in Istanbul.

Among the many, many highlights were Speed tests staged at illustrious race and rallycross circuits as well as a pair of memorable, crowd-pleasing tests held on closed roads in the city centre of Arad in Transylvania.

As ever on a Rally the Globe event, the entry featured a wonderful selection of evocative automotive icons from yesteryear. Among the 26 cars lining up in the medieval town square outside Ypres’ historic 13th century Cloth Hall were an array of WO Bentleys, a stable of thoroughbred Porsche 911s and a wide range of Mercedes classics.

Adding further spice and interest, the entry also included a big-hearted early Range Rover, a little known 1933 Alvis Firefly Special and a 1982 Citroen 2CV 007 Special crewed by plucky Australians Phil and Laurette Macwhirter.

While camaraderie was always to the fore, the competition was fiercely fought with several lead changes both among the veteran and classic categories.

Clint and Dawn Smith in their 1925 Bentley were the pace-setters in the pre-war class but their hopes were dashed on a dramatic Day 13 in the storm-lashed Carpathian mountains in southern Romania. Their troubles handed final victory to fellow Bentley crew Graham and Marina Goodwin (photo row six below) with Andrew and Ann Boland claiming second spot in their 1936 Ford V8 Convertible.

“We nearly lost it at the start when we dropped the ball and slipped way down the leaderboard,” admitted Goodwin. “We were a bit down in the dumps but we knew that this was a long event, and with all of our experience in long distance rallies we decided that there was enough time to make amends – thankfully we were proved right!”

The battle for the lead among the classics was even more fiercely-fought with the 1965 Ford Mustang of Roy Stephenson and Mark Bramall swapping top spot several times with the 1965 Porsche 911 of Steve and Jenny Verrall. Sadly, with four days to go, the American pony car was slowed by electric gremlins.

With the Mustang now limping home, the duel for runner-up honours behind the victorious 911 really hotted-up. Incredibly after 20 days of high-octane competition the 1959 Volvo PV544 shared by Mike and Lorna Harrison tied with Ean and Alison Lewin’s 1973 Ford Escort Mexico – the former only taking second place trophy on a tie-breaker as their car was the older!

“We are delighted with this win; we always do our best and we take every day as it comes… but to roll home in first place is extra special,” admitted the victorious Steve Verrall who has been a huge Porsche enthusiast for 35 years. “The event was organised superbly. Rally the Globe are an amazing team and every day ran seamlessly”.

As well as the overall and class awards, discretionary prizes were awarded, too. The Spirit of the Rally was presented to Renate Hanselmann and Lukas Ospelt who, despite only having three wheels on their  wagon – a 1939 Ford Model 91A – from time-to-time, never stopped smiling. The Against all Odds trophy went to Jean Vincent and Marcel Peumans whose Bentley Speed Six reached Istanbul despite blowing a piston ring on the very first day and stripping and rebuilding the engine during the rest day in Prague. Three WO Bentleys also claimed the team prize.

By universal agreement, though, the biggest winners were the Rally the Globe team which had successfully organised another truly remarkable adventure, much of it planned during the toughest of global circumstances.

“We’ve managed to do something unique here in running a highly competitive, yet incredibly social rally, through the middle of Europe,” enthused Fred Gallagher, Rally the Globe’s vastly experienced Rally Director and the mastermind behind the Ypres to Istanbul Challenge.

“Getting a rally to Istanbul has long been a dream of mine and, despite all of the extra problems we’ve had to overcome, today it all came true,” added a delighted Gallagher after welcoming home all of the intrepid finishers with the time-honoured chequered flag. “I must thank the whole team for their extraordinary efforts as well as our incredible group of travelling marshals, medics and mechanics. We really could not have done it without them.”

Mark Appleton, the Clerk of the Course, was equally thrilled with Rally the Globe’s latest standout achievement and is already looking to the future.

“Clearly this has been another absolutely outstanding event which has left the crews wanting more of the same,” said Appleton. “So, now we turn our attention to rallying even more of the globe with next years Alaska to Mexico Marathon and then onwards to the Road to Hanoi.”

You can see the final Results, film and photo highlights by clicking on the image below


  • Spectacular driving adventure through the mountains of northern Spain
  • Victories for classic Aston Martin and vintage Frazer Nash-BMW crews
  • UNESCO sites, race circuits and Parador hotels deliver in spades   
  • Ypres to Istanbul Challenge follows in June 

Set in the spectacular mountains of northern Spain, Rally the Globe’s sensational Carrera España (25 April – 5 May) has been acclaimed as the club’s best event yet with incredible driving roads, inspiring competition, splendid accommodation and two worthy winners.

The fast starting 1955 Austin A90 Westminster of Adrian Hodgson and Mark Bramall set the early pace among those in the Classic Category but they were swiftly overhauled by ultimate victors Alan and Tina Beardshaw in their iconic 1965 Aston Martin DB5 (photo above).

Similarly in the Vintage Category, early pacesetters Graham and Marina Goodwin aboard their 1925 Bentley Supersports had to settle for second spot behind the hastening 1937 Frazer Nash-BMW 328 shared by Martin and Olivia Hunt (photo top below).

Neither prizewinners are strangers to the podium; the Beardshaws came out on top in Rally the Globe’s inaugural Carrera Iberia back in 2019 while Martin Hunt won the recent Generations Rally set in the English Lake District earlier this year… and both crews were delighted with their latest successes.

“Tina and I have been married and rallying together now for 50 years and this is not just the best Rally the Globe event to date but the best rally we have ever competed on,” lavished the praise from the elated Aston Martin driver.

Hunt was equally enthusiastic. “We have been following the most beautiful cars through simply breath-taking Spanish scenery and we’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” he extolled.

The amazing 2,000 mile journey of discovery through the often undiscovered wonders of northern Spain started from the architectural gem of Barcelona on the Mediterranean Sea and finished 11 days later in Santander on the Cantabrian coast.

Providing exceptional competition, camaraderie and culinary delights as promised on a Carrera style event, the well-conceived, all-asphalt route featured 30 Regularity Tests and 8 Speed Tests interspersed with notable overnight halts in magnificent Paradors and former Benedictine monasteries.

It all started in the five-star Miramar Hotel overlooking Barcelona and the city’s former Grand Prix circuit in Montjuic Park with 30 eager entrants revving up for the start. These ranged from the big, century old 1922 Bentley of Gavin and Diana Henderson to the svelte 1976 Lamborghini Urraco P250S of Italians Enrico Paggi and Federica Mascetti.

After a fast start lapping Barcelona’s current Formula 1 circuit, regularities followed in the foothills of the Pyrenees. The route then travelled west through the Rioja region and into the ancient kingdom of Aragon before a return to the mountain roads in the high Sierras and a well-earned rest day in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Salamanca.

With cars and crews refreshed, participants then headed towards the river Douro and the Portuguese border before embarking onto the twisty, winding highways of Galicia.

The final couple of days were spent exploring the stunning driving roads through the idyllic rural life of the sparsely-inhabited Picos de Europa National Park.

Among the many, many highlights en route were speed tests at both the Navarra race track and the Fernando Alonso Sports Complex plus vistas of the extraordinary Roman aqueduct in Segovia. A fabulous prizegiving dinner in Santander’s palatial, and exquisitely positioned, Eurostars Hotel Real was another notable peak.

As well as honouring the victors at the gala dinner, Rally the Globe presented two discretionary accolades: the ‘Against all Odds’ trophy being awarded to Beat Erni and Barbara Mahrenholz for overcoming fuelling issues in their 1963 Sunbeam Alpine and the ‘Spirit of the Rally’ award going to Chris and Rita Dillier for their unfailingly cheerful attitude both when aboard their 1930 Ford Model A and when in the bar!

“Driving through the snow-capped peaks of the Picos de Europa under a deep blue sky was an incredible finale to what was an unbelievable rally – I couldn’t be happier or prouder of the team,” enthused Fred Gallagher, Rally the Globe’s vastly experienced Rally Director who had masterminded Carrera España.

“People are always amazed by just how many mountain ranges there are in Spain, all blessed with terrific, traffic-free roads – you really are spoilt for choice when organising such wonderful driving adventures. The spirit shown by all the crews was just fantastic and I’m really looking forward to meeting them all again on some of our future rallies.”

With the next fixture on Rally the Globe’s calendar now only weeks away, Gallagher may not have to wait too long to make some welcome reacquaintances.

The epic Ypres to Istanbul Challenge commences from the Belgian rally capital in mid-June and takes crews on a three-week escapade to the Bosphorus at the far end of Europe.

Running under Rally the Globe’s ‘Challenge’ banner of rally categories, it will be somewhat more adventurous than the Carrera España with the 3,500 miles (5,500 km) route including a wide variety of demanding gravel and unsurfaced roads.

While still in the wake of the pandemic, this year’s calendar is focused on exploring Europe, plans thereafter are more global with even longer Marathon events confirmed for both North America and South East Asia.

Entries for those are already open as well as a chance to pre-register for Rally the Globe’s next Carrera – taking place in June 2023, the eagerly-anticipated Carrera Riviera will journey through la belle France from north to south.


  • Rally the Globe’s innovative family-friendly adventure wins new admirers  
  • Three days of sun-drenched competition in the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and Pennines
  • Oversubscribed entry with Frazer Nash and Austin-Healey crews claiming outright victories
  • Significant number of young – and female – participants, many contesting their very first rally 
  • Igniting enthusiasm for forthcoming escapades in Europe, America and Asia

Staged in brilliant spring sunshine, Rally the Globe’s first-ever Generations Rally (25-27 March) has been hailed as a brilliant triumph on all fronts – notably in introducing the wonders of the sport to a new, younger audience. Indeed, it was such a stellar sell-out success that a follow-up event has already been announced for the same weekend in 2023!

While next year’s rally will be based in the north east of England, the inaugural Generations Rally was centered in the poetic English Lake District National Park and also explored the similarly open roads and spectacular scenery of the Yorkshire Dales and North Pennines.

Created specifically to ignite the passions of potential future endurance rally competitors – notably those of a younger age – the innovative event was open to driver/navigator crews of distinctly different generations in both vintage and classic car categories. The concept was so well received that all 75 entries were snapped up well in advance with, once again, a prominent number of eager competitors able to travel from overseas: France, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Italy and Switzerland as well as the USA.

Remarkably nearly 50 of the participants were aged under 30 with a significant magnitude of those super-keen female competitors. The youngest of all was Pat Blakeney-Edwards’ son James doing his first rally aged just 13 (photo below FMC122).

When the dust settled, victory in the vintage classification went to retro racer Martin Hunt and his young co-driver James Galliver aboard the former’s sporty 1937 Frazer Nash-BMW 328 roadster (photo above). Among the more recent Classics, the spoils went to Stephen and Alexander Chick in their beautiful 1959 Austin-Healey 3000 Mk1 (photo middle below DSK 496).

In the true character of the rally’s pioneering Generations theme, the Chicks were a father and son crew while 24-year-old Galliver is Hunt’s son Theo’s best friend from school. Endorsing the family-friendly theme, Theo himself teamed up with his mother Olivia to finish third in category in another of the formidable Frazer Nashes.

“It was just fantastic,” enthused an understandably delighted Hunt senior. “The big bonus, of course, was the incredible weather but the route was every bit as spectacular – we travelled though parts of England I never knew existed.

“Although, to ease the passage of newcomers into the sport, the rally was billed as being ‘not too difficult’, it certainly wasn’t a Ladybird book! By the end, it was quite competitive which made doing rather well all the more rewarding.”

To bring novices quickly up-to-speed, tutorial sessions on navigation and endurance rally skills were organised in advance and the short three-day format was cleverly designed to enthuse rather than to alarm new recruits.

Once all the professionally overseen paperwork and mechanical scrutineering checks had been completed on Friday morning, the full capacity field of eye-catching cars set off under an azure blue sky from the luxury Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa hotel, set idyllically on the shimmering shores of Lake Windermere.

Whetting appetites, the afternoon’s route included marvelous views from the top of the Honister Pass and introduced newcomers to the challenges of both Regularity and Speed Tests, the latter staged at the kart track in Rowrah.

Saturday’s itinerary served up a slightly tougher array of challenges for navigators and drivers alike. An unforgettable ride over rolling empty roads of the picture-perfect North Pennines, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, was followed by a well-deserved lunch at the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle. Further Tests and Regularities came swiftly thereafter before an even trickier map-based final Regularity – this required increasingly confident crews to plot the shortest route possible between three marked points whilst approaching and departing in the correct direction.

To provide competitors with an early afternoon departure, Sunday’s schedule included a short morning of further Regularities and navigational assignments before lunch and prize-giving back at the event’s Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa headquarters where participants were splendidly hosted throughout.

As well as the coveted sporting awards, two further discretionary gongs were presented to crews that had best captured the effervescence and infectious camaraderie of the event. The Spirit of the Rally accolade went to Nick and Jessica Sleep in their Bentley Supersports and the Against all Odds trophy was awarded to Rory and Ingrid Woodhouse for their stirring efforts aboard a Riley 12/4 Sports.

“It was just a terrific event,” enthused Fred Gallagher, Rally the Globe’s vastly experienced Rally Director. “The Generations concept proved to be a real winner on all fronts. So many parents were clearly not only thrilled to be sharing their passion for these motoring adventures with their children but also delighted to be spending such quality time together.

“It was also impressive to see just how quick and agile young minds are at coming to grips with processing information and multi-tasking often under stress and at speed. Many have already caught the rallying bug and are super-keen to be given another opportunity to put their newly gained skills to the test. And that, after all, was what Generations was all about.”

Much to his surprise, Gallagher was promoted to Clerk of the Course for the event at the last minute after Mark Appleton, the event’s creative architect, sadly tested positive to Covid just days before the start.

“It’s a massive credit to all the great work Mark had done in advance that everything ran so seamlessly over the weekend and also great credit to the strength-in-depth we now have within the Rally the Globe team,” praised Gallagher whose own focus now switches to the next three fixtures on the Rally the Globe calendar, all of which are staged in continental Europe.

First up is Carrera España (24 April – 5 May). Running to Rally the Globe’s much-prized Carrera format with asphalt surfaces and luxury hotels, it explores northern Spain from a starting point in historic Barcelona.

Covering close to 3,500 miles (5,500 km) the following Ypres to Istanbul Challenge (13 June – 3 July) is somewhat more adventurous with the route east including a wide variety of gravel and unsurfaced roads.

The year then concludes with the Vintage Dolomites (24 September – 2 October). Exploring the Austrian Tyrol and Italian Dolomites, it is reserved exclusively for Vintage category pre-1946 cars.

While this year’s calendar is focused on exploring Europe, plans thereafter are more global with Marathon events in both North America and South East Asia already announced. Entries for those – as well as next year’s Generations Rally sequel – are already open.

Video highlights from the Generations 2022 Rally


Aware that time is galloping by, we at RtG decided that the recce for this summer’s Ypres to Istanbul Challenge needed to continue. Previously we had covered the section from the start to the Czech / Austrian frontier, but there was still a long way to go.

Jim Smith and I met up with our trusty recce Hilux, Y1 RTG, in Prague on the evening of 3 January and proceeded to get the first of a number of mandatory COVID PCR tests. With the pandemic ripe across Europe and a lot of snow featuring in the various weather forecasts we were somewhat sceptical as to how far we could get. First objective was to get to the Hungarian border with Romania and the end of the Schengen area with the first likely border check.


Recce Day 1 (Rally Day 7)

We had already driven a route from Prague to Český Krumlov back in August 2020 so today was all about refining it. The weather was grey and wet as we left Prague and we soon decided the first regularity was far too easy and deleted it. The other sections were top class however and they, combined with some great tests, will present a good challenge after the rest day. Our rally hotel was still closed so we stayed in the lovely town of Budweis where the beer, of course, was great.

Recce Day 2 (Rally Day 8)

We visited UNESCO World Heritage Site, Český Krumlov, first thing next morning and started the road book from the main square where our rally hotel is situated. An excellent, new, gravel section was first off followed by a fairly long test round a few farm buildings. Then a regularity to a remote border crossing into Austria. This was unmanned, although it won’t be on the event, and our PCR tests went unchecked. Austria looked as immaculate as ever even on a gloomy afternoon and another decent regularity on super smooth roads before descending to the River Danube, which will be our frequent companion for the next two weeks.

Recce Day 3 (Rally Day 9)

Very early on our third day the snow started to fall and didn’t really stop. Minor roads were impossible so having found a charming coffee stop in a mountain Gasthof we descended to the plain and entered Hungary. Immediately over the border the appearance of the towns, villages, farms, roads and people, was totally different from what we had seen before. The town of Koszeg has a pretty square and we arranged for the cars to be parked there while competitors have lunch in one of the adjacent restaurants. Forest regularities and an intriguing gravel test took us to Sumeg and our hotel.

Recce Day 4 (Rally Day 10)

We awoke to a cloudless blue sky and bitterly cold temperatures. The previous afternoon we had visited a tremendous permanent race circuit and tried to rent it for a test at the end of Day 9. This was impossible but an agreement was reached to open Day 10 with it so we retraced our steps a little to integrate it into the route. It promises to be a busy morning with the circuit, a Rallycross track and a testing gravel regularity before a café lunch overlooking Lake Balaton. After lunch we are in the Great Hungarian Plain where, as expected, the countryside is flat, and the roads are straight. Just outside the city of Pecs, thanks to our friends in the local motor club, we hope to have a short hill climb followed by a twisty, and wonderfully hilly, regularity. Pecs, pronounced “Pech”, was founded by the Romans and is full of wonderful architecture. We had planned for the rally to carry on to Szeged but Pecs was so delightful we decided to end the day there. We will be split between two hotels, one very grand but a bit faded, the other modern and bright. Both are a very short walk from the main square where we hope to park our cars overnight.

Recce Day 5 (Rally Day 11)

A short way out of town we found a long, twisty regularity before going back down to the plain, where everything was shrouded in fog. We stopped in Baja, again on the Danube. This city is known to Mark Appleton and me as it was a stop on John Brown’s 1998 London to Cape Town Rally. We stopped at our original choice for the rally, the Novotel in Szeged, and by this time snow was falling heavily, everything was shrouded in fog and the maps were out to help stitch the new plan together.

Recce Day 6 (Rally Day 12)

From Szeged it was a short run to the border with Romania where once we had our COVID vaccination certificates scanned we were quickly on our way. Our original plan was for the rally to do a test or two near the city of Arad and then sleep in Timisoara. The latter city turned out to be surrounded by miles of industrial warehouses and having seen a decent looking hotel in Arad plans were changed yet again.

Recce Day 7 

Jim and I had two nights in Arad to let me catch up on route notes, maps and future plans. We had got into Romania, which already felt like a victory, and in the evening found a very pleasant pub attached to a micro-brewery with decent food and no goulash to be seen. Bliss!

Recce Day 8 (Rally Day 12)

Back in Arad, where the streets were treacherous with ice, we searched for a city official to help arrange things in the area. I was sent from office to office and saw levels of bureaucracy that I thought had disappeared with the fall of communism. Finally, after 90 minutes of queues and disinterested shrugs I found a charming multilingual woman who worked directly for the mayor. After a tour of the rather grand City Hall, we were off on our way through snow covered roads happy in the knowledge that Arad would work for us. The afternoon got better and better; a tremendous, long section through a forest was followed by an amazing hunting lodge in the middle of nowhere. There was lots of enticing gravel but with daylight fading fast thanks to the time lost in the morning we reluctantly gave up and headed for our very welcoming hotel in Sibiu.

Recce Day 9 (Rally Day 12/13)

With everything under a thick covering of snow we headed off to cover the end of Rally Day 12 in reverse before returning to make the road book notes. The snow got increasingly deeper and just as we were considering a U-turn we got stuck, and properly so. It was minus nine degrees and it took a full hour before we finally got some traction from a wooden pole wedged under the front right wheel. Finally free, we turned around, contemplated a warming brandy, but decided the mountainous section of Rally Day 13 could be explored. And what a section it was. The Transalpina is Romania’s highest road, built by the military in 1938 and opened to traffic in 2012, although for safety reasons it is still closed from 18h00 to 08h00 each night. Views were spectacular and we discovered a couple of hefty gravel regularity sections to keep the competitive level high.

Recce Day 10 (Rally Day 13)

Today we descended from the mountains and onto the plain heading for the capital, Bucharest, but not before discovering some interesting back roads and a couple of test venues. Our arrival in Bucharest was surprisingly simple and the luxury of the JW Marriott hotel was much appreciated after some hard days on the road.

Recce Day 11 (Rally Day 14)

Another day getting the notes in order, obtaining the usual PCR test for Bulgaria, and eating some great food passed in a flash. For the first time we started to think that Istanbul might just be doable. And while it was still very cold, the snow had gone.

Recce Day 12 (Rally Day 15)

Before leaving the city, we took the rally route past the impressive Palace of the Parliament, reputedly the world’s most expensive building, built on the orders of the late socialist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu. From there it was north to an excellent kart circuit on the city’s ring road before a quick dash south to the Bulgarian border, situated on the banks of our old friend, the Danube. Again no one wanted to see our expensive PCR tests but as usual we needed proof of vaccination. Bulgaria yet again felt very different with virtually all signposts in the Cyrillic alphabet and very Soviet-style architecture, at least to begin with. In the middle of nowhere we found a winery where lunch will be taken and any border delays recovered. The afternoon was spent looking, frequently in vain, for good gravel sections before we finally hit the jackpot close to the old capital city of Veliko Tarnovo and our hotel for the night.

Recce Day 13 (Rally Day 16)

We were joined after breakfast by our Bulgarian friend Damian Kirov, who makes the vast majority of RtG road books, and his friend Viktor. Their local knowledge was to prove invaluable over the coming days. Before a splendid lunch venue, they had already identified a potential closed road test, two fine regularities and a spacious kart track. The day ended with another regularity and a visit to Bulgaria’s only permanent race circuit on the outskirts of Plovdiv, our home for the next two nights. Before leaving the carpark, Viktor insisted we try some of the local Rakia, the country’s national drink. A search on the national website revealed the following gem – An important fact very few foreigners are aware of is that Bulgarians are heavy drinkers, and it is not a good idea to try to drink as much as them.

The following morning Jim and I very much wished we had followed that advice!

Recce Day 14 (Rally Day 17)

Today we drove a loop through the high mountains to the west of Plovdiv. Snow was back on the menu and the scenery was spectacular. We identified some great roads as well as coffee and lunch halts. Damian has the job of stitching them all together in the coming weeks. It was our final night in Bulgaria in a very comfortable hotel and we went to sleep with the realisation that Istanbul was a mere three days away.

Recce Day 15 (Rally Day 18)

Damian showed us a couple of interesting asphalt regularities just outside the city before we headed east towards Turkey. And then we discovered one of the absolute highlights of the event, a 45-kilometre loop of twisty, mountainous deserted roads with the occasional gravel section for good measure. It was jaw-droppingly good! Before we bade farewell to Damian he had one final discovery for us; a splendid, out of the way hotel restaurant where the day’s timing will end, and an outdoor barbeque lunch is planned. The man we met there spoke Bulgarian and Geordie having worked for a time in Newcastle in the Northeast of England! Entering Turkey took a bit longer than expected but our motor club friends in Istanbul have recommended a much quieter crossing and we will use that on the event. And so, we finally made Turkey. The rally hotel was still pretty much in lockdown with the bar and restaurant closed but we were recommended a splendid local establishment where a grand assortment of meze, grilled kebabs and cutlets and a good bottle of local wine came to almost €20!

Recce Day 16 (Rally Day 19)

The morning run to the shores of the Sea of Marmara didn’t look promising on the map but we discovered that most of the side roads were gravel and at times reminiscent of East Africa. Fittingly a Time Control section is planned. In Tekirdag we found an excellent venue for morning coffee before a wonderful, long, twisty road following the coast. This was followed by a long uphill gravel section which should be easier in summer than it looked in the January ice. We passed through Gallipoli in the Dardanelles before taking a short ferry crossing to Canakkale and our final night stop in a beautiful hotel with a fine fish restaurant on the roof.

Recce Day 17 (Rally Day 20)

Early next morning we found a surprisingly good regularity in the hills passing two dams. The section started rather gently and Jim commented “Too damned easy” before both navigation and driving became somewhat tricky. The section will be called “Two Dam Easy?”! After going back to the coast we discovered a really challenging, long, gravel section east of Bandirma. Conditions weren’t always great in January and it will be up to the 48-hour car to decide if this section is on, but if it is it will be a tremendous end to the rally. Our intended ferry to the heart of Istanbul was cancelled but we still made it home before dark, tired but delighted with what we had achieved. 

It’s going to be a hell of an adventure. We hope you can join us!


Rally the Globe are excited to announce an incredible new ‘Marathon’ event for vintage and classic cars in 2023, which will see crews journeying 12,000km south from the vast wilderness, unique wildlife and striking landscapes of Alaska to the tropical beaches of the Baja Peninsula in Mexico.

The extraordinarily diverse route will traverse asphalt and gravel roads lined with snow-capped mountains, wide open landscapes, alpine scenery, rugged deserts, ancient canyons, towering rock formations, beautiful beaches, giant sand dunes and tranquil fishing villages. With non-driving days spent in Whitehorse and Osoyoos (Canada), Moab and Palm Springs (USA), competitors will have time for some well-earned rest and reflection on their unforgettable experiences before the scenery transforms once more.

Three countries, crossing 38 lines of latitude in 30 days and one unforgettable journey. Pack your determination, competitive spirit, and sense of true adventure.

Our much-anticipated Vintage Dolomites, exclusive to pre-war cars, is now open to entries. The event will feature eight days exploring the incredible roads and scenery of the Italian Dolomites and Austrian Alps, starting and finishing close to Innsbruck.

With multi-night stays in Bolzano and Cortina D’Ampezzo, there will be time to explore the local restaurants, whilst a non-driving day in Cortina will also provide an opportunity for maintenance and repair work, a visit to the spa at our luxurious hotel or a wander through the chic resort town.

The event will have Regularity Sections on lesser-used Alpine Passes, which will be straight forward for the first few days but gradually become more challenging, driving tests at a variety of venues and time to enjoy this unique area.

As the coronavirus crisis continues, accompanied by ongoing unrest in Myanmar, the decision has been made to postpone the Road to Hanoi Marathon by a further year to early 2024 with an amended route to start in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon).

With Myanmar currently unsafe for international travellers, the new route will spend more time in both Vietnam and Thailand than was originally possible, exploring the stunning mountains and coastlines, and will now add Cambodia to the countries to be visited, as well as continuing with plans to venture into the less explored country of Laos.

The 8,500km route is packed full of gems including Angkor Wat, Chiang Mai, the Mekong River, the Ho Chi Minh Trail, Sa Pa, the Tram Ton Pass and Halong Bay.

All of the above events are open to entries now. You can view more details on each event and request an entry form by clicking on the links below.