‘ASTONISHING’ HIGHLAND THISTLE RALLY REFUELS PASSIONS FOR EPIC DRIVING ADVENTURES

  • Rally the Globe rekindles spirits with five days to remember in spectacular Scotland   
  • Historic and classic car competitors revive friendships and rivalries 
  • Top honours won by Bentley and Triumph crews… but not without their dramas
  • Focus now switches to mainland Europe for next month’s Carrera Italia – a true Latin classic   

Reviving spirits and renewing rivalries, Rally the Globe is back on the open road delivering unrivalled driving adventures for owners of evocative pre-1977 vintage and classic cars.

Having refuelled both passions and petrol tanks earlier in the summer with four short restorative Cloverleafs reserved exclusively for existing members, the not-for-profit club has just clicked back into overdrive with the Highland Thistle Rally – its first major event since the curtain came down on the epic Southern Cross Safari set largely in the game reserves of East Africa 18 months ago.

Starting and finishing in the Scottish seaside resort town of St Andrews, the rescheduled Highland Thistle (2-7 September) attracted a full-capacity, 35-car entry including teams from overseas as well as the UK. With travel restrictions now lifting, crews travelled from Germany, Switzerland, Kenya, Denmark, the Czech Republic and the USA all eager once again to savour the magnetic camaraderie and competition unique to Rally the Globe events.

Although, perhaps, more famous for another ‘driving’ sport, the ‘home of golf’ was the perfect location for the rally’s start and finish. Based not far from the famous Old Course, St Andrews’ splendid 5-Star Fairmont Hotel provided luxurious hospitality first for the eve of the rally formalities and the rekindling of friendships and then for the post-event prize-giving gala dinner.

In between, crews were treated to an incredible 1125 mile (1800km) of magnificent motoring. The meticulously devised route not only featured many of Scotland’s most spectacular, challenging and remote roads but also top-quality accommodation, fine cuisine, picture-postcard castles and a host of other activities and attractions – plus, of course, a number of competitive speed tests and regularity sections over which the rally itself would be won and lost.

There are few more inspiring experiences than a late-summer drive through the wilds of Scotland and the Highland Thistle Rally had it all: enchanting glens, vast moors, majestic mountains and beautiful lochs. Among the many stand-out highlights, crews travelled over the Ben Lawers pass, up the Rest and Be Thankful hillclimb, through Glen Coe, past the Quirang on Skye and over the Bealach na Bà on the Applecross Peninsula.

After five truly epic days of memorable motoring adventures on many of Scotland’s most iconic roads, Mike and Lorna Harrison took their 1959 Triumph TR3A to a stirring overall victory and top honours in the Classic category while Graham and Marina Goodwin sealed the spoils in the Pre-War category aboard their 1929 Bentley 4 ½ Le Mans replica.

Further class accolades were awarded to David and Jo Roberts (1963 Triumph TR4), Tony Brooks and Andy Lane (1976 Alpine Renault A310) and Manuel Dubs and Giancarlo Tottoli (1940 Ford Coupe). The Spirit of the Rally award was presented to the novice crew of Paul Taylor and Paul Haslam who, in their Ford Escort RS2000 displayed good humour throughout and the Against All Odds trophy was taken by Otakar Chádek and Zdenka Holecková for their effort in keeping their Mercedes on the right road despite an almost total lack of English!

Back at the front, neither the Harrisons nor the Goodwins had straight-forward victories – both crews overcoming major dramas en route to their respective wins.

With the finish in sight, the TR3A developed an unhealthy thirst for fuel and needed last-gasp technical assistance from the experienced Rally the Globe travelling support team to get them over the line.

“The sweep crew saved our bacon – without them we wouldn’t have made the finish,” admitted a relieved Mike Harrison. “At one point we thought we were going to have to push the car over the line but we made it with just a few minutes to spare before the cut-off time.”

Like so many others, Harrison was delighted to be back in action and full of praise for the efforts made by the entire Rally the Globe team.

“The last event we did was in New Zealand in 2020. We came straight back from that into lockdown and we’ve not been able to enter anything since. Thus, to do The Highland Thistle Rally in Scotland in such fantastic weather and with such great company has been absolutely astonishing,” he enthused. “The organisation was absolutely faultless and it’s been an exceptional experience all the way through. Rally the Globe really does have the right recipe for people to enjoy themselves doing competitive rallying in such wonderfully social surroundings.”

For the Goodwins the drama came before the start when their short-chassis Bentley 3-litre Super Sports suffered a fractured oil pipe and seized engine on the drive to Scotland. As a result it had to be substituted by a rather larger and less nimble Bentley 4 ½ Le Mans replica – a big beast which was far less suited to the narrow mountain roads, notably the tight hairpins down into Applecross.

“This wasn’t the car we intended to drive and it was pretty tricky at times but my navigator mastered the maps and we never took a wrong turn,” reported the victorious Goodwin who was another relishing the opportunity to get back in the hot seat. “The event was absolutely awesome,” he waxed lyrical. “Running a rally like this in the Highlands of Scotland is much harder than people think as the accommodation is limited and there’s a real art in finding roads through the best scenery which still facilitate a competitive rally – and this route was truly outstanding.” 

The Highland Thistle Rally’s widely-acclaimed success also delighted Goodwin in his role as Chairman of Rally the Globe and endorsed the club’s significantly revised plans introduced in response to the global pandemic.

“People want as much clarity and confidence as they can get in the current climate, so we made our strategic decisions based on what’s been happening in the world just as early as it was sensibly possible,” explained Goodwin. “Our strategy of restarting first in the UK and then moving back into Europe has been proven to be right as we’ve been able to get back rallying as swiftly as things have opened up. Ultimately, of course, we want to set our sights even further afield – we need to be realistic and yet adventurous at the same time.” 

Taking another sensible step on that road to revival, Rally the Globe’s next event – the Carrera Italia – comes on mainland Europe in just under a month’s time. It promises to be every bit as astounding as the Highland Thistle Rally with ten days of stunning driving through the majesty of the Ligurian Alps, Italian Lakes, the Dolomites and Tuscany.

CLOVERLEAF EVENTS REVIVE SPIRITS AS RALLY THE GLOBE RETURNS TO THE OPEN ROAD

• Revival events in Yorkshire and Scotland refresh passions, skills and camaraderie 
• Historic and classic cars venture onto some of the UK’s most spectacular roads 
• Huge demand encourages organisers to run both rallies twice 
• Focus now switches to Highland Thistle and Carrera Italia

Rally the Globe is back firing sweetly on all its beautifully blueprinted cylinders and the not-for-profit Club is once again delighting all owners of pre-1977 vintage and classic cars with unforgettable driving adventures.

No fewer than 16 silent months have slipped past since the curtain came down on the incredible Southern Cross Safari set in East Africa in March 2020, the enforced hiatus, though, has now been brought to a very welcome conclusion with the successful staging of four morale boosting Cloverleaf events closer to home in the UK.

Set in the spectacular scenery of Yorkshire and the west coast of Scotland, these restorative early summer Cloverleafs were specifically designed to raise spirits by reviving passions, refreshing old relationships and forging new friendships. While competitive Tests and Regularity sections were included to dust off both driving and navigation skills, the emphasis was always on putting smiles back on faces rather than the saving seconds on the stopwatch. To that end there were no individual winners, however special team prizes and Spirit of the Rally Awards were presented.

Providing participants with a safe environment in these still ever-changing times, the innovative Cloverleaf format included four days of outstanding driving based around three nights accommodation at the same luxury venue. Entries were limited to Rally the Globe members, with a maximum of 12 crews per event.

“After the recent global frustrations, we were super-keen to start running events that would meet whatever protocols might still be in place this summer,” explained  Fred Gallagher, the Club’s eminent Rally Director. “To that end, we focused our efforts on home soil and on finding suitable spots which offered both the safety of sole occupation as well as easy access to some of the UK’s greatest driving roads.”
 
“The original plan was to run one of these in Yorkshire and one in Scotland but, because of the extremely large number of entries we received, we decided to run both a second time thus ensuring everyone could get an overdue run.”

The exciting prospect of refreshing friendships and rediscovering the excitement of the open road also attracted a wonderfully eclectic entry of cars. Joining the ever-popular 1920s Bentleys, Porsche 911s, Datsun 240Zs, Aston Martins and Triumph TRs were less known motoring icons from yesteryear, including an AC Aceca-Bristol, Maserati Indy, Austin A90 Westminster, Jaguar Mk1, Citroen DS 23 Pallas, Talbot AV105, Rover P6 and Ford Escort Mexico. A couple of notable American cars were also on the quadrifoglio roster: a Chevrolet Fangio Coupe and Chrysler ’75 Roadster.

The two Yorkshire Cloverleafs (11-14 June and 12-15 July) were based at the idyllic Yorke Arms in Nidderdale just 25 miles from Rally the Globe’s headquarters in Leeds. The first afternoon’s action commenced in the beautiful stately splendour of Bowcliffe Hall and the rally finished three days later with lunch at the Michelin starred Angel at Hetton.

In between the carefully devised route through the Yorkshire Dales and over the Yorkshire Moors treated participants to wonders of ‘God’s own country’, taking them past the famous Ribblehead Viaduct, Wensleydale Creamery, the Tan Hill Inn (Britain’s highest pub) and the magnificence of Castle Howard.

Staged north of the border, the other two Cloverleafs (22-25 June and 19-22 July) were equally spectacular. They were centred at Laudale House – a sensational  residence at the heart of the 13,000 acre Laudale Estate on the Scottish west coast’s remote Morvern Peninsula.

Once all the paperwork was completed, a lone piper set competitors on their way from the beautiful village of Luss on the shores of Loch Lomond. This  time the memorable 76 hour driving adventure featured the famous ‘Rest and be Thankful’ climb, the awe of Glencoe, the wild beauty of Ardnamurchan peninsula (the most westerly point of mainland Britain) plus a magical trip to the epic roads and landscapes of Mull via the Corran Ferry… all en route to a five star conclusion at Cromlix House – the luxury hotel owned by tennis star Andy Murray serving up an ace finish to an ace event.

“Everybody was just delighted to get back out onto the road again and loved every single minute of both events ­– the feedback has been absolutely tremendous,” reported a delighted Gallagher who was equally pleased to see the Rally the Globe team back in the saddle. “It’s hard to imagine that the UK has any better driving roads than those that thrilled us in Yorkshire and Scotland and, perhaps more importantly at the moment, the camaraderie was just as excellent.”

Club Chairman, Graham Goodwin who participated in two of the Cloverleafs, was one of the many to heap praise on the excellence of Gallagher’s crack team. He lauded: “Planning and staging any rally is difficult but to do so many in such a short space of time, and in the current climate, is a truly fantastic achievement. These events were the perfect tonic we all desperately needed.” 

With spirits now raised by these four very welcome escapades, Rally the Globe is now gearing up for a return to Scotland in September before the reintroduction of more intrepid international fixtures later in the autumn.

Having whetted appetites with the two Scottish Cloverleafs, the longer and even more spectacular Highland Thistle Rally (2-7 September) includes five days of awe-inspiring driving through the glens and mountains. Starting and finishing in historic St Andrews, the 1,250-mile journey – significantly different to the one savoured by those on the Cloverleaf – travels through Scotland’s most iconic landscapes with a standout overnight halt in the rugged splendour of  the Isle of Skye.

The following month’s Carrera Italia promises to be every bit as astounding with ten days of stunning driving through the majesty of the Ligurian Alps, Italian Lakes, the Dolomites and Tuscany.

“A very limited number of places are available on both the Highland Thistle and Carrera Italia,” reported Gallagher. “However, following the huge success of our Cloverleafs, it’s fair to say that excitement is building and interest in those few remaining spots is predictably strong.”

ARI VATANEN JOINS RALLY THE GLOBE AS CLUB PRESIDENT

  • Inspirational new role for much-loved international motor sport legend 
  • World champion renews winning partnership with former co-driver Fred Gallagher 
  • Finnish star eager to experience the ‘spirit and comradeship’ of Rally the Globe adventures 
  • New-look calendar welcomes new members and entries 

Rally the Globe is honoured to announce that motor sport legend Ari Vatanen will be its very first Club President. 

Now aged 69, the illustrious Finn is one of the most revered and respected rally drivers of all times, being crowned as World Champion in 1981 and, thereafter, winning the epic Paris Dakar Rally no fewer than four times. He was also one of the idolised heroes of rallying’s revered Group B era and, more recently, served as a Member of the European Parliament from 1999 to 2009. 

With such an international sporting and political pedigree, Vatanen is the perfect figurehead for this ambitious, not-for-profit members’ club established in 2018 to incite, enthuse and entertain all owners of pre-1977 vintage and classic cars with unforgettable driving adventures all around the world. Moreover, it is also a prominent role that Vatanen clearly relished accepting. 

“I’m honoured and touched,” he admitted. “These historic rally events have real appeal; they are full of spirit, comradeship and enjoyment and that’s my kind of lifestyle. I love going back in time and looking at all these cars from the past and I’m really looking forward to being part of this very special atmosphere when I attend future events.”   

The high-profile appointment also reunites Vatanen with his former co-driver Fred Gallagher, the well-respected Ulsterman who is one of the founding forces behind Rally the Globe. Together the pair won the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies with Citroën Sport in 1997 and also teamed up to score a famous podium finish on the Safari Rally when sharing an Escort WRC for the Ford factory team in 1998.

“I know now, as then, I will be in very good hands,” endorsed Vatanen. “Fred had a very calming and reassuring effect on my driving and it’s the trust and friendship that we have built up over the years which has energised me to accept this wonderful position as Club President of Rally the Globe.”  

Having first-hand knowledge of Vatanen’s immense capabilities and magnetic charisma Gallagher, too, is understandably excited to be renewing their collaboration. 

“Ari is just a magical character and I have no doubt that his affiliation and involvement will help us to raise awareness for all the amazing events we have planned,” enthused Gallagher, the Club’s eminent Rally Director. “He has terrific contacts in both political and motor sport circles, and his incredible charisma will be an inspiration to us all.”

“It is a true honour to have someone as well respected and loved as the great Ari Vatanen as our Club President,” confirmed Club Chairman, Graham Goodwin, himself a long-distance historic rally winner when sharing a 1925 Bentley Supersports with wife Marina. “I know our members will relish sharing unforgettable times and experiences with such a true legend during future Rally the Globe adventures.” 

Looking ahead, to revive the spirits of its members with some welcome escapades, Rally the Globe has devised an enticing calendar aimed at rekindling driving passions and convivial camaraderie as national lockdown protocols are lifted post pandemic. 

The evocative action recommences in the UK with four single hotel based ‘Cloverleaf’ rallies, before the reintroduction of more intrepid international fixtures in the autumn. Initially these overseas events will be based in Europe before once again venturing further afield in early 2023. 

October’s splendid Carrera Italia is one event to which Vatanen is particularly looking forward as it will start and finish in his old rallying haunt of Sanremo. 

RALLY THE GLOBE CHAIRMAN’S SUMMARY – 2020

Dear Members

2020 was the year in which Rally the Globe completed its first long overseas rally, the Southern Cross Safari.  This was an exceedingly difficult event to organise, which probably explains why Kenya and Tanzania are seldom visited by Vintage and Classic car enthusiasts in such a rally format.  Exceptionally, there has never before been a competitive rally which has managed to successfully navigate the red tape required to get permission to drive through the very special Masai Mara and Serengeti game parks.  It is a credit to the contacts and determination of our World Champion co-driver Fred Gallagher that we managed to do just that, and Marina and I will never forget this once in a lifetime trip.  To drive an open topped Bentley through a game park bigger than Wales and to watch the vast migration of animals in this natural setting was amazing.  Navigating heavy rain, washed out roads and swarms of locusts en route was the icing on the cake.  Unfortunately, we arrived back to the UK with a bang. 

From here on in events were postponed and cancelled one after another and it felt like travel and related companies were collapsing like a stack of cards.  Sadly, two of our fellow rally companies have closed their doors for good and this makes us more determined than ever to fly the endurance rally flag.  We have a rally family to support and look after and we intend doing just that.  

From an RtG point of view our plans for the remainder of 2020 were hit hard.  As a result of the UK national lockdown, we had to cancel our Celtic Challenge rally and our Round the World rallies.  I was particularly gutted at the prospect of cancelling Round the World because this marathon had not even been attempted for 20 years and at 30,000km was more than twice the distance of the well-known Peking to Paris.  It’s the prospect of challenging ourselves, creating new events and going to special places which motivated us all to set up the RtG club in the first place.

Whilst we are a not-for-profit club, we are still a commercial business run by experienced business people.  Given the turmoil in the motor sport and travel markets last year I thought I should give you a quick update on our financial position at the end of 2020.  This is because I, like you, would not want to place my money in the care of a company I did not have confidence in.  I would want to know that they are on top of their figures and operating model.   Fortunately, not by accident but by design of having an excellent Finance Director and an experienced long-distance rally team, RtG had the best insurance in place to cover our cancelled rallies from 2020.  In common with other companies, we will be unable to sensibly insure against communicable diseases going forward so must remain vigilant and only commit funds, your funds, with utmost care and due diligence.  

I am pleased to report that our income for 2020 was £1.3 million and despite refunding rally entrants in full to the tune of £1.03 million we still made a small operating profit during this extremely challenging year which is already reinvested in our coming events.  As an indication of Members’ confidence in our business, we also finished the year with over £1 million in cash and continue to manage our cashflow and currency exposures to the highest standards.  In summary your money, our money, is safe with us.  

Looking ahead we are delighted to be launching our new and innovative Cloverleaf rallies in 2021 and look forward to returning to the open road for our Highland Thistle and Carrera Italia events later in the year.  We get the ball rolling in 2022 with the much-anticipated Generations Rally in the English Lake District before moving on to the annual Carrera offering, next year exploring the glorious northern regions of Spain on the Carrera España.  There’s then six weeks to draw breath before setting out on a proper Challenge, rallying along a fantastic route from Ypres to Istanbul.

During the summer months, we leave the roads to the tourists and cyclists but at the end of September we will be back in the rally-heaven that is the Dolomite region of northern Italy for our first event solely for pre-war cars.  

We accept that the world will not be open to rallying overnight and you will probably have noticed that all our rallies to the end of 2022 have a European focus.  This is a deliberate decision taken to keep our crews, our team and your money as safe as possible.  2023 will start with a bang in the shape of our first Marathon event with the Road to Hanoi – 4 weeks exploring the lesser-known parts of South East Asia.  I know from experience that this area of the world is one of the best and Marina and I cannot wait to return.  

The directors are delighted with our 2020 results in what was a terrible and difficult financial climate, and we have confidence in the future of the club and our diverse array of rallies.  I would like to thank them on your behalf for their first class and selfless service to the club.  There is a fantastic team working at Rally the Globe and we cannot wait to get back on the road shortly.  Watch this space for challenging, new and innovative events going forward.  

Graham Goodwin

Chairman, Rally the Globe

INTRODUCING THE CLOVERLEAF

The team at Rally the Globe are not sedentary souls, and have seized the opportunity of this prolonged hiatus in globetrotting to bring forward an idea from the “wish list” and trial a new style of event in the shape of a Cloverleaf.

We are planning two Cloverleafs in the first half of 2021 that, despite being in different parts of Britain, will share a similar format. These events will:

  • Have no more than a dozen cars.
  • Have a single luxury base in a special location with exclusive use of all the accommodation and facilities.
  • Span four days (and three nights).
  • Have a competitive element although the emphasis will be on fun, smiles and the unexpected more than on the stopwatch.
  • Embrace exclusive and personal experiences that are not normally possible with a larger rally group.
  • Encapsulate great driving, great food & drink, and great friendships.

We are confident that this new style of event for Rally the Globe will prove popular and entries are sure to be at a premium so, initially at least, they will be reserved for Members only. As the concept is for a small and exclusive event, we will not increase the number of entries available. That said, if there proves to be a demand, there is nothing to prevent us from repeating the events later in the year.

RIDING THE SECOND WAVE

When Coronavirus was first identified back in January, it was a concern for everyone involved with international rallying, but it was not until the middle of March that the scale of the problem became apparent. After a lot of assessment and analysis, and a degree of educated guesswork, Rally the Globe responded to the first wave of the global pandemic with a new and exciting programme of events for 2020 and 2021. Our strategy was to start with what we hoped would be safer and more secure events close to our home base, before gradually expanding our horizons back to the global view that we have been targeting since the initiation of RtG.

Early in the evolution of the new programme, as part of a sensitivity analysis, we considered the possibility of the virus returning for a second wave. Clearly, we were hoping that this would not occur, but the potential was no secret. Now that we are in the midst of the second wave of the pandemic and, despite some positive news on the vaccine front, we have taken the view that we need to progress to the next level of our contingency planning.

Therefore, in order to minimise risk to the health of our members, participants and team, and to ensure that we as an organisation are in a position to run adventurous and ground-breaking events in the future, we will postpone the events that we assess to have the highest vulnerability to a prolonged pandemic by a year.

With this in mind, the 3-week long Ypres to Istanbul Challenge will now run in the second half of June 2022, and the 4-week long Road to Hanoi Marathon will now run in February 2023. At this point in time, we assess that our other events represent a lower risk and should be able to go ahead as planned. We have already been in contact with the current entrants on the postponed events and the majority of them are planning to join us on the new dates.

Entry forms for all our events are available on request from info@rallytheglobe.com.

LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL

With the recent easing of restrictions by both the British and Scottish Governments, Rally the Globe are delighted to announce that they are moving to the next phase of planning to get “back on the road” with the brand new Highland Thistle Rally in early October. The Scottish Government plan to open Scotland for tourism from 15th July, and our recce team will be on the road shortly after to finalise the detailed arrangements around the stunning route.

As we have all learnt, caution and care are still required, and we will continue to follow guidelines issued by the relevant authorities to reduce risks as much as possible.  We are assessing which aspects of the event may need to be modified in order to comply with the social distancing advice may be in place at the time.  It is likely that the pre-event Scrutineering and Signing-on procedures will be a little different to usual and may involve use of your tablet or smartphone.  Hotel check-in procedures will have less personal contact and it may not be possible to have group dinners every night.  Although we will still be using our experienced marshalling teams, you may not see their smiling faces behind the masks, and they are unlikely to scrawl on your time card.

The entry list is filling up nicely and is displayed here .  Our hotel options limit the number of cars we can take, so anyone interested in joining us should sign up before it is too late.  If Covid restrictions return and it is no longer possible to run the event, we will reimburse in full any entry fees that have been paid.

We have also been keeping a keen eye on the easing of travel restrictions across Europe and are hopeful that before the end of July another recce team will be making their first exploration of the route for next summer’s Ypres to Istanbul Challenge.

There has been a lot of enthusiastic interest in our new Generations event that takes place in March next year.  With the emphasis on introducing a new Generation to our sport, many families have entered two cars so that sibling rivalry is sure to be intense.  But there’s no need to keep it in the family as we also welcome crews of cross-generational friends and as there is no official FIA Genealogist we can apply our own definition of a Generation!

As we emerge from this pandemic, we are all looking forward to getting Back on the Road, and hope to see you there soon.

NEW APPOINTMENT STRENGTHENS CORE RALLY THE GLOBE TEAM

  • Multiple classic rally winner Mark Appleton joins as Chief Operating Officer 
  • Luminary with experience of running top events all around the world
  • COVID-19 forces cancellation of next two events
  • Planning continues apace for when current travel restrictions are lifted 

One of the most respected names in the field of international endurance rallies has joined the Rally the Globe core team.

Further demonstrating the new organisation’s ambitions, Mark Appleton has been appointed Chief Operating Officer – a role for which the Berkshire-based 45-year-old has the perfect credentials.

As a competitor in such events, Appleton has an outstanding track record having navigated drivers to numerous victories. His notable successes include the Classic Marathon, Tulpen Rally (Tulip Rally) and the Rally of the Tests on no fewer than six occasions, most recently last November.

As well as a highly experienced participant, Appleton is also renowned as one of the leading organisers of such classic rallies. Over the past 20 years his expertise has been behind many epic events right around the world including Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and most recently in New Zealand.

In his new full-time role as Rally the Globe’s Chief Operating Officer, Appleton will oversee the day-to-day running of the not-for-profit club, ensuring the delivery of high-quality and competitive – yet always friendly – events as exemplified by the affiliation’s opening two driving adventures the Carrera Iberia and Southern Cross Safari. He will also perform Clerk of the Course duties on location.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to join such an exciting new organisation and one that I simply couldn’t miss,” he explained. “I’ve only heard great reports from those first two triumphs and I’m really looking forward to contributing to what I know is already a terrific team at Rally the Globe. We all know this is a challenging time with the COVID-19 virus forcing many postponements and cancellations but it is also an opportunity for us to hone our future plans for when we are all in happier place.”

Indeed, the current global pandemic and resultant travel restrictions have already seen the cancellation of Rally the Globe’s next two proposed assignments: this month’s Celtic Challenge and the opening leg of the planned Round the World trilogy which was to run from London to Casablanca starting in late May.

“It is with great regret that we have had to make these decisions after so much groundwork has already been laid but there are currently no other options,” acknowledged Fred Gallagher, Rally the Globe’s well-regarded Rally Director.

“Looking ahead, though, we are thrilled that someone of Mark’s exceptional experience is joining us as Chief Operating Officer – I really can’t think of anyone I would rather have in that role. He already has the full respect and confidence of the Rally the Globe membership and completes, what I think it’s fair to say, is now a really impressive team.”

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

We would like to address concerns regarding our upcoming rallies as a result of the global coronavirus outbreak.

Understandably we have received a number of enquiries from rally entrants asking about potential disruptions to our planned events, and we have been speaking with our insurers as well as monitoring the positions of motorsport governing bodies such as the FIA, FIVA and Motorsport UK to understand their current positions. The health of our participants, officials, staff and the general public is of course our greatest concern.

Rally the Globe is working closely with our insurers to understand the extent of our cancellation policies in these circumstances. Our event cancellation policy covers Communicable Disease, meaning that we would be covered should the relevant bodies advise a travel ban which affects a planned rally route. 

At the same time, we suggest that all entrants review their own travel insurance policies to ensure that they are adequately covered for any travel and/or car transportation related to a rally entry.

At this stage, all of our rallies will take place as planned. However, we will continue to monitor the advice from Motorsport UK, FIVA, the FIA, the UK Government and Governments in those countries where we have planned rallies. 

Our route planners are also currently investigating potential alternative routes to avoid any cities, areas or even entire countries which may be declared “off limits” to ensure that events can still be run for everyone’s enjoyment.

If you do have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us, but rest assured, we are monitoring the situation closely and will inform relevant individuals once further advice becomes available.

BENTLEY TAKES TOP HONOURS ON EPIC EAST AFRICAN ADVENTURE

  • Husband and wife team win East African classic safari rally
  • Two thousand mile adventure won and lost over 21 competitive sections
  • Porsche 911 and Jaguar E-type crews crowned as class winners
  • Rally the Globe team delivers another ‘phenomenal’ benchmark driving event 
  • Follow-up events include Celtic Challenge and Round the World 

Rally the Globe’s spectacular Southern Cross Safari delivered not only an epic 2,000-mile (3,600km) driving adventure through East Africa but also a surprise, last-gasp winner. It was also a further endorsement of Rally the Globe’s reputation as the premier club in the successful delivery of such impressive competitive driving escapades reserved for revered cars from days gone by.     

After 19 days of highly challenging driving through the magnificent mountains, game reserves and private estates of Kenya and Tanzania, it was the 1927 Bentley 4 ½ Le Mans – crewed by British husband and wife team Keith and Norah Ashworth – that took overall Southern Cross Safari honours and with them also the spoils in the Class 1 Pre-War category.

Their victory came as something of a surprise as much of the event had been dominated by a phalanx of classic Porsches. At one stage close to the finish three of Ferdinand’s finest topped the leader-board. Moreover, the 2-litre 1965 911 shared by Gavin and Diana Henderson was still in front as the cars set out on the final day’s tricky speed and regularity tests set Taita Hills, once famously conquered by Michele Mouton’s Audi quattro. 

Navigation and timing skills were at a premium and, as the Henderson’s faltered, so the Ashworths prospered – the Bentley blasting its way to the top of the standings having started the final sections only in eighth place.

 “A Bentley’s power-to-weight-ratio is all power and lots of weight; knowing how to control these two forces is what makes the difference,” explained the winning driver who was understandably delighted with his landmark success and quick to pay tribute to his co-driver wife for her skilful support. “To take this win means such a lot, because it’s our first ever endurance rally win. And we did it because I’ve got the best navigator!” 

With the erstwhile leaders slipping back to finish fifth overall, Lars and Annette Rolner were the first Porsche home. Relishing life in their striking Martini coloured 1974 3.2-litre 911, the Danish duo finished second behind the Bentley and took the Classic Category honours.

Like Keith Ashworth, Lars was quick to credit the team-work of his co-driving wife. “I’m lucky to have a great navigator and I’m happy to be here on the podium and not in the divorce courts!” he joked. “There was much more rain than we’d expected, which in turn led to some terrible road conditions but we suffered no real problems. Kenya is beautiful country with great hospitality, and the smiles we’ve seen along the road will stay with us for a long time.”

Another standout  performance among the 911 entries came from Class 2 winners Stephen and Jenny Verrall while the surprisingly intrepid Jaguar E-type shared by Clint and Dawn Smith impressed everyone with victory in Class 4 and third place overall.

As ever, there also were some notable performances further down the field. Triumph pairings David and Jo Roberts and Alan and Tina Beardshaw overcame various technical issues en route to ensure two TRs were inside the final top ten while the period-liveried Lancia Fulvia Monte Carlo of Jean-Philippe and Iris Tripet stayed in contention after sourcing some much-needed, mid-rally spares from Nairobi. 

Another eye-catcher was local Kenyan rally star Rob Collinge – he was dressed in full US army clothing aboard his charismatic 1954 Willys while Denis Wilson’s Rover P5B and Michael McInerney’s Ford Mustang added a rich V8 soundtrack to the dramatic action. 

Despite the age of the participating cars the only significant non-finisher was the venerable 1924 Vauxhall 30/98 of Charles Stuart-Menteth and Michael Timmis. 

Having already survived a skirmish with an errant Tuk-Tuk before the start, it suffered an alternator failure before half distance which sadly turned out to be terminal when the spare alternator also turned out to be faulty. The crew, though, continued the adventure aboard a borrowed Toyota ensuring they missed out on neither the marvellous journey nor the accommodation including five star hotels and game lodges nor the remarkable camaraderie along the route.

As well as the class winners and the overall awards, several discretionary prizes were presented with two ‘Spirit of the Rally’ prizes going to Denis and Jill Wilson and Fiat 124 Spider duo Federica Mascetti and Enrico Paggi for their unfailing good humour and fun throughout.

By popular vote, the ‘Against All Odds’ accolade was taken by Dieter and Hildegard Baumhäckel for their efforts in keeping their 1961 Volvo PV544 on the road despite its ongoing suspension problems.

Although the well-above average levels of recent rainfall at times pushed crews and cars to their limits, it wasn’t all hard work as participants were treated to several hard-earned rest and repair days – and unforgettable game drives – in a number of the region’s most illustrious safari camps.

“The huge challenges presented by the abnormal amount of rain that’s fallen in East Africa really tested the whole Rally the Globe team and it’s a fantastic tribute to both the competitors and our brilliant assistance crews that all those participating reached the finishing line,” enthused Fred Gallagher, the club’s Rally Director. 

“When putting together the new Rally the Globe team, we selected the best in the business and that’s a policy which really pays off when the going gets tough. Indeed, the feedback from all those competing in Africa has been absolutely amazing and it was certainly an extraordinarily rewarding event.” 

Indeed, rare permissions were granted for entrants to drive through both Masai Mara and Serengeti National Reserves, the latter being 150 per cent bigger than Wales and brimming with lions, cheetahs, elephants, zebras and hippos.  

“I don’t think this has ever been done before,” admitted Collinge who, as an experienced Kenyan rally driver, should know. “I have no idea quite how the organisers convinced the KWS [Kenya Wildlife Service] to let us drive through their gorgeous parks.”

“It was phenomenal,” agreed TR navigator Jo Roberts. “You feel really privileged to have driven through all these fabulous national parks in your own old vehicle.”

The Southern Cross Safari marked the start of a very busy portfolio of events for Rally the Globe. Next month comes the Celtic Challenge set in the British Isles, and quickly thereafter the start of the ultimate ‘Round the World’ circumnavigation, split into three stand-alone sections between May 2020 and June 2021 – London to Casablanca, Boston to Vancouver and Vladivostok to London. A few remaining places on those events are still available for those looking to take advantage of Rally the Globe’s inspiration, vision and expertise.