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.


Taking advantage of the fact that Italy was at the time on the UK’s “Green List”, Jim Smith and I flew to Milan in mid-September to recce the high roads of Northern Italy that will soon be closed by snow.

Carrera Italia starts and finishes in Sanremo, but we picked up the route in Piedmont at a splendid international kart circuit that will host the first test on the second day. From there we headed north through the provincial capital of Biella and into the Alps. The roads tuned out to be virtually deserted and very twisty, the way we like them. The area felt surprisingly remote with lots of sheep and goats in the swirling mist and low cloud. We found a couple of great regularities, before a lunch halt in a rural farm.

After lunch we headed east towards the Italian lakes. After a final regularity we found a lovely lakeside setting for the end of day Time Control. Crews can linger here as long as they like, before 65 kilometres of mostly highway to Como, and a really picturesque drive along the lakeshore to our wonderful overnight hotel. The Grand Hotel Tremezzo is luxuriously beautiful and has wonderful views over the lake, while being one of the best run establishments it has ever been my pleasure to experience.

The next morning, we had to tear ourselves away from the breakfast terrace and get back on the road. After leaving Lake Como we found an interesting regularity, with a lot of hairpin bends to give the drivers a workout first thing in the morning. The main road east was less interesting for 40 kilometres, so on the next recce we will investigate some of the minor parallel routes. Then, in an instant we were in beautiful hills again with a great choice of roads. We found a splendid regularity through mountain farmland. All of the cows at the side of the road had bells around their necks and the sound was tremendous in the beautiful surroundings.

Looking for a coffee stop in Edolo, we chose the Touring Hotel at random. It was a lucky call because Simone, the proprietor, is a great fan of old cars and was immediately talking about reserving parking in the town square and wondering why we couldn’t stay for lunch.  However, that was because we had the mighty Gavia Pass ahead and on the day it was only open from 12h00 to 13h00 due to roadworks. The road climbs above the tree-line to 2621 metres above sea level. There is a typical mountain restaurant where we can catch our breath and have a simple lunch.

After the descent to Bormio, we began the climb of the most famous Pass of all, the Stelvio. With its fame of course comes more tourist traffic than we experienced anywhere else, so the timing will be accordingly slack. It is a spectacular road however, especially the never-ending series of hairpin bends on the descent. We did investigate a potential regularity in the orchards of the Venosta Valley and we are awaiting permission to use the roads. From there it was main road all the way to Bolzano and the rally’s five-star hotel in the city centre. 

After a quick inspection Jim and I carried on and were quickly into the Dolomites, where we were spoilt for choice of interesting roads. Our overnight stop was planned to be a rally lunch halt but during dinner it became apparent that would not be the case…..

Bright and early the next morning we were motoring again with a mid-morning, hotel inspection at our spectacularly situated hotel in Cortina d’Ampezzo. Then onwards to drive what should be the most splendid day of the entire event, the Dolomite Loop. The entire day comprises a multitude of mind-blowingly wonderful scenery and tremendous roads. The day will end in a wonderful mountain top restaurant from where competitors will return to Cortina in free time.

From Cortina Jim and I headed to Venice Airport and home. It was a wonderful four days, although we were left wondering how such a beautiful area ended up giving its name to the Ford Cortina and the Triumph Dolomite……..

We look forward to completing the rest of the recce as soon as travel plans allow, and look forward even more to seeing those of you who are joining us in Sanremo in less than 12 months’ time!


It is with much regret that Rally the Globe have taken the decision to postpone the Highland Thistle Rally from October 2020 to the late summer of 2021.

It has been extensively reported that the prevalence of Covid-19 around Scotland (as with the rest of Europe) is rising again and that the various Governments are understandably responding with more restrictions on movement and mingling.  With the tightening of restrictions has come a general change in the public’s mood.  Although our PR teams have been receiving positive comments from around the route, there is no escaping the fact that we would have been reversing the overall trend by travelling with 80 people and 40 cars around the quieter (and less Covid afflicted) parts of the Highlands.  

The restrictions in Scotland continue to be more onerous than in England, particularly concerning the mixing of different households and private hire accommodation.  Whilst we are confident that we would be able to put on a rally complying with the letter of the various restrictions and guidelines, we judge that it is not in the spirit of the efforts of the Scottish Government to contain the virus.  More than that we do not want to put any of our entrants, team, or general public at personal risk.  

In addition, every new restriction has inevitably reduced the overall experience of the event and whilst the on-the-road part of the rally would still have presented an enjoyable and competitive drive, the hospitality and social side would have been severely compromised.  

We have already been in touch with all of our competitors and partners for this event to make them aware of the situation and will continue our conversations with them once we have been able to settle on a new date.  We are also grateful for the support of the entrants, our extended team and friends in response to this decision that has been widely received as the appropriate and responsible thing to do.

If you are interested in joining us on the rescheduled event, please contact the office on info@rallytheglobe.com and we will keep you up to date with the new details as soon as they are confirmed.


Just over 20 weeks since coming home from the Southern Cross Safari, Jim Smith and I went abroad again in one of Rally the Globe’s Toyota Hi-Lux. Our destination? Ypres in Belgium, where our rally to Istanbul will begin in June 2022.

Leaving Surrey for the first time in five months was exciting enough, never mind catching a ferry to continental Europe. We were fully equipped with face masks, hand-gel and a determination not to catch the virus. Ypres was comforting; social distancing well observed by all but it was bliss to sit at a table outside a restaurant in the town square eating moules frites with a glass of local beer.

First thing Tuesday morning we hit the road to prepare the initial stage of the event, a 190-kilometre loop involving a number of potential regularity sections and a couple of tests. The organisers of the Ypres rally, soon to be a round of the World Championship, made our task easier by supplying us with a road book of the region’s “greatest hits” many of which I had competed on with the great Tony Pond 40 years ago.

Highlights of the day were a terrific lunch halt for the event on the rooftop of a brewery, a test along the promenade in a seaside resort and lots of tricky regularities through the fields of Flanders.

Next morning, we said goodbye to the Flemish speaking region after another regularity and a test through a town centre (things are different in Belgium!) before a relatively short highway section. We found a couple of interesting sections where we least expected it, before the beautiful countryside of Wallonia, the French-speaking area, opened up. The event lunch will be taken in a beautiful old farm right on the French border but we didn’t have time to spare and headed on, direction Chimay. That town will be known to ale aficionados for its local Trappist beers but motor racing fans know it only for its ultra-fast road circuit. We have been offered a mixture of gravel tracks and closed public roads for a pair of tests that will be one of the highlights of the event. An international karting circuit and two great regularities took us to our brand-new, excellent hotel in Remouchamps near Spa.

If our continuing negotiations are successful, it will be a very early start for the competitors as they will have a test with a difference first thing. We continued into the Ardennes for a test at a driving centre before entering the German speaking part of the country (it’s complicated in Belgium!). The final regularity in that country was found for us by Joseph Lambert, a former FIA Regularity Navigator Champion. Twisting through deserted minor forest roads it had Jim and me laughing out loud at times. Great fun will be had and there will be a lot to talk about at the morning coffee stop on the German frontier.

The afternoon saw us in the Eifel and our friends from the annual Rally Festival held there offered to close a public road for a twisty asphalt hill-climb test. It seemed rude not to accept. Then across the picturesque Moselle River, a short but twisty regularity before our hotel perched above the River Rhine. We hope to be on time to take our competitors and team for a late-afternoon river cruise – with drinks of course.

Jim and I started Friday morning with a 65-kilometre main road run to circumnavigate the city of Koblenz. However, since returning home our German fixer has found a local motor club with some forest and asphalt roads so we may have a couple of tests straight after breakfast. A splendid kart track was made even better when the owner agreed we could continue the test there by exiting onto a gravel road. A first surely.

In Schotten, where motorcycle Grand Prix were held on the public roads in the 1950s, we called in on Rainer Hainbach, 1978 & 1979 German Rally Champion. He pointed us towards a complex about 40 kilometres away where the enthusiastic owner has a good collection of old rally cars, but more importantly a splendid rallycross-type track to drive them on. We will have a test before and after a hearty local-style lunch. Crossing into the former East Germany we plan a Time Control at the Eisenach Motor Works where BMWs were built before the war and EMWs thereafter. A fascinating place to end the day before a run in free time into the wonderful city of Weimar and the splendid Hotel Elephant.

Saturday morning saw us heading for the Czech Republic but not before a short test or two. Once over the border an early lunch will be taken. Different food and different surroundings. From there it’s into the hills for most of the day with great regularities on deserted roads. Our hotel is in the centre of Prague and there is a lot to see and do in that great city.

After a Sunday spent collating notes and checking maps we headed off into the Monday morning rush hour. Not a great idea so the route for the rally has been completely revised using Mark Appleton’s knowledge of the area from previous events. Deep in Bohemia we found great roads for regularities and at least four surprising tests. We ended the day in Cesky Krumlov, a UNESCO Heritage site, but our preferred hotel wasn’t up to scratch so an alternative is actively being searched.

Pavel Kacerovsky, our Czech helper suggested some great forest roads to us and promises us a special treat as we cross into Austria on a minor gravel road. For Jim and me it was a trip to the Autobahn at Linz and a dash for the Channel and home. Our timing was good because only a couple of weeks later we would have been forced to quarantine, although I’m happy to say that a few weeks after our return we are both totally symptom free.

We can’t wait to get back on the road and do the full route from Ypres to Istanbul sometime in the Autumn, conditions willing.

Hope you can join us in June 2022!


Please note that the recce report below was written in August 2020, before the postponement of the Rally. This may mean that there are some changes to the route for 2021.

Ever since announcing our intention to run the Highland Thistle Rally in October, all of us at Rally the Globe have been hanging on every announcement from the British and Scottish Governments waiting to hear when we would be able to recce the route.  Finally, the announcement came that Scotland would be “open for tourism” from 15th July so arrangements were made, the Hilux tyres were pumped up and St Andrews was entered into the SatNav.

Our hotel, set amidst the world famous golf courses of St Andrews, is a great place to start and finish a rally with lots of space both inside and out for all of the pre-start formalities.  ‘Space’ and its current synonym ‘social distancing’ is of course the latest must-have commodity for all of us.  Fortunately it is something that the Scottish Highlands are not short of, with a population density of only 8 people per square km.

Following the pre-event checks and a Sunday evening welcome in St Andrews, Monday will see crews heading towards the west coast but not before an early morning ‘wake-up call’ at a drifting circuit near Glenrothes that should blow away the last of the lockdown cobwebs.

The route then heads through the southern reaches of the towering Grampian mountains via legendary rallying roads along Glen Quaich, Glen Lyon and past Ben Lawers which rises to the northside of Loch Tay. The day will end with a well-earned visit to the award-winning Inverawe Smokehouse before an overnight halt in the resort town of Oban.

Tuesday’s route is every bit as outstanding crossing Rannoch Moor and then through atmospheric Glencoe and past Fort William in the shadows of Ben Nevis before a lunch halt on the shores of Loch Lochy in the Great Glen. Once refreshed, it is then west, past the iconic Eilean Donan Castle and on to the truly remarkable roads and vistas of the Isle of Skye before a well-deserved overnight stop in picturesque Portree.

Further driving on Skye follows the next morning before a return to the mainland for lunch at the serene outpost of Applecross, but not before tackling the breathtaking ‘Bealach na Ba’ or ‘Pass of the Cattle’. Both Tuesday and Wednesday nights are spent at the luxury Achnagairn Castle Hotel close to Inverness with the fourth day’s driving adventure taking crews north west to Ullapool and back via tests at the Littleferry kart track north of Dornoch.

The final day includes visits to Kincardine and Glamis Castles as well as more great roads through both Speyside, with its world famous whisky distilleries, and through the snow gates of the Cairngorms National Park. After crossing the Tay Bridge, the final – and perhaps decisive test – will be set on the heavily guarded Leuchars military base outside St Andrews.

Our week-long recce trip reminded us what a treat it is to explore the open roads of the Highlands.  This treat seemed even sweeter after emerging from the recent travel restrictions.  There really could be no better way for us to get back on the road again.

While we have set out to create a real celebration of post lock-down freedom, in the current climate that comes with added responsibilities and complications.  All the venues and hotels we are visiting are rigorously following the latest government guidelines and we will be adopting all the relevant recommendations for rallies as issued by the sport’s governing body, Motorsport UK.  This is inevitably going to mean that the Highland Thistle will operate differently to our previous rallies in some respects, but the simple pleasure of driving your classic car on classic roads in stunning scenery will never change.

Interest has been soaring ever since lock down regulations have started to ease. There are, however, a few remaining places open to those seeking to blow away the cobwebs with a memorable five-day, late-summer drive through the awe-inspiring glens, across the vast moors and alongside the mystical lochs of the stunningly superlative Scottish Highlands.


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.


  • Revised schedule commences in the spectacular Scottish Highlands  
  • Future events thereafter in Europe, Asia and the Middle East
  • Launch of Generations Rally designed to enthuse next era of participants

Here at Rally the Globe we have announced an innovative and exciting new calendar of future events for happier times once the current COVID-19 crisis has passed.

With novel coronavirus causing widespread worldwide lock-downs and major travel restrictions, many of the club’s forthcoming events – including the eagerly-anticipated Round the World circumnavigation – have had to be cancelled.

In their place a revised programme of driving adventures has been initiated for those vintage and classic car enthusiasts seeking post-pandemic competition and camaraderie.

Anticipating the likelihood of international travel regulations being gradually relaxed and participant confidence being restored in the coming months, the amended calendar commences this autumn with the first of two events set entirely in the UK. These are then followed in 2021 by more adventurous voyages into mainland Europe before the return of even more epic international motoring experiences in 2022 and beyond.

“Clearly there are still lots of uncertainties ahead but we wanted to provide our supporters with some light at the end of the tunnel – hence this new line-up of appealing and accessible driving escapades for which entrants can start planning right now,”

explained Fred Gallagher, our well-respected Rally Director

“The prospect of getting back into such wonderful events will certainly help to lift spirits.”  

First up on the revised schedule – government advice permitting – is this autumn’s spectacular Highland Thistle Rally (4-9 October). Starting and finishing at a luxurious five-star hotel in St Andrews, the legendary birthplace of golf on the Scottish east coast, the five-day route is open to all pre-1977 models and will take participants west to the wonders of Skye and then north to the magical mountains and stunning roads beyond Inverness.

Though clearly aimed at attracting entries from within the UK, Rally the Globe is also hoping that its regular competitors from northern Europe will take advantage of the convenient Amsterdam to Newcastle ferry route to renew rivalries and friendships in Scotland.

“We are very much hoping the Highland Thistle will be a big celebration of our freedom but clearly it is entirely dependent on what the Scottish government allows at the time – that’s why we are offering entrants the security of a full refund should such gatherings not be permitted come the autumn,” confirmed Graham Goodwin, Rally the Globe’s Chairman.

“While it’s obviously disappointing to have cancelled great events such as the Round the World, on the positive side we have comprehensive insurance in place and thus the club is in a secure situation to start planning for the future. As a club made up largely of participants, we have taken a pragmatic approach to our revised calendar and focused on events we believe our members will feel both safe and excited to enter post coronavirus.” 

Staying in mainland Britain, the new-look 2021 roster commences with the innovative Generations Rally set in the enchanting Lake District, England’s largest National Park, renowned for its rugged mountains and glacial ribbon lakes.

The appropriately titled event is open to family driver/navigator crews comprised of different generations, whether fathers and daughters, aunts and nephews or even grandparents and grandchildren. The novel format has been introduced specifically to inspire those of a younger age to experience the competitive pleasure and convivial ambiance of the endurance rally fraternity and, encouraging maximum participation, entries are open to cars built before the end of 1985.

The cleverly conceived three-day weekend configuration has been created to minimise time spent away from school, college or office. Following pre-start scrutineering on Friday, that afternoon’s schedule will feature some simple navigation tests to whet appetites for some slightly more challenging escapades on Saturday and Sunday morning.

Anticipating a growing appetite for travel, 2021’s calendar also now includes the more adventurous Ypres to Istanbul Challenge (7-27 June) and the re-inclusion of the already announced Carrera Italia (2-12 October).

Starting in Belgium and concluding in the historic gateway to Asia, the former will include plenty of challenging European gravel and asphalt roads through countries such as Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria.

The latter will run to a similar style to Rally the Globe’s super-successful Carrera Iberia with top class hotels and an all-asphalt itinerary including visits to several notable race circuits.

Based in Sanremo on the Italian Riviera, the alluring Carrera Italia will journey through Como and the opulence of the Italian Lakes, Cortina and the delights of the Dolomites plus Verona and the marvels of Tuscany.

Then 2022 sees the return of Rally the Globe’s truly global events. The year starts in February with the epic Road to Hanoi Marathon with a never-experienced-before driving route through the extraordinary topography and cultures of Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam in southeast Asia.

The action then returns to Europe for the Carrera España and the Vintage Dolomites – reserved for pre-1946 Cars – before switching to the Arabian Peninsula for another marathon-style rally through the extravagances of the UAE and Oman. Plans for an amazing three-part Pan-American marathon running from Alaska to Cape Horn are now being considered for 2023/24.

“We’ve tried to be as realistic with our future event programme as it’s possible to be in the current uncertainties,” disclosed Gallagher. “Hence our start in Scotland and England before venturing further into Europe and, in 2022, going worldwide once again. Rally the Globe has already earned itself an enviable reputation for the delivery of incredible international driving experiences and we will return with some equally fabulous events once the current travel restrictions are lifted.”   


  • 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.”


It is with great regret that we have made the decision to officially cancel Round the World Part One, London to Casablanca, due to run in May this year.  Motorsport UK have extended their official guidance suspending all organising permits and Certificates of Exemption until at least the 30th June 2020 and we face travel restrictions in the UK, Spain and Morocco.  Therefore, we have no option but to cancel the rally.  

Round the World Part Two, Boston to Vancouver, and Round the World Part Three, Vladivostok to London, are currently under review and it may be that they are also unlikely to go ahead. We are discussing the implications of this with our insurers at present, and hope to announce a decision over the next few weeks.

COVID-19 is presenting us with challenges which are developing constantly. The entire Rally the Globe team is working towards presenting a top class calendar of events for your enjoyment as soon as the current travel restrictions have been eased.

We thank all of our Members, friends and partners for their continued support for Rally the Globe.


It is with great regret that we have made the decision to officially cancel the Celtic Challenge rally in April.  

Motorsport UK have now issued official guidance suspending all organising permits and Certificates of Exemption until at least the 30th April 2020.  This decision comes on top of restrictions in the Republic of Ireland and also guidance on travel and gatherings in the UK.  

There are many events in the Rally the Globe calendar this year and the COVID-19 virus is presenting us with challenges which are changing by the day. The team are working continuously to ensure any decisions we need to make are fully informed by our governing bodies such as FIVA, FIA and Motorsport UK and that we continue to plan our future rally calendar in light of any adjustments that may be necessary.

We will be keeping all crews who have entered upcoming rallies informed as any further changes occur and we appreciate your patience and understanding in responding to any queries in what is a fast-changing situation.

Thank you for your support for Rally the Globe.