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.

IMAGINATIVE NEW CALENDAR ANNOUNCED

  • 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.”   

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.”

UPDATE: ROUND THE WORLD PART ONE (LONDON TO CASABLANCA)

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.

UPDATE: CELTIC CHALLENGE

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.

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.

RALLY THE GLOBE REVS UP FOR EPIC EAST AFRICAN ADVENTURE

  • Southern Cross Safari set in game reserves of Kenya and Tanzania
  • Two thousand miles featuring 21 competitive speed and regularity tests
  • Entrants include two-time classic Safari Rally winner 
  • Evocative field ranges from vintage Vauxhall to iconic Porsches
  • Follow-up events include Celtic Challenge and Round the World 

Fuelled by the huge success of its debut event – the sell-out Carrera Iberia – Rally the Globe is now primed for this month’s spectacular Southern Cross Safari (15 February – 5 March 2020).

Set in the mountains, game reserves and private estates of East Africa, the Southern Cross Safari features an epic 2,000-mile (3,600km) route and 19 days of exclusive and exhilarating driving adventure. 

While the abundance of African wildlife and sight of the snow-capped Kilimanjaro will captivate crews in their vintage and classic rally-prepared cars, the inclusion of more than 20 tough regularity sections and challenging speed tests – many set on private land – will be at the heart of the competitive action.  

Unlike the Carrera Iberia, which being a ‘Carrera’ style event, was staged entirely on asphalt roads, this time the majority of the competition is set on more rugged gravel roads.

Rally Headquarters is based in Watamu, with its white sandy beaches and nature reserves on the Indian Ocean. 

As well as being home to Official Scruntineering and pre-event Administrative Checks, Watamu will also host the final Gala Prizegiving Dinner. In-between, crews will stay at top-notch Safari Lodges and luxury hotels along an unforgettable route through no fewer than nine wildlife-rich National Parks in both Kenya and Tanzania. These include the Serengeti, Masai Mara and Ngorongoro Crater as well as the Ngong Hills, made famous by the movie Out of Africa.

With so much to offer and Rally the Globe’s now proven reputation, it is little that surprise the inaugural Southern Cross Safari has attracted a top-quality entry, with cars ranging from a 1924 Vauxhall 30/98 – rated by some to be superior to Bentleys of the same era – to a number of rally-proven classic Porsche 911s from the mid-seventies.

There are some notable crews among the entrants, too. Carrera Iberia winners Alan and Tina Beardshaw return – not, though, in their victorious Aston Martin DB5 but in a 1973 Triumph TR6 deemed to be more suitable for the gravel roads of Africa. Peking to Paris winners Graham and Marina Goodwin are also seeking further success in their 1929 Bentley 4 1⁄2 Le Mans.

However, when it comes to local knowledge, Rob Collinge is very much the man to beat. The renowned Kenyan is twice a winner of the East African Safari Rally, when the event ran for classic cars in 2003 and 2005. Those two wins came behind the wheel of a Datsun 240Z and 260Z – intriguingly, this time Collinge has selected a 1954 Willys Jeep. 

It’s great to see some of those who really enjoyed the Carrera Iberia back as well as some new faces,” enthused Fred Gallagher, Rally the Globe’s vastly experienced and internationally respected Rally Director – himself a multiple winner of the Safari Rally back in its original FIA World Rally Championship era.

I’ve long had a huge passion for the amazing wonders of East Africa, and I’m thrilled that we have created a competitive adventure which really captures all the magic and challenges of the region,” continued Gallagher. “The scenery is stunning and the route features a huge variety of highlights encompassing everything from mountain passes with stunning views to grassy plains teeming with incredible wildlife. On our final recce, we saw all five of the ‘Big Five’ and we expect competitors to do the same.

Regular reports and results from the Southern Cross Safari will be available via the www.rallytheglobe.com website, with a great selection of rights-free photographs from the Rally available for media on request post-event.

The Southern Cross Safari marks the start of a very busy portfolio of events for the already acclaimed new Rally the Globe team. In April 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.

CARRERA ATLANTICA: FROM THE NATION’S CAPITAL TO THE FLORIDA KEYS

  • Entries open for driving adventure from Washington DC to Key West
  • Visits to fantastic motor sport museums and historic car collections  
  • Speed tests at world-class motor sport venues including Daytona and Sebring
  • Spectacular traffic-free roads through the Appalachian Mountains
  • Luxurious accommodation including Ritz Carlton at Amelia Island
  • Entries open for all owners of pre-1976 vintage and classic cars 

The advent of 2020 marks the launch of Rally the Globe’s latest driving adventure, with entries for the ‘ground-breaking’ Carrera Atlantica opening in the New Year.

Featuring an incredible route which sets out from the heart of Washington DC and concludes in sun-blessed Key West, the all-new Carrera Atlantica (17 February – 6 March 2021) will treat participants in pre-1976 vintage and classic cars to a memorable 17-day escapade through the Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee and Florida before reaching a spectacular finish at the most southerly tip of mainland America.

On arrival in Key West, prizes will be awarded to those crews performing best over a number of daily regularity and speed tests – the inclusion of an element of competition enriching the travel experience for many of those entering.

Building on the huge success of the recent Carrera Iberia set in Spain and Portugal, Carrera Atlantica is another of Rally the Globe’s ‘Carrera’ style events. As such, it offers participants an outstanding all-asphalt route as well as luxurious accommodation and thus is very different in character from the second leg of Rally the Globe’s seminal Round the World escapade which is also set in North America. The latter is an epic trans-continental passage that places the emphasis on endurance, with far longer days and the inclusion of many gravel road sections.

“Carrera Atlantica will be terrific,”

 

predicts Rally Director Fred Gallagher who has been working closely with former F1 commentator and now US racing guru Andrew Marriott to plan an unparalleled 3,000-mile (4,800km) route running from the many iconic buildings of the nation’s capital to Ernest Hemingway’s haunt with its captivating Caribbean sunsets.

“The concept is ground-breaking and the driving route quite unlike anything that has been offered before,” enthuses Gallagher. “We have opted for a slightly longer event to make the shipping worthwhile for those travelling from outside the States and, being entirely based on sealed roads, Carrera Atlantica is well-suited to all vintage and classic cars whether Jaguar XKs and TRs or Aston Martin DB4s and Ferrari GTOs.

“The start in Washington will obviously be very special, and thereafter the voyage splits into two very distinct halves. The first part of the route is set largely on some great twisty driving roads through the Appalachian Mountains with tests every day; the second half in Florida is much flatter. However, race tracks are plentiful and very welcoming, too.”

Indeed, appealing to all enthusiasts, Carrera Atlantica visits many of America’s most famous motor sport venues including Road Atlanta, home of the Petit Le Mans sportscar race, Charlotte right at the heart of NASCAR country and both Daytona Speedway and the fabled Daytona Beach where Sir Malcolm Campbell set no fewer than five land speed records in his Bluebird. There is also an overnight stop at Sebring Raceway where entrants will stay at the hallowed Seven Hotel, so named as it overlooks Turn 7 of the circuit.

Another of the stand-out Carrera Atlantica hotels is the famous Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island where participants will take part in their own dedicated car show at the site of one of the world’s greatest automotive concours events.

Other major highlights include dinner aboard the Chattanooga Choo-Choo, visits to museums and art galleries plus a well-earned rest day in Savannah, where evocative paddle-steamers splash past the selected harbourside Westin Hotel complex. The second rest day comes in Naples – here, the city’s Fifth Street will be closed exclusively for the display of Carrera cars.

While the launch of the alluring Carrera Atlantica is certain to command huge interest, Rally the Globe has four more phenomenal and far-reaching events on its eye-catching calendar before competing crews start arriving in Washington DC in February 2021. In just a few weeks’ time, the inaugural Southern Cross Safari opens in East Africa followed by April’s equally engaging Celtic Challenge based in the British Isles. Thereafter follow the opening two legs of the epic Round the World adventure: the first part from London to Casablanca, the second from Boston to Vancouver.

CELTIC CHALLENGE TO HONOUR TT RACER WHO LOST HIS LIFE AT DUNDROD

  • Famous fifties Frazer Nash ‘Kermit’ returns to scene of its fatal accident
  • Current owner to lay commemorative wreath paying tribute to Eric Winterbottom
  • Spectacular five-day driving adventure in the British Isles
  • Entries still open for owners of pre-1969 vintage and classic cars   

Many old cars have rich histories and plenty of stories to tell but few more poignant than the Frazer Nash entered into next spring’s Celtic Challenge – during the event it will be returning to the scene of its fatal racing accident dating back to the infamous RAC Tourist Trophy of 1951.

Rally the Globe’s demanding five-day Celtic Challenge (21-26 April) driving adventure starts in England and runs through Wales, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland en route to a finish in Scotland. The challenging route includes a visit to the fearsome Dundrod street circuit, in County Antrim where the legendary TT was held between 1950 and 1955.

The combination of narrow lanes and high speeds produced some spectacular racing – and three famous Stirling Moss victories – but were not without danger, and Britain’s most celebrated sportscar race was switched to Goodwood on grounds of safety after three fatalities during the 1955 race.

Those were not Dundrod’s first casualties either – four years earlier popular Surrey publican Eric Winterbottom succumbed after crashing on the opening lap of the 1951 TT. Now, nearly 70 years on, the pale green Frazer Nash in which Winterbottom lost his life is returning to Dundrod – its current owner Noelle Dunkerley, together with co-driver and close friend Paul Flett, having joined those contesting the inaugural Celtic Challenge.

“It’s the first time I’ve entered one of these wonderful events and didn’t at first realise the significance of the route,” admitted Noelle who inherited the car from her father Alan Dunkerley. “The fact we are actually going to Dundrod will obviously make it quite emotional. We are planning to place a laurel wreath at Wheeler’s Corner in memory of Eric who had so much history with the car in the early fifties before he tragically lost his life far too early at just 42 years old.”

Now affectionately known as ‘Kermit’ – so named by Noelle’s daughter Claire on account of its distinctive green bodywork – the Frazer Nash has indeed quite a history to retell. Earlier in 1951, Winterbottom had raced it at Le Mans finishing a fine 14th overall and second in class. He clearly loved driving the car as he then set off, with suitcases on the rack, to the South of France for the Alpine Rally where a faultless performance earned a coveted Coupe des Alpes award for him and owner/co-driver George Duff.

After its Dundrod crash the car was rebuilt by Duff with whom Winterbottom had been sharing the driving duties at the fateful TT and continued to race at circuits such as Goodwood and Silverstone throughout the fifties and sixties. The car was then purchased by Frazer Nash enthusiast Alan Dunkerley in 1996 and passed onto his daughter Noelle on his death in 2007. 

“It was blue when my dad first got the car but he found the original colour underneath and had it restored to a similar pale green to the one it had in period,” explained Noelle. “More recently I’ve started doing some more homework on the car, and also into Eric Winterbottom. It turns out he was born in Flixton in the North West where I’m from. Later in life he must have headed south to run the Albert Hotel in Kingston, a well-known haunt for the hot-bed of enthusiastic racer drivers in the area. I’d love to find out more both about him and, of course, Kermit.”

As well as a visit to Dundrod, the 2020 Celtic Challenge also includes a visit to another of Northern Ireland’s fabled early RAC TT road courses – Ards, situated between Comber and Newtownards, where the illustrious race was staged nine times from 1928 to 1936. It attracted huge crowds numbering close to 500,000, all marvelling at the high-speed exploits of the era’s greatest drivers including double-winner Tazio Nuvolari, Rudolf Carraciola, Kaye Don and Freddie Dixon. 

Combining a number of competitive tests with some great driving roads and lashings of legendary Gaelic hospitality, the meticulously crafted five-day Celtic Challenge starts from the Carden Park spa hotel outside Chester. The opening sections are then set in the stunning scenery of north Wales including tests around the iconic Great Orme peninsula and at the popular Anglesey circuit. 

On top of visits to both Ards and Dundrod, the Irish excursion features an overnight halt in the historic Titanic Quarter of Belfast. For TV buffs, there’s also the chance to savour Game of Thrones landscapes and landmarks. 

Having re-crossed the Irish Sea to Scotland, participants visit Turnberry and a final morning tackling more competitive tests and experiencing the magnificent highways through the Southern Uplands, before a fitting finale in the celebrated golfing town of St Andrews. 

It promises to be a truly memorable driving adventure for all those entering – but even more so for Noelle Dunkerley and her extraordinarily significant 1951 Frazer Nash ‘Kermit’.  

Full day-by-day details of the Celtic Challenge are available on the www.rallytheglobe.com website. Entry is open to all abilities driving either vintage or post-vintage cars built before the end of 1969. 

Main image photo credit: Motorsport Images. Eric Winterbottom & John Marshall, A.F.N. Ltd, Frazer Nash LM Replica, battles with Pierre Levegh & René Marchand, Talbot Lago Monoplace Decalee at 1951 Le Mans.