VIVA CARRERA ESPAÑA!

  • New Spanish adventure added to Rally the Globe calendar
  • From Barcelona to Santander in spring 2022 
  • Mountain roads, race tracks and luxurious hotels en-route
  • Entries now open to pre-1977 classic and veteran cars

With the optimism of a clear roadmap out of lockdown ahead, Rally the Globe has its pedal-to-the-metal creating new competitive adventures for those crewing much-loved vintage and classic cars.

Fuelled by this renewed enthusiasm and excitement, a revised calendar of events was confirmed last month and that future programme is now further enhanced by the addition of the alluring Carrera España, entries for which are now open.

Set in the warmth of welcome spring sunshine in Spain and open to all cars built before the end of 1976, Carrera España will run from 24 April to 5 May 2022 and will explore the empty, scenic roads in the northern part of the fêted Iberian country.

Running to Rally the Globe’s much-admired Carrera format, the meticulously researched driving route will run entirely on asphalt surfaces. The overnight camaraderie will be experienced at hotels chosen specifically for their luxury, comfort, style and, perhaps a little quirkiness to make them all-the-more memorable. The inclusion of Regularity Sections, often set on twisty mountain roads, plus Timed Tests arranged at permanent motor sport venues will add the captivating element of competition so enjoyed by both drivers and navigators.

The route for the Carrera España will start outside the enchanting seaside city of Barcelona and finish 11 days later in Santander, the beautiful resort famous for its eye-catching beaches and mouth-watering cuisine.

Guaranteeing a fast start, the opening day includes tests at famous circuits as well as challenging regularities in the Pyrenees. From Barcelona in the region of Catalonia, crews will travel through the wonders of Aragon, Navarra, La Rioja, Castilla y Leon, Galicia and Asturias before finally arriving on the Cantabrian coast. Evenings en-route will be spent in a variety of top class hotels including Benedictine monasteries, a mountain lodge and even a mediaeval fortress.

“Like the greatest of grand touring GT cars, our Carrera events are created for both competition and comfort – and the Carrera España will have both those two pleasures in abundance,” promised Fred Gallagher, Rally the Globe’s well-respected Rally Director. “The event travels through seldom seen, traffic-free parts of northern Spain with gloriously open roads through some truly stunning scenery. The hotels are equally impressive and no doubt where every day’s adventures will be revisited, shared and, perhaps, sometimes embellished around the dinner table!”

Rally the Globe’s previous visit to Spain for the Carrera Iberia in 2019 proved an instant success with entries selling out swiftly. With numbers again limited to avoid overcrowding, keen participants are advised to register their interest without delay.

For those eager for some restorative driving adventures in the meantime, this autumn’s Highland Thistle Rally and Carrera Italia still have a few remaining places on their respective entry lists.

Based in St Andrews the former is a magical trip to and from the spectacular Isle of Skye via the Scottish glens, lochs and mountains. The latter is an equalling alluring journey through the dramatic Dolomites and idyllic lakes of northern Italy.

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

SKIPPING A GENERATION

It is with regret that Rally the Globe announce that the innovative Generations Rally, scheduled for the end of March, will not now be going ahead in 2021.  Although the delay to this exciting new event is disappointing for us all, it has unfortunately become the only sensible course of action.

As a result of the huge increase in Covid-19 cases throughout December and January, all parts of the UK are currently locked down with schools, hotels, restaurants, offices, and many other workplaces forced to closed to reduce the chances of virus transmission.  The politicians are linking the end of this current period of lockdown to the successful vaccination of high-risk groups of the population and, although vaccinations are being administered at an unprecedented rate, the absolute best scenario is that the lockdown may start to be lifted just a few weeks before crews were due to convene in the Lake District.  

In addition, it is becoming clear that the lockdown will be eased cautiously, and that we are likely to return to a multi-tiered regional system.  Due to inevitable restrictions on accommodation, hospitality venues, and group gatherings the Generations Rally would only be able to run if all of the areas it passes through are placed in lower tier areas.  This appears unlikely, at least initially.  On top of that, Competitors and Officials residing in higher tier areas would be unable to attend the event and those travelling from overseas would be subject to the new stricter restrictions on international travel, that include both a requirement for a negative test before setting out and a period of quarantine on arrival.  

Bearing all of these elements in mind, Rally the Globe have taken the view that the chances of being able to run any event, especially one that lives up to the high standards we set ourselves, are slim.  It would therefore be neither prudent, nor responsible to press on with arrangements for the event, so instead we have taken a timely and clear decision to reschedule it.  

The RtG team have spent some time assessing different options and searching for an alternative date when the grip of the pandemic will have reduced sufficiently to ensure safe travel and socialising.  After considering factors including availability of accommodation, likely weather, tourist traffic in the National Parks, hours of daylight, and the other events on the busy Rally the Globe calendar, we have decided that the best course of action is to delay the event by a full year to the weekend of 25-27 March 2022.

We have already informed all of the crews entered in 2021 of the change of dates and, although most are still planning to join us, some places are likely to become available on this previously over-subscribed event.  If you would be interested in joining us in 2022, an entry form is available from info@rallytheglobe.com. 

GENERATIONS RALLY 2021 ATTRACTS NINE FRAZER NASH CARS

The Generations Rally has proven to be a very popular early season draw and, next March we are very much looking forward to welcoming at least 50 crews to the start line on the shores of Lake Windermere.

Fathers and daughters, mothers and sons, in-laws and soon to be in-laws will be thrown together for a weekend of fun, motorsport and a bit of Northern exposure to boot.

The Rally has attracted a great field of entrants with some exceptional cars as well, but it is the Frazer Nash company who are fielding the biggest team, with a total entry of nine. And, from this quirky, much loved but shortlived brand, six of them are chain driven models with the other three being the slightly more civilised BMW 328 variant.

Of this chain gang, no fewer than four are TT Replicas which were built from 1932 to 1938 and were the most numerous Nash’s to have come out of the Kingston Upon Thames works.

Founded by Archibald Frazer-Nash in 1922, the original company failed in 1927 but, a new company, AFN Limited, was created from the ashes.

They continued to produce Frazer Nash cars with the famous multi-chain transmission until the Second World War, whereafter they made another 85 vehicles before ending production totally in 1957. All of these post-war cars had conventional transmissions.

We spoke to a few of the Nash crews who have signed up for this inter-generational challenge and they gave us a few insights into what they’re bringing, why they’re bringing it and who they’ll be sharing the experience with.

Bill and Olivia Holroyd, 1932 Frazer Nash TT Rep’

Chassis number 2026 started life as a Tourer in 1931 and was raced at Brooklands by D.A. Aldington, part owner of the company. In 1933 it was re-bodied as a TT Rep and sold to Albert Tinker, a Yorkshireman who insisted that the new car be given the identity of the most famous works car of the time – MV 3742, chassis number 2065. It then lived a fairly easy life with another two owners before being acquired by Bill in June 2019. Bill says that “I love the quirkiness of the chain drive – and the car in general. It is a unique driving sensation”.

“We are using the TT for the Generations Rally because it is a short event and it should be great fun to really get to know the car. There is no roof, but hey it never rains in the Lakes!”

Patrick and James Blakeney-Edwards, 1928 Frazer Nash Saloon

If the Frazer Nash’s are something of a factory team, then it must fall to Patrick to be the team principal and director of engineering. Founder of his eponymous motorsport company, there’s not much Patrick doesn’t know about pre-war cars and Frazer Nash in particular.

He’ll be accompanied by his twelve year-old son James as navigator, who will be the youngest competitor on the start grid. According to his father, James is obsessed with cars. He’s surrounded by them and has learned to drive already, in an Austin 7, at the age of 8. “We’ve done some VSCC events already and he’s fiercely competitive and can get really cross when things go wrong. His first rally though will be a step up for him with a defined role and serious responsibilities to deal with”.

“What could be more fun however than spending three days with your son in this sort of environment, although I can’t imagine the amount of times he’ll say that the notes are wrong and we may even spend some time following the other crews”.

It’s certainly not going to be an easy ride for him and after a hard day on the road, Patrick expects him to muck in every evening with the spanner checks and maintenance tasks.

“Luckily he likes maps, geography the company of adults, and handbrake turns”.

Craig and Cosmo McWilliam, Frazer Nash Super Sports

The records show that there were maybe 115 Super Sports built between 1924 and 1929 and chassis number 1139 was built at the Kingston Works in July 1927, it was described as three-seater Super Sports and given the registration PK3764.

Whilst the car itself is a veteran of many an event, its owner, Craig McWilliam only “bought it two years ago – so I’m a newbie to the Nash world (though I have had vintage cars for quite a few years).”

“My “other car” for example is a 1926 Twincam Sunbeam super sports – a lovely car but my wife doesn’t want to drive it as it’s too big. So we got the Nash – sporty, light, easier to drive, a great club and also fun to slide round corners”.

“Our car is a 1927 Anzani powered Super Sports – so a proper vintage Nash. It’s a well-known original car, with some well-known club luminaries as owners in the past. Many of these people used the car for very strenuous rallies – so I am really hoping it will be good enough to get up these Lakeland hills – should be better than the Sunbeam up the narrow twisties!”

“The car went into the garage with a broken starter motor last December – and we had a terrible attack of the “whilst we are here’s!” Anyway – the chassis is back together and the body is back on now and it should go off for painting soon… “

“My son, Cosmo, is coming with me – he will have recently turned 17 so I keep telling him he could take the wheel for a bit… He prefers moderns!”

Maybe after a few days with this little cracker though he’ll change his mind?

Theo and Olivia Hunt, 1933 Frazer Nash TT Rep’

Theo is no stranger to this car and revels in its nimble handling and effortless acceleration. He’s also a student of mechanical engineering so was more than happy to wax lyrical about the darker, and more oily parts of his Nash.

“It is an original meadows powered car with a wide type Elkington body. Not much is known about its pre-war activities, however it was recorded that it started life as a blue and white car, which is terrible to think about.

“We have owned AMF since 2011, which may not seem like a long time but is almost half my life and, ever since we bought it I have always had a fascination with everything about it. I can vividly remember the first time I drove it at the age of 15 around Goodwood Motor Circuit, (a pretty special place to fall in love with a car)”.

“There are so many special things about Frazer Nash cars which make their owners adore them, however, the most important is the way that the cars drive. Pre-war Nash’s have a weird and wonderful transmission which combines to make the most magical driving experience”.

He continues “the rear axle of a Frazer Nash is solid, no differential, this leading to the most ludicrous handling characteristics. As a Nash driver you will find yourself with an arm full of opposite lock around most corners when travelling at speed, and you are always pleasantly surprised how the low ratio steering allows these slides to be caught and controlled rapidly. The steering is a ¾ turn, lock to lock. The transmission, combined with the lightweight nature of these cars means that it can change direction on a six-pence and will always ensure big smiles when drifted around a race track or a quiet village roundabout.

“Given the opportunity I would drive them everyday. For rallies in the UK they are unbeatable, I can guarantee that the driver smiling the most at the end of the day will be clambering out of a Nash, gasping for a pint and desperately stretching their sore back. They may not be the most comfortable, or the most powerful, but they are the most fun and can be darn fast when they need to be. Being a Nash owner also means being a Nash mechanic and, a tinker in the evenings is an occupational hazard.

I will most certainly be wandering around the car park in the evenings offering a hand where I can; as long as I’ve completed all my post thrashing checks first!”

I cannot wait to shock my mother, Olivia. But, I’m sure that she will try and give me some stern words beforehand, and then her competitive streak will come through along with cries of FASTER FASTER!

I hope that there will be a proper Chain Gang spirit during the Generations Rally and I’m so excited for an awesome rally, and the premise of it is brilliant!”

Martin and Georgemma Hunt, 1937 Frazer Nash-BMW 328

Martin has campaigned this car far and wide and is no stranger to the challenges of a rally in a small open car. Daughter Georgie however is a relative newcomer.

“The Frazer Nash-BMW has been our rally car of choice for short events for the last five or six years. In addition it occasionally comes out to circuits for pre-war events. The car was unbelievably ahead of its years when it was built in 1937. Obviously it was built in Germany by BMW, but it was one of the 48 or so right-hand drive examples which were imported into the UK by Frazer Nash. It still has its original six cylinder, 2 litre BMW engine, which makes the most glorious noise, sounding more like a Cooper Bristol than a pre-war BMW! It’s an incredibly nimble car, and really quite easy to drive, without the need for the tricky double declutching that is required in most pre-war cars. It doesn’t have a huge amount of luggage space, so it’s ideal for an event like the Generations Rally, which is a hub and spoke event, without the need to transport luggage in the vehicle.

I will have my daughter Georgie in my car, who has never done any motor events before and says she is not going to try and compete with her brother and mother…that’s going to lead to an interesting dynamic because given (her mother) Olivia’s navigational skills and competitive nature, I reckon that they might do quite well in this rally!”

Rory and Diana Henderson, 1939 Frazer Nash-BMW 328

Rory is tackling the Generations Rally with his mother, Diana, in the family’s Frazer Nash-BMW 328, which is no stranger to rallying as it claimed outright victory in the 1939 RAC Rally, driven by AFP Fane.

Rory says “for the Generations Rally, I have been allowed behind the wheel under strict instructions to obey my navigators’ orders! Having previously rallied a Bentley with my fiancé Anastasia, I’m looking forward to tackling the various routes in something slightly smaller and nimbler”.

“My father Gavin is swapping the 328 for the Bentley, with Anastasia as his navigator, so we are all looking forward to some friendly family rivalry along the way!”

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.

CARRERA ITALIA RECCE REPORT

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!

HIGHLAND THISTLE RALLY 2020 POSTPONED

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.

YPRES TO ISTANBUL CHALLENGE – FIRST RECCE

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!

HIGHLAND THISTLE RECCE REPORT

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.

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.