CARRERA ITALIA: A WINNING TRIUMPH ON ALL FRONTS

  • Latin classic hails the return of international driving adventures
  • Ten days of spectacular action through the Dolomites and Tuscany 
  • Ari Vatanen presents top prizes to victorious TR3 and Frazer Nash crews  
  • Rally the Globe now preparing for full event programme in 2022   

Reigniting passions for international driving adventures, Rally the Globe has rekindled spirits and refuelled rivalries with the incredible Carrera Italia.

Set on some of Europe’s finest roads, the memorable ten day escapade was the not-for-profit club’s first foreign foray since the curtain came down on the pre-pandemic Southern Cross Safari set in East Africa in early 2020.

And, as the prizes were awarded to the winners by rally legend and newly appointed Club President Ari Vatanen, the meticulous efforts of the Rally the Globe team to mastermind such a swift return to overseas action were hailed by all as another massive – and very welcome – success.

The task of planning such a spectacular route with travel restrictions constantly changing was never less than challenging and the ingenious planners had to overcome many logistical difficulties – not least informing no fewer than 574 public institutions about the event and the booking of suitably stunning hotels under the shadow of Covid.

Their painstaking labours, though, were rewarded with a superb entry of 38 pre-1977 vintage and classic cars lined up for the start; these ranged from pre-War Bentleys and Frazer Nashes to more modern Jaguars, Mustangs, Porsches and Volvos. Moreover, emphasising Rally the Globe’s global appeal, competing crews came from Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Poland, Liechtenstein, Ireland, the Czech Republic and the United States as well as the UK.

Inspired by Italian rally history, Carrera Italia started and finished in sun-drenched Sanremo on the Italian Riviera – home to the country’s round of the World Rally Championship for many years – and ran to Rally the Globe’s much-loved ‘Carrera’ format. These deluxe events feature great asphalt roads and fine hotels with competitive Regularity Sections and Speed Tests mostly set on permanent race circuits.

Exceeding its billing as an ‘Italian classic’, Carrera Italia spanned ten stunning days and 1750 miles (2800km) of unforgettable driving adventure.

The first few days saw the excited participants journey via the Ligurian Alps, Italian Lakes and Barolo vineyards to the resplendent resort town of Cortina d’Ampezzo set in the Dolomites (where they encountered unseasonal snow), home of the Winter Olympics in 1956 and co-host again in 2026.

Two nights in the 5-star Hotel Cristallo then provided the perfect springboard for two more days of superb motoring on the stunning mountain roads surrounding Cortina.

The return journey to Sanremo was equally remarkable. Leaving the hills, competitors travelled via the Adriatic coast to San Marino – the world’s oldest republic where an exclusive drive through the magical old town had been organised – and then through the Chianti vineyards of Tuscany before a final overnight stop back on the Mediterranean coast.

Adding further spice, each day’s itinerary included a number of challenging Regularities to test both driving and navigational skills as well as exhilarating Tests at venues such as the Circuito Tazio Nuvolari, Autodromo di Modena and Pirelli’s secret state-of-the-art tyre testing track at Vizzola.

When all the score cards had been totted up, the prizes were presented to the winners by Vatanen, the renowned ‘Flying Finn’.

Completing a famous double after also winning last month’s Highland Thistle Rally, Mike and Lorna Harrison were crowned winners of the Classic category aboard their trusty 1959 Triumph TR3A

“Mike’s driving has been excellent, very good around the tests – particularly in the wet – and we wouldn’t have won without him acing those sections,” revealed a delighted Lorna. “As for the Regularities, there were some fun ones to deal with such as the one [Foza from Valstagna] with 21 hairpins!”

Top honours in the Vintage class went to the 1938 Frazer Nash-BMW shared by first time winners Bertie and Charlotte van Houtte (photo row 10 below in San Marino).

The two Overall victors were joined by class winners – Steve and Jenny Verrall (1965 Porsche 911), Roy and Rachel Stephenson (1973 Porsche 911) and Manuel and Irene Dubs (1965 Ford Mustang V8 Convertible) – and two special discretionary prize winners also given out by Vatanen.

The Spirit of the Rally prize was awarded to Federica Mascetti and Enrico Paggi for their unfailing good humour, helpfulness and fun throughout. And for bringing not one but two beautiful cars to the event having swapped their stricken Alfa Romeo for a more dependable 1967 Mercedes 190 SL after the first couple of days!

The Against All Odds trophy was presented to Ean and Alison Lewin for their efforts in not only keeping their 1973 Ford Escort Mexico on the road despite multiple mechanical issues, but also securing a top ten overall finish.

“Motor cars have given so much to the modern world and using them like this is a fitting way to honour their massive contribution,” declared the ever-enthusiastic and cordial Vatanen who was quick to join in the celebrated Rally the Globe camaraderie.

“To have Ari with us was a just incredible finish to an incredible event,” concluded Fred Gallagher, Rally the Globe’s illustrious Rally Director and one of Vatanen’s co-drivers back in the day.

“I must congratulate the entire Rally the Globe team for delivering such a fantastic adventure in what are still difficult times. The route was just unbelievable and, once again, to be experiencing the wonderful spirit of friendly competition was the perfect reward for all the hard work everyone has put in to reviving such epic events for all to enjoy.”

Rally the Globe returns to Cortina next autumn for the Vintage Dolomites, a shorter but no less spectacular six-day event reserved exclusively for pre-war cars. In the meantime, the club is gearing up for next spring’s Generations Rally set in the English Lake District plus the following Carrera España at the end of April.  Three weeks of June are reserved for an Eastern European adventure with the more intrepid Ypres to Istanbul Challenge.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LIVING LA DOLCE VITA – CARRERA ITALIA RECCE

Boarding an aeroplane on 24 May for the first Rally the Globe recce outside Great Britain since September last year felt very strange indeed.

Jim Smith and I had been through the full range of getting a negative COVID PCR test, uploading it to the airline website, arranging the post-trip quarantine tests (normally they are on days two and eight but luckily there is the option to pay extra and get released on day five, essential for those of us going to the Yorkshire Cloverleaf), filling in the locator forms, ensuring we had enough masks etc. etc.

Being over cautious as ever I was at the airport at 04:45 for a 07:15 flight and was through all the checks and security by 05:00! 

Arriving in Italy was equally simple providing one had all the paperwork at hand and could convince the immigration officer that it was definitely a work trip. Within the hour Jim and I were at the venue for one, or two, of the finest test venues of the event. We were effectively given the run of the amazing venue and have planned a surprise or two for the lucky competitors.

After a good night’s sleep we headed to Lake Como but unlike those on the event we reluctantly continued past The Grand Hotel Tremezzo. Regularities were explored, coffee halts checked and lunch menus scrutinized. Despite it being the end of May many roads were still closed by snow, but by the end of the day plans for Day 3 of the rally were falling into place. 

Next morning the Dolomites amazed as ever, and we got some inspiration for the 2022 Vintage event in that region. A very special, family run, lunch halt was discovered before the run to Cortina.

Having recced the Dolomite region extensively last year we then head to Verona where the fabulous Due Torri Hotel is ready to welcome us. Parking is as much of a challenge as it was in Trujillo during Carrera Iberia but, as ever, we will find a solution.

After three days in the mountains it was a change to be on the plains of central Italy. The Modena region has been home to all the great (and not so great) Italian marques and we have a couple of treats in store. Then across the Appenines via the famous Futa Pass, where a fine lunch is in store, and down to Rimini and its Grand Hotel overlooking the Adriatic.

From the coast we headed towards Tuscany and a mediaeval village that has been miraculously transformed into a five-star hotel. Along the way we found some great regularities among picturesque scenery and historic towns and villages.

Day nine of the rally sees us in the Chianti region and its glorious views. The lunch halt hotel has its own network of roads and we have been promised their use for a variety of tests and regularities, all on smooth asphalt. We descended to the Mediterranean and the beautiful resort of Santa Margherita Ligure, where we discovered a pair of well-known historic rally competitors, and their beautiful Ferrari, had checked in just in front of us. We must have chosen the right place!

For the final day of the rally we found some absolutely tremendous driving roads; the challenge was putting them all together. After much scratching of heads, a plan was devised and the event will be competitive right to the end. The Royal Hotel in Sanremo will be a fitting place to both start and finish Carrera Italia and we particularly look forward to the gala prize-giving dinner and welcoming our new President.

For Jim and me, however, there were still two days of work. The roads behind Sanremo are some of the greatest classics in the history of rallying. However, the severe storms and floods of October 2020 have left their mark and we frequently had to backtrack due to washaways and road closures. We did, nevertheless, find a great route and surprising venues for coffee and lunch. The afternoon saw us in the wonderful wine region of Barolo and we currently plan to end the day with a little tasting! Our overnight halt was used by Ferrari in 2020 for the European press launch of the Roma so again we feel we have chosen well….

Day two of the rally, and the final day of our recce, sees us crossing the plain between Turin and Milan before heading to the Italian lakes. Hills are in short supply as are regularities. However, this is more than made up for by the number of great test venues available to us. This will be a day to be remembered, particularly by the drivers. Our route took us right past Malpensa airport which is where we started and after 3,100 kilometres of recce we reluctantly said “Arrivederci” to Italy.

It had been a whirlwind tour but been great to get back on the road. The rally promises to be a cracker. Don’t miss it!

YORKSHIRE CLOVERLEAF RECCE

Fred Gallagher and Mark Appleton headed to a gloriously sunny Yorkshire recently to finalise plans for the two editions of the Yorkshire Cloverleaf in June and July. Starting at the stately Bowcliffe Hall, they ventured down dales, across moors and to the seaside in search of the best roads that the county has to offer, and some interesting and slightly different tests for crews to experience. Our accommodation will be at The Yorke Arms, a country house situated in the breathtaking Nidderdale countryside.

You can sample just a little bit of the beautiful scenery that will be on offer in the short film from the recce below.

Although the June dates for both our Yorkshire and West Highland Cloverleaf events are full, we are accepting Reserve List entries in case a place does become available, and we do still have a few spaces on both the July dates. If you would like to find out more, please email info@rallytheglobe.com .

INTRODUCING THE CLOVERLEAF

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

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

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

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