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Event Reports and Results

Event Reports and Results from The Tatry Classic Marathon

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Leg Five - Piestany to Piestany

Back at Piest’any a spectacular finish has been arranged for the finish of the Tatry Classic Marathon, cars drive into the pedestrianised town centre through the Matador arch to receive a welcome from the local tourist office, dressed of course in traditional costume. Then it’s onto the Spa Island via the pedestrian bridge to another finish ceremony with a band playing, commentary in three languages and champagne and kisses from the Matador girls. Just to cap it all the sun was still shining – it’s many years since we can remember any event when the sun shone at scrutineering and shone everyday until the finish.

Jayne Wignalland Kevin Savage - Sunbeam Tiger - winners of the 2006 Tatry Classic Marathon
As is usual the last day had some potential to catch out the unwary, Jayne Wignall and Kevin Savage retained their lead to emerge as victors – it’s Jayne’s 16th CRA event and her first win – husband Paul of course was victor on this year’s Emerald Isle Classic.

Malcolm Pickering and Iain Tullie took second place and in doing so clinched the FIA Regularity Rally Championship, Malcolm of course was also champion in 2005. John Abel and Stephen Bradley took third in the vintage Bentley, a stunning result considering that they were running to the same time schedule as the “modern” cars. Nigel and Christine Gray took fourth in their Porsche 356, this equals their previous best CRA performance on the 2003 Rally of the Tests. The new pairing of Tony Arnold and Cath Woodman took 5th place – but at the end of the day there was just six seconds behind third and fifth places!

Last year’s Masters winners Andrew Newman and Mike Hope finished in sixth a further twenty one seconds back. Their overcharging problems continued to the end but did not hamper their performance too much.
 

Klaus-Uwe and Hans-Guenter Schaffrath - Alfa Giulia - winners of the Clubman Route Category.

In the Clubmen category the win was taken by the Schaffrath brothers in their pretty Alfa Romeo Giulia, second was taken by the smart Austin Healey 3000 of Marathon newcomers Tony Hughes and Chris George, just over two minutes down. In third was the early leaders Hubert and Diane Lynch in a Mini Cooper S, they also took the small car class in their Category. Richard Dresner and Colin MacKenzie had been bravely sharing the driving and navigating and were leaders at the end of Leg 1 but ultimately they finished fourth, but this was enough to win their class. Taking fifth was CRA regulars David Taylor and John Tooher in the Morris Minor.

The Clubmen vintage class was won by the Austin Seven Ulster of Roger Gourd and Terry Davies, with the Masters Vintage class being won by Roy Williams and John Bayliss in a Delage, they finished on equal times with the Bentley of Paul Carter and Nicholas Pryor – the tie being decided by the best performances on the regularity sections – both cars had performed very well requiring minimal attention all week. Paul was using the event as a shakedown prior to Peking-Paris next year.

Paul Wignall and Fred Bent took Class 5 in the ex Bert Dolk Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint, as Bert was second with Robert Rorife perhaps he sold the wrong car! Third in this class was the Triumph TR2 of John and Nicky Walsh – winners of the Clubmen Category in 2005.

Class 6 was taken by Stan Williams and Tony Davies in the XK120, followed by the four up crew of John Bateson, Tina Lowe, Frank and Kay Fennell, they had been having quite a clean run with Frank apparently doing most of the driving, John took over for the final test and slightly overdid it on one corner and made a slight modification to the Mercedes paintwork – I think most people were amazed to find they were all still on speaking terms at the end of the event. Third in class was Marathon regular Charles Graves with newcomer Richard Cooke on the maps and speed tables, Richard being more used to stage events found speed tables something of a novelty but Charles pedals the Jaguar XK150 with some aplomb and finished only ten seconds behind the Mercedes-Benz.

Jon Edward and Des Wood took Class 8 in the misfiring Porsche 911 – there were many who didn’t think the car would even start so Jon deserves much credit for coaxing it around the route – as this is their best result to date perhaps the lack of power was a bonus rather than disadvantage! Just behind them was the similar Porsche 911 of sponsor Van Lanschot’s Jake Van Beest accompanied by James Ewing. Just behind them was Herman Maas and Bjarne Koren, debuting the a Volvo 122S – Herman quickly getting use to the increased power and different handling characteristics of the Volvo, wife Barbara was navigating for Alice Labadie in the family Renault Dauphine, they made the finish – just, a broken clutch making the final section rather difficult.

Class 9 was won by Richard Prosser and Andy Gibson – their broken starter motor having been repaired mid event by some local assistance, at the start the Reliant was causing a lot of interest as it was a make that most had not heard of. The second in class award went to another Reliant, this time the Sabre Six of Chris Gallacher and Andrew Collins. This is Chris’s third Marathon and best result to date.

The final Class for post 1968 cars was won by Paul Bloxidge and Beatty Crawford in a Volvo 123GT, the Volvo proving reliable as ever.

There were only two retirements, the Saab 96 of Nigel Cardale and Miles Gibson succumbing to gearbox failure and Brad Mottier and Bill Hoff retiring their immaculate Datsun 240Z after a small accident on Leg 4.

The event had been a tremendous example of what can be achieved by co-operation between experienced regularity rally organisers and local organisers, their had been a tremendous welcome all the way along the route, the local marshals worked extremely hard and during a pre event training session soon learnt how to use the special clocks and the principles of regularity rallying.

At the prize giving the local marshals and route designer Lee Vincent received a wonderful round of applause for what many considered to be one of the best events they had done.

Next year’s Marathon will be in Norway and the CRA will be continuing to develop the event with the help of local support but in the meantime in a couple of weeks there is the Rally of the Tests, November 9th to 12th and of course the Winter Challenge opens the season for 2007.

 
 

In second overall after Leg 4, The Bentley 3-4.5 of John Abel and Stephen Bradley.

Leg Four - Tatranska Lomnica to Piestany

Unbelievably the sun is still shining and the High Tatra mountains were at their best when the competitors left at the start of a long day towards Piest’any. The Masters were to face six regularities today but the Clubmen could relax slightly as they only had five!

It’s a test free day so those who struggle to remember which side of a cone to go or don’t know the difference between a stop astride line and the finish can relax.

Best on this leg was the Sunbeam Alpine of reigning FIA Historic Rally champion Malcolm Pickering and Iain Tullie with just 16 seconds penalty, last night Iain had been complaining that he was not a morning person – some cure has obviously been found as his performance was stunning today.

Paul Wignall and Fred Bent also had a good day with just 34 seconds penalty putting them a scant three seconds behind the Bently of Abel and Bennett, lets hope that they can maintain this performance for the final day. It’s many years since a vintageant car has held this position whilst being given no relaxation on time schedule or regularity speeds. The overcharging Ford Lotus Cortina of Newman and Hope is just one second ahead of Prosser and Gibson, Andy now very relieved that the starter motor has been fixed and he doesn’t have to push anymore. Showing the spirit of camaraderie that exists on the event one of the first to try and help the Cortina crew yesterday was Kevin Savage – the leading co driver.

Many crews continue to comment on how friendly everybody has been and the continued welcome as the cars pass through the villages.

Michael and Marjie Ridley had an eventful day, having stopped to top the radiator up on their pretty Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint the radiator cap “blew” off into the undergrowth, many precious minutes were wasted searching for it but to no avail. They covered the hole and were fortunate enough to borrow a spare off a fellow competitor.

Nigel and Gina Batchelor are on their second Classic Marathon, Gina confesses to prefer tulips to maps but is gradually getting use to them and much prefers the clearer Slovak maps to the ones available for Croatia last year. This year for the first time the CRA have prohibited the use of any route information other than the maps supplied by the organisers, this change has been broadly welcomed as it makes for a more even competition – the main problem these days being the amount of information available via the internet.

Brad Mottier and Bill Hoff have taken an early bath after a little coming together with a local but they are in good spirits and raring to come on another event once the car is repaired, a little luckier are Peter and Joan Hickman – they had a meeting with some local wildlife but thanks to the efforts of Kevin from Cars Motorsport they are up and running for the final day – a bit of a baptism of fire as this is their first competitive event.

In the Clubmen Category the Schaffarth brothers continue to hold the lead and all being well should be able to hold off the challenge from Tony Hughes and Chris George as they are nearly two minutes behind in the very smart Austin Healey 3000. The Lynch’s Mini Cooper S is still in third, just over a minute behind, Leg 1 leaders Richard Dresner and Colin MacKenzie are back to fourth.

It’s the final leg on Thursday and usually on the Classic Marathon there is a sting in the tail which shakes up the running order.

The Delage of Roy Williams and John Bayliss in a picturesque Slovakian village on a Leg Three.
Leg Three - Tatranska Lomnica to Tatranska Lomnica

After a long day of brilliant sunshine and interesting roads it was a tired but happy bunch who returned to the Grandhotel Praha at the end of the third day. The day started and finished with a driving test at a local campsite, Hi-de-Hi style, thankfully the happy campers were not in residence as the crews slid around the campsite roads, the morning test was fine but when the test was reversed in the evening there was the additional complication of failing light but it all adds to the fun…….

At the end of Leg Three day the lead is still held by Jayne Wignall and Kevin Savage. An excellent day from John Abel and Stephen Bradley see them take over second place in their Bentley 3-4.5 while Andrew Newman and Mike Hope had a fretful day with an overcharging alternator but they managed to buy a new battery and a borrowed alternator sees them start again tomorrow from third spot with a smile on their faces.

Abel and Bennett are being chased hard by the Bentley Derby of Paul Carter and Nicholas Pryor, now in equal fifth place with the Scimitar of Richard Prosser and Andy Gibson. The other Reliant, a Sabre Six, of Chris Gallacher and Andrew Collins is in 13th place.

The Dutch / Belgian pairing of Bert Dolk and Robert Rorife had the best run of the day losing only 24 seconds and made up nine places, Bert bringing his Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint as his previously entered Volvo would only have been eligible for Class Awards. Jake van Beest of Van Lanschot has a new co – driver, James Ewing is finding his feet and their performance is gradually improving, up to second place in class 8.

Keith Leckie and Trefor Williams first rallied together many many years ago and started again last year with the Adelaide Classic in Australia, their Porsche 912 seems to be going well, a misfire at scrutineering having now been cured. Barbara Morris and Sylvia McCrae are keeping the immaculate Volvo P1800S, commonly known as Rodney on the road but why is it called Rodney, answers on an e mail to the Rally Office please. Rumour has it that Rodney may soon be receiving an increase in power.

In the Clubmen category we have yet another change with the Schaffrath brothers moving up to take the lead, in second is Tony Hughes and Chris George with the Lynchs dropping back to third. The Austin Seven Ulster of Roger Gourd and Terry Davies is doing remarkably well and currently lying in seventh place, this car has been the star of many previous events and the news that it may well be retired off as the body needs rebuilding, lets hope they have a rethink and it comes back on future events.

Nigel Cardale and Miles Gibson are likely to be missing the rest of the event, halfway through the day we had a phone call that their Saab 96 was stuck in gear, a broken bearing in the gearbox being the likely cause, the car was brought back to the hotel and an afternoon on the internet sourced a gearbox but it’s in London so arrangements have to be made to either get the car home or the gearbox out to the car.

The day finished with a bus trip to the local koliba, a traditional style restaurant where all the national specialities are served, there was music and dancing – even our scrutineer was enticed up onto the dance floor to give us a demonstration that his skills are not limited to spanner wielding or checking a cars legality.

The sweep crew had a quiet time out on the road but were kept busy once they got back to the hotel with several minor jobs completed and a couple more left for daylight. Tomorrow will see us pack our bags and head to the spa town of Piest’any for the final two nights of the event. We are back into Slovakia for the end of Leg 2, our home for the next two nights being the impressive Grandhotel Praha at Tatranska Lomnica.

Leg Two - Zlin to Tatranska Lomnica

It's an Alfa, Ford, Volvo line astern on the Leg Two route towards the Tatry Mountains.

We are back into Slovakia for the end of Leg 2, our home for the next two nights being the impressive Grandhotel Praha at Tatranska Lomnica.

It was a challenging day with one regularity section in particular catching many crews out, but leaders Jayne Wignall and Kevin Savage got it right and this helped them consolidate their lead.

Many other crews who had suffered from the first day blues did a lot better yesterday, amongst them last year’s winners Andrew Newman and Mike Hope, they have moved up to second place with a still starter less Richard Prosser in third. John Abel and Stephen Bradley have put in a stunning drive to reach fourth in the vintage Bentley.

David and Sarah Rayner are sharing fifth place with Paul Wignall and Fred Bent, this is very good as on the first day Sarah had no voice – but with something as noisy as a Sunbeam Tiger they are probably quite used to communicating with hand signals – at documentation all crews were presented with a minature shepherds pick so there has been a fair bit of in car violence with drivers having the bruises to show for it.

Alan Wright and Dave Axten are going well in Alan’s newly acquired Mercedes-Benz 280SL, Alan has in the past used more unwieldy Mercedes and is finding the new car far more nimble and easier to drive.

Last year’s Clubmen winners John and Nicky Walsh have graduated to Masters Category this year and enjoying the sunny weather with the roof down in their TR2, also running hood down in a TR is James Warner with the highly experienced Dennis Greenslade on the maps, it’s their first time out together and as usual with new partnerships it takes a day or two to settle down and we’d expect them to move up the leader board in the later stages of the event.

CRA regulars Andrew Johnson and Richard Sears are debuting a newly acquired Aston Martin DB2/4, it’s a stunning looking car and they are thankfully treating it with respect on the undulating Slovak roads. Fellow regulars Robin Morgan and Chris Towers are suffering from their mistakes on the infamous RS 2/3 and again will be hoping to improve their position as the week goes on.

Leading Clubman Route car after Leg Two - The Mini Cooper of Hubert and Diane Lynch.
In the Clubmen category Hubert and Diane Lynch have taken the lead in their Mini Cooper S with the Schaffrath brothers in second, Leg 1 leaders Dresner and MacKenzie have dropped to third. The drama in the Clubmen category comes in the next set of places with what we call “The Mob” accusing each other of dastardly deeds with each others time cards, what ever they do with the time cards there is no disputing that they have turned out some very smart cars.

The ever smiling duo of Steve Chivers and James Hodgetts are pedalling the Anglia around with great aplomb, their roof mounted spare wheel not seeming to impede progress too much. The cars from the Hayes family are keeping up tradition with the junior members currently leading Dad, Tom by over two minutes but will team orders come into play……

New to the CRA is the Porsche 356 of Michael and Sebastian Haberl, they hail from the famous hillclimb town of Grobming in Austria, also from a town with a strong motoring background is Valerio Prignachi and Maddalena Damini, Alfa Romeo Giulia they are from Brescia, home of course to the Mille Miglia.

As crews arrived at the overnight all were full of praise for Lee Vincent’s excellent route across the Czech Republic and Slovak countryside, good driving on traffic free roads balanced with different types of competition to suit the wide variety of cars entered.
 

Leg One - Bratislava to Zlin

The Tatry Classic Marathon is underway. This joint venture between the Classic Rally Association and the JAG Veteran Club of Slovakia has been warmly received by competitors with 68 crews crossing the start line at Bratislava on a sunny October morning.

Leading Clubman Route car at the end of Leg 1 - The Aston Martin DB4 Vantage of Richard Dresner and Colin MacKenzie
The vast majority of the UK competitors had taken advantage of the transporter service and had their cars transported out to the Bratislava start. Some had arrived as early as Thursday and been sight seeing and tasting the local beer whereas Mark I’Anson had left wife Maryjo to fly out on her own, get the car scrutineered while he was busy racing his Ferrari back in the UK – it’s a tough life…… He was reunited with Maryjo just minutes before they crossed the start line. Their smart Mk2 Jaguar developed a fuel leak within yards of the start but after a quick repair to a loose joint they finishing the day in 33rd place.

Without the pre start drive the service crew were not too busy at scrutineering but as usual they found something to keep their spanners busy. The Austin Healey Sprite of Simon Parson and Trevor Cattermole needing some hood frame repairs and a new clutch master cylinder. Once this was fitted they went off for a drive into Hungary to run the engine in – they were afraid to go anywhere in Slovakia in case they were accused of reconnaissance.

The Team Flymo Porsche 911 of Jon Edward and Des Wood was also attended to but no cure was found for it’s weak compression on one cylinder and they are persevering to see how far they can get, it was noticed that the lid of their tool box does have a mobile phone number they should ring for operating instructions for the tools within!

Mancunian property magnates Vincent Neary and Wayne Mellor had a problem with their Jaguar E Type a couple of days before the start so instead decided to bring their Aston Martin DB9 – it’s caused quite a stir but needless to say it is not eligible for the rally so they have been relegated to sight seeing.

There was a good crowd to see the cars away on a sunny Sunday morning from the main square with a bi-lingual commentary to keep the crowds amused. It is the first time that many had seen cars such as this and this trend continued throughout the day with much waving from locals as crews passed through villages.

Leg 1 saw the crews tackle a regularity and two driving tests in Slovakia before crossing into the Czech Republic for a further two regularities, based mainly on stages from the local Barum rally. The overnight halt the Czech town of Zlin.

Only a few minutes after leaving the start Car 1, the Bentley 4.5 Le Mans of the new slim line Robert Harley and Trina Walsh, pictured right, was in trouble with transmission problems but these Bentley drivers and very resourceful and we expect to see them back in the event soon.

Richard Prosser and Andy Gibson had problems even before passing the start line as their starter motor expired, now well versed in finding a hill to start from they hope to have the starter motor repaired before long, it doesn’t seem to be effecting their performance too much as they are currently seventh overall.

Herman Maas is debuting his Volvo 122S on this event and has entered wife Barbara in the event in his Renault Dauphine, Barbara and driver Alice Labadie were fooled slightly late in the day when the correct route utilised a road shown as a forest path but they were still in good spirits as they dined at the Hotel Moskva in Zlin.

Running parallel to the main event is the Clubmen category, this follows a similar route but has a gentler time schedule and the benefit of a tulip route book. Leading this category at the moment is the Aston Martin DB4 Vantage of Richard Dresner and Colin MacKenzie, pictured top left. Only six seconds behind is the Mini Cooper S of Hubert and Diane Lynch followed in third place by the immaculate Healey 3000 of Tony Hughes and Chris George.

In the Masters it’s a bit of a family affair, Emerald Isle winner Paul Wignall is in third place with Fred Bent on the Maps, Malcolm Pickering and Iain Tullie are in second with Jayne Wignall and Kevin Savage in the lead with a scant two second lead. It’s still very early in the event and with just nine seconds between third and tenth places it’s very likely the running order will change.

Leg two takes the crews back into Slovakia and ends in the Tatra Mountains.