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The 20th Classic Marathon - Route Outline

from Ypres to Cortina d'Ampezzo

14th - 20th June 2008

Day 1: Saturday - Ypres to Ypres  (c. 120 km)

After the formalities of scrutineering and documentation, there is a grand send off from the Market Square for an afternoon of intense action starting close to the village of Boezinge, home to the Historic arm of AC Targa Florio, our Belgium hosts for the day.

Other afternoon highlights include a visit to a remarkable private "old timer" motor museum, a number of exciting special tests, and challenging regularities in the maze of lanes around Westouter and Kemmel, names steeped with 24 Heures d’Ypres Rally history.

In the evening there is the opportunity to join the ceremony of tribute at the Menin Gate and enjoy the atmosphere of Ypres Market Square with a backdrop of resting rally cars before dinner in the Cloth Hall. The 20th Classic Marathon has started...

Ypres Market Square and Cloth Hall, start location for The 20th Classic Marathon

Day 2: Sunday - Ypres to Luxembourg

(c. 450 km)

Leaving Ypres, we run out into the poppy fields of the Flanders region for further competitive special tests and scenic regularities before beginning our journey south towards the Alps.

After lunch, we skirt the main conurbations of central Belgium and head towards the Ardennes. The network of twisty roads through these densely forested hills have always been popular with Classic Marathon crews and will no doubt play their part in shaping the early leader board as we arrive at our hotel, close to Luxembourg City for a well earned night’s rest.

Day 3: Monday - Luxembourg to Mulhouse  (c. 420 km)

Despite an early start, this will be a more relaxed day as we head south out of Luxembourg and cross the rolling plains of the Lorraine region to reach the pine forested slopes of the Vosges by late morning.

Some roads found in 8,000 kms of route survey were just too narrow to be included.

We spend the rest of the day motoring though these mountains, which have long been a favourite area for rallyists as they combine stunning views with a network of sinuous roads that are a real driver’s treat. After arriving in Mulhouse in the late afternoon, the day is rounded off with a superb group dinner among the Bugattis of the town’s famous Schlumpf Museum.

Day 4: Tuesday - Mulhouse to Bormio  (c. 580 km)

From Mulhouse, we quickly cross the Swiss border and enter new territory for the Classic Marathon. You will soon be tackling little known Cols, which not only offer great rallying, but also the first dramatic panoramas of snowy Alpine peaks. Soon you will be amongst them, climbing to over 2000 metres - high above the snowline - to cross some of the major passes of eastern Switzerland.

It will be late afternoon before you descend from those idyllic mountain surroundings to the charming medieval town of Bormio. However, the day’s excitement will not be over just yet - as the highlight of the day will be an early evening “Stelvio Loop”, which will see us storming the legendary 48 hairpin climb against a backdrop of mountains basking in the fiery red glow of the setting sun... Magic!

Roads can still be found that reflect the glory days of Alpine rallying and the early Marathons

Day 5: Wednesday - Bormio to Merano

(c. 370 km)

After the exertions of the previous day, we enjoy a slightly later start before resuming our determined attack on the mountains, starting with the mighty Gavia - another of the most hallowed passes in rallying for over half a century...

We have explored this area for nearly 20 years, but are still surprised to find fresh challenges for you to enjoy - super roads we never even knew existed! However, the traditionalists among you need not worry, as we have also included some of the famous old haunts that have held such a formidable reputation among rallymen.

After an unforgettable day’s motoring you will arrive – weary – in the traditional Marathon watering hole of Merano and a chance to unwind at a superb new hotel right in the centre of town.

Day 6: Thursday - Merano to Cortina  (c. 380 km)

In the Dolomites during our February route survey. The mountains are spectacular at any time of year.

Leaving Merano, we head east into the heart of the Dolomites. Back in the golden age of rallying, passes like the Brocon, Duran, Pordoi and Sella were little more than dusty goat tracks that struck fear into the hearts of even the most experienced rally crews. While age has mellowed these roads, they still present a stiff challenge for classic cars.

Finally, we reach Cortina d’Ampezzo - the spiritual home of the Marathon - at the end of another memorable day’s rallying.

Day 7: Friday - Cortina to Cortina  (c. 150 km)

A final morning’s circuit of the Dolomites should provide a fitting finale to this 20th Anniversary Classic Marathon before crews return to Cortina for the grand finish among the cheering crowds on the Corso Italia.

Having tackled over 50,000 corners and conquered countless passes during the week, no doubt there will be many a story to be shared over a celebratory drink in Cortina’s many bars and cafes where we all first made friends back in 1988. No doubt the party will continue well into the night...