Reports & Results

Slovenia - Croatia - Austria

20th - 26th June 2009

Find the day by day results >> HERE
Gerard Brown is busy adding photographs to his on-line gallery >> HERE
(all the cars should be available very soon)


Leg 6 report - Bled to Bled

 Harm Lamberigts & Arthur Denzler - Ford Escort

Harm Lamberigts & Arthur Denzler - Ford Escort
Celebrating their class eight victory

After a free evening to explore the delights of Bled we were all delighted to see that the sun was shining for the final day of the 21st Classic Marathon. There has become quite a tradition that the final leg of the event will have something of a sting to it. The penalty structure these days means that it’s rarely easy to predict who the winner will be as the margins between the crews, particularly those in the top ten are kept very small.

There was the element of anticipation among the crews as they queued to collect their route books, issued 30 minutes before their due start time. This is done in part to prevent either a physical reconnaissance or more likely these days a crew spending time researching the route via the internet. It was when we saw crews turning up to events with binders full of images printed from the internet that we knew the days of issuing the route a couple of weeks ahead of the event were numbered.

Once the books were issued competitors found that they had six regularity sections to complete the final leg. The first regularity most have been on flat ground – the only two drivers to get clean sheets were Dutch! The Guliker father and son pairing in the Fiat 1600S and Herman Maas with James Ewing in the Volvo Amazon. Drexel and Pat Gillespie must have forgotten they were on the Regularity and looks like they went for FTD – being the only crew to have a minus penalty.

Nobody was clean on the second regularity but Jayne Wignall and Kevin Savage got closest with a one second total penalty from the three timing points.

The third regularity was perhaps a little easier with nine crews being clean, one of these being the Riley 1.5 of Arthur Senior and Chris Sheridan, it was good to see Arthur out again and for once not having to do mid event head gasket change that had once become a regular task. Not all found it easy though with several crews getting times in excess of two minutes but thankfully for them there is a one minute cap.

 Jayne Wignall and Kevin Savage - Sunbeam Tiger

Jayne Wignall and Kevin Savage - Sunbeam Tiger

The fourth regularity saw only the Alfa Romeo Giulia GTV of MacKay and Davies getting a clean run, this is only the second outing for the Alfa so we can expect to see further improvements on future events.

Regularity five was a tough one with four timing points so precise navigation and timekeeping was essential to get a good result, best result was the Abel and Bradley in a Sunbeam Tiger on a total of six seconds, Fennell and Appleton, Lamberigts and Denzler were both not far behind on eight.

All was left to play for on the sixth regularity but Anthony must have been feeling kind as a massive 16 crews all managed to get a zero, the highest number on any regularity of the event.

As the crews arrived back at the lakeside in Bled they were greeted not only by bright sunshine but a welcome by a local band and a drinks reception hosted by the Mayor. With Bled castle in the background Frank Fennell and Mark Appleton were declared winners of the 21st Classic Marathon, Harm Lamberigts and Arthur Denzler had a lower overall total by the smallest possible margin of one second but cars such as their Ford Escort are not eligible for overall awards. Jayne Wignall and Kevin Savage took second in the Sunbeam Tiger and third went to Howard and Matt Warren in the Porsche 911. This is a very good result for Howard and Matt – at the start of the week he was joking that he was on holiday for a week but as the week progressed the holiday mood was changed for one of intense concentration.

The evening prize giving was held in the splendour of Bled Castle, to remind crews of the week that had gone the prize giving on the castle terrace was punctuated by several bursts of thunder and lightning.

Day 6 Mutterings from the Yellow Peril

We were finally blessed with a sunny start today in preparation for what looked like six tough regularities on and out and back course from Lake Bled. The driving on the first two regularities was challenging and the speeds had been set to allow little room for error, while the navigators were kept busy with multiple speed changes. Route designer Anthony Preston had placed his timing points very carefully and it was tough to keep to small penalties.

 Simon Parson & Trevor Cattermole - Austin Healy Sprite

Simon Parson & Trevor Cattermole - Austin Healey Sprite
The Yellow Peril at the start of RS6/3

Harm and Arthur in the Escort made an early error while we crept a little closer to Frank and Mark over the first few controls, but it was Kevin Savage and Jayne Wignall who were having a storming day, picking up only a handful of penalties in the morning. By the coffee halt in a lovely village square, where the locals had amassed a fine and varied selection of their own classic cars, consensus said that there was around five seconds separating the first four crews. Transit time between sections was also quite tight today and the two leading crews had a very quick turn around before it was time to set off to a self-start regularity over 8km away up a tiny mountain road. Most of us arrived with little time to spare. Unfortunately Mark and Mary-Jo I’Anson managed to drive past the start arrows and had to come roaring back to the start over 3 minutes after their due departure time to restart.

We encountered some very rough gravel down a steep section, but managed to hold the required speeds. We were quite pleased with three and five seconds early but Kevin and Jayne turned in a two second total and leap-frogged us into second place before the penultimate regularity. This was going well for us when we turned up at a non-descript, open expanse of asphalt with two obvious roads leaving from it and a road sign pointing in no particular direction and no instructions in the road book to help. After discussion we plumped for straight ahead, where we found a ‘No’ board, so back down, then to the right and another ‘No’ board before haring off to the far end of what appeared to be a car park and finding another road, which of course lead to the control and a one minute maximum penalty.

To make matters worse, all of these comings and goings were caught on camera by the film crew. The rest of the section was a bit of disaster as we struggled to sort our time-keeping out. We were feeling a bit down at mouth for the final section, but turned in a solid performance. By the finish it was clear that the Dutch crew had fewest penalties, but their Escort is not eligible for an overall award. Frank and Mark had held onto their lead from Kevin and Jayne, while Howard and Matt Warren had pulled up into 3rd place. Oh, and we were 4th.

Leg 5 report - Schladming to Bled

 Andrew and Sarah Mallagh - Porsche 914

Quickest on both Stoderzinken tests
Andrew and Sarah Mallagh - Porsche 914

Finally the sun has started to shine again, although not all of the time.

Crews left Schladming early this morning to go and tackle the Stoderzinken Hill Climb, just outside Grobming. This is another traditional test from the Ennstal Classic. For our purposes the hill was split into two tests, quickest on both was the Porsche 914/6 of Andrew and Sarah Mallagh. They had a four second advantage over Drexel and Pat Gillespie’s Tiger with Howard and Matt Warren a further three seconds back in their Porsche 911. On the second section the Mallaghs beat the bogey with the Gillespies two seconds down and once again the Warrens three seconds back.

After a refreshment break at the top cars restarted at one minute intervals, six cars were clean, several of the crews getting their first clean sheet here, one of these crews was the Lotus Elan of Stephen and Joyce Hall. Unfortunately there joy was short lived as later in the day they had total clutch failure and the car arrived in Bled on the back of a transporter. Another “clean” crew to later suffer was the Lancia Fulvia HF of Peter and Lin Hon Baker. Peter had been setting some very quick times on the hillclimbs and has described the car as being like a big Cooper S. Following a problem with a misfire a cracked exhaust manifold was diagnosed and at the Bled night halt Peter Banham was instigating a temporary fix. Michael and Sebastian Haberl are from this area and may well have benefited from their knowledge of the road to be penalty free, they are current leaders of the FIA Historic Regularity Rally Championship and are on course for becoming the first Austrians to win the Championship.

Others to get clean sheets were the TR4 of Pitts and Briggs and the Sunbeam Tiger of Korrison and Towers. Nobody was clean on the second regularity of the day but on the third there were eight crews, Paul and Matt Heal were among them in their MGB GT proving the strength of the family pairings. Maryjo and Mark I’Anson were another to get it right in the Mk2 Jaguar.

 Richard Dresner and Colin MacKenzie - Jaguar XK150 FHC

Richard Dresner and Colin MacKenzie - Jaguar XK150 FHC

Regularity 5/4 ensured everybody got a penalty but clean sheets were back on Regularity 5/5. Arthur Senior and Chris Sheridan proved that their clutch repairs earlier in the week had been successful by getting a zero, Howard and Matt Warren scored their second zero of the day – Matt has been on a steep learning curve this week but is showing that he has the potential to become a leading co driver.

On the final regularity of the day there was only one zero, this went to current leaders on penalties Harm Lamberigts and Arthur Denzler, their Escort however is not eligible for overall awards so they would have to settle for the class award.

Ten seconds behind them is Frank Fennell and Mark Appleton, Parson and Cattermole are snapping at Frank’s heals, just eight seconds back. Jayne Wignall and Kevin Savage are a further nine behind with Howard and Matt Warren in fourth place with a 20 second deficit. Maryjo and Mark I’Anson are in fifth, 14 seconds back and then there is a further six crews covered by 16 seconds so there are sure to be further changes tomorrow.

The Friday finale will include six regularities so there is plenty of scope for places to be lost and gained before crews arrive back on the lakeside at Bled and a reception hosted by the Mayor of Bled.

Day 5 Mutterings from the Yellow Peril

Early start and straight to a couple of closed road hill climbs, both on tarmac. The rain had thankfully eased off before we started and the tarmac was surprisingly grippy, though several of the very powerful Tigers found themselves running wide on one of the hairpin corners. The 914 and 911’s were quick again, but I was astounded to find that I was 5th fastest on the second hill climb! At the summit a great late breakfast had been set out and we all had plenty of time to chat about our exploits before it was time to descend and head off for the regularities. The penalties gained had tightened up the leader board and we were now single figures behind Frank Fennel and Mark Appleton. In the team competition Blue Green Algae performed well on this test and sneaked a little closer to Ecurie Fred Fillet, even though our team member Paul Heal as usual was drawn towards every vintage tractor that we passed.

Regularity one climbed a steep hillside where we were told to avoid an injured cow part way up, though we were promised there would not be a timing point nearby.

Lunch was at a brewery, with free beer but no one was partaking and the heavens opened again while we were eating. A quick peep at Chris Bruce’s computer suggested that 3 seconds separated the first three teams, so very, very tight. After lunch one particular junction caused considerable consternation when a turn left to a hutte lured in many teams which should know better, result double figure penalties.

Later on a sudden storm had us battling in hail, torrential rain and zero visibility, but fortunately timing wasn’t too tight as we struggled to descend a steep mountain.

We crossed the border on one regularity, but as it’s all EU these days, no sign of any border guards.

At a coffee stop in a wooded glen we were warned not to stir the coffee as it was Turkish style, but we all needed a boost for the final few sections today.

The penultimate gravel regularity was great fun as we slithered up to the control trying desperately to calculate how much wheel spin we were getting and therefore how early to run our trip meters. Some did better at this than others,

In the bar tonight I was told that Jane Edgington (175 pound Avenger) is now a fullified quali-member of the navigators club …… Poor Gary.

Leg 4 report - Rogla to Schladming

 Charles and Kit Graves - Jaguar XK150

Charles and Kit Graves - Jaguar XK150 - at FSZ Karnten

The heavy rain carried on through the night at the Rogla ski resort but thankfully as crews motored down into the wooded valleys it did dry up and most crews were able to tackle the morning sections in the dry. At an OAMTC driving test centre two tests were held separated by a lunch in the on site restaurant. These facilities form a compulsory part of driving instruction and all “learner drivers” receive instruction in skid control and other skills at these centres. From what I have heard it’s a good job that Classic Marathon drivers do not need to take these tests.

Nobody was clean on the first regularity but Fennell and Appleton were closest with a one second penalty. They continue this run with a clean sheet on the second regularity. The next four crews in the running order managed to get just one second.

On the third regularity the best score was Jayne Wignall and Kevin Savage in the Tiger with just 2 seconds. On the fourth regularity best was Lamberigts and Denzler

The day finished with a test on the Planai hill just outside Schladming, prior to this the crews had driven through town and stopped in the town centre for a well earned coffee break. Unfortunately weather conditions had turned for the worst so visibility was not to good. At the end of the test crews gathered in Onkel Willys Hutte for a strudel, when originally planned this was to be served on the terrace but weather conditions meant that it was inside and the spectacle of watching others up the hill was lost.

Once back in Schladming our halt was the fabulous Royer Sporthotel, it was one of the best hotels that we have ever had the pleasure of taking an event to. The staff could not have been more helpful and the evening buffet was sumptuous. We all look forward to returning there with a future event and perhaps spending more time so we could really enjoy the facilities they have to offer. When there was a F1 demonstration at the Ennstal Classic this hotel was used to host all the drivers.

At the end of the day Fennell and Appleton – Alfa Romeo Giulia Super have a 14 second lead over the Austin Healey Sprite of Parson and Cattermole, between them is the Ford Escort of Harm Lamberigits and Arthur Denzler but due to the age of the car (post 68) they are not eligible for overall awards.

There are many changes further down the leader board and the full results can be seen on Results pages.

Day 4 Mutterings from the Yellow Peril

Woke to more torrential rain, great, and straight into it with a downhill regularity on gravel. We weren’t quite firing on all cylinders, set off on the wrong speed table, missed a speed change, stopped for no reason and wondered why we were 20 seconds late at the control, oops! However, better still, the most polite driver in historic rallying, Ian Grant had let so many drivers ahead of him in the queue to book out, that he and Willy Cave (1948 British Olympic ski team don’t you know) were 3 minutes late setting off, 2 minutes late at the start of the regularity and several minutes late at the first control.

Later in the morning we crossed back into Austria for a long regularity on beautiful hilly terrain, navigation involved spotting no entry signs (which have a very different appearance in Austria), but unfortunately not everyone noticed this. John Abel and Stephen Bradley came off particularly badly, getting at least one maximum and plummeting down the leader board. Mark Appleton was slightly less than his usual spot-on self and gained a whole 7 seconds penalty through here. Meanwhile Kevin Savage and Jayne Wignall were super neat through here.

 Keith Graham and Sue Hoffman - Austin Healey 3000

The Austin Healey 3000 of Keith Graham and Sue Hoffman

Next a test followed by lunch and then a second test at a driver training centre. The first was on good tarmac but the second made judicious use of the skid pan, where to our knowledge the Healey 3000 of Keith Graham and Sue Hoffman and the 914 of the Mallagh’s did at least one additional pirouette., while Frank Fennell managed a 360 after the skid pan. Lots of crews failed to stop astride the uphill finish line including Dave Axten and Alan Wright in the Mercedes and Andrew Isherwood and Hilary Farbowski in the 911.

Next regularity was a great drive on gravel through the forest and here came our turn to feature in our own write up. After stopping at a time point, I set off, gingerly as ever, skidded a little, knocked the top off a drain cover and promptly fell down the drain and grounded the car. Frank Fennell cleared the time point and fortunately Andy Inskip appeared in the support vehicle, one tow rope and an enthusiastic drive later we managed to arrive 3 minutes early at the next control. For this we received a toilet brush from Keith Baud in the after dinner presentation ceremony!

For the final treat of the evening we had a gravel hill climb at Planai finishing at Onkel Willy’s Hutte. Drexel Gillespie in the huge 4.7L Tiger was quickest, while the rest of us had great fun thrashing our way up for our strudel.

Leg 3 report - Crikvenica to Rogla

 Julian and Graham Briggs - Triumph TR4

The Triumph TR4 of Julian and Graham Briggs

While we were gathering at the hotel prior to the start the local police turned up wanting to escort all the cars out of the city – we had not done anything wrong, honest! Once they realised that we were not all planning to leave in a convoy they decided that perhaps it was not practical to escort all the cars they left. The first tests of the day were at Grobnik circuit, starting off with a driving test it was perhaps no surprise that once again it was a Porsche benefit with Colton, Warren and Mallagh all on 41 seconds, The Redwoods and the Godfrey’s were just 1 second behind.

It was a bit different on the Regularity Consistency Test where there were three clean sheets – the Richard Dresner and Colin MacKenzie in the Jaguar XK150, Keith Graham and Sue Hoffmann in the Austin Healey 3000 – obviously filled the car before starting the test this time and Andrew Isherwood / Hilary Fabrowski in a Porsche 911 proving that they can be driven at slower speeds with equal success.

Five cars had clean sheets on the next regularity – the Godfreys, the Warrens, the Grays, the Chmuras and the Weirs – I doubt that will be matched again where all the leading crews consisted of related crew members! On Regularity 3/2 only Isherwood and Fabrowski were clean adding to their result on the Consistency Test.

 Tony and Dominic Barron - Sunbeam Tiger

Tony and Dominic Barron - Sunbeam Tiger

On Regularity 3/3 there were another five clean sheets, Kevin Haselden and David Kirkham, John Abel and Stephen Bradley, Maryjo and Mark I’Anson, Peter and Lin Hon Baker and Pierre Yves Maisonneuve / Jean Paul Lamy in the very nice Facel III, the first time such a car has been out on the Classic Marathon.

Regularity 3/4 saw only three clean sheets – Jayne Wignall and Kevin Savage, John Bateson and Tina Lowe and for the first time on this event Simon Parson and Trevor Cattermole. The final test of the day was at a driving centre and yet again the Porsche 911s of Colton and Warren ruled with an equal best time.

The very nature of the event however means that regular consistent performances are the key to success and this is why at the top we have more changes, former winners Jayne Wignall and Kevin Savage have moved up to fourth, Harm Lamberigts and Arthur Denzler in a Ford Escort are leading the post 67 class, John Abel and Stephen Bradley have taken their Tiger into third. Simon Parson and Trevor Cattermole hold second but the new leaders with a slender 10 second advantage are Frank Fennell and Mark Appleton in the Alfa Romeo Giulia Super.

As the wind howls and the rain continues to fall we are all hoping for a better weather as we leave Slovenia and head off into Austria.

Day 3 Mutterings from the Yellow Peril

Once again straight into a test at Grobnik circuit, it wasn’t quite raining, but definitely threatening. It was a simple set of cones to plait. I watched Charles Graves throw the big XK around in fine form, and then made a complete hash of it and gained a few penalties, which today meant several places in the results! Straight into a regularity consistency test, which involves a certain technique and then it’s possible to get very small penalties. The morning regularities were short and sweet, timing points were subtly placed and small penalties were the order of the day. Throughout the day the rain came and went and the roads were treacherous, Beatty Crawford took Conn Williamson on a slightly agricultural route on the transit section and the scenery won. Lunch was a tasty three course affair and the chat was that places had switched a little, but nothing significant. After lunch the pace of the event turned up quickly.

First time control after lunch lead us to a self start regularity which had the most complicated tulip ever seen. David Kirkham didn’t quite interpret it correctly and when David MacKay realised that the car which should be one minute ahead of him he warned the film crew of the impending arrival of a low flying Mini Cooper. Sure enough Kevin Haselden roared past at a fine pace. Later in the day the P1800 of Sylvia and Barbara had a close encounter with a local and Rodney is now a little bent, but possibly not quite as badly as the Tiger of the Grays.

The first afternoon regularity after lunch took a huge toll on the field. An early left turn with the film crew present lured several teams, who should know better, onto a gravel road, which had a dramatic effect on the composition of the top 10, so we are hoping to see footage of crews edging in and haring out of that turning on the event DVD.

Last regularity of the day was in the pouring rain, and with a section on gravel and downhill sections on hairpin tarmac had all the drivers concentrating. On this section spotting no entry signs was essential and certain short navigators seemed to fail in this task, which entailed wrong slots and more penalties.

Once again Peter Rushforth had a few tales to tell. Seems that the failure of the Irish to MOT cars is to blame for the structural integrity or rather lack of on Joe Reynolds MG Magnette. Later in the day Peter and Andy ably helped by Gary Edgington, in the pouring rain managed to repair it.

Leg 2 report - Portoroz to Crikvenica

 Frank Fennell & Mark Appleton - Alfa Romeo

Best performance on Leg 2 - The Alfa Romeo Giulia of Frank Fennell & Mark Appleton

Crews did not have long to warm up on Monday morning as the first test was just five minutes from the start. It was on the local kart circuit, before the event there had been some concern about noise levels – not sure that they had considered that in many cases that the tyre squeal would outweigh the noise from the engines.

Quickest around the test was Colton and Tomlinson in the Porsche 911 but team mates Howard and Matt Warren were only one second down with the MGB of the Godfreys and the Tiger of the Gillespies just a further second down. Not bad going considering that Patricia Gillespie had lost her voice and all instructions were by hand signal – Drexel reckons it’s been a great day without being shouted at. The Godfreys were in trouble at the night halt with their front suspension in pieces as the trunnion bushes were replaced.

It was a short run from here to the first regularity which led crews up to the Croatian border, there were no clean sheets on this one. After a trouble free border crossing there were another three regularities before lunch. Five crews were clean on the first of these with newcomers to the clean sheet brigade including Keith Graham and Sue Hoffmann in the Austin Healey 3000, taking more care to refill regularly today as they ran out of fuel on Sunday!, Marco and Carol Marinello also joined but are tonight having charging problems that the sweep crews are working to resolve. The Godfreys proved it is not just tests that they are good at and also Maryjo and Mark I’Anson brought the big Mk 2 Jaguar in on the correct second.

Nobody was clean on the third regularity and on the fourth just two crews were clean – the Mini Cooper S of Shaun Arnold and Kenny MacEwan and the Sunbeam Tiger of Nigel “television star” and Christine Gray, poor Christine had an off before she’d even left Stansted Airport but is well on the way to recovery. Shaun was the receiver of one of Keith Baud’s special daily awards today – he expressed an interest in bicycle seats during a late night session in the bars of Ljubljana and this resulted in the presentation of a cycling magazine with anatomical data about backsides! You’ll have to think fairly deep and have witnessed the sights of Ljubljana to understand his fascination with returning in a future life as a bicycle seat.....

Not sure what it was about Regularity 2/5 but nine crews were clean, seeing as this followed lunch at the top of the Buzet hillclimb which by all accounts was a full three course meal it is amazing – you’d have expected most crews to be struggling to keep awake.

Performances soon drifted off and nobody cleaned the final two regularities.

 A Sunbeam, Lancia, Volvo three car convoy

The Gray's - Sunbeam Tiger, the Baker's - Lancia Fulvia, and the Mass/Ewing - Volvo 122 form a convoy.

The whole leaderboard is very tight with just 17 seconds covering the top 10 after two days of rallying and just three seconds covering the top five. Paul Wignall and Fred Bent have moved into the lead but their lead is only one second over last year’s second placed crew Simon Parson and Trevor Cattermole in the Sprite. Whilst just a further second back is the Jaguar XK of Charles and Kit Graves and the MGB of Mark and Sue Godfrey. Andrew and Sarah Mallagh hold up Porsche honours by keeping their penalty to just one minute.

Tuesday includes a driving test and regularity consistency test at the Grobnik Circuit before crews tackle more regularities through the Croatian and Slovenian countryside. At the end of the day we have a time control in the Vransko motorcycle museum and a test at a driving centre before climbing into the mountains to our overnight halt at Rogla and weather permitting the toboggan challenge.

Day 2 Mutterings from the Yellow Peril
The morning dawned quite overcast, but no sign of rain. First thing Peter Rushforth had a call from his driver Joe Reynolds asking where the car keys were. Now Peter is an established criminal, Andy Inskip snipped a length of wire from the fencing and popped the lock. Now no master switch, but Peter and Betty sorted that but now 3 minutes after due time and upon checking out, Jeremy says ‘anyone know who’s keys these are?’ .....

A very short drive took us to the first test at a tight kart circuit, where the officials were pushing the cars through pretty quickly. The tarmac was a little more slippery which let some of us get a little more sideways, but Porsches fastest again. Following this we had a quick transit, as is becoming the rule of the day to another of Anthony’s descriptive regularity through quiet lanes, gravel and villages, A certain small blue mini attracted the attention of a rather larger blue car towards the end of the regularity, though rumour has it that it was nothing to do with them and they narrowly avoided a Lynching (work it out!).

A time control with more great coffee and another three regularities, none of which were quite as straight forward as they seemed. On one Willy Cave and Ian Grant (cumulative age - 160) got stuck behind a bunch of youngsters on a SAGA coach trip. A great lunch gave us all a little time to wind down and chat while stuffing our faces with a full three course meal. From here it was straight down the famous Buzet hill climb, which explained why there was so much Armco on the bends. The weather was turning, the skies darkening and the wind blowing. Many hairpin bends kept us all busy especially after a few heavy showers when the surface became quite treacherous. An extremely lumpy road with a local hero in a Smart car hampering us the whole way took us to the last few regularities with cunningly hidden timing points, and surprisingly short sections gave some more penalties than they would have liked. A great run down to the Adriatic coast brought us to our hotel for the evening and later the news that the top of the field was probably closer than ever before on a Marathon with only 41 seconds separating the first 20 crews, so all to play for.

Leg 1 report - Ljubljana to Portoroz

 Ljubljana Start of the 21st Classic Marathon

Howard Bellm & Christopher Taylor are first car away from the Ljubljana start of the 21st Classic Marathon

Competitors were flagged away in the sunshine by the Mayor of Ljubljana, the pre start holding area on the market place had seen some crews showing signs of pre event nerves, although many are regulars on the Classic Marathon sometimes they have not done anything much in between so it can take a day or two for them to settle down.

It was a short run out to the first regularity, most of this was on gravel. Smooth well surfaced gravel roads still form a major part of the Slovenian road network but with current levels of investment in road building it must be wondered how long this situation will continue, hopefully they will concentrate on upgrading the major routes first.

Ian Grant and Willy Cave were one of five crews to have zero penalty on the first regularity, the others being Fennell / Appleton, Gilmore and Gilmore, Parson and Cattermole, Neville and Waldron. After the regularity crews went to the Blagomix rallycross circuit for the first of two tests at this venue. Equal quickest on the test were the Porsche 911s of Charles Colton / Paul Tomlinson and Howard and Matt Warren – it’s some feat for the two CES Directors to achieve exactly the same time and even more amazing they both improved by four seconds on the second attempt. Both Paul and Matt are on their first Classic Marathon.

Also doing well on these tests was the Porsche 914/6 of Andrew and Sarah Mallagh – Drexel and Pat Gillespie also did well and got their second attempt in at under two minutes.

On the second regularity there were seven crews with zero penalty, among these was our Danish crew Kenn and Jorn Lyngby in the pretty MGA. Charles Colton proved he can maintain a consistent speed as well as drive quickly. Andrew Isherwoord and Hilary Fabrowski put another Porsche on the leaderboard. Prosser and Gibson showed that their water pump maladies were behind them. Neville and Waldron scored yet another clean sheet. Our final clean sheet on this regularity went to Bjorn Andresen and Geir Atle Talesen.

Regularity 1/3 saw seven cleans with yet more names coming into the fray – Nigel Redwood and David Redwood, Paul Wignall and Fred Bent, Julian Pitts and Graham Briggs, Michael and Sebastian Haberl, Tony and Dominic Barron, Valerie and Graham Gilmore, Prosser and Gibson. That list includes three father and son teams.

There were no clean sheets on Reg 1/4. On Test 1/3 at Postojna Caves the fastest time was set by the Warrens but Colton / Tomlinson and the Mallaghs were not far behind.

 David MacKay & Tony Davies - Alfa Romeo Giulia GTV

David MacKay & Tony Davies - Alfa Romeo Giulia GTV - on a first day Regularity section

As usual there had been some mechanical problems with the most major being half shaft failure on the Lotus Cortina of Jon Edward / Des Wood. They had no spare but such is the friendliness of fellow competitors that they were lent another halfshaft by Harm Lamerigts and were soon back on the road.

We are spending the night at the Grand Hotel in Portoroz and I am pleased to say it is living up to its name which is more than can be said for some “Grand” hotels we have used in the past. The buffet dinner was superb and many competitors and even some officials have wandered off into town to sample the local culture and relax whilst overlooking the Adriatic coast.

Tomorrow sees us leave Slovenia for a day in Croatia.

Those who follow our events regularly will be aware that we also have a scribe amongst our competitors who regularly manages to write a report from field as well as doing very well in one of the lowest powered (or so he claims) cars on the event.

Mutterings from the Yellow Peril
After torrential rain yesterday and a terrible forecast for today, we woke up to brilliant sunshine. A late start for us this morning as the first car was not away until midday. A quick run out of town took us rapidly onto a very steep climb up a gravel road which led to very warm engines and the Alfa of MacKay and Davies grumbling about restarting before the regularity. An average speed of 45kmh had us immediately reminding ourselves how to drive on gravel. The speed was well chosen to be testing but not silly, as lots of teams managed to clean it and score zero penalties.

A short transit took us to the Blagomix circuit , an interesting figure of eight circuit. Klaus-Uwe Schaffrath had a small argument with the tyres on a very tight hairpin, while the Cortina of Edwards and Davies broke a half shaft and looked forlorn parked up halfway round the circuit. I’m not sure what the technical term for a coupling of Tigers is, but it happened on this test!

 Mark & Sue Godfrey - MGB

Mark & Sue Godfrey enjoy themselves getting
the MGB a little sideways at Blagomix

A quick TC took us to a self-start regularity on gravel, which seemed to go pretty smoothly for most teams followed by a manned start regularity again which went quite smoothly, although we were baulked at the last minute and lost a few seconds that we didn’t really need to.

A second bite at the cherry at Blagomix gave most of us an opportunity to improve on our times, the two Porsche 911’s of Howard Warren and Charles Colton were fastest on both runs followed by the Mallagh’s 914/6. A short drive took us a great little car park test with an enormous crowd of spectators, and again the Porsches were fastest.

More beautiful countryside and tight bends brought us to the final regularity of the day which was scheduled to be 40Km long with 5 timing points and ten speed changes, so clearly fun. The route was given as distances and times with instructions interspersed. It varied between gravel and tight tarmac turns and there were many occasions where we had to avoid the Gozdna Cesta (forestry road) signs which we had been clearly told to avoid in Keith Baud’s route notes. Several crews missed one of these, saying that a car was obscuring the sign! Most impressive was Peter Rushforth in the MG Magnette who took his driver for an 18Km diversion! No one managed to clean these sections with small single figures the order of the day. All that remained was a run down to the coast to the beautiful town of Portoroz.

Before the Start - Ljubljana, Slovenia

Competitors arriving at Ljubljana airport on Friday were greeted by CRA representatives and taken on a short coach journey to their cars which had been unloaded from the transporters in the car park opposite. Those arriving on Saturday were even better off as by the time their flights arrived the cars had been taken into Ljubljana and scrutineered.

After a couple of glorious days sunshine the heavens opened on Saturday morning and most people stayed in the hotel but the weather brightened up in the afternoon and the opportunity could be taken to explore the local bars that thrive along the river front.

Even without many cars having been driven to the start the sweep crews were kept busy. The most major incidents were the MGC of Edmund Cassidy and Mick O’Shea needing a head gasket and the Reliant Scimitar of Richard Prosser and Andy Gibson who needed a new water pump. Fortunately both crews had been able to diagnose their problems before the other crews had left the UK so the necessary spare parts were able to be brought out as hand baggage. As this is being written the sweep crews are working away in the hotel car park to ensure that the cars are ready to start the event at lunchtime tomorrow.

Route Designer Anthony Preston had been out and about during the day and managed to find yet another set of road works to interrupt the carefully planned route. Thankfully this one is just a minor deviation and was easily sorted with a couple of lines of text. We have spoken with our local area coordinators and they all report no problems in their areas.

Some crews had car troubles even before leaving the UK, Robin and Sally Moser had a problem with their Triumph TR6 so instead loaded their Porsche Boxster onto the Transporter and will be having a week driving around the Slovenian / Croatian and Austrian countryside , hopefully with the roof down. This is a great shame on what would have been their first CRA event. Others out on their first CRA event are John and Meg Ball in a Triumph TR3 and John Noble and Mike King in an Austin Healey 3000. Also with us from Holland for the first time we have Harm Lamberigts and Arthur Denzler in a Ford Escort. Our final newcomers have also covered the greatest distance to get here to a special welcome to Bjorn Andresen and Geir Atle Talesen from Norway who will be driving a Mercedes-Benz 450SL.

Howard Bellm and Chris Taylor are back after a couple of years in the fabulous Lagonda M45, they have no class competition but this must be small compensation for the effort required to get a car of that ilk around the Marathon route. Other crews back after resting for a couple of years are Marco and Carol Marinello, still using their Porsche 356 Roadster, Renger and Renger Jnr Guliker in the very pretty Fiat 1600S. We also have some crews who although they are familiar to us from our other events are Marathon virgins – Joe Reynolds from Ireland is in a MG Magnette, Drexel and Pat Gillespie bring a Sunbeam Tiger and with a lot less cc we have Kevin Haselden and David Kirkham in a Mini Cooper. Gary and Jane Edginton are out in what I think is the first Hillman Avenger to tackle a CRA event.

The event starts from Ljubljana city centre Sunday lunchtime and the crews then have an afternoon with three tests and four regularities. The destination for the day is the Adriatic coastal resort of Portoroz where crews will be able to enjoy a well earned drink whilst gazing out to sea and recalling the adventures that they have on the first day of the 21st Classic Marathon.