The Alpine Trial Rally 2015 was staged 6-9 September in southeastern France, starting and ending in the alpine town of Annecy. The second running of the Alpine Trial from Endurance Rally Association (ERA) was based around Annecy’s Imperial Hotel, with the route taking in a different direction each day — south to the 2000 meter high Col de la Madeleine, west towards the Rhone valley and the Jura Mountains and finally every road at the foot of Mont Blanc.
With Regularity and Special Tests as well as Alpine sections, route master Keith Baud pushed the crews to the limit as they navigated rocky hairpins, remote Alpine roads and the steepest of mountain climbs. Per the rules, crews only received their route books just 30 minutes before each day’s start so while navigators frantically plotted and calculated, the drivers checked and rechecked those all important staples of motoring life such as tyre pressures, water, oil and washer fluid.
Fred Gallagher, ERA’s Rally Director, said, “The glorious weather and stunning scenery have once again provided a wondrous backdrop to three fantastic days of historic rallying. The route continues to offer exciting competition where car and crew work hard to grab every second to create an advantage for fear of meeting the unknown on the mountain roads. Some of the pre-rally favourites saw themselves tumble down the leaderboard due to meeting a herd of cows on an Alpine pass.”
After three thrilling days of pre-war rallying, it was Peter Kite, Terry Thorp and the 1934 Frazer Nash Tourist Trophy Replica that won the Alpine Trial Rally 2015. The all-British team just managed to keep American James Gately in the 1937 Cadillac 60 Series Coupe, with Flying Scotsman winning navigator Tony Brooks, in second place, with only 24 seconds between them. Hot on their wheels was the 1926 Bentley Super Sports of Mike Thompson and Julian Riley, finishing just eight seconds adrift in third place.
Winning driver Peter Kite, jubilant after collecting the silverware in only his third ever rally, thanked the two people who helped him reach the top spot, “Thanks to Archie Frazer Nash for building the best motorcar in the world and Terry Thorp, my navigator.”
As well as the overall winners, the Alpine Trial’s 45-strong entry-list was broken down into five categories based on engine size: up to 1500cc; up to 2000cc; up to 3000cc; up to 4000cc; over 4000cc, with class winners celebrated in each.
There were also special awards for Richard and Anthony Joseph in the 1930 Austin 7 Ulster, the smallest car on the event, who were presented with the Spirit of the Rally accolade, and Concours d’Elegance winners Tony and Pauline Mather in the 1937 Citroen Traction Avant.
The 2016 Alpine Trial will take place from 25-28 September, with entries already being received. For more information on the ERA events, visit EnduroRally.com.
Similar to 2014, Sports Car Digest also documented the 2015 Alpine Trial Rally, with photographer Gerard Brown offering wonderful images that highlight the outstanding mountain vistas of France. We split up Gerard’s pictures into two galleries. The first gallery starting below features our favorite images, all displayed in the full-width view, while the second gallery and complete results can be found on the last page of the article and gives a comprehensive view of all photographs.
Alpine Trial Rally 2015 – Featured Photo Gallery
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