The 2013 running of the Classic Marathon Rally was staged 15-21 June, starting at Ypres in Belgium and ending at the Piazza San Francesco in Cortina d’Ampezzo in northern Italy, with travels through Luxembourg, France and Switzerland.
A 1965 Porsche 911 finished first after battling fiercely for the first place against three Sunbeam Tigers through mountains and challenging roads in the 2013 running of the Classic Marathon. Fifty of the most competitive classic rallying crews from all over the world took part in the event, which was organized by the Classic Rally Association (CRA) and was sponsored by Pirelli, 25 years after it first did so in 1988.
The crews taking part battled their way through 23 mountain passes including the world-famous Stelvio and Gavia passes, completing 2,280KM of challenging roads and climbing peaks of up to 2,650 meters. Competitors tested their skills to the limit across five countries, 35 regularity sections and 12 tests.
Stunning weather accompanied the crews along the six days of competition with temperatures in the range of 30 degrees Celsius, which were enjoyed by all participants but not so much by their classics as it added to the overheating problems that some cars faced on the mountain climbs.
On the first days of rallying John Abel and John Dennett were in the lead in their Sunbeam Tiger closely followed by Charles Colton and Guy Woodcock in their Porsche 911 and Jayne Wignall and Kevin Savage in another Tiger. On day four, Colton and Woodcock snapped the first place and John Korrison and Peter Rushforth´s Tiger joined the fight for the top, forcing an exciting finish as the cars running 2nd, 3rd and 4th were only five seconds apart.
On the last day of competition, the battle for the top positions was strong with Charles Colton and Guy Woodcock leading in their Porsche 911 and being chased by three 1965 Sunbeam Tigers – only a few seconds still separated the top four cars!
In the end, Colton and Woodcock´s Porsche came in first closely followed by Jayne Wignall and Kevin Savage´s Sunbeam Tiger. John Korrison and Peter Rushforth came in third after fighting for the last place in the podium against John Abel and John Dennett.
Charles Colton commented, “We thought at one point we were being chased by tigers! They had power advantage on the hills but we won in the end although it wasn’t by any means easy. The Tigers kept the pressure on all the way through to the finish line – It was very tough. The mileage and choice of route were great. Overall it was a very competitive event and an enjoyable experience.”
“Team Tiger” was awarded with the Team Prize for their impressive performance and Jayne Wignall and Kevin Savage were also honoured with the Mixed Crew Award. Roy Hatfield and Grant Hatfield drove their 1924 Bentley 3/4 1/2 to the finish line, taking the “Against All Odds Trophy” as it was the oldest car competing in the Classic Marathon.
The awards dinner took place at the exclusive Sci Club 18, a private members club in Cortina, and prizes were given by Paddy Hopkirk and Alec Poole, who won the 1990 Classic Marathon edition competing against Sir Stirling Moss and Roger Clark.
Tomas de Vargas de Machuca, joint Managing Director, said, “The 25th running of the Pirelli Classic Marathon was a challenge to organise due to the adverse weather conditions across Europe but Jeremy Dickson, our Events Director was able to deliver an event truly worthy of its reputation. We were delighted to see the return of Pirelli to classic rallying. Its heritage in rallying is amongst the most important in the world and helped to bring the necessary prestige to this important event.”
Patrick Burke, joint Managing Director, said, “It was great to see crews from all over the world taking part in the event and it was fantastic to have such a broad range of cars competing, including a 1969 Alfa Romeo Giulia Super, a 1971 Fiat 127, a 1969 Lancia Fulvia Sport Zagato and various Ferraris.”
Jeremy Dickson, the CRA’s event Director, said, “We were thrilled to see so many crews from the initial events joining us for this celebration of 25 years of classic rallying. We are also massively grateful to Pirelli and sponsors Borgo Scopeto and Caparzo wineries for allowing us to run this great event once again.”
The 26th edition of the Classic Marathon will run in Italy in 2015. The next CRA event will be the Rally of the Tests, taking competitors from Chester to Harrogate from October 30th to November 3rd, 2013.
Classic Marathon Rally 2013 – Final Results
1. Charles Colton (GBR) / Guy Woodcock (GBR) – 1965 Porsche 911
2. Jayne Wignall (GBR) / Kevin Savage (GBR) – 1965 Sunbeam Tiger
3. John Korrison (GBR) / Peter Rushforth (GBR) – 1965 Sunbeam Tiger
[Source: Classic Rally Association; photos: © F&R Rastrelli]