The Trans-America Challenge 2015 was staged June 7-28 from Halifax, Nova Scotia, on the East Coast of Canada, to San Francisco, California, on the West Coast of the United States. Around 40 vintage and classic cars arrived at the finish line of the Endurance Rally Association’s second Trans-America Challenge, having crossed 15 states and traveled 9,500 kilometers (5,900 miles) by its end.
The route enjoyed spectacular views as it used America’s roads less traveled, while still finding time to visit iconic locations such as the Battle of Little Bighorn site and Mount Rushmore. The cars involved range from a 1927 Bentley 4 1/2-litre to a 1977 Triumph Stag, and the crews include the world’s oldest rally navigator, 97-year-old Dorothy Caldwell.
It was ‘California dreaming’ for Peter and Zoe Lovett when they crossed the San Francisco finish line as overall winners of the Endurance Rally Association’s Trans-America Challenge, their second long distance rally win in 2015. Competing in their 1973 Porsche 911T for the 22-day rally across Canada and America, the Lovett’s also won the inaugural Road to Mandalay Rally back in February behind the wheel of another Porsche.
The pair had been hot on the wheels of the longtime leaders Phil Garratt and Kieron Brown in the 1977 Triumph Stag, constantly in the top three since the start. When the Stag had mechanical problems on day 17, the Lovett’s took the top spot and finished with an overall total of 0:09:07.
In second place was Paul and Sandra Merryweather in the 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450 SL on 0:10:05, with Philip and Yvonne Haslam in the 1954 Jaguar XK120 DHC right behind them in third place with 0:10:11.
The 1927 Bentley 4 1/2-Litre Le Mans of Martin and Olivia Hunt won the Vintageant Class, while there were also class wins for Marco Halter and Claudia Engelhardt in the 1963 Ford Falcon Coupe, and David and Jo Roberts in the 1968 Triumph TR250.
Two special ‘Spirit of the Rally’ awards were presented during the prize giving at the iconic Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. The first went to Malaysia’s Hok Kiang Sia and Eric Kuan Rong Sia who had battled through the rally in their 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II, the biggest car on the event.
The second went to Richard Martin and Travis Cole who started the rally in a 1936 Alvis Speed 25 but ended up on a recovery truck on the first day. After a few days in a rental car, the crew purchased an unprepared Datsun 240Z in Duluth and then set about having parts and spares delivered to each hotel they stayed at to create a rally car by the end of the event. Now a fully prepared rally car, the Datsun will be the car of choice on next year’s Rally of the Incas.
ERA Rally Director Fred Gallagher said, “This has been another superb event with a fantastic mix of cars, crews and driving skills. Our Clerk of the Course Kim Bannister planned a brilliant route which offered iconic scenery, competitive tests and challenging terrain – everything you could hope for in an event such as this.”
The Trans-America Challenge was the Endurance Rally Association’s third rally of 2015. The next Trans-America Challenge will take place in 2018 with an exciting new route. For further information, visit EnduroRally.com.
Photographer Gerard Brown documented the 2015 Trans-America Challenge, offering a wonderful selection of images that highlight the stunning vistas of North America. 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 of Sports Car Digest, while the second gallery can be found on the last page of the article and gives a comprehensive view of all photographs.
Trans-America Challenge 2015 – Featured Photo Gallery
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