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Biennial Rally to Begin from Brooklands Museum on Thursday Morning

Biennial Rally to Begin from Brooklands Museum on Thursday Morning

The 2024 edition of the London to Lisbon rally begins on 25th April, with the first car taking the start in front of the historic Brooklands Clubhouse at 10am. A somewhat leisurely start time for a rally, but there is nothing too leisurely about what lies ahead, with 10 days of competitive action across 2800km and four countries before the chequered flag waves in Portugal.

Taking the start first is the number one machine of Dick and Harry Baines, winners of the last of these biennial events in their indomitable Mini. The not-so-long-ago newcomers have become somewhat experts in this style of event since their days of competing in the Novice Trial, and have a Scottish Malts win under their belts as well. They are typically guarded about their chances this time though, and although this isn’t an event that is purely about competition, there are plenty that would love the chance to take their crown.

One of those is certainly Paul Crosby, competing in his signature 911 that he has won almost everything in over the years, and he certainly has the experience to win again this time out, particularly with experienced navigator and 2022 Golden Roamer Champion Pete Johnson beside him. According to HERO-ERA Competition Director and Clerk of the Course Guy Woodcock, though, there are several hands that could be found clutching the trophy come the end of the event, including Tony Sutton and Bernard Northmore who finished third during the 2022 edition of this event, and Ken and Sarah Binstead who led the early stages of the rally last time and go off tomorrow with the number four on their Austin Healey 3000. The Austin Healey 100M of Graham Platts and Neil Ripley will also be one to watch, another experienced pair and a partnership that achieved second place on last year’s Scottish Malts event.

But what can they and the other protagonists expect over the next 10 days? Well, some wonderful driving roads for starters and a nice mix of competition and fun, without any really hectic days. “We’ve limited the days to a maximum of four regularities” says Guy, “this is an intermediate event and so we want to balance the competition with the adventure. Day’s five and nine though will be the challenging days, but they will also feature some incredible roads, particularly those on the fifth day.”

For those with an interest in speed, there are of course some brilliant tests to enjoy as well, including the famous Caramulo Hillclimb, often a feature of this rally, although this time the machines will be heading down the hill, rather than up.

Along the way the rally will pass through England, France and Spain, before the final four days in Portugal. Spain and Portugal are of course the highlights, and the route through France will speed us on towards those fabulous Spanish mountains, that on the final recce for this event were still covered in Snow. “We’ve actually had to prepare a re-route just encase” says Guy, “as on the recce one of the routes was blocked, so there will certainly be snow on the side of the road, if not on it as well!”

Snow isn’t often something for the London to Lisbon crews to worry about, but it will definitely provide an exciting element on what will already be an exciting route and with a wonderfully turned out entry of cars featuring everything from a 1930 Bentley Le Mans right through to Porsche 911’s, Alfa Romeos, Mercedes Benz, Datsun’s, Lancia’s and BMW’s this will be a dynamic and entertaining return for what is now undoubtedly one of the highlights in the HERO rallying calendar.

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