The 3rd Alpine Trial 2016
26th - 28th September, 2016
The 3rd Alpine Trial – September 2016
Look back and relive the Alpine Trial on the Reports & Results pages.
After two years based in Annecy the Alpine Trial explored new territory in 2016, starting in the unspoilt and little known French spa town of Divonne-les-Bains, sandwiched between the Jura Mountains and Lake Geneva, just 15 minutes from Geneva airport and other extensive transport links. The overnight halts of the second and third days were centred, as before, at the splendid Imperial Hotel beside Lac d'Annecy.
If you enjoy driving your vintage car over glorious roads in spectacular surroundings the Alpine Trial is the perfect opportunity. On the 2015 edition nine different makes of car shared in the top ten places and the winning driver was only on his third event. The huge Rolls Royce Phantom II of Beat and Elisabeth Hirs achieved a spectacular ninth place on their very first rally amply illustration that there's no need to be a seasoned rally expert to find immense pleasure from driving the Alpine Trial.
At the end of November last year Route Planner and joint Clerk of the Course Keith Baud, jetted off to Geneva for a quick run over some of the more remote Alpine passes before the winter snows closed in. Not only was the trip used to explore the mountains for some new roads, but Keith also linked up with ERA’s French “Fixer” Christine Arnal for meetings with the deputy mayor and her staff in Divonne-les-Bains.
“Divonne is a quiet little place without a constant stream of high profile events, so the deputy mayor was excited at the thought of all these beautiful vintage cars coming to the town for a couple of nights”, reported Keith on his return. “They’re very keen to get the townspeople involved in the Sunday pre-start preparations, and made several very useful suggestions as to suitable locations for things like scrutineering and documentation, and even a special test or two. I’m sure the competitors will get an extremely warm welcome in Divonne”, Keith continued.
One of the suggested test locations is particularly interesting. Divonne-les-Bains is tucked away in a little known corner of France close to the Swiss border north of Geneva. So close in fact that if you go off on the test in question, you are likely to end up in Switzerland!
However, most of the action for the first day or so will take place in the Jura Mountains, which rise immediately behind the beautiful art-deco Rally HQ of the Domaine de Divonne hotel. While not as high or dramatic as their Alpine counterparts further south, the fast sweeping roads of the High Jura are made for vintage motoring, and will provide a perfect introduction to the challenges of this three day event.
On Day Two the cars head south from Divonne, following the spine of the mountains towards the Rhone valley. Once across the Rhone, the mountains grow steadily higher until, after lunch, the dramatic limestone crags of the Chartreuse Massif hove into view, a new area for the “Alpine”. After cresting the famous Col du Granier, the route descends briefly into the Isere valley before turning north for the final run into Annecy.
The final day provides the stiffest challenge of all, using virtually every remote Alpine road in a compact route that is rarely out of sight of Mont Blanc. Many of the Cols will be old favourites with Alpine regulars, while a few “new” ones have been thrown in for good measure before the event returns to Annecy for the Gala Prize Giving.
Nearly 1000 kilometres of the finest vintage motoring… what better way to spend three days in the Alps!
That is the best day of rallying I’ve ever done.
Matthew Abrey - 1928 Ford Model A - Alpine Trial 2015 - Day Two