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The 3rd Alpine Trial 2016

26th - 28th September 2016

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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.

Glorious scenery in the Jura Mountains

“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!

The 3rd Alpine Trial 2016 – Participants

Updated 22nd September 2016

Num Participants Motorcar Engine size
1 Gareth Burnett(GB) / Jez Haylock(GB) 1931 – Talbot 105 Alpine 3500
2 Mike Thompson(GB) / Julian Riley(GB) 1926 – Bentley Super Sports 4498
3 Paul Wignall(GB) / Guy Woodcock(GB) 1929 – Alvis Silver Eagle 2300
4 Bill Cleyndert(GB) / Matthew Abrey(GB) 1925 – Bentley 3-4½ 5300
5 John Abel(GB) / Leigh Powley(GB) 1937 – Lagonda LG45 4500
6 Clint Smith(GB) / Brad Smith(GB) 1938 – Jaguar SS100 3500
7 James Gately(USA) / Tony Brooks(GB) 1937 – Cadillac 60 Series Coupe 5670
8 Dominic Manser(GB) / Jack Manser(GB) 1948 – Bentley MkVI Special 4257
9 Jayne Wignall(GB) / Kevin Savage(GB) 1932 – Sunbeam 20hp Sports 3317
10 Melvin Andrews(USA) / Alan Smith(GB) 1936 – Bentley 4¼ 4250
11 Stuart Anderson(GB) / Robert Ellis(GB) 1938 – Bentley 4¼ 4257
12 Martin Hunt(GB) / Robert Mannix(GB) 1937 – Frazer Nash BMW 328 1971
14 John Ruston(GB) / Michael Birch(GB) 1934 – Talbot 105 Alpine 3377
15 Peter Lovett(GB) / Rob Henchoz(GB) 1937 – BMW 328 1991
16 Bertie Van Houtte(F) / Charlotte Van Houtte(GB) 1936 – Frazer Nash TT REP 1496
17 Keith Wickham(GB) / Brian Spearman(GB) 1924 – Rolls Royce Boat Tail Roadster 3250
18 Chris Abrey(GB) / Sara Banham(GB) 1937 – Lagonda LG45 4553
19 Brad Mottier(USA) / Bill Hoff(USA) 1937 – Riley Bigley Special 1498
21 Tony Mather(GB) / Pauline Mather(GB) 1937 – Citroen Traction Avant 1911
22 Roland D’Ieteren(B) / Dominique Gasse(F) 1939 – Alfa Romeo 6C 2300B Pescara 2300
23 Macko Laqueur(NL) / Geza Laqueur(NL) 1934 – Lagonda M45 Rapide 4500
24 Thomas Maechler(CH) / Andrea Scherz(CH) 1934 – Aston Martin MkII Competition 1995
25 Bob Compiet(NL) / Minouche den Doelder(NL) 1936 – Alvis Special 3.5ltr 3500
26 Sholto Gilbertson-Hart(GB) / Karen Gilbertson-Hart(GB) 1934 – Lagonda M45 Tourer 4553
27 Jan Hradecky(CZ) / Dana Hradecka(CZ) 1936 – Jawa Aero Minor I 615
28 Kate Wickham(GB) / Sophie Wickham(GB) 1934 – MG TC 1275
29 Joe Gerada(MT) / Julian Xuereb(MT) 1938 – Alvis 12/70 1800
30 Lieven van Hoylandt(B) / Wim De Sutter(B) 1922 – Bentley 3-4½ 4500
31 Jeff Urbina(USA) / Willie McNickle(NZ) 1936 – Ford Cabriolet 3600
32 Tim Eades(USA) / Jack Baldwin(USA) 1938 – Chevrolet Coupe 3540
33 Hugh Apthorp(GB) / Lesley Apthorp(GB) 1929 – Bentley 4½ 4398
34 Urs Mezger(CH) / Maxime Mezger(CH) 1935 – Lagonda M45 Rapide 4500
36 Philipp Leibundgut(CH) / Daniel Loew(CH) 1933 – MG K3 1186
37 Michael Kershaw(GB) / Nicholas Kershaw(GB) 1947 – HRG 1500 1497
38 Ian Montgomery(GB) / Robert Mills(GB) 1934 – Talbot 105 3000
39 Wilfried Schaefer(D) / Sandra Hubner(D) 1934 – Talbot 105 Alpine 3377
40 Rod Taylor(GB) / Rosemary Taylor(GB) 1937 – Talbot 110 3337
41 Herman Wielfaert(B) / Katrien Tremerie(B) 1948 – Bentley MkVI Special 4252
42 Robert Wilkinson(GB) / Mark Wilkinson(GB) 1926 – Bentley 6½  Tourer 6500
PAUSE PLAY

The 3rd Alpine Trial 2016 – Route Outline

Unlike previous Alpine Trials, run almost exclusively in the old Kingdom of Savoie, this year’s event explores new territory in the Jura, west of the Rhone, before moving into the Alps for the finale. The Jura is ideally suited for vintage motoring, with empty, sweeping roads crossing a high plateau landscape of rich pasture and dark forests, occasionally incised by deep valleys surrounded by towering limestone cliffs.

We start in the little-known town of Divonne-les-Bains, nestling next to the Swiss border near Geneva. Whilst not as big or glamourous as most French spa towns, the facilities of the wonderfully period Grand Hotel, and its adjoining casino, should make up for the shortage of local tourist attractions. The final two nights will be in the familiar lakeside setting of the Hotel l’Impérial Palace, Annecy.  Because Divonne is so compact we do not need to take you on a long run through suburbia to reach the action – the Jura mountains rise like a green wall behind the town and you will literally be climbing them within minutes of leaving the hotel.

As in previous years, the Alpine Trial is divided into three distinct “loops”, each one designed to give you the full flavour of this beautiful and interesting area of France.  We have included enough time in the daily schedule to allow for a refreshment halt in the morning and afternoon, plus a longer stop for lunch. These are often in traditional wayside establishments, to add character to the event as well as giving much welcome trade to many of these remote rural communities.

 

Day 1:  Monday 26 September – Haute Jura and Plain de Bresse – 308km

The Jura mountains lie in a series of forested ridges running NE to SW along the Franco-Swiss border reducing in height towards the west until they final peter out on the vast Plain de Bresse.  Today you will cross, and then re-cross, their entire breadth.

The action starts right outside the doors of the Rally HQ with a steady climb up through the forest to the highest ridges of the Jura. On a good day there are some wonderful glimpses of Lake Geneva far below, with the snow-capped peaks of the Mont Blanc Massif on the eastern horizon. However, don’t spend so much time admiring the view that you neglect your navigating or you could end up in Switzerland…

Once over the top you enter a landscape of high mountain pasture and forests, criss-crossed by a network of empty roads just perfect for the first regularity of the day. From there, a carefully chosen route to avoid the busy town of St Claude takes you through pretty villages and towering limestone cliffs to the first test of the day and a chance to enjoy a welcoming cup of morning coffee.

The Jura mountains are cut by a number of rivers running in deep valleys and we cross one of these, the Ain, to get to the next sections. West of the Ain, the landscape is more gentle and benign but careful navigating will be needed before you finally descend onto the vast Plain de Bresse.

Lunch will be taken at a private motor sport facility, where we have also arranged two tests, before turning east again to climb back into the Jura. Again, attention to the maps will be needed as the route re-crosses a predominately rural landscape before an afternoon refreshment halt overlooking the Lac de Vouglans.

Re-entering the Haute-Jura, a further regularity awaits in its forests before the road descends into the depths of the Gorges de la Bienne and an attractive drive into the town of Morez. A final climb past the old fortified resort of Les Rousses follows before a run down the mountains brings you back to the Grand Hotel and a welcoming drink.

 

Day 2: Tuesday 27 September – Bugey, Chartreuse and Massif de Bauges – 338km

Today the route heads south-west to follow the line of the Jura mountains and cross the valley of the Rhone. Between the valley of the Valserine and the Rhone lies a final ridge of mountains, well known to rally enthusiasts, which we explore extensively this morning before re-crossing the Rhone and heading into the Bugey.

This small attractive area of rolling hills bordering Lac de Bourget is a delight, with a maze of lanes connecting pretty stone villages nestling amongst the vineyards of Savoie. After a welcome refreshment break we continue south into slightly higher terrain before having lunch at a waterside restaurant on the shores of the Lac d’Aiguebelette.

The action re-starts immediately after lunch with a regularity in a little used area of Savoie before turning east towards the sheer rock walls of the Chartreuse Massif and a relaxing run through ever higher mountains to the afternoon café Time Control at the very top of the famous Col du Granier, overlooking Chambery.

A gentle run down through the vineyards of the Isère valley precedes a final regularity before the route swings north into the Bauges National Park. No Alpine would be complete without a climb of the 1600m high Montagne de Semnoz to admire the superb mountain vistas on offer. All that then remains is an easy descent into Annecy and the Hotel l’Impérial Palace, situated right on the edge of the picture perfect Lac d’Annecy.

Day 3: Wednesday 28 September – Chaîne des Aravis and Massif du Beaufortain – 260km

The massive snow-capped peak of Mont Blanc dominates everything today, and will be your constant companion as you explore the roads around its flanks…

The day kicks off with an easy run out of Annecy before the first regularity explores the roads of the Chaîne des Aravis, finishing with a climb of the eponymous col from which you will get your first glimpse of Mont Blanc straight ahead.

After descending into the valley of the Arly the route then climbs again to the Olympic ski resort of Les Saisies for a test and morning coffee break before embarking on a timed Alpine section around the Beaufort valley. As befits its name, this section finishes at the highest point of the rally before returning to the valley and an easy run towards Albertville.

However, valley runs don’t last long in the Alps, and a second regularity precedes another climb to a simple lunch at a remote mountain refuge surrounded by craggy peaks and spectacular views. After lunch we have given you and your car plenty of time to enjoy the dizzying descent from the high alpine pastures before a final regularity through the lanes brings you back almost to within sight of Annecy. A final afternoon refreshment halt overlooking the deep blue waters of the lake gives you time to relax before the easy run into the finish, and a gala prize giving later that evening in the Hotel l’Impérial Palace.

DAY

1

Monday - Sep 26, 2016

Results for Day 1 - Divonne - Circuit de Bresse - Divonne

The overall classification at the end of Day 1

Click link to the Penalty Details (pdf)

Num Crew
Car
Day
Total
Overall
Total
Overall
Pos’n
Cls pos
/Cls
Alpine
Cup
1 Gareth Burnett / Jez Haylock
Talbot 105 Alpine
0:05:18 0:05:18 1 1/c4 A
15 Peter Lovett / Rob Henchoz
BMW 328
0:05:33 0:05:33 2 1/c2 A
5 John Abel / Leigh Powley
Lagonda LG45
0:05:47 0:05:47 3 1/c5 A
6 Clint Smith / Brad Smith
Jaguar SS100
0:06:03 0:06:03 4 2/c4 A
4 Bill Cleyndert / Matthew Abrey
Bentley 3-4½
0:06:05 0:06:05 5 2/c5 A
12 Martin Hunt / Robert Mannix
Frazer Nash BMW 328
0:06:10 0:06:10 6 2/c2 A
9 Jayne Wignall / Kevin Savage
Sunbeam 20hp Sports
0:06:20 0:06:20 7 3/c4 A
11 Stuart Anderson / Robert Ellis
Bentley 4¼
0:06:37 0:06:37 8 3/c5 A
3 Paul Wignall / Guy Woodcock
Alvis Silver Eagle
0:06:38 0:06:38 9 1/c3 A
7 James Gately / Tony Brooks
Cadillac 60 Series Coupe
0:06:46 0:06:46 10 4/c5 A
24 Thomas Maechler / Andrea Scherz
Aston Martin MkII Comp
0:07:18 0:07:18 11 3/c2
18 Chris Abrey / Sara Banham
Lagonda LG45
0:07:28 0:07:28 12 5/c5 A
2 Mike Thompson / Julian Riley
Bentley Super Sports
0:08:17 0:08:17 13 6/c5
26 Sholto Gilbertson-Hart / Karen Gilbertson-Hart
Lagonda M45 Tourer
0:08:24 0:08:24 14 7/c5
34 Urs Mezger / Maxime Mezger
Lagonda M45 Rapide
0:08:27 0:08:27 15 8/c5
21 Tony Mather / Pauline Mather
Citroen Traction Avant
0:08:37 0:08:37 16 4/c2
39 Wilfried Schaefer / Sandra Hubner
Talbot 105 Alpine
0:08:39 0:08:39 17 4/c4
19 Brad Mottier / Bill Hoff
Riley Bigley Special
0:08:57 0:08:57 18 1/c1
14 John Ruston / Michael Birch
Talbot 105 Alpine
0:09:08 0:09:08 19 5/c4
33 Hugh Apthorp / Lesley Apthorp
Bentley 4½
0:09:16 0:09:16 20 9/c5
37 Michael Kershaw / Nicholas Kershaw
HRG 1500
0:10:14 0:10:14 21 2/c1
25 Bob Compiet / Minouche den Doelder
Alvis Special 3.5ltr
0:10:22 0:10:22 22 6/c4
8 Dominic Manser / Jack Manser
Bentley MkVI Special
0:10:29 0:10:29 23 10/c5
32 Tim Eades / Jack Baldwin
Chevrolet Coupe
0:11:23 0:11:23 24 7/c4
28 Kate Wickham / Sophie Wickham
MG TC
0:12:05 0:12:05 25 3/c1
36 Philipp Leibundgut / Daniel Loew
MG K3
0:13:31 0:13:31 26 4/c1
31 Jeff Urbina / Willie McNickle
Ford Cabriolet
0:14:33 0:14:33 27 8/c4
27 Jan Hradecky / Dana Hradecka
Jawa Aero Minor I
0:16:07 0:16:07 28 5/c1
40 Rod Taylor / Rosemary Taylor
Talbot 110
0:17:24 0:17:24 29 9/c4
17 Keith Wickham / Brian Spearman
Rolls Royce Boat Tail
0:18:48 0:18:48 30 10/c4
22 Roland D’Ieteren / Dominique Gasse
Alfa Romeo 6C Pescara
0:21:05 0:21:05 31 2/c3
23 Macko Laqueur / Geza Laqueur
Lagonda M45 Rapide
0:21:45 0:21:45 32 11/c5
41 Herman Wielfaert / Katrien Tremerie
Bentley MkVI Special
0:22:11 0:22:11 33 12/c5
38 Ian Montgomery / Robert Mills
Talbot 105
0:24:19 0:24:19 34 3/c3
29 Joe Gerada / Julian Xuereb
Alvis 12/70
1:55:27 1:55:27 35 5/c2
42 Robert Wilkinson / Mark Wilkinson
Bentley 6½ Tourer
2:02:48 2:02:48 36 13/c5
16 Bertie Van Houtte / Pierre Van Houtte
Frazer Nash TT REP
2:07:59 2:07:59 37 6/c1
10 Melvin Andrews / Alan Smith
Bentley 4¼ – (Rental Car)
4:34:00 NLC ~
30 Lieven van Hoylandt / Wim De Sutter
Bentley 3-4½
5:28:00 Non Starter ~

DAY

2

Tuesday - Sep 27, 2016

Results for Day 2 - Divonne - Lac d'Aiguebelette - Annecy

The overall classification at the end of Day 2

Click link to the Penalty Details (pdf)

Num Crew
Car
Day
Total
Overall
Total
Overall
Pos’n
Cls pos
/Cls
Alpine
Cup
1 Gareth Burnett / Jez Haylock
Talbot 105 Alpine
0:01:01 0:06:19 1 1/c4 A
5 John Abel / Leigh Powley
Lagonda LG45
0:01:24 0:07:11 2 1/c5 A
15 Peter Lovett / Rob Henchoz
BMW 328
0:02:22 0:07:55 3= 1/c2
9 Jayne Wignall / Kevin Savage
Sunbeam 20hp Sports
0:01:35 0:07:55 3= 2/c4 A
3 Paul Wignall / Guy Woodcock
Alvis Silver Eagle
0:01:29 0:08:07 5 1/c3 A
6 Clint Smith / Brad Smith
Jaguar SS100
0:02:06 0:08:09 6 3/c4 A
12 Martin Hunt / Robert Mannix
Frazer Nash BMW 328
0:02:23 0:08:33 7 2/c2
4 Bill Cleyndert / Matthew Abrey
Bentley 3-4½
0:02:44 0:08:49 8 2/c5 A
7 James Gately / Tony Brooks
Cadillac 60 Series Coupe
0:02:15 0:09:01 9 3/c5 A
11 Stuart Anderson / Robert Ellis
Bentley 4¼
0:03:34 0:10:11 10 4/c5
39 Wilfried Schaefer / Sandra Hubner
Talbot 105 Alpine
0:04:31 0:13:10 11 4/c4
2 Mike Thompson / Julian Riley
Bentley Super Sports
0:05:00 0:13:17 12 5/c5
19 Brad Mottier / Bill Hoff
Riley Bigley Special
0:04:32 0:13:29 13 1/c1
14 John Ruston / Michael Birch
Talbot 105 Alpine
0:05:04 0:14:12 14 5/c4
37 Michael Kershaw / Nicholas Kershaw
HRG 1500
0:06:46 0:17:00 15 2/c1
21 Tony Mather / Pauline Mather
Citroen Traction Avant
0:08:55 0:17:32 16 3/c2
25 Bob Compiet / Minouche den Doelder
Alvis Special 3.5ltr
0:07:42 0:18:04 17 6/c4
26 Sholto Gilbertson-Hart / Karen Gilbertson-Hart
Lagonda M45 Tourer
0:12:56 0:21:20 18 6/c5
36 Philipp Leibundgut / Daniel Loew
MG K3
0:09:00 0:22:31 19 3/c1
28 Kate Wickham / Sophie Wickham
MG TC
0:11:16 0:23:21 20 4/c1
8 Dominic Manser / Jack Manser
Bentley MkVI Special
0:13:29 0:23:58 21 7/c5
33 Hugh Apthorp / Lesley Apthorp
Bentley 4½
0:21:40 0:30:56 22 8/c5
32 Tim Eades / Jack Baldwin
Chevrolet Coupe
0:20:45 0:32:08 23 7/c4
23 Macko Laqueur / Geza Laqueur
Lagonda M45 Rapide
0:12:49 0:34:34 24 9/c5
40 Rod Taylor / Rosemary Taylor
Talbot 110
0:22:04 0:39:28 25 8/c4
18 Chris Abrey / Sara Banham
Lagonda LG45
0:35:04 0:42:32 26 10/c5
41 Herman Wielfaert / Katrien Tremerie
Bentley MkVI Special
0:21:37 0:43:48 27 11/c5
34 Urs Mezger / Maxime Mezger
Lagonda M45 Rapide
0:37:36 0:46:03 28 12/c5
22 Roland D’Ieteren / Dominique Gasse
Alfa Romeo 6C Pescara
0:26:22 0:47:27 29 2/c3
31 Jeff Urbina / Willie McNickle
Ford Cabriolet
0:39:12 0:53:45 30 9/c4
24 Thomas Maechler / Andrea Scherz
Aston Martin MkII Comp
0:48:53 0:56:11 31 4/c2
17 Keith Wickham / Brian Spearman
Rolls Royce Boat Tail
0:51:25 1:10:13 32 10/c4
27 Jan Hradecky / Dana Hradecka
Jawa Aero Minor I
1:57:45 2:13:52 33 5/c1
16 Bertie Van Houtte / Pierre Van Houtte
Frazer Nash TT REP
0:25:40 2:33:39 34 6/c1
42 Robert Wilkinson / Mark Wilkinson
Bentley 6½ Tourer
0:34:13 2:37:01 35 13/c5
29 Joe Gerada / Julian Xuereb
Alvis 12/70
1:17:28 3:12:55 36 5/c2
38 Ian Montgomery / Robert Mills
Talbot 105
1:11:25 Retired ~
10 Melvin Andrews / Alan Smith
Bentley 4¼ (Rental Car)
5:14:00 NLC ~

DAY

3

Wednesday - Sep 28, 2016

Day 3 - Annecy - Col de l'Arpettaz - Annecy

The Final Overall classification at the Finish, end of Day 3

Click link to the Penalty Details (pdf)

Num Crew
Car
Day
Total
Overall
Total
Overall
Pos’n
Cls pos
/Cls
Alpine
Cup
1 Gareth Burnett / Jez Haylock
Talbot 105 Alpine
0:00:44 0:07:03 1 1/c4 A
5 John Abel / Leigh Powley
Lagonda LG45
0:00:46 0:07:57 2 1/c5 A
15 Peter Lovett / Rob Henchoz
BMW 328
0:00:54 0:08:49 3 1/c2
6 Clint Smith / Brad Smith
Jaguar SS100
0:00:42 0:08:51 4 2/c4 A
3 Paul Wignall / Guy Woodcock
Alvis Silver Eagle
0:00:49 0:08:56 5 1/c3 A
12 Martin Hunt / Robert Mannix
Frazer Nash BMW 328
0:01:00 0:09:33 6 2/c2
11 Stuart Anderson / Robert Ellis
Bentley 4¼
0:01:02 0:11:13 7 2/c5
4 Bill Cleyndert / Matthew Abrey
Bentley 3-4½
0:02:42 0:11:31 8 3/c5
7 James Gately / Tony Brooks
Cadillac 60 Series Coupe
0:02:36 0:11:37 9 4/c5
19 Brad Mottier / Bill Hoff
Riley Bigley Special
0:00:43 0:14:12 10 1/c1
2 Mike Thompson / Julian Riley
Bentley Super Sports
0:01:40 0:14:57 11 5/c5
39 Wilfried Schaefer / Sandra Hubner
Talbot 105 Alpine
0:02:13 0:15:23 12 3/c4
14 John Ruston / Michael Birch
Talbot 105 Alpine
0:01:50 0:16:02 13 4/c4
25 Bob Compiet / Minouche den Doelder
Alvis Special 3.5ltr
0:03:16 0:21:20 14 5/c4
37 Michael Kershaw / Nicholas Kershaw
HRG 1500
0:06:47 0:23:47 15 2/c1
21 Tony Mather / Pauline Mather
Citroen Traction Avant
0:06:36 0:24:08 16 3/c2
26 Sholto Gilbertson-Hart / Karen Gilbertson-Hart
Lagonda M45 Tourer
0:05:10 0:26:30 17 6/c5
8 Dominic Manser / Jack Manser
Bentley MkVI Special
0:05:25 0:29:23 18 7/c5
28 Kate Wickham / Sophie Wickham
MG TC
0:07:18 0:30:39 19 3/c1
23 Macko Laqueur / Geza Laqueur
Lagonda M45 Rapide
0:06:15 0:40:49 20 8/c5
32 Tim Eades / Jack Baldwin
Chevrolet Coupe
0:08:43 0:40:51 21 6/c4
18 Chris Abrey / Sara Banham
Lagonda LG45
0:01:55 0:44:27 22 9/c5
34 Urs Mezger / Maxime Mezger
Lagonda M45 Rapide
0:01:53 0:47:56 23 10/c5
40 Rod Taylor / Rosemary Taylor
Talbot 110
0:09:57 0:49:25 24 7/c4
33 Hugh Apthorp / Lesley Apthorp
Bentley 4½
0:20:59 0:51:55 25 11/c5
22 Roland D’Ieteren / Dominique Gasse
Alfa Romeo 6C Pescara
0:08:00 0:55:27 26 2/c3
24 Thomas Maechler / Andrea Scherz
Aston Martin MkII Comp
0:01:56 0:58:07 27 4/c2
17 Keith Wickham / Brian Spearman
Rolls Royce Boat Tail
0:13:10 1:23:23 28 8/c4
31 Jeff Urbina / Willie McNickle
Ford Cabriolet
0:30:15 1:24:00 29 9/c4
41 Herman Wielfaert / Katrien Tremerie
Bentley MkVI Special
0:56:23 1:40:11 30 12/c5
36 Philipp Leibundgut / Daniel Loew
MG K3
1:35:00 1:57:31 31 4/c1
16 Bertie Van Houtte / Pierre Van Houtte
Frazer Nash TT REP
0:05:51 2:39:30 32 5/c1
27 Jan Hradecky / Dana Hradecka
Jawa Aero Minor I
0:31:55 2:45:47 33 6/c1
42 Robert Wilkinson / Mark Wilkinson
Bentley 6½ Tourer
0:11:19 2:48:20 34 13/c5
9 Jayne Wignall / Kevin Savage
Sunbeam 20hp Sports
O.T.L. Retired ~
29 Joe Gerada / Julian Xuereb
Alvis 12/70
O.T.L. Retired ~
10 Melvin Andrews / Alan Smith
Bentley 4¼ (Rental Car)
0:03:30 NLC ~
PAUSE PLAY

The 3rd Alpine Trial 2016 – Rally Reports

Visit the 3rd Alpine Trial Photo Gallery to find  Gerard Brown’s event photographs.

Day Three – The final reckoning

Wednesday 28 September – Annecy – Col de l’Arpettaz – Annecy – 262 kms

Another 8.00am start this morning which meant a 7.30am rendezvous with a new Route Book for the navigators and for the drivers another nervous check of anything connected to braking and steering.

The final day was going to a busy one and in no way offered an armchair ride to the finish line. We would be crossing some tough terrain and passing through some high mountains on the way. There were four hilly and twisty regularities, a ‘join the dots’ special test and a long Alpine Section up to the Col du Meraillet and as the Rally crossed the top of the Col des Aravis we were given a front row viewing across to the Mont Blanc range which would be their backdrop for most of the day.

The weather forecast was good, very good in fact although some of us hardly dared to believe it to the extent that Hugh Apthorp began the day in a sheepskin flying jacket and was seen lightly poached atop the Col de Meraillet. Right from the flag there was not a cloud in the sky and the sun was rising nicely along with the temperature and skeins of wispy mist hung from the bronzed and burnished trees where the light had yet to reach.

 

The colours of the landscape today were muted yet vibrant giving the impression that mother nature hasn’t given up on the summer yet and neither had we, every hood was down and in most cases sleeves were rolled up.

The first Regularity was on the modest Col de Plan Bois and was followed by a visit to the Col des Saisies and a small but amusing auto test before a coffee break at Yeti’s cafe. This was the easy bit though, the Alpine Section was straight afterwards and in almost 25 km the crews were taken from the depths of the Defile d’Entreroches along the Route des Grandes Alpes to the Barrage de Roselend and then to the Col de Meraillet. Although tough and demanding the views over the Lac de Roselend and onwards to Mont Blanc itself took away most of the pain.

Lunch on the Col de l’Arpettaz – an Alpine Trial favourite – saw crews basking on a sun terrace looking over at snow-capped peaks and congratulating themselves on a job well done. There were only two regularities between them, some silverware and the Gala Prizegiving dinner.

At the days end the strong pairing of Gareth Burnett and Jez Haylock held off the challenge of John Abel and Leigh Powley to take their second Alpine Trial win while Peter Lovett and Rob Henchoz took a highly creditable third place.

There have so far been three editions of the ERA Alpine Trial and, to date only one Alpine Cup has been awarded. Tonight all of that changed when Clerks of the Course Keith Baud and Anthony Preston, along with Rally Director Fred Gallagher handed out four more to some very well deserving crews. Gareth Burnett and Jez Haylock now have two each – one from 2014 – while John Abel and Leigh Powley, Clint and Brad Smith and Paul Wignall and Guy Woodcock have only just begun their collections.

Along with anybody else who cares to take up the challenge, they’ll get a second, or third, chance to claim another Alpine Cup in 2018, with the announcement that The Alpine Trial and next year’s Blue Train Challenge will now run on alternate years.

Praise for this Rally was gratifying and fulsome from all of the competitors with the route singled out as the highlight while many made special mention of the organisation and the friendly and professional standard of marshalling. Many also had the sweeps to thank for getting them to the finish line. Rob Henchoz simply said that the three lunches provided were outstanding in every way with today’s held on a balcony overlooking Mont Blanc as being the stand out location.

Special awards were presented for Spirit of the Rally to Jan and Dana Hradecky who gamely coxed their little Jawa through some very big landscapes. Concours d’Elegance was awarded to Sophie and Kate Wickham in the MG and the TT Trophy for saloon cars was bagged by Tony and Pauline Mather and their Citroen Traction Avant.

Syd Stelvio

 

Day Two  – The mists of time

Tuesday 27 September — Divonne – Lac d’Aiguebelette – Annecy — 340 kms

Unlike yesterday morning, only thirty minutes of Route Book planning time was allowed this morning before the crews started their engines and launched themselves up and over the Col de Faucille to begin the day.

 

Right from this first climb it was cloudy with a little dampness hanging in the air but as the morning unfolded the mist that had insidiously crept over the Grand Balcon du Leman covered just about everything else mentioned in the route book. By mid-morning this brouillard was so dense it gave a definite surreal and other worldly feeling to the dense woods and endless switchbacks we passed through.

As yesterday, there was a packed schedule to take in – certainly more than could be fully absorbed in the thirty minutes of prep’ which was allocated – and it all started with a 28 km regularity at Col de Menthieres. This little excitement of high Alpine meadows and deep tree lined ravines led the crews to a short coffee halt and then to the feared Alpine Cup section around the Col de Richemond. Depending on your point of view this 30.6 km section was either heaven or hell and to do well, it required pin point navigational accuracy and timing precision. The results speak for themselves – four crews failed here so we are now down to seven potential holders of an Alpine Cup.

By the time the summit of the Col du Grand Colombier hoved into view the fog was a real pea-souper and most crews could just about see the signpost at the top and imagine the incredible views they’d been denied. Mountain weather is notoriously fickle and on the descent to Culoz the veil was lifted to reveal the true grandeur of our surroundings.

Indeed the blue skies were set in for the rest of the day and on the way to lunch at the Lac d’Aiguebelette via the Mont du Chat Regularity, the sunshine allowed us all to enjoy something of a holiday feeling.

Sadly, such thoughts of leisure weren’t to last long. After refreshments had been taken, the Mont Beauvoir regularity woke the Rally from any post prandial lethargy. Both the driver and the navigator needed to be on top form here to keep on top of the many changes of direction and gradient. Coffee on the Col du Granier then set things up nicely for the final Regularity of the day on the Col de Pres and a Special Test on the Semnoz Ridge.

By the time the day ended there had been a bit of a change of the leaderboard. Gareth Burnett and Jez Haylock must be seen as real contenders as they still stand in first place, but John Abel and Leigh Powell are now snapping at their heels in second thanks to an uncharacteristic but crucial mistake on the penultimate regularity dropped Peter Lovett and Rob Henchoz to share third place on exactly the same time as Jayne Wignall and Kevin Savage in the Sunbeam Sports who have risen several places since yesterday.

Syd Stelvio

 

Day One – Let the Good Times Roll

Monday 26 September — Divonne – Circuit de Bresse – Divonne  — 308 kms

As per the regulations, Route Books for the day ahead were handed out one hour before the appointed start time of each car so, this morning at 8.01am precisely 39 anxious navigators began to line up at the MTC in the hotel lobby to see exactly what they’d be facing from the Anthony Preston / Keith Baud route designing combo.

Once in receipt of the book, the navigators squirrelled themselves away with pencils, Michelin maps and speed tables to make the best use of the sixty minutes they had available. The route they were presented with was a figure of eight albeit one lying on its side and ran west from Divonne through forests and farmland as far as the Circuit de Bresse where two laps of the facility bookended lunch service in the Circuit Restaurant. Either side of this refreshment, the rest of the day featured a packed programme with four regularities, three circuit based special tests and a testing Alpine Cup section for the crews to contend with.

 

The Jura Mountains may not be the highest in the world, but what they lack in altitude they more than make up for in complexity and today we were going to see just how much fun you could have in an old car on some older roads.  After the endless sunshine of yesterday the weather wasn’t quite as kind to us today but the misty mountains, the cols and canyons welcomed the Rally in their autumnal embrace and the rain held off until the last cars were safely back in the car park.

After 308km of twisting and turning it was Gareth Burnett and Jez Haylock who finished the day on top spot. They and their Talbot never missed a beat arriving everywhere bang on time just as they did two years previously and at this year’s Flying Scotsman Rally where they once again took the overall. Does history repeat itself? They’ll surely hope so.

Peter Lovett has once again brought his nippy little BMW Frazer Nash to the party but this year he has teamed up with Rob Henchoz, a Volvo man and London to Cape Town veteran, to read the maps and run the clocks for him. They’re obviously a crew working well together as they’re sitting in second place overall and Peter took the Big Cheese award presented by Keith Baud at dinner this evening in recognition of his efforts on the tests.

John Abel and Leigh Powley who finished second in this year’s Flying Scotsman also look to have held their form as they are lying in third place this evening in their Lagonda LG45.

Hairpins, horsepower and hill climbs are part and parcel of any Alpine Trial and while we saw plenty of all three today, sheer cubic capacity didn’t always pull the car through. Handling, skill and commitment were also required. Jan and Dana Hradecky’s 615cc two stroke engine for example, screamed its way along with the best of them while the diesel engine of Dominic and Jack Manser’s Bentley so impressed Sholto Gilbertson – Hart that he took his Lagonda to the nearest fuel station and attempted an impromptu conversion himself.

Finally we’re pleased to report that by the day’s end, eleven crews still retain the coveted Alpine Cup qualification. Certainly that number will likely diminish as the next two days unfold but to all of those still in with a chance of taking one home we say best of luck.

Syd Stelvio

 

Pre Start – The Grid Assembles

Sunday 25 September – Divonne-les-Bains

Welcome to the third running of the Endurance Rally Association’s Alpine Trial. This year we’ve broken with tradition and are starting the event from Divonne-les-Bains although as usual, we finish in the Imperial Hotel in Annecy.

Having dusted themselves off from the epic Peking to Paris, The ERA team, and several crews are now assembled in the magnificent hotel, Domaine de Divonne, for the start of the 2016 Alpine Trial.

Today is scrutineering day and, Andy Inskip and his band of sweeps would be hard pressed to find a better location for a poke under the bonnet and a bit of last minute spanner time. The French Jura is stunning at any time but today it has surpassed itself, blue skies, wooded hillsides with leaves just on the turn and gloriously warm autumn sunshine covering everything in golden light.

There’s also work going on indoors though, with Eleonora Piccolo and Sue Vincent processing the necessary paperwork and ticking all of the right boxes and the Rally time clock has been tightly wound and set by Lee Vincent, the event’s chief timekeeper.

 

The stage looks to be set for another great event but sadly, Peter Kite and Terry Thorpe aren’t here to defend their title – we’ll be seeing them next on the 2017 Flying Scotsman – but James Gateley and Tony Brooks, who finished a thrilling second last year in the huge Cadillac series 60 are.

Wearing the number one dossard this year, are Gareth Burnett and Jez Haylock, winners of the very first Alpine Trial in 2014 and holders of one of our precious Alpine Cups. Needless to say all eyes will be on them and their magnificent green Talbot 105, although it’s fairly safe to say that they won’t have everything their own way over the next three days as there are some very experienced crews with us once again, including Jayne Wignall with Kevin Savage and Paul Wignall with Guy Woodcock. We must also welcome Macko Laqueur who is taking part in his second Alpine Trial and, after a quick trawl through the archives we find that he was also with us way back in 1988 when he was flagged away from Tower Bridge to start the very first Pirelli Classic Marathon.

As well as rally experience by the trailer load, there’s also plenty of thoroughbred horsepower on offer down in the carpark and a couple of highly unusual vehicles to boot. Jan and Dana Hradecky for example, fresh from a gruelling Peking to Paris, have brought a skeletal, 1936 Jawa Aero Minor 1, a lightweight Czech car which was conceived and a prototype built in secret, during the second world war.

Dominic and Jack Manser have also caused a bit of a stir by bringing – as a last minute replacement – the youngest car to the Rally. A diesel powered 1949 Bentley Mk VI which sports a 6 litre Perkins engine no less. This is the first heavy-oiler we’ve seen on one of our rallies and we’re very much looking forward to watching its performance in the high mountains.

Once the formalities had been taken care of it was time to listen to the pre Rally briefing given by Clerks of the Course, Keith Baud and Anthony Preston. These two map maestros are once again looking to serve up plenty of Alpine alchemy to test the mettle of both the crews and their cars.

Unfortunately, the oldest car on the start list won’t be rolling out tomorrow, the 1922 Bentley 3-4½ crewed by Lieven van Hoylandt and Wim de Sutter has had to withdraw at the last minute. Also, Alan Smith, the very first route designer for the Flying Scotsman Rally was due to be take the start tomorrow as the navigator for Melvin Andrews in a 1936 Bentley 4½. A half shaft broke virtually in the hotel car park means they’re unable to take part.

Dinner tonight was a very civilised affair and the bar did a brisk but respectable trade, early nights were very much the order of the day.

Syd Stelvio