Friday, 7 December 2012

Toughest LeJog ever

A BMW 2002 makes it's way through a winter wonderland
More than 60 classic cars battled their way between Land’s End and John O’Groats on this year LeJog endurance rally, which is being described as the toughest ever.

Tomas de Vargas Machuca, joint Managing Director of the Historic Endurance Rallying Organisation (H.E.R.O.), said: “This year’s LeJog was probably the toughest we have ever had, with new routes and fewer but longer special tests.”

“The weather gave enough challenges to the competitors but without being too appalling – it was slippery but road conditions were good enough to allow us to carry on with the tests and trials without having to cancel any section”.

Drivers set off from Land’s End on Saturday 1st December on an epic 1,400 mile route across Britain, travelling through Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Wales, Shropshire, Cheshire, Lancashire, North Yorkshire, Northumbria, Northumberland, East Lothian, West Lothian, North Lanarkshire, and across Scotland to arrive in John O’Groats after a four day period of tough rallying.

Porsche 911races towards the sunrise
Tomas added: “As expected, crews were very competitive and top positions kept changing during the first days of competition. There were a few retirees due to mechanical problems but overall we had a very successful event.”

The winners of the elusive gold medal of this year’s LeJog were Andy Lane from Saddleworth and FIA Champion Navigator Iain Tullie from Cumbria, who came first in their 1973 BMW 2002 Tii.

Andy Lane said: “It was a very hard event this year. We were only able to come first because car eleven, who was leading, got hit by another vehicle on the road se we were able to take over the first place and win.”

The “Team Triumph”, formed by driver Tony Sheach from Fleet, Hampshire, and navigator Richard Lambley from Slough, Berkshire, finished in second place in their 1964 Triumph TR4. Tony Sheach also won the Test Pilot Award as he had the best overall performance on the tests.

Roger Bricknell from Bodmin, Cornwall, and Ryan Pickering, from Totton, Southampton, finished third in their 1966 Triumph TR4A

LeJog served as the fourth and final qualifying round of the much coveted HERO Cup, which went to father and son team from Bolton, Michael Baker and Simon Baker. During the year, the Bakers were the crew with the overall highest score, having driven their 1978 Porsche 911 SC to 3rd place in the Scottish Malts and 2nd in the Summer Trial.

Peter Nedin, Hero’s Event Director and Clerk of the Course for LeJog, said: “LeJog is one of the toughest events of its kind in Europe, possibly the world, and we constantly strive to maintain this enviable reputation. As expected, we had freezing temperatures, rain, snow, black ice, but that certainly didn’t stop the drivers who wanted to finish the course no matter what the conditions were.”

A variety, built before 1984, took part including a 1957 MGA coupe driven by Curt Wagner and Horst Pokroppa, a 1965 Mercedes-Benz 230 SL driven by Jochen Gabriel and Onder Turker and a 1974 Datzun 240 Z driven by Riccardo Moraldi and Pietro Turrinelli, amongst others including BMWs, Alfa Romeos, Triumphs and Porsches.

Patrick Burke, joint Managing Director of the Historic Endurance Rallying Organisation (HERO), said: "LeJog is one of the most testing events that we have ever run. It continues to attract crews from all over Europe which is a testament to the event and all those who worked so hard to make it happen.”

He added: “We were delighted with the welcome LeJog received around the country with people being more than willing to allow use of their land and to let controls be sited in appropriate places. For many people, LeJog is the only competitive motor sport event that comes past their door and they were keen to turn out and see the cars go through their area.”
Come rain, wind and weatther, Le Jog continues south

HERO supported the Whyte Sisters, Seren (23) and Elise (21), who tackled LeJog to raise funds for the Pink Ribbon Foundation in a 1964 Mini Cooper S provided by HERO Arrive & Drive. The Sisters were also the youngest female crew to compete ever.

LeJog was supported by AVIS, exclusive support vehicle partners of HERO Events and Orianda (www.orianda1937.com), who sponsor the first prize of the HERO Cup by offering a week sailing in the Mediterranean on board this splendid yacht.

Every competitor dreamed of collecting one of the elusive gold medals, but crossing the finishing line was the main aim of many, particularly novices. The sense of achievement is immense and most crews passed under the finish banner with huge smiles on their faces.