Sahara Challenge

A delight to behold – even if one hasn´t seen it live – is the Sahara challenge of the ERA (endurance rally Association). In autumn 2015, 40 participants made up to pass this enormous adventure with their classic cars. The tour lasted ten days. It started in the Spanish Toledo. On lonely roads, the way led to the moorish city Cordoba. The next day the drivers left the hills of Andalusia behind them and traversed from Gibraltar to Tangier.

A new world of scents, sounds and sights awaited the teams in Maghreb. It is a breathtaking landscape full of contrasts. Seemingly endless spaces with really lonely streets alternate with lively market towns such as Fes. In the area of Ifane, riders pass alpine mountains and spectacular gorges such as the one at Todra. It is quiet and shimmering hot up on the 150 m high dunes of Erg Chebbi, before finally reaching Marrakech.

On the Jaama el-Fna  square in Marrakech life roars: people, kitchens, coffee, market and meeting place of the city. Here the heroes of the Sahara endurance arrived after ten days rally in 2015. The first three ran only a gap of 20 seconds separated from each other. Winners in the classic category (vehicles built before 1975) are Gianmaria Aghem and Rossella Conti in a Lancia Fulvia Coupé from 1971. Mike Velasco und Peter St George finished second in the 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280 S and Ludovic Bois und Julia Colman in the reliable Volvo third.

Winner in the vintage class (year of manufacture before 1941), the experienced rally expert Bill Cleyndert and his Navigator Jacqui Norman, which drove a 1928 Ford Model A Speedster. Jean Steinhauser and Anne Steinhauser Collard managed the second place in their 1937 Bentley Derby Open tourer.  Keith and Nora Ashworth drove third in their 1927 Bentley of 4.5 litre Le Mans.

The class victory for vehicles of model years 1920-1931 went to Charles and Sophie Stuart-Menteth in the 1925 Vauxhall 30/98. Joe Robillard and Matt Peckham in a Chevrolet Coupe were awarded in the class for vehicles build 1932-1941.

In the classics up to 2 liters (1942-1975), the victory went to Nigel Bauer and Stephen Lovell in the Ford Escort Mexico mark 1. In the “About 2 litre category” (1942-1975), Edmund Peel and Sara MacDonald in the Porsche 911, secured a spot on the podium.

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Note: you can also purchase the sensational photos by Gerard Brown.