ENDURANCE – Alpine Trial



After three thrilling days of pre-war rallying, it was Peter Kite, Terry Thorp, and the 1933 Frazer Nash TT REP that won the Endurance Rally Association’s second Alpine Trial.

The all-British team just managed to keep American James Gately in the 1937 Cadillac 60 Series Coupe, with Flying Scotsman winning navigator Tony Brooks, in second place, with only 24 seconds between them.


Hot on their wheels was the 1926 Bentley Super Sports of Mike Thompson and Julian Riley, finishing just eight seconds adrift in third place.

Winning driver Peter Kite, jubilant after collecting the silverware in only his third ever rally, thanked the two people who helped him reach the top spot: “Thanks to Archie Frazer Nash for building the best motorcar in the world and Terry Thorp, my navigator.”


The ERA’s second Alpine Trial was based around Annecy’s Imperial Hotel, with the route taking in a different direction each day – south to the 2000m high Col de la Madeleine, west towards the Rhone valley and the Jura Mountains, and finally every road at the foot of Mont Blanc.

With Regularity and Special Tests as well as Alpine sections, route master Keith Baud pushed the crews to the limit as they navigated rocky hairpins, remote Alpine roads, and the steepest of mountain climbs.


As per the rules, crews only received their route books just 30 minutes before each day’s start so while navigators frantically plotted and calculated, the drivers checked and rechecked those all important staples of motoring life such as tyre pressures, water, oil and washer fluid.

Fred Gallagher, ERA’s Rally Director, said: “The glorious weather and stunning scenery have once again provided a wondrous backdrop to three fantastic days of historic rallying. The route continues to offer exciting competition where car and crew work hard to grab every second to create an advantage for fear of meeting the unknown on the mountain roads. Some of the pre-rally favourites saw themselves tumble down the leaderboard due to meeting a herd of cows on an Alpine pass.”


As well as the overall winners, the Alpine Trial’s 45-strong entry-list was broken down into five categories based on engine size: up to 1500cc; up to 2000cc; up to 3000cc; up to 4000cc; over 4000cc, with class winners celebrated in each.

There were also special awards for Richard and Anthony Joseph in the 1930 Austin 7 Ulster, the smallest car on the event, who were presented with the Spirit of the Rally accolade, and Concours d’Elegance winners Tony and Pauline Mather in the 1937 Citroen Traction Avant.



Article by – Endurance Rally Association (ERA)

Images – Gerard Brown

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