CALIFORNIA DREAMING AS LOVETT PORSCHE WINS TRANS AMERICA CHALLENGE 2015
It was ‘California dreaming’ for Peter and Zoe Lovett when they crossed the San Francisco finish line as overall winners of the Endurance Rally Association’s Trans-America Challenge, as it’s their second long distance rally win this year.
Competing in their 1973 Porsche 911T for the 22-day rally across Canada and America, the Lovett’s also won the inaugural Road to Mandalay Rally back in February behind the wheel of another Porsche.
The pair had been hot on the wheels of the longtime leaders Phil Garratt and Kieron Brown in the 1977 Triumph Stag, constantly in the top three since the off. When the Stag had mechanical problems on day 17, the Lovett’s took the top spot and finished with an overall total of 0:09:07.
In second place was Paul and Sandra Merryweather in the 1974 Mercedes 450 SL on 0:10:05, with Philip and Yvonne Haslam in the 1954 Jaguar XK120 DHC right behind them in third place with 0:10:11.
The 1927 Bentley 4½ Le Mans of Martin and Olivia Hunt won the Vintageant Class, while there were also class wins for Marco Halter and Claudia Engelhardt in the 1963 Ford Falcon Coupe, and David and Jo Roberts in the 1968 Triumph TR250.
Two special ‘Spirit of the Rally’ awards were presented during the prizegiving at the iconic Fairmont Hotel. The first went to Malaysia’s Hok Kiang Sia and Eric Kuan Rong Sia who had battled through the rally in their 1934 Rolls Royce Phantom II, the biggest car on the event.
The second went to Richard Martin and Travis Cole who started the rally in a 1936 Alvis Speed 25 but ended up on a recovery truck on the first day. After a few days in a rental car, the crew purchased an unprepared Datsun 240z in Duluth and then set about having parts and spares delivered to each hotel they stayed at to create a rally car by the end of the event. Now a fully prepared rally car, the Datsun will be the car of choice on next year’s Rally of the Incas.
ERA Rally Director Fred Gallagher said: “This has been another superb event with a fantastic mix of cars, crews and driving skills. Our Clerk of the Course Kim Bannister planned a brilliant route which offered iconic scenery, competitive tests and challenging terrain – everything you could hope for in an event such as this.”
Around 40 vintage and classic cars arrived at the San Francisco finish line of the Endurance Rally Association’s second Trans-America Challenge, having crossed 15 states and travelled 9,500 kilometres by its end.
The route has used testing roads and enjoyed spectacular views as it has used America’s roads less travelled, while still finding time to visit iconic locations such as the Battle of Little Bighorn site and Mount Rushmore.
The cars involved range from a 1927 Bentley 4½-litre to a 1977 Triumph Stag, and the crews include the world’s oldest rally navigator – 97-year-old Dorothy Caldwell.
The next Trans-America Challenge will take place in 2018 with an exciting new route.
Article by – Endurance Rally Association (ERA)
Images – Gerard Brown