Forty classic cars from all over Europe drove more than 1,000 miles through Scotland last week and, while the rest of the United Kingdom was ravaged by wind and rain, competitors of the Scottish Malts car rally saw the best weather the event had ever seen with four days of sunshine.
“The rally itself was the most successful we had in years, with over forty classic cars driving through Scotland under a glorious sunshine and a cloudless sky”, said Patrick Burke, joint Managing Director of HERO, the Historic Endurance Rallying Organisation.
The teams were flagged off from Turnberry by Jaguar legend Norman Dewis, who had driven on the Turnberry Grand Prix circuit 60 years before. They then made their way into the Highlands for two nights in Inverness visiting some of the most famous whisky distilleries.
One of the highlights of the event was when the Balmoral Castle opened its gates exclusively to the drivers who came from all over the World.
“It was a great privilege to be allowed to take the cars into Her Majesty the Queen’s Scottish residence, it was certainly one of the best days of the Tour”, said Patrick Burke, Joint Managing Director of HERO.
The rally saw Cheshire drivers and friends Graham Walker (63), owner of a prestige cars selling company that carries his name, and Sean Toohey (25), who works for car parts specialist CES UK, take the first place in their 1973 Lotus Elan SI with an outstanding performance. Husband and wife team, Mark Godfrey (53) and Sue Godfrey (51), two experienced and regular competitors from Suffolk, came in second in their 1965 MGB; and father and son team from Bolton, Michael Baker (65) and Simon Baker (35), drove their 1978 Porsche 911 SC to the third place to complete a full British podium.
“It was a fantastic competition, it combined challenging tests with breath-taking landscapes”, said winner Graham Walker, “it was a great coming first through the finish line when competing against such exceptional cars.”
“This was my second time competing in the Malts, I really enjoyed it and will definitely do it again”, added winner co-driver Sean Toohey.
Drivers in the second and third place both agreed that this edition of the rally was one of the best so far, with excellent routes, great tests and high-standard hotels.
London drivers Ben Williams and John Francas, colleagues at a legal headhunting firm and winners of the Octane Competition that gave away a place on the HERO Scottish Malts rally, had a great performance too, taking their 1972 Citroen DS21 to the lead in many of the tests and winning their class.
Among the cars taking part was the very first right hand drive production Jaguar E-Type Fixed Head Coupe, supplied by Jaguar Cars in August 1961, a1930 Riley Brooklands 9HP and two Jaguars SS100.
The event came to an end back at the Turnberry on the 4th May where Lord Steel of Aikwood, Honorary HERO Club President, presented the prizes.
Tomas de Vargas Machuca, Joint Managing Director of HERO, said: “This first 2012 ‘Malts’ trial was great success; compiling superb roads, great tests, excellent hotels, wonderful food and great camaraderie, it left everyone wanting more and set the ground for our second event of the year, the Summer Trial, which will take place from July 12th to 14th 2012.”