THE UK’S TOUGHEST CAR RALLY SEES SNOW, ICE, FOG, RAIN, HIGH WINDS AND EVEN SUNSHINE
First overall, car 20 – a 1965 Volvo 131 Amazon driven by Roger Bricknall and Ryan Pickering.
Snow, rain, fog, ice, high winds and even some sunshine met crews taking part in the 17th annual running of HERO's Le Jog which set off from Lands End to John O"Groats on Saturday December 10th.
Seventy cars registered for this year's 1,400-mile event, which is run by the Historic Endurance Rallying Organisation and 61 started.
After leaving John O' Groats they headed for their first overnight stop in Telford, taking part in the longest night navigation section ever in the history of the event, arriving some 17 hours later.
As promised by John Kiff, the new route coordinator, the night navigation section and regularities through Wales were tough and unrelenting. The test at the Llangorse Activity Centre being conducted in the dark with lights on the cones.
Crews were under pressure all night, but the grins on most of the tired faces at Telford were proof that the majority were 'enjoying' the challenge.
Of the 51 Trial cars and 10 Tour entries that started from Land's End on Saturday morning, all 10 tourers and 44 of the trial crews arrived at Telford in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Six hours later they were on the road again heading for their next stop at Gosforth on the outskirts of Newcastle. The route saw them heading through Cheshire and into the Yorkshire dales with a lunch stop at the Aspinall Arms at Great Mitton.
Before lunch, crews tackled tests at Manheim Auctions and Red Rose Hub. After lunch crews tackled the first section with snow on this year's Le Jog on their way to the Tan Hill Inn. The snow was so thick it completely blocked one regularity and the Ford at Frosterley was too deep to allow the test to take place.
At 08.30am on Monday morning, December 12th the crews were on the road again heading for John O'Groats on the most gruelling section, which would see them driving for some 26 hours with only short breaks.
Monday mornings tests ran smoothly with the final test before lunch, at Livingstone, on the outskirts of Edinburgh taking place at Raceways Kart circuit where crews discovered Scottish television cameras filming a piece for the evening news.
As the crews headed into the Highlands the weather became severe with police opening one road near Aberfoyle only minutes before the cars arrived.
As conditions worsened, a regularity section near Kinloch Rannoch was cancelled and two other sections of the route were closed near Dalwhinnie.
During Monday night, car number 30, a 1966 Mercedes 300 SE driven by Andy Lane and Iain Tullie, which had been in the lead, had to retire throwing the leader board wide open.
“We wanted to make this years event one of the toughest ever,” said Peter Nedin. “We attracted more cars than we have done for the past seven or eight years with a huge number of crews attending the event from Europe.”
Tomas de Vargas Machuca, Managing Director of the Historic Endurance Rallying Organisation (HERO), who was driving an iconic 1973 BMW 1602, commissioned and prepared by BMW Park Classic said: "This is one of the most testing events that we have ever run, and is one of the toughest in the world, but that is exactly what people who take part in this event want and everyone seems to have enjoyed it."
First overall, car 20, a 1965 Volvo 131 Amazon - Roger Bricknall and Ryan Pickering.
Second overall, car 29, a 1966 Triumph 2000 - Charles Harrison and Jonathan Hancox.
Third overall, car number 35, a 1964 Triumph TR4 - Tony Sheach and Richard Lambley