The 13th instalment of the ORIS Rallye Clasico, Mallorca’s premier car rally for classic, contemporary and competition cars took place in magnificent weather at the beginning of March over 13 closed road special stages.
Some of the best driving roads in Europe exist on the island and again, the event took full advantage with some familiar twisty stages around the Col de Sa Creu and Puigpunyent areas, the Campanet valley with its famous ‘leap’, the breath-taking and spectacular Sa Colobra climb and perhaps the jewel in this year’s crown – the 25 kilometre stage from Cap Formentor lighthouse all the way to Pollensa – with some goat-saving chicanes inserted on the straightest and fastest sections.
With both the Sa Colobra and Cap Formentor roads designed by the same Italian engineer Antonio Parietti in 1932 – and built without machines whilst working ingeniously with the landscape – these famous Mallorca ‘cul de sacs’ represent two of the finest driving roads on a global scale, let alone for our small island in the Mediterranean.. To drive them as closed roads in this year’s ORIS Rally was a treat – and to join Gordon Cox as his co-driver in his beautifully prepared 1971 Lotus Elan Sprint even more so…
Hosted by a packed Porto Portals with cars leaving at dusk, the first two night stages departed from Calvia to Coll D’Es Tords, followed by the incredibly twisty and difficult stage from Puigpunyent to Esporles with many hazards to hit, although no serious mishaps for any of the cars taking part including the nimble Lotus.
With much timing equipment and bright displays on board, we took our ‘Fast Regularity’ class seriously and quickly appreciated how difficult it was to achieve the precision required to garner any silverware. Regularity requires averaging precise speeds over specific sections, as well as from the start to the finish – frequently difficult on the tightest sections – with information overload becoming alarmingly apparent whilst I called the corner grades, times and average speed and Gordon made the necessarily accurate interpretations of what I meant… At the end of the second day, which included the fabulous Sa Colobra climb lined by thousands of spectators, we languished mid-field in our class and decided to go flat out for day three – paradoxically a much easier task for me – quickly rewarded with the ultra-fast sweeping stage from Pollensa to Lluc, another jewel of a road climbing from sea level up into the Tramuntana.
The morning stages also took in the Campanet valley from west to east – fast, very narrow, bumpy and lined with unforgiving walls – before proceeding to the final lunch stop at Cap Formentor, where an untold amount of expense, imagination and effort had gone into making it perhaps the most spectacular stage break in the rally’s history – a big hand to the event organiser Toni Descallar and his superb team for pulling it all together.
After a final stage taking in the Campanet valley in the opposite direction, the event concluded with a return to a lavish prize giving reception at the newly re-furbished Baiben Restaurant and Bar in Porto Portals.
In summary, the 13th instalment of the ORIS Rally was a magnificent mix of fast sweeps and tight hairpins, in everything from sleek 1950s classics to the winged Group B monsters of the 1980s, against a backdrop of spectacular hospitality, organisation, atmosphere and warm spring sunshine..
It doesn’t get much better than this…
DRIVING MALLORCA RALLY – OCTOBER 2017
The performance and classic car club Driving Mallorca, which organizes regular meetings and outings for its growing membership have secured the final weekend in October for the 3rd instalment of their 10 special stage closed-road rally.
Hosted through the non-profit Escuderia Driving Mallorca, the event is scheduled to take place in an expanded form as a two-day event, incorporating both day and night stages, and will again represent an official event within the Balearic Rally Championship.
With an Entry Fee limited by BRC Regulations to a ceiling of EU 320.00 for the competition and regularity classes, this will ensure a high number of entries and exceptional value for money for competitors.
The organisers are currently seeking sponsorship and for details on the different sponsorship packages available, please contact Driving Mallorca Club Manager Hamish Goddard.