Spearing through the spectacular Scottish Highlands towards the western isle of Skye. Negotiating the challenging rural gravel roads of Romania as you meander towards Istanbul, the gateway to Asia. Snaking up towards the summit of Vietnam’s Hai Vân Pass, the tranquillity and majesty of the seascape below you enchanting more and more with every passing mile.
We’ve all dreamed of heading off to exotic, far-flung destinations with our classic cars and truly exploiting the freedom they afford us. But more often than not, the stresses and strains of modern life mean planning and embarking on such a trip requires time and energy we simply can’t expend. Instead, we take the easy option and choose to laze on a European beach for days on end or return to our favourite ski resort. Enter Rally the Globe.
Rally the Globe is a not-for-profit club which comprehensively organises life-affirming endurance rallies all over the world for the owners of classic cars (typically those built before 1977). While all Rally the Globe’s events have a competitive nature, the degree to which the competition factors varies across the different types of rallies. Its Marathon and Challenge rallies, for example, are for the most intrepid of enthusiasts, those who want to be challenged with navigation and regularity tests and lengthy off-road stretches. The Carrera rallies, on the other hand, are held at a more civilised pace strictly on smooth asphalt roads, with more emphasis on enjoying all the designated country has to offer.
“We’ve always been clear about the fact our events are competitive – we’re not just a tour operator and there will always be regularity trials and navigation tests,” explains Rally the Globe’s distinguished rally director (and former championship-winning World Rally co-driver) Fred Gallagher. “But we avoid tricks and train those who are new to this wonderful tradition, so everyone has a fair shot. Having said that, the social side is equally important, and we always try to find the very best hotels we can and aim to thoughtfully integrate social activities in the itineraries, even if it’s a casual drinks party in a car park in the evening.”
Founded in 2018, Rally the Globe is the proverbial new kid on the endurance rally block. But its team is formed of respected industry old hands with the wealth of experience required to execute such ambitious expeditions across all six continents. The resounding success of its first two events, the Carrera Iberia last September and the Southern Cross Safari earlier this year, is proof. The former was a 10-day trip in which 30 participants explored over 3,000km of Spain and Portugal’s undiscovered roads, while the latter was a three-week East African expedition through Kenya and Tanzania, which encompassed open-air dinners beside the Indian Ocean and multiple safari game drives.
The feedback from all involved was overwhelmingly positive, which was encouraging news ahead of Rally the Globe’s epic Round the World adventure. An 80-day, 35,000km journey across four continents, Round the World’s first leg, from London to Casablanca, was poised to depart on 23 May. That was until the coronavirus intervened and the world ground to a halt.
“In light of Round the World’s cancellation, we had a serious rethink to consider where people might want to travel in the coming months and years,” Gallagher comments. “We made the decision that, in the short term, we’d focus on the United Kingdom and mainland Europe, before heading further away in 2022.” The revised schedule includes the following events, all of which encompass Rally the Globe’s philosophy of guaranteeing the highest-quality adventures of a lifetime.
Subject to the lifting of government restrictions on travel, this year will round out with the Highland Thistle from 4–9 October, on which pre-1977 cars will explore the wonders of Scotland, from the luxury of St. Andrews to the awe-inspiring landscape of Skye. The Generations Rally, which aims to inspire the younger generation about the joys of classic motoring and is eligible for cars built up to 1985, takes place in the spectacular Lake District from 26–28 March 2021.
In June of next year, Rally the Globe will stage an epic 5,500km journey from Ypres in Belgium to ‘the edges of the Orient’ in Istanbul, traversing Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria along the way. The Carrera Italia will follow in October. Starting and finishing in San Remo, Italy’s rallying capital for many years, this will be a true celebration of arguably one of the greatest countries on earth, encompassing its magical lakes, the rolling Tuscan hills, the enclave of San Marino and, of course, its world-famous cuisine.
Probably the most exciting adventure on Rally the Globe’s revised schedule, however, is poised to take place in February of 2022: The Road to Hanoi. “Northern Vietnam has some tremendous roads and scenery,” Gallagher enthuses, “and much like Myanmar, it’s a mythical place that is not known by many to be a holiday destination. And I don’t think anyone has ever rallied in Laos! It will be the end of winter when we arrive – not many people associate Vietnam with snow, but in the highlands, I imagine there will be a fair bit.
“We’ve tried to be as realistic with our future event programme as it’s possible to be in the current uncertainties,” he continues. “Hence our start in Scotland and England before venturing further into Europe and, in 2022, going worldwide once again.” Naturally, while the world’s finest driving roads play a significant part in making Rally the Globe’s events so magical, peace of mind is also key. Each event is accompanied by an experienced support team, including sweep mechanics and an on-call doctor or paramedic. Needless to say, months of meticulous planning – including multiple first-hand recces – go into every Rally the Globe rally.
All you need to do is choose which car you’d like to enter, make the suitable preparations with regards to your car, insurance and shipping, and then let Rally the Globe handle the rest. We can’t resist asking Gallagher, a man who’s travelled thousands of miles around the world by car, which classic he’d choose for one of the trips he organises. “I’d like to drive something inexpensive, easy to repair at the side of the road and that nobody’s used before, which leads me, slightly strangely, to the Ford Cortina GT – I reckon a blacksmith in a Kenyan village could fix pretty anything on one of those.”
If the coronavirus pandemic and its resulting lockdowns have given you a new lust for exploration and adventure, then why not forgo those two weeks in a five-star Maldives retreat when travel restrictions lift and instead book onto a driving adventure during which you’ll forge memories to last a lifetime? Since Rally the Globe announced its post-corona schedule, places are booking up fast. So, if you want to channel your inner James Bond and tear across Scotland in an Aston Martin DB5 or traverse the jungle of Myanmar in a Lancia Fulvia, don’t wait too long.
Photos courtesy of Gerard Brown / Rally the Globe © 2020
Photos courtesy of Gerard Brown / Rally the Globe © 2020