“Whereas events with other organisers can feel like travelling on a vast cruise ship with little real sense of adventure, ROARR events feel like sailing with friends on a private yacht.”
The ability to drive a classic car so freely in such fascinating parts of the world is a real privilege. Our trips with ROARR have combined the great sense of exploration and adventure that only usually comes with independent travel, with the companionship, camaraderie and faultless organisation of an organised event. Match that with good-humoured and like-minded participants and the world’s best, and most undiscovered, driving roads and we have the ingredients of a rally that we have found is unique to ROARR.
We’ve both had a life-long love of cars and adventure travel and so what better way of combining the two than taking part in long distance car events? Having spent two years driving from London to Cape Town in a Land Rover in the early 1990a and then back home rallying a Ginetta G15 the opportunity arose many years later to compete in long distance endurance rallies, so we jumped at the chance. Our first endurance rally was in 2012, driving an e-type over 8000 miles from New York to Alaska. Despite the e-type being quite unsuitable for the rough desert roads through Monument Valley and the endless gravel roads of Alaska, we finished the rally in second place and were encouraged to take part in the 2013 Peking Paris rally for which we prepared and drove, at great haste, a 1937 Chevrolet. This car took us to overall victory and we continue to take part in other European competitive rallies.
We soon discovered that most long-distance endurance rally organisations like to arrange very large events with dozens of cars which can make participants feel they are trapped in a rally bubble for the whole distance. On top of this, many organisers pack in pointlessly easy competitive sections which prevent any opportunity to make unplanned stops through the day and mean there is little or no time to experience the hidden sights along the route. Having participated in events with all the major rally organisations, our first event with ROARR, Classic Persia, was a revelation. A smaller group meant the route was not designed around large hotels; instead we took the remotest and most stunning back routes and were able to stay in fascinating and beautiful hotels too small for other larger rallies to use. The time Adrian had taken to explore, plot and plan his superb routes took us through spectacular scenery on roads no other event would be able to choose because of the need to reach a major hotel. Other rally route planners are just not able to dedicate the time on the road that Adrian achieves and thus their routes are just less special.
Our experiences in Turkey and Iran were mirrored in Morocco on the Atlas Rally which brought more stunning hidden mountain routes and remote local hotels. When later, we compared our Atlas Rally route to those of other rally organisations we found that their rally routes had bypassed so many of the most beautiful, most remote and most enjoyable driving days in their need to reach a settlement large enough to have a big hotel. Yet ROARR’s sensibly designed day lengths means that the rallies are packed with memories of stopping to explore hidden and deserted Roman forts in Morocco or abandoned Soviet observatories high up on the plateaux of the Pamirs. The beautifully put together road books offer alternative routes, detours to hidden sights and practical information about fuel and driving times never found in other organiser’s packs. These personal explorations are a fabulous part travelling with ROARR.
We own a variety of classic rally cars and all have their strengths and weaknesses and joys and tribulations. Whilst it’s important to have a car you love and will enjoy being in, perhaps the next most helpful attribute is reliability. Whilst ROARR always provide excellent mechanical support, it makes for a more pleasurable trip to finish the event in the car you set out in. So thoughtful car choice as well as meticulous preparation for a long trip is key; and things like a good spares pack is essential. For more remote adventures where the roads are not always tarmac simple equipment such as a sixth spare wheel or inner tubes and sump guard for rougher trips can help prevent irritating delays. For longer events such as the Pamir Highway we have tended to leave our most fragile cars at home and enjoy taking our SL Shop prepared Mercedes SL which is a tough go-anywhere car, but for ROARR’s epic tarmac tours such as Venice to Monaco we have used an e-type prepared by Eagle e-types to make the most of the fabulous back roads of southern Italy, Sardinia, and of course the Targa Florio in Sicily.
If you are considering entering an event with ROARR and would like to speak with us please feel free to write to: firstname.lastname@example.org