Paulo Ceretta Off To Great Start In The 2017 19 Capitales Historico Rally

For the past few years I have followed with interest a rally in Uruguay, the 19 Capitales Historico.  This event is also known as the Gran Premio Del Uruguay.  My interest in this rally began when two Uruguay ex-pats, Fernando Denis and Paulo Ceretta from New York state came up to see me to get some advice about how to compete in this rally.  Fernando has competed several times with his father, while Paulo competes with his brother, Alejandro.  The 19 Capitales Historico is a five-day brisk rally that visits all of the capitals of the 19 provinces that make up Uruguay.  This year there are about 140 cars competing in this rally.


Yesterday I got an email from Paulo from Uruguay, saying that they are off to a great start.  Paulo said that after the first day, they are 1st in their category, (F) 2000cc , they are 6th in the  Velocimetro Category and 40th in the Overall position.  This is indeed a great start.

Paulo and his brother are competing in a 1980 BMW 320.  This car is shown below.


The Ceretta Brothers’ 1980 BMW 320

The original 4-cylinder engine in their BMW 320 has been replaced with a larger six-cylinder engine from a BMW 323.

The picture below shows Paulo and his brother just before the start of the 2017 19 Capitales Historico.  I am not sure why this photo is reversed (look at the words and numbers in the photo).


Paulo and Alejandro Ceretta At The 2017 19 Capitales Historico

Paulo sent some photos from the start of the rally showing lots of interesting cars, as well as the spectacular architectural design of the building in the background.


Cars Getting Ready For the Start of The Rally

Fernando Denis and his father are competing in a 1974 BMW 2002tii.  They are not off to as good a start as Paulo.  Fernando currently sits in 116th position overall.  Fernando has missed the last couple of runnings of this event due to health reasons and an unfortunate shipping screw-up with his car.

Another photo that Paulo sent shows a gaggle of Peugeots just before the rally.  It is refreshing to see the summer weather that is currently being enjoyed in the southern hemisphere.


Peugeots Are Popular Cars In Rallying In Uruguay And Argentina

For more information about this rally check out the event website:

If you have any comments or questions about this rally or this post, then leave a comment below or you can send me a private email address at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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2017 Winter Challenge Rally Report

Last weekend the 2017 Winter Challenge rally was held in Vermont.  This year, for the first time in many years, I was not competing in this always interesting rally.  However my friend, Frank Beyer, did compete in this rally along with another friend of mine, Mike Mazoway.  Frank sent me the following report from this rally.  It is interesting that Frank’s report starts 40 years ago with the 1977 Tri-State Rally.


January 30th, 1977, about the 26th hour of the 18th Annual Tri-State Rally, around 7 AM, daylight just hitting us. John Buffum and Rich Schneider, in a TR-7, caught a note on the checkpoint slip at the 41st of 43 checkpoints, adjusted their speed accordingly for emergency conditions (we’ve gone over 600 miles in a snowstorm) and finish the rally with a score 104 pts. No one in the other 57 cars on the Northeast Performance Rally Series (NEPRS) event caught the speed change; John and Rich beat the second place car by 370 points.

Pete Deierlein and I were in Pete’s baby blue Rabbit, finishing 14th (1014 pts), Mark Everett and Wayne Brooks, in a Saab 99 (1463), and, Don Taylor/Herbert Williams (2751) in an Opel, also participated.


Mark Everett and I are still competing and Don Taylor is still working. We were in Barre VT last weekend after 40 years of chasing Master Buffum. 32 teams present, awaiting our latest lesson in rally theory.

Vermont is heaven for rally people: tight, smooth, dirt roads through the trees and mountains, lots of crazy intersections with unique combinations to keep you on your toes, especially at night, especially at speed, especially on snow. The Winter Challenge is like when Arnold Palmer used to invite a bunch of players over to his course at Bay Hill: a legend, grooming a course in mid-February, testing us in his backyard.

“Challenge” is an apt description for the event because JB seems to have remembered every rally situation he’s encountered during all those rallies over all those miles and fills his Time-Speed-Distance events with intersections and instructions like a chess master. John doesn’t try to confound the best drivers and navigators – he just tries to identify them.

The WC traditionally runs in three sections, starting with a tulip-instruction route (“how hard can that be?”) periodically dotted with traps that have a fail-safe so that the contestants don’t realize they have been lured off-course and then returned to the route, missing a control in the process.

The route for the second section is drawn on a map (“how hard can it be?”), where points along the course are numbered to correspond to written instructions with speed changes, occasional mileages and other information. Difficulty: a) not all intersections are numbered, b) not all intersections seem to appear on the map they way they occur on the ground, c) you have to guess distances, and d) did I mention that this is done at night in the snow?  Section three is straightforward tulip instructions, with a multiple pro-rally champion setting the average speeds. America’s Got Driving Talent. How…hard…can…it…be????

“ The rally is much easier and more straightforward than previous years” . – from the first paragraph of the General Instructions. “No tricks and traps as in past WC events”.

“In this next LEG, some mileages are incremental (point to point) and some mileages are total (from the end of the Odometer check); the instructions are out of order . The instructions should be used at the first opportunity where they fit and used only once”. – from the first page of the competitive route instructions.

Oh, dear. We didn’t expect that ……

I forgot to tell you that we had something new this year. GPS units on the dashboard of each car, so that we could pass an unmanned, closed, control location and have our time recorded as we went by. On time, all the time, as they say. The first GPS control was located immediately after an intersection where we should have gone straight but went right instead, thinking we were following the main road. Oops. Our good fortune to have the leg thrown.

Fortune flew away down the road where a “Stop Ahead” sign hiding in the shadows was missed by many and the resulting traffic jam of confused competitors led to my misjudging the available Time Allowance and trashed our score for the section. Not so bad; half the cars missed a control. Only felt terrible, short of suicidal.

Shake it off. Map sections are my strongest. We can get back in this thing. Yeah, right. Missed two turns at the start of the Map section, and missed the first two controls as a result. Finished up the section blowing three Time Allowances, taking them but then falling behind as we drove into the subsequent controls.


Section Three actually was our best. Brand new snow tires were a perfect match for the snow-covered roads and my driver, Mike Mazoway, made it with minimal drama, sliding through only one downhill, dead-end intersection. First, ya gotta finish….

Mark Stone/Marc Goldfarb (a gold-standard crew) took first-place with a total of 88 over the 20 legs; Lance Smith/Ralph Beckman (136) took second and Eric Salminen and Peter Schneider (directly in from Tampa, questioning his sanity all through the night) finished third with 391.

Scott Carlson and Phil LaMoreaux ended fifth overall, first in the S class with 586, Daniel Praetorius/Colin Roddy were second S with 966 and Alex Kuhner/Philip Mueller wound up third S with 1207.

The ideal setup seemed to be 4WD this year (no kidding – snow all the way) as the first eleven and 26 of the 32 competitors were driving all corners.

Once again, everyone was a winner. The Winter Challenge continues to be a great drive, rewarding the best pilots with a workout they rarely find elsewhere, if only because it’s tough to find smooth, twisty roads like these that are plowed. Navigators work hard on this event and are paid for their effort with good scores only when they manage to pair up with a good partner.

John and his workers are experienced and rarely make an error. Mileages and timing are incredibly consistent. John manages to comb through the general instructions, trying to improve the experience, test the teams, and challenge the status quo. Been doing it for all these years, rewarding all of us who continue to make the trip back to rally heaven.

-Frank Beyer”

For the complete results of the Winter Challenge Rally click on the following pdf file:


Thanks to Frank for sending this report to me.  Congratulations to Mark Stone/Marc Goldfarb for winning the Winter Challenge rally.  And a very special “Well done!” to Scott Carlson and Phil LaMoreaux for finishing fifth Overall with a Stock Class entry.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, then leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following email address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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The Story Of The Rallye Monte Carlo Historique Austin Healey Continues

Apparently the story of the Ex-Works Austin Healey 3000 continues.  I was sent a listing from Fiskens in London in which this Austin Healey was offered for sale.


This Is One Of Five BMC Works Austin Healey 3000 Rally Cars

As I noted in an earlier post about this car it was recently sold at auction in Monaco earlier this year and then entered into the 2017 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique.  At the rally the withdrew for some reason rather early in the competition.

The following was posted by Fiskens on February 4:

Clicking on the above link will get you to the Fiskens advertisement.  I should note that the car is now included in Fiskens’ “sold” list, so the car was not on the market for long.


This Engine Has Been Tuned To Produce More Than 200 Horsepower

The photos that I have included in this post were taken from the Fiskens advertisement.  The above photo shows the engine which has been well tuned and will give this car very good performance.


Period Correct Rally Navigation Equipment Is Shown In The Car

The interior picture shows the car fitted with a Halda Twinmaster on the dashboard and a Halda Speedpilot located on the transmission tunnel.  I know that at the 2017 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique the car was fitted with an eTrip rally computer.

If you have any comments or questions about this car, the big Healeys in general or this post, then leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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Citroen Traction Avant At The Rallye Monte Carlo Historique

One of the more surprising cars that I saw at the Rallye Monte Carlo Historique was a Citroen Traction Avant.  Claude and Chantal entered this 1953 Citroen 11BL Traction Avant in the rally.  The Citroen Traction Avant is one of the more iconic French cars, but is not a car that I typically associate with car rallying.


1953 Citroen 11BL Traction Avant

The Citroen Traction Avant was in production from 1934 to 1957 with over 750,000 cars being built.  In 1934 the Traction Avant was a far ahead of its time.  Its main feature was the front wheel drive.  The car also had a unit body/chassis design that was unusual at the time.  All of these features allowed the car to be set rather low compared to other designs of that era.  This design and the problems of getting the car into production were so problematic that Citroen went bankrupt in December 1934.  Tire manufacturer Michelin, paid off the company’s debts and became owner of the Citroen company at that time.


The Traction Avant Had A Low Slung Design Although This Particular Rally Car Sits A Little Higher Than Typical Traction Avants

The car’s suspension was also very advanced at that time. The front wheels were independently sprung, using a torsion bar and wishbone suspension arrangement.  The rear suspension was a simple steel beam axle and a Panhard rod, trailing arms and torsion bars.

This model, the Citroen 11BL, had a 1,911cc four-cylinder engine that produced 56 horsepower.  The transmission was a three-speed manual transmission with the shifter mounted on the dash.  These cars were relatively light for the time, but they had only modest performance.


If You Look Carefully Through The Grille, The Transmission Is Visible

The engine was mounted behind the front axle, while the transmission was mounted in front of the axle.


The Car Attracted Lots Interest At the Rallye Monte Carlo Historique

If you have any comments or questions about the Traction Avant or this post, then leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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Upcoming May SCCA Rally Weekend In Wisconsin

This past week I got an email from Jim Crittenden inviting me to participate in two upcoming rallies that will be held back to back on May 20 & 21, 2017 in the Madison, Wisconsin area – the Roads Scholar National Course Rally and the Badger Burrow National Tour Rally.

The Roads Scholar National Course Rally on Saturday will be a scenic 180 mile rally through the country roads west of Madison, Wisconsin. Designed for experienced rallyists who are familiar with the Sports Car Club of America Road Rally Rules, it will have a fixed main road rule (Onto, Protection, T-rule, SAP) and use both Numbered and Lettered route instructions. It will not have Aristotle traps or ‘Absence of the sign’ traps. The course uses both paved and high quality unpaved roads that are fun to drive. Speeds are moderate. The emphasis is on course following, great roads, and beautiful scenery.  As someone who struggles with some of the unnecessarily complexities of course rallies, it seems like this rally strikes the right note between being too easy and being unnecessarily difficult.

The Badger Burrow National Tour Rally on Sunday will be a scenic 180 mile Tour rally with an emphasis on brisk driving on spectacular country roads. Much of the course will run in transit zones allowing you to enjoy the scenery and drive at your own pace rather than having to be on time all the time. This rally is designed to be enjoyed by both first timer contestants as well as experienced rallyists.

As it turns out, I am already committed to another rally that weekend, so I will not be attending these rallies, but it seems like this will be a good weekend of rallying.

For more information, I have attached a copy of the flyer for these rallies.  To see the flyer just click on the following pdf file:


To see a near complete copy of the General Conditions, click on the following Word file:


For further questions about these rallies, you can contact Jim Crittenden by telephone at 970.261.2144 or by email at the following address:

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Rauno Aaltonen Returns To Monte Carlo

2017 was the fiftieth anniversary of the 1967 victory by Rauno Aaltonen at the Monte Carlo Rally in a Mini.  To commemorate that victory, BMW entered a Mini Cooper S in the 2017 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique that was crewed by Rauno Aaltonen along with Swedish co-driver Hans Sylvan.  Their Mini Cooper S is shown below in Monaco.


Austin Mini Cooper S Entered For Rauno Aaltonen In The 2017 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique

I had the pleasure of meeting Rauno Aaltonen as we prepared our cars in Bad Homburg before the Rallye Monte Carlo Historique started and I had several conversations with him during the rally.  I can say that he is a true gentleman and obviously is very knowledgable about rallying.  He has a well deserved nickname of “The Professor”.


The Original Mini Was A Very Successful Rally Car

When Rauno Aaltonen won the 1967 Monte Carlo Rally it was the third official victory for Mini.  It was in actuality the fourth win for Mini when one takes into account the famous Mini “disqualification” in 1966.  I think that Stuart Turner said that Mini got more publicity from the disqualification in 1966 than they would have gotten if they had won.


Hans Sylvan’s “Office” In The Mini

I also had the opportunity to meet with Rauno Aaltonen’s co-driver for this event, Hans Sylvan.  Hans was a successful WRC co-driver in the late 1970s with many good finishes co-driving for Per Eklund, Stig Blomqvist, and Achim Warmbold.  Hans and I are both doing some work for the Endurance Rally Association so we compared notes.  Hans is working on The Baltic Classic Rally coming up in May 2017, while I am working on the 2018 Trans-America Challenge.


Rauno Aaltonen/Henry Liddon Winning The 1967 Monte Carlo Rally

Rauno Aaltonen has a driving school in Finland and also works for BMW giving demonstration rides to journalists and other BMW/Mini enthusiasts.  When I first met Rauno we had a long discussion about rallying and we exchanged cards.  When he left and I was continuing the work on our car, I thought to myself that I had missed an opportunity to get his autograph.  Imagine my surprise when Rauno came back in about three minutes with an autographed picture of himself and he said to me: “I want you to have this.”  I could not say “Yes, thanks!”  fast enough and now that autographed picture is on my wall at home.


The 1967 Victory Was The Third (Actually 4th) Win At Monte Carlo For Mini

The 2017 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique did not go that well for Rauno Aaltonen/Hans Sylvan.  They had an electrical failure of their rally computer on the first regularity stage which resulted in a non-competitive score.


Hans Sylvan, Stig Blomqvist, And Rauno Aaltonen At The Awards Gala Dinner For The 2017 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique 

There were a number of Mini Cooper S cars in the rally, but clearly many people wanted to see Rauno Aaltonen and the Mini with Car #177.  As you might have noticed, #177 was the same number that Ruano Aaltonen had on the side of his winning car in 1967.


Hans Sylvan & Rauno Aaltonen Heading Out From Monaco To The Regularity Stages

If you have any questions or comments about this post or the topic discussed, then leave a comment below or you can send me private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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Follow-Up Information On The Ex-Works Healey At The 2017 RMCH

As a result of my recent post about the 1961 Austin Healey 3000 that was entered by Adam Lindemann in the 2017 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique, David Scothorn sent me more information on this car.


Ex-Works 1961 Austin Healey 3000 In The 2017 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique

In my post I said that I did not know when Adam Lindemann acquired this car, but based on information provided by David, the car was bought in May 2016 at the Sotheby’s Auction in Monaco.  The selling price was just over 400,000 Euros, reflecting the value of these significant rally cars. The following additional information about the car was copied directly from the car’s description provided in the Sotheby’s on-line catalogue:

“180 bhp, 2,912 cc OHV inline six-cylinder engine with triple SU carburettors, four-speed manual transmission, independent front coil-spring suspension and anti-sway bar, live rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs, and four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 2,337 mm

  • 1961 Acropolis Rally; 1st in Class, 3rd Overall
  • One of five factory-prepared competition Healeys for the 1961 season
  • Sold in 1961 to rally legend Rauno Aaltonen; only two private owners
  • The most original 3000 Mk 1 Works rally car; retains its original engine
  • Eligible for Le Mans Classic and an ideal candidate for many vintage rallies and events

There are few cars that so well embody the excitement and romance of a golden era of international competition on the European road-rally circuit as does the Austin-Healey 3000. Indeed, the 3000 is both a world-beater competition car and a civilized sports car perfectly adapted for personal enjoyment.

By 1960, the British Motor Corporation’s competition department had compiled an impressive collection of trophies with the 3000, and for the 1961 season, they prepared five examples, each of which became known by its British registration number.

This 3000, first registered as XJB 871, was prepared by the Works competition department for its debut in the gruelling 1961 Acropolis Rally with Peter Riley and Tony Ambrose as the crew. The Acropolis Rally was known for being one of the toughest events of the year. The fact that this car was so competitive and finished without incident is a testament to the 3000’s strength and reliability under any condition. XJB 871 continued the BMC tradition of impressive performances at the most challenging events, finishing 3rd overall and 1st in the GT class. It was also the highest-placed British car in the event.

Riley and Ambrose continued the season with XJB 871 at the Alpine Rally. However, they were forced to retire and the car was returned to the BMC, where it was subsequently purchased by rally legend Rauno Aaltonen, also known as “The Rally Professor”. The car was shipped to Aaltonen’s native Finland, where it remained in his private ownership until 1965.

Rauno purchased the car in preparation for the 1964 Spa-Sofia-Liege Rally. Aaltonen wanted to be entirely comfortable and familiar with the Healey rally car to ensure that he was in the strongest possible position when competing in his other 3000. As a result of this dedication and familiarity with the 3000, Aaltonen would go on to win the Spa-Sofia-Liege, citing his time with the XJB 871 as the key to his success. In a recent interview, Aaltonen noted that “when you have a long rally, a tough and hard one, the car should be like an extension of your arm. You must know everything about what it is doing, and those Works Healeys were very strong”.

Aaltonen sold the Healey to Caj Hasselgren, a student at the time, in 1965. Hasselgren drove the car for about 10 years before putting it into storage. Several years later, he embarked on a complete restoration, returning the car to the road in 1995. After a brief period of historic racing, from 1996 to 1997, the Healey was seldom driven thereafter until Hasselgren passed away in 2013. With 48 years under his care, XJB 871 has the longest single ownership of any Austin-Healey factory competition car, and today it remains in the ownership of Hasselgren’s family.

As the most original 1961 specification car, also retaining its original engine, the 3000 appears as it did for the 1961 Acropolis Rally. Fully road ready, it is eligible for numerous classic rallies and tours around the world. XJB 871 is also presented with FIA papers as well as an original reconditioned rally overdrive unit. As a factory competition car with only two private owners over a period of 55 years, this iconic Austin-Healey represents a unique opportunity to acquire a historically significant example of a legendary factory team car from a golden era of motorsport.

“This Healey will love being driven . . . fast!” –Rauno Aaltonen”

To see the complete listing and some great photos of this car, both historic and current, click on the following link:

David also saw this car at RallyDay, Castle Combe in September in the care of John Chatham, a well-known Austin Healey expert.

My thanks to David Scothorn for providing this information.

If you have any questions or comments about this post, then you can leave a comment below, or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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