The Freer’s Triumph TR3 In The Paris To Prague Rally

At the recent Paris To Prague Rally that I participated in one of the crews that we were pleased to meet were Ben and Victoria Freer who were also competing in their 1957 Triumph TR3.  Ben and Victoria are enthusiastic rally participants and had some good scores when they were not having fuel problems with the car.  The Freers were part of a three-car team that we formed at the start of the rally.

Ben and Victoria Freer With Their Triumph TR3

Ben and Victoria are quite active in the Triumph TR community.  Recently they competed the 2016 Round Britain Reliability Run.  This rally covers nearly 2,000 miles as it follows a route from Knebworth to John O’Groats to Land’s End and back to Knebworth in 48 hours with no overnight stops.  The crews have to come up with a strategy for sleeping on the road.  This Round Britain Reliability Run is held every two years.  In 2016 the event had  over 150 entrants.

The Low Cut Door Line Is A Distinctive Part Of The Triumph TR3 Design

The Triumph TR3 has a 2138cc inline 4-cylinder engine matched to a 4-speed manual transmission.  The engine produces 100 horsepower.  Initially the Triumph TR3 cars had a 1991cc 95 horsepower engine which had first been used in the Triumph TR2, but by 1957 the engine size and horsepower were increased.  The Triumph TR3 was one of the first affordable cars fitted with front disk brakes.

The 2138cc Triumph TR3 Engine

The interior of the TR3 has a very informative cluster of gauges to keep the driver informed of the condition of the engine.  The nice wood-trimmed steering wheel is an aftermarket add-on.

Triumph TR3 Interior

When I was taking these pictures I questioned Victoria about the lack of rally equipment in the car.  She said that they were mounted inside the glove box.  She then opened up the glove box revealing a very neat and compact installation of their navigation equipment.

Note The Halda Tripmaster And Brantz Rally Timer Mounted Inside The Glove Box

Ben and Vicky are very interesting and enthusiastic car people.  Vicky was always stylishly dressed and she was awarded a prize for her dress during the rally.  Vicky is also a former captain in the British Army.

Ben And Victoria At The Finish Of The Paris To Prague Rally

If you have any questions about this post or the Paris To Prague Rally please 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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Dates For 2018 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique

The 2018 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique will be held from January 31 to February 7, 2018.  This car rally is one of the premier rallies for classic cars in Europe.  It is anticipated that over 300 cars built between 1955 and 1980 will take part in this rally.

The remainder of the details of the rally have not been announced, but it is anticipated that it will be similar to the rally in the past with multiple alternative starting cities with all routes leading to Monaco.  From Monaco, the main timed portion of the rally will be in the great rally roads of southern France.  This is a great rally and I am pleased to have taken part in this rally in the two past years.  I will have more information about this year’s rally as the Automobile Club of Monaco provides more details.

The website of the Automobile Club of Monaco can be reached via the following link:

If you have any questions about this rally, 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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A Sunbeam Talbot 90 At The 2017 Great Race

One of the participating cars in the 2017 Great Race was, Car #120, the 1952 Sunbeam Talbot 90 that was entered by James and Wally Leach.  These British cars are not common here in the USA.  I first became aware of these cars when I learned of their very impressive rally history.  James and Wally extended this rally history with a solid performance at the 2017 Great Race.  Their car is shown below at the start of the 2017 Great Race in Jacksonville, Florida.

A 1952 Sunbeam-Talbot 90

The Sunbeam-Talbot 90 is a sports sedan that was built by Sunbeam-Talbot from 1948 to 1954.  A similar car, known as the Sunbeam Mk III was its successor from 1954 to 1957.

The Sunbeam-Talbot 90 was launched in 1948 as a 4-door sports sedan or a 2-door convertible.  The sedan featured an almost pillarless seam between the glass on the rear door and the rear quarter window.  This can be seen in the photo below.

The design of the Sunbeam-Talbot 90 also included reverse-opening (known as in the USA as suicide doors) rear doors.

Note The Small Pillar Between The Rear Door Window And The Rear Quarter Window

Initially the Sunbeam-Talbot 90 was fitted with a 1944cc four-cylinder engine up to 1952, then the engine was enlarged to 2267cc.  The transmission was a 4-speed manual transmission with a column-mounted shifter.

The Standard Dash Is Somewhat Obscured By The Timewise 825 Speedometer Installed For The Great Race

As I noted earlier, the Sunbeam-Talbot 90 has an impressive rally history.  A Sunbeam-Talbot 90 was driven by Stirling Moss, Desmond Scannell, and John Cooper to take second place in the 1952 Monte Carlo Rally.  The picture below shows a young Stirling Moss on the left after the 1952 Monte Carlo Rally.


A Sunbeam-Talbot 90 Finished 2nd In The 1952 Monte Carlo Rally

The photo below shows E. S. Sneath in a Sunbeam-Talbot 90 on a snowy 1952 Monte Carlo Rally road.

Sunbeam-Talbot 90 Cars Were Significant Rally Cars At The Monte Carlo Rallies In The Early 1950s

The picture below shows a Sunbeam-Talbot 90 prepared for the 1953 Monte Carlo Rally.  Note the deflector on the hood to help keep the windshield clean.  Also the car has been fitted with shaded headlights to prevent driver-level light reflection off snowflakes which can make driving difficult.


Light Shades Have Fitted On The Rally Lights Of The Sunbeam-Talbot 90

In 1955, Per Malling and Gunnar Fadum driving a Sunbeam Mk III, which was the updated successor to the Sunbeam-Talbot 90, were the outright winners of the 1955 Monte Carlo Rally.

In the Alpine Rally, which was another major rally in the 1950s, Stirling Moss won a ‘Coupe d’Or’ (Gold cup) for 3 consecutive penalty-free runs in 1952, 1953, and 1954.  The 1952 penalty-free run was in a Sunbeam-Talbot 90 and the latter two in the Sunbeam Alpine derivative of the original Sunbeam-Talbot 90.

Sunbeam-Talbot Rally Team

It was good to see one of these significant rally cars at the Great Race and being driven to a solid finish, worthy of these cars.

If you have any questions or comments about the Sunbeam-Talbot 90 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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Now At Home After Two Very Challenging Rallies

During the last month I have been so busy with participating in rallies that I have hardly had an opportunity to update this website.  First I went to Europe to compete in the Paris To Prague Rally, then I returned home for two days before leaving to compete in the Great Race from Florida to Michigan in the USA.  These were both significant and yet completely different rallies.

The Paris To Prague Rally was a six-day rally through some very interesting parts of Europe.  I was navigating for Michael Eatough in his 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230S fintail sedan.  This rally had many regularity stages which were conducted using the “jogularity” timing method which was made popular in the demanding LeJog rally.  The LeJog rally is the based on the longest continuous distance that it is possible to drive in the United Kingdom.  This rally extends from Land’s End in southwest England to John O’Groats at the northern tip of mainland Scotland, hence the rally name LeJog based on the first letters of Lands End – John O‘ Groats.

Michael Eatough With His 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230S Fintail At The Paris To Prague Rally

In addition to the regularity stages, there were some special tests that took place on private property.  These special tests involved following a path defined by traffic cones, while being timed, to the follow the defined path as quickly as possible.

Michael and I worked well together and we did reasonably well while continuing to improve as the rally progressed.  I am please to say that Michael has entered us in the 2019 Peking To Paris Motor Challenge which will be an epic 36-day rally from Beijing, China to Paris, France.  This will be quite an adventure!  I look forward to navigating through the sparsely populated areas of Mongolia.

After getting back to the USA, I barely had time to unpack and re-pack before I began to head south to meet up with the other members of the Silver Baron Rally Team for the start of the Great Race in Jacksonville, Florida.  The other three members of the Silver Baron Rally Team are Harald von Langsdorff, Paul Henshall, and David Wells.

Silver Baron Rally Team, Minus One: (R to L): David Wells, Harald von Langsdorff, and Myself.  (Paul Henshall Is Missing From This Photo)

Our rally car for the Great Race was a 1972 Mercedes-Benz 350SLC.  This car worked well through out the rally except for a brake issue that turned out not to be a lasting problem.  David and Paul did a great job of looking after the car. The Great Race is a Time-Speed rally where travel speeds and durations are given, but odometers providing any distance measurements are prohibited from being used.

The Silver Baron 1972 Mercedes-Benz 350SLC Rally Car

It took us a few days to get our competition legs under us, but we finished strong and came away with an action plan for further rallies of this nature. During the course of this rally, we did manage to win four Aces, by scoring a zero timing error on four timed legs.  We also had quite a number of 1-second and 2-second legs.  Our problem wasn’t the lack of good leg scores, it was several legs with double-digit scores.

Now that I am back home, I will have some time to decompress and make some competition notes about these rallies, while the issues and ideas are fresh in my mind.

I met a number of very interesting people and saw some interesting cars at these rallies and I will post more about these rallies in the upcoming weeks.

If you have any comments or questions about either the Paris To Prague Rally or the Great Race, then leave a comment below or send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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Day 1 At The 2017 Great Race

The 2017 Great Race started today with about 120 cars entered.  This is quite an event.  It is hard to describe the Great Race – it is an experience as much as it is a rally.  It seems that there is always something to do.  In the last few days we have traveled to Washington, DC, took the AutoTrain from Lorton, VA to Sanford, Florida, drove to Jacksonville, Florida, had dinner at the Jacksonville Zoo, got the car scrutineered and we participated in the Trophy Run rally on Friday, which is a good practice or warm-up before the main Great Race starts.  Thanks go to Harald von Langsdorff, David Wells, and Paul Henshall for getting the car ready.

Harald von Langsdorff’s 1972 Mercedes-Benz 350 SLC

Today was the official start of the Great Race.  Thousands of people came to downtown Jacksonville, Florida to see the start.  Hundreads of others lined the streets as we left Jacksonville after the start.  We were even flagged off by Big Daddy Don Garlitts, one of the greatest drag racers of all time.

Starting Area Activity At The Great Race In Jacksonville, Florida

With respect to the start of the competition we had six controls today and we had very good scores on five of them.  Fortunately we get to throw away the results from one control today.  We have no idea of our overall position at this time, but there are a large number of experienced teams.

We are pleased with our start and look forward to the rest of this rally which ends in Traverse City, Michigan next weekend.

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


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Day 4 At The Paris To Prague Rally

Day 4 is now in the books.  We have made it to Linz, Austria.  Tomorrow we will go into the Czech Republic. From a competition standpoint today was a good day.  We are getting better and our significantly lower scores show this.  We have moved up into 6th in the Overall standing but remain 3rd in our class.  Our class is for newer classic cars with engines larger than 2,400cc.  The rally has four classes, but our class is quite competitive as three out of the first 6 cars are in our class.

I am the navigator in our Mercedes-Benz 230S (our engine has been enlarged to about 2,800cc, hence we are in the over 2,400cc class) so U thought that I would show the navigation/timing setup in the car.  This is shown in the photo below.

My Navigator’s Office

Although we have a Monit rally computer and GaugePilot rally computer.  I only use the GaugePilot.  I use it in the Twinmaster display mode which essentially functions as a Halda Twinmaster would, except that it can be calibrated to a finer level than a Halda Twinmaster.   For timing purposes I use the Brantz Rally Timer.  I have a remote interval zero unit on the GaugePilot and a remote start/stop on the Brantz Rally Timer.  This setup seems to work well.

One of the cars that is ahead of us is the MGB Costello V8 shown below.  This is a special shop built MGB which has plenty of power and handling.

MGB Costello V8

Another car in our class is the lovely Jaguar XK120 shown below.  This car sounds very good and has the performance that you would expect from a Jaguar.

Jaguar XK120

The roads continue to be great and the weather is quite hot.  Today we started from the foot of the Eagles Nest, but due to time, we declined to go up to the see the summer residence of Adolf Hitler.  Those that did go said that the view was spectacular.

I look forward to tomorrow.

For more information, then check out the event’s website.  Click on the link below.


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Day 3 At The Paris To Prague Rally

Day 3 of the Paris to Prague was a day of scenery – great scenery.  We started the day in St. Gallen in Switzerland and ended the day in Kitzbuehel, Austria.  It was a very good drive.  In the morning we went to a very significant Rolls Royce Museum for a short visit at a very large collection of the grand British marque.

The photo below, taken in the parking lot of the museum shows an excellent Triumph TR2.  This particular car was rallied very successfully by Maurice Gatsonides.

This Is A Very Impressive Ex-Gatsonides Triumph TR2

From a competitive point of view we held our positions.  I had said in a previous post that we were 2nd in class, move final results from yesterday showed us to actually be 3rd.  Today we remained in 7th position Overall and third in class.  I think that we can do better as the rally progresses, but we will see how it goes.  I am enjoying navigating for Michael Eatough in his strong Mercedes-Benz Fintail.

What A View!

These few photos show some photos that I was able to take at breaks along the rally route.  These photos really don’t do justice to the views that are seen in person.

If You Like Mountains, Then You’ll Like Austria

Tomorrow the rally will start at the famous or infamous “Eagles Nest”.  The weather this week has been wonderful and I hope that it continues tomorrow as well.  For more information, then check out the event’s website.  Click on the fill below.

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