Starting Our Rallye Monte Carlo Historique

I have recently returned from competing in the 2016 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique.  I was a last-minute replacement for another competitor who had some health issues and who was unable to compete as planned.  I found out on Tuesday noon that I was in the seat and that I needed to get to the selected starting location in Bad Homburg, Germany on Thursday morning. To get to Bad Homburg I flew into Frankfurt, Germany and then took a taxi to the Steigenberger Hotel which was the rally base in Bad Homburg.  The Steigenberger Hotel was lovely place to stay – very modern, but with the right touch of classic styling.

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The Base Hotel In Bad Homburg Was The Steigenberger

The 2016 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique had five starting cities:

  • Bad Homburg, Germany
  • Oslo, Norway
  • Reims, France
  • Glasgow, Scotland
  • Barcelone, Spain

The first part of the Rallye Monte Carlo Historique is made up of Concentration Routes that bring the competing cars from the various cities together, so that all of the competing cars are timed on the same Regulatory Stages.  Dan Allven, who entered the car in which I would be competing, lives in Monaco, therefore Bad Homburg was his chosen starting location.

I was surprised to see that there was no snow in Bad Homburg.  Rather than the winter conditions that I was expecting, it was almost spring-like.  Across the street from the Steigenberger Hotel was a park that included some interesting buildings like the Kaiser Wilhelms Bad shown below.  I had some time available to take a look around the park before I was to meet up with Dan.

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Park Across From The Steigenberger Hotel

The Kaiser Wilhelms Bad was built in 1887-1890 as a therapy house in the Homburg spa garden.  Inside are wide, high-ceilinged rooms that are equipped with precious tiles and mosaics.  Some famous visitors of the bath were Albert Edward (Prince of Wales), Bismarck and King Chulalongkorn (King of Siam).   These days the “Kur-Royal” Day Spa with numerous spa services is located in Kaiser Wilhelms Bad.

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Lining Up To Get Our Car Ready For Scrutineering

Dan’s car for the 2016 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique was a 1964 Fiat 2300S Abarth Coupe.  While this car is a Fiat, I understand that Fiat had little to do with this car.  The body was styled by Ghia and the drive train was modified by Abarth.  It has a 2300cc engine with dual carburetors and an overhead camshaft.  The power output of the engine is about 150 horsepower.  In 1964 this was considered to be quite a sporty grand touring coupe.  Dan Allven said that the Fiat 2300S Abarth was often referred to as a poor man’s Ferrari.  In fact Dan often called the car a “Ferrariat.”  It is certainly a comfortable car to spend long hours in.

Dan had only recently bought this car with the specific purpose in mind of entering it in the 2016 Rally Monte Carlo Historique.  When Dan bought the car it needed some cosmetic restoration which was completed to a high quality.  There were several electrical issues that were discovered just before the start of the 2016 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique which made it questionable as to if the car would actually be ready to start the rally.  The car was being repaired in a shop some distance from where Dan lived.  In order to see that the needed repairs were completed on time, Dan went to the repair shop to personally make sure that the car got the needed repairs done in a timely manner.  Fortunately the repairs were done, just in time, to allow the car to take part in the Rallye Monte Carlo Historique.

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Our 1964 Fiat 2300S Coupe Ready To Go

The final car preparation and scrutinizing took place at the local BMW dealership in Bad Homburg.  The BMW dealer was kind enough to move his display vehicles out of the showroom and to allow many of the rally cars to move in for final preparations and overnight parking.  Walking around a showroom full of rally cars was very enjoyable and interesting.

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Rally Cars Filled The Showroom Of A BMW Dealership

Among the interesting rally cars ready to compete in the 2016 Monte Carlo Historique was the 1976 Lancia Stratos shown below.  These are truly classic rally cars.  Lancia Stratos rally cars in the hands of Sandro Munari, Bjorn Waldegard, and Bernard Darniche finished 1-2-3 in the 1976 Monte Carlo Rally among their many other victories and rally podium finishes.

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A Lancia Stratos Rally Car

On Friday morning we collected our car and drove it to the starting area in downtown Bad Homburg.  This worked out well as there was a large marketplace where we were able to buy some fruit and water to take with us in the car.  The Rallye Monte Carlo Historique rally is a long rally and it can get quite intense.  It is easy to get caught up in the rally experience and then forget to eat or drink to keep your energy level up.  We found apples, oranges, and bananas to be good food to travel with and we easy to eat.  It is important to remind yourself and your rally partner to eat and drink at regular intervals.  I also got a bag of croissants as well as the fruit.  Dan had some energy drinks, but I preferred plain still water.

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Waiting In Downtown Bad Homburg For The Start

There were about 58 cars that chose Bad Homburg as the location to start the 2016 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique.  The remainder of the over 300 entries in the rally selected the other starting cities.  In Bad Homburg there also were the 12 cars that chose to start their rally in Oslo, Norway.  As these cars joined us, they were given start times that were just after the 58 Bad Homburg cars started and then we all followed the same route from Bad Homburg forward.

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Myself And Dan Allven Approaching the Start Of The 2016 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique

It was very exciting as we approached the starting line.  I could hardly believe that I was actually there.  The Rallye Monte Carlo Historique was something that I had wanted to do for years and now it was about to happen.  There was a large crowd of people watching the start and a wonderful starting ramp.  Just the way that I had imagined it.

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The Starting Arch At Bad Homburg

Our start time was 13:18 and we were following a green MGB entered a British team.  When we got on the starting ramp I was given our Time Card and our Carnet De Controle Des Infractions.  I was briefly interviewed by the start line announcer, but I doubt that many of the German crowd understood my English language responses.  Then we were flagged off.  Our Rallye Monte Carlo Historique had begun.

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Dan & I Start On Our Way At The 2016 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique

I will have more in the upcoming days about our adventures, challenges, and good times in the 2016 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique.

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2 Responses to Starting Our Rallye Monte Carlo Historique

  1. Awsome, can’t wait to hear more.

    You must still be pinching yourself!

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