One of my major projects for 2017 is working on the details of the 2018 Trans America Challenge for the Endurance Rally Association. The Endurance Rally Association (ERA) is the originator of today’s long distance rallies with a history that dates back to the 1988 Classic Marathon Rally. In recent history the ERA has organized two previous successful runnings of the Trans America Challenge in 2012 and 2015. The good news is that the United States is big enough that we can have many cross-country rallies without seeing the parts of the country twice.
The general route of the 2018 Trans America Challenge is shown below. And I know that this route will be a fine rally route in terms of driving roads, seeing the countryside, and enjoying motorsports. The nightly stops will be at locations that will allow the competitors to relax after a day on the road with fellow competitors and to contemplate the next day’s adventures.
General Route For The 2018 Trans America Challenge
On my way to compete in the 2017 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique, a meeting was arranged between me and Fred Gallagher, the Rally Director for the Endurance Rally Association at the office of the Endurance Rally Association. Fred met me at Heathrow Airport and drove me out to their head office. Fred had a very successful career as a World Rally Association co-driver having sat with such WRC drivers as John Haugland, Tony Pond, John Buffum, Henri Toivonen, Juha Kankkunen, and Bjorn Waldegard.
Endurance Rally Association’s Rally Director, Fred Gallagher Contemplates The Route Through Utah
The ERA office is in an old schoolhouse on the Eyston estate. One of the Eyston family memebrs who attended that schoolhouse was George Eyston who became a revered figure in English racing history. He was born in 1897 and began car racing in European road races after World War I. He had success racing Bugattis in races such as the French Grand Prix in 1921 and 1926. Eyston became well-known for racing supercharged MGs such as the K3 Magnette in events such as the 1933 Isle of Man and 1934 Northern Ireland Tourist Trophy events, and the 1934 Mille Miglia.
In 1935, Eyston was one of the first British racers to travel to the Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah where he set speed records for 24 and 48 hours. Driving his own car “Thunderbolt” between 1937 and 1939 Eyston set three new land speed records, besting records set by Malcolm Campbell’s “Blue Bird”, but Eyston’s records were twice re-set by John Cobb. Eyston had a long career in motorsports and he died in 1979 at the age of 83.
As a fitting tribute to George Eyston, the route of the 2018 Trans America Challenge will cross the Bonneville Salt Flats.
ERA’s Eleonora Piccolo Caught By Surprise
In addition to meeting with Fred Gallagher, I was able to meet other ERA staff – Eleonora Piccolo and Annette Daley, behind the computer to the right of Ele.
The office is decorated with license plates from past ERA rallies and great pictures taken of those rallies by ERA photographer Gerard Brown.
The Walls Are Decorated With Memories Of Past ERA Rallies
Fred and I had a good meeting. I presented my initial layout of the route that I had documented on state maps. Fred made a couple of great suggestions which I will incorporate to improve the rally route. At this time we are in preliminary planning for the full recce of the route in September. I am sure that this will be an interesting route with enough competitive regularity sections to satisfy the competitive spirit of experienced rally people.
For direct information about this rally you can contasct the Endurance Rally Association at their website: www.endurorally.com
If you have any questions or comments about this post or the Trans America Challenge, then please leave a comment below, contact the ERA, or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net