Chas Colton took a well-deserved second victory in a row on the Classic Marathon 2015, partnered by Ryan Pickering they pushed Howard Warren/Matthew Warren in a very similar Porsche 911 into second place. In third came one of the drives of the event as Marcus Anderson/Matthew Lymn Rose took their Jaguar E-type Series I to a podium finish, remarkable in the fact this was just their second ever event, Kev Haworth.
Sixty-eight starters crossed the line in the 26th running of the Classic Marathon 2015, it features as a round of both the HERO Cup for drivers in association with EFG International and the Golden Roamer Trophy in association with The Basic Roamer Co. Vehicles ranged in age from a 1934 Lagonda M45 T8 Tourer crewed by Marquis Giulio Romanazzi-Carducci/Giuseppe Ceci to a 1990 Porsche (964) 911 convertible piloted by Marco Carnaroli/Camillo Costa. A large crowd of onlookers and well-wishers gathered just outside the harbour in Otranto, Puglia to wave crews away on what would turn out to be a closely fought and epic battle that would ultimately be decided on the final day.
he first leg was a prologue to enable an initial seeding to take place, this included a test at the world famous La Conca Kart circuit and a relatively straightforward regularity section that headed crews back to Lecce for the overnight halt and welcome dinner in the town. The following morning was the real start of the event with a leg that started in Lecce and used the narrow winding lanes in and around Puglia to head North West and end in Matera, home of the Sassi, the birthplace of Italy. Charles Colton/Ryan Pickering were embroiled in a tussle with fellow Porsche pairing Howard and Matthew Warren, just three seconds separating them, with the Warren’s taking the upper hand at this point. In third were John Abel/Ali Procter were pushing their stunning sounding Sunbeam Tiger hard through the hills but were being pursued by Andrew and Sarah Mallagh in their Porsche 914/6.
Day three saw crews leave Matera and head to the Mediterranean side of Italy, overnighting in Salerno competitors were given a teasing glimpse of the Amalfi Coast from their overnight halt. This was a pivotal day, one that would shape the rest of the event as Classic Marathon made its way into the more mountainous countryside. Mark and Sue Godfrey were climbing steadily through the ranks, their eye on being the first crew ever to win three Marathons, just in front of them were relative newcomers Marcus Anderson/Matthew Lymn Rose in a Jaguar E-type Series I who were having the run of their lives.
Salerno traffic was tricky to circumnavigate as crews departed for day four, the distances covered were now increasing and starting to pile the pressure on crews as the route became even more mountainous, heading into a National Park the weather changed rapidly and the baking sun gave way to a downpour of monsoon-like proportions, leaving many competitors with open top vehicles seeking shelter under trees from this somewhat freakish weather. Colton/Pickering were now starting to edge out a slender lead from the Warrens, it was a battle that would go until the final regularity section of the event. This was also a day of attrition with Claus Coester/Tjorven Christine Schroeder exiting the event, the tricky nature of the weather and slippery Italian road surfaces forcing them to retire. John Abel/Ali Procter also withdrew from the event, a snapped stub axle leaving the pair stranded at the wayside with thoughts of what could have been, they were always in contention and could quite have easily taken the win.
The Classic Marathon has a history of endurance, as the week went on the length of each section increased, the run in from day five included three legs – two at almost 500km each to pile the pressure on the crews. Setting off from Silvi Marini on the Adriatic Coast and heading north through Marche before overnighting in San Marino, most crews kept up the pace and even though now beginning to tire, the thought of reaching Maranello, home of Ferrari on day six spurred them on.
The final twist came on day seven where a short loop to the north west of Lake Garda would see the 26th Classic Marathon be decided. The final regularity (which included no less than eight timing points) was a resounding success for Bloxidge/Pullan, losing just 23 seconds to Colton/Pickering’s 36, however the pressure finally cracked the Warren’s after an error saw them drop one minute five seconds to drop them down the leader board and hand the overall victory to the very similar car of Colton/Pickering.
The 27th Classic Marathon will return in 2017, hopefully in Greecew here the Marathon will visit Marathon.