A ten-day epic, traversing Western Europe
A ten-day epic across four different countries, the 2019 London to Lisbon promises to be a four wheeled adventure for the 48 entrants that will line up at the start line on the 26th April, at the Historic Brooklands racing circuit.
A ten-day epic across four different countries, the 2019 London to Lisbon promises to be a four wheeled adventure for the 48 entrants that will line up at the start line on the 26th April, at the Historic Brooklands racing circuit. In its last edition, the 2000-mile journey saw Paul Crosby and Martyn Taylor triumph in Paul’s Porsche 911, but with their absence on this year’s event, perhaps the returning Daniel Gresley can improve upon his second-place last time out and triumph this year?
Dan will be back with his usual navigator, Elise Whyte, who narrowly missed out on winning last year’s Golden Roamer and so far in this year’s standings sits tenth, just behind Andrew Durden who will be reading the maps for Melvin Andrews in a Porsche 914/6. Elsewhere in the field the current ‘Roamer champion Ian Canavan will be attempting to point rally regular Stephen Owens in the right direction, both I’m sure will have ambitions for the win.
Whilst not a rally aimed at the test pilots in our ranks, across the ten day trip the crews will be involved in around 9 off road excursions for those with a twitchy right foot, but the trip will very much be regularity based, with 52 for the crews to navigate with an extensive road book of Tulips. The scenery and cultures encountered along the journey will be as vast and varied as the regs themselves, as the rally darts through the Surrey hills and breaks for the vast coastal swathes of La France and its ancient towns and villages. Expanses of fields, punctuated by Chateaus, will provide the mainstay of the scenery before we reach the Vineyards that France is famous for. Such extensive deserts of green can play tricks on even the best navigators, when things look so similar.
As the roads head south the terrain will begin to rise, with the route taking in some of the best tarmac that the Pyrenees has to offer as we reach Spain and head towards the vast Sierra de Gredos, the mountainous region in the centre of the country that will spoil us with views, canyons, peaks and of course fabulous roads! As we leave Spain and enter Portugal for the last quarter of the rally, the crews will be treated to the delights of Portugal’s national parks, with more busy days of regularities keeping the competition interesting even as the final assault on Estoril begins. Before that though, the route will take in the highest points of Portugal, with plenty of mountains and with the tough alpine roads that are very much a hallmark of the second half of the rally, the old adage of to finish first, first you must finish will be very prevalent in the ears of the crews.
Whilst the roads will be spectacular, the cars travelling down them will more than match, with the eclectic and magnificent field of vehicles that is now very much a trademark of HERO’s events. As usual the ever popular MGB will be well represented, as well as the popular German choices from Porsche and BMW. Mark Shipman will bring a touch of the exotic to the party, with his Aston Martin DB5, the poster star of many a small boys bedroom wall. Italy will also not be forgotten, with the always classy Alfa Romeo and Lancia represented on the trip. Indeed, there are too many marques and machines to mention, stretching the length and breadth of Europe, as well as from around the world.
So, a culture clash of different countries, sceneries and cars is what awaits on this ten-day adventure through western Europe. Whilst many will have their tips for the winners, it will be anyone’s game, but as always, our teams can expect a well planned and wonderful route, with challenging but enjoyable regularities. Make sure you stay tuned for daily images, videos and news as the HERO circus travels south, on the London to Lisbon 2019.
Words by Tony Jardine
Photos by Blue Passion Photo