The Classic Marathon is a superb event for both driver and navigator. The majority of the route will be on Tarmac roads, with only a minimum of loose surfaces on tests and route. All driving will be carried out in daylight hours. Navigation is straight forward with a comprehensive tulip road book provided along with a map showing the route overview. It is perfect for those wanting to venture out onto their first long distance event or compete abroad. This event receives the classification Intermediate because of the above, suitable for all levels of experience, some guidance may be needed by novice crews.
Watch videos and browse through photos of the event below
When the first Pirelli Classic Marathon competitors were flagged away from London’s Tower Bridge on a bright and sunny Sunday in June 1988, it was the start of something very special. The ambitious plan was a drive across Europe to Cortina – the Jewel of the Dolomites – and all the way back again for a prize giving at the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall. As the promotional brochure at the time put it, “This event is rather unique – there is nothing as long, demanding or as challenging in the world calendar for classic cars”. It was a plan that captured not only the imagination of countless enthusiasts -but also many of rallying’s past heroes – Stirling Moss, Roger Clark, Timo Makinen, Paddy Hopkirk, Paul Easter and Willy Cave to name but a few were all keen to come out of retirement to relive former glories.
Although the event has evolved in the thirty years since that date, the Marathon still holds endurance at its core, driving and navigating across some of Europe’s finest roads and mountain passes are the heart and soul of this event. However, the event does allow for a good social side as it is essentially a daylight event. Navigation will be in the form of easy to read tulip instructions or simple Jogularity information. These will be supplemented by daily overview maps. As such, the event is ideal for those wanting to venture out onto their first long distance European event.
Breaking new ground in 2018, the Classic Marathon will explore the birthplace of western civilisation, Greece. This mountainous country lends itself to fantastic driving roads, each turn bringing a challenge for both driver and navigator. We aim to bring you a real flavour of the Aegean and a rare and unique chance to compete against like-minded crews over this fabled rally ground. Scrutineering takes place on the 9th of June 2018, with the event starting on the 10th of June 2018.
The event starts at an historic site in the Athens area and, from there, a straightforward first day on the road takes us north west to Delphi and a chance to consult the Oracle… The terrain then becomes more rugged on Day Two as we explore the mountains of Central Greece before finishing in the shadow of the amazing clifftop monasteries at Meteora.
The third day behind the wheel sees a rest for the mountains as the route makes its way to the coast and the overnight hotel close to Patras.
Day Four combines the mountains of the Peloponnese with the opportunity to visit a few historic sites as we head for the coastal resort of Kalamata, famous for its olives. Here crews can enjoy two nights in the same hotel, as the next day sees us discovering the wild and rugged coastlines of the beautiful Mani region before returning to Kalamata.
(Cars built before this date)
The first session of Scrutineering and Documentation will take place between 09:30 and 12:00 with a second session running from 16:00 until 19:00.
Signing on, documentation and Rally HQ will be in the luxurious Divani Apollon Palace Hotel, on the Athenian Riviera, This is also where crews will be staying the first and last nights. The complex is only 30 minutes by taxi from the airport and is close to the centre of Athens for those who wish to visit.
For those crews staying on the Friday night, there are numerous shore line restaurants to choose from as well as the Hotel’s own restaurants, all within an easy walking distance.
We are currently negotiating with the local Mayor of Marathonas to be able to set off from the startline of the legendary Marathon race, from 10:00 onwards.
After being flagged away, it is straight into the action with a test in Marathonas before heading towards the coast for the first short regularity and on to another test.
Sunday Lunch is taken at a local Winery before 3 regularities in the afternoon see us end the day at the archaeological site of Delfi where the Main Time Control is located at the entrance to the attraction. This will allow the opportunity to visit the site before dinner at the hotel, set on a hillside with exceptional views.
As we move away from Athens, we embrace the more rural and rustic environs with traditional refreshments halts and hotels that give you a flavour of the Greek culture and way of life.
Today will be a true Marathon day in all senses as we head into the mountains . We have a good selection of regularities planned for the morning run prior to lunch at the one of the main ski resort hotels in Karpenisi. This was the base for the Subaru World Rally team in days gone by when they were testing for the Acropolis Rally.
Leaving lunch, we cross one of the highest mountain passes in Greece before descending to the foothills below for further regularities culminating in a final section with some interesting navigation to keep the navigators on their toes and a final test for the drivers to enjoy. By the time we arrive at our overnight hotel close to Kalambaka, both crew members will certainly be looking forward to some liquid refreshment!
We leave the hacienda style hotel for a tour around the cliff top monasteries of Meteora, made famous in the James Bond film - For Your Eyes Only. We have built in 10 minutes to allow for photo stops.
Today's route gives us some respite from the high mountains and includes a short motorway run before we venture back into the undulating countryside for a number of challenging regularities.
No tests are planned for Day Three but the regularities will be testing enough to keep everyone busy.
We have stop for a scenic lunch at Arta before the afternoon run south along the coastal range of hills on a variety of roads to a rest stop by the side of a peaceful lake. This will be the calm before the storm of a final challenging regularity that takes us across the hills to the Rio-Antirrio Bridge, the largest in Greece and completed in 2004. From there, it is literally a stone’s throw to our overnight halt at the Porto Rio Hotel and Casino.
Sees us leave the Porto Rio Hotel with a relatively long run out to the first regularity of the day. This is a short affair through rolling farmland. After the driving challenges of the previous two days, we thought that you would appreciate a more laidback pace this morning as we take in another long run to a delightful small coffee shop for morning refreshments.
From there, the pace heats up a little with a quick brace of regularities over excellent driving roads with fine views that will be enjoyed by both navigator and driver as we make for lunch at a traditional roadside tavern where a traditional menu will be served.
The more relaxed pace of Day Four continues in the afternoon but crews still need to keep their wits about them as we cross further mountain ridges of the central Peloponnese on the way to the southern coast. We take our afternoon refreshments halt in Ancient Messini overlooking the ruins below, a wondrous site of Greek times past.
From there, a final regularity of the day among the famous olive groves and a final test at the local kart circuit heralds our arrival in Kalamata. Here we will stay for two nights in the Flioxenia Hotel, right by the sea, where you will be able to enjoy the local hospitality and our extended stay means that for once you will not need to repack your bags in the morning.
We replace the mountains with the coast today as we venture onto the rugged Mani Peninsula, which boasts stunning sea views. Well that is what we are told but these were hidden from us on the recce by an African dust storm which had blown in across the Mediterranean.
What we can tell you about is the competition and we have some interesting regularities planned as we trace our way down the western side of the peninsula. We dip down from the hills to pass through small sleepy fishing villages on the way to a harbour side morning coffee stop.
It is then more of the same with two regularities that are very different in character before we arrive at the southernmost tip of the peninsula for lunch in an awesome location at Marmari overlooking the bay below.
In the afternoon, as we head up the eastern coast, we keep you entertained with a couple of regularities for the navigators to make their mark followed by two circuit tests in quick succession.
We have sited the final Main Time Control at a lovely hillside restaurant close to the famous ruins at Mystras - a World Heritage Site. This allows crews who wish to visit the attraction, a chance to relax and take their time exploring this historic settlement before the drive back to Kalamata, where the hotel pool will be waiting.
The penultimate day starts with a short run out to the local kart track for another quick blast before we take to the hills for what will prove to be a truly alpine day, complete with fir trees and mountain passes.
We descend for morning coffee at a small family-run roadside café before tackling further regularities through the forests and undulating countryside en route to lunch at a local farm attraction which should prove interesting - our hospitality team report that you need to watch out for the Emus!
In the afternoon, a long regularity then takes us back into the high peaks, which saw us back into the snow on the recce, as we pass another Greek ski resort on the way to an excellent roadside chalet for afternoon refreshments. You really could be in the Alps at this point, although the thermometer outside might say something different.
Then within half an hour, the scenery has changed totally and more stereotypical Greek scenery will be the backdrop for the final long regularity across a low range of scrubby hills ringed by the ever present olive groves to the coast at Nafplio. Here we stop in a fine neoclassical style hotel set in a quiet rural setting but before we get there we have the chance for a final bit of tyre squealing on a short kart circuit test.
The finale and our return back to Athens. This morning’s regularities put a different slant on the event set amongst the orange groves and the undulating hillsides with a mix of tarmac roads and some short gravel sections. These will be split by a chance to visit the famous Amphitheatre at Epidavrus.
As we end the morning run, you will notice that we have moved back into more built up areas closer to Athens and there will be more traffic about. Our route to lunch takes us over the Corinth Canal where we have allowed time for crews to stop and take photographs. Lunch itself will be taken in a hillside tavern with fine food and stunning coastal views on offer.
Keeping with recent Marathon tradition, we then tackle a long afternoon regularity with numerous timing points, which might just decide the final leaderboard before enjoying one last test at the Athens Megara karting circuit.
This is where the competition will end and then it will be a relaxed 60-km run back along the bay to Athens and the Divani Apollon Palace. Here, crews will be greeted in true HERO style at the Finish Arch. Our “marathon race” from Marathonas to Athens will have been somewhat longer than 42 kilometres and arriving at the finish, you will all deserve the plaudits of what we hope will have been a challenging, successful and enjoyable rally.
HERO Standard Regulations 2018
Classic Marathon 2018 ASR's
Classic Marathon 2018 Full Results Book
Classic Marathon 2018 - Event Report- End Of Leg Six
Classic Marathon 2018 - Event Report - End Of Leg Five
Classic Marathon 2018 - Event Report - End Of Leg Four
Classic Marathon 2018 - Event Report - End Of Leg Three
Classic Marathon 2018 - Event Report - End Of Leg Two
Classic Marathon 2018 - Event Report - End Of Leg One