Slovenia, Croatia and Austria
The 30th Classic Marathon will feature the exciting mountain roads and glorious ‘Alpine’ scenery of Slovenia and Austria combined with a brief foray into Croatia to explore the bucolic Istrian Peninsula. This well-renowned classic car rally first ventured this way during the second edition, held back in 1989, when it included a testing climb of the once infamous Moistrocca Pass through the spectacular Julian Alps. Since then, there have been numerous and more comprehensive return visits, notably in 2005 and 2009. And such is the quality of this central European region for rallying that it has also featured on other successful HERO-ERA events, including the legendary Peking to Paris Motor Challenge.
Although the ‘Marathon’ has evolved during its thirty year history, it 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 motoring challenge. However, the event also allows for a good social side as it is essentially a ‘daylight rally’. Navigation, provided in Routebooks issued 30 minutes before the start each day, will be in the form of easy to read tulip instructions or descriptive information. These will be supplemented by daily overview maps. The event caters both for those wanting to venture out onto their first long distance European event as well as the old hands wanting their biennial ‘Marathon’ fix.
The start and finish will be in the lakeside resort of Bled – perhaps Slovenia’s most famous destination – with its picturesque island church, cliff-top medieval castle and imposing snow-capped mountain backdrop. Bled is located within easy reach from Ljubljana International Airport and close to motorway and motorail access from Northern Europe.
(Only Pre 01/01/86 eligible for overall results)
(Until 30th September then £7,150)
(Until 30th September then £7,944)
This event is open to HERO-ERA Club, Premier and Heritage Members
Premier Members benefit from up to 10% off event entry fees*, early sign-up opportunities, 10% savings on classic car vehicle hire, preferential rates from our insurance partners and much more!
See the full list of exclusive membership perks and sign up here
*Doesn’t include Peking to Paris and some one day events
Scrutineering and Documentation sessions will take place during Saturday afternoon before crews join together to look forward to an unforgettable week of Marathon motoring during the Welcome Dinner.
A relaxed morning start is planned from Bled and we will soon be heading into the Julian Alps - a region of deeply wooded valleys, fine castles, hilltop churches and lush green meadows grazed by contented cows. Snaking their way through this ‘Sound of Music’ landscape, a dense network of tarmac and gravel roads hosts the first competitive sections of the event.
We then descend from these idyllic Alpine surroundings, stop for lunch and embrace a change of scenery as we enter the more Mediterranean surroundings of the Vipava Valley and the vine-clad hills of the Slovene littoral en route to the overnight halt in the Adriatic resort of Portorož (or ‘Port of Roses’).
Today could perhaps be subtitled ‘A day trip to Croatia’… In fact, all the timed motoring will be held there, in order to minimise any possible delays at the Schengen Area entry/exit points.
The Istrian Peninsula is possibly best known for its coastal resorts like Pula, Rovinj and Poreč. However, the region also has plenty to offer inland with the rolling hills hiding a network of winding roads that meander through the surrounding fields, vineyards and forests.
Dotted amongst this verdant landscape are a number of medieval hilltop towns that local legend says were once inhabited by giants. Perhaps the best known of these is Motovun - birthplace of Mario Andretti and world famous for its truffles.
After a short but busy day of competition, we return back across the border for a second night ‘by the sea’ in Portorož.
Heading inland from the coast, the initial sections are similar in character to those of the first afternoon, however we then twist our way through densely forested hills - home to brown bears - on well-engineered gravel roads to reach the Central Slovenian regions of Notranjska and Dolenjska.
While lower in altitude and more populated than the mountains further west, the hills here hide a maze of tarmac and gravel byways - perfect terrain for a series of enjoyable Regularities. These guide us east through a lush farmland landscape, dotted with the iconic Kostolecs (Hayracks).
After a longer day behind the wheel, crews will welcome the chance for some well-deserved ‘R&R’ in our spa resort hotel at Terme Olimia, where the thermal springs have been attracting visitors for more than four centuries.
The altitudes increase once again on the fourth morning as we set out into the wooded slopes of Northern Slovenia. This will be a day of ‘Ups and Downs’, quite literally, as the steep topography provides us with a series of testing climbs and descents.
This theme continues throughout the day as we cross into Austria. There is little change in the surroundings initially with the only real clues of entering a different country being the road signs and architectural style of the buildings.
After lunch and an early afternoon test, we turn north to cross the dramatic Niedere Tauern mountain range - where the jagged snow-capped peaks rise to over 2800m a.s.l. - as we make for the attractive alpine resort of Schladming, sat at the base of the spectacular Dachstein Massif in the heart of the Ennstal.
This valley is home to the eponymous ‘Ennstal Classic’, which celebrated its 30th Anniversary in 2022. We will once again be working with the Organisers of this world famous classic car event to bring you the best that the region has to offer.
We have an exciting start to the day planned. What is it? Well, you will just have to join us to find out... Further challenging regularities follow as we return south through the Carinthian and Styrian Mountains back into northern Slovenia.
Crossing the border in the late afternoon, it is a more or less direct run to Ljubljana - Slovenia’s relaxed capital. This attractive city was recently voted the winner of the coveted title of ‘European Best Destination 2022’. Our historic hotel is located close to the very heart of the action and you will have a free evening to explore the best of the restaurants and bars alongside the famous Ljubljanica River.
The final day of the Classic Marathon is renowned for providing a ‘sting in the tail’…
Heading south west from Ljubljana, we ascend into the Julian Alps where the network of steep mountain lanes will hold a few surprises in store, even for those crews who have visited this region previously.
This will be a shorter day but will still include plenty of competition and should provide a fitting finale before we arrive at the grand finish, back in Bled.
After a busy six days of competition, there will no doubt be many memories to be shared over a celebratory drink before the evening Awards Dinner rounds the event off in style.
|1||Paul Bloxidge (GB)||Ian Canavan (GB)||1985||Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk2||1781|
|2||Phil Blunden (AU)||Lyndy Blunden (AU)||1974||MG MGB GT||1800|
|3||TBC (GB)||Phil Cottam (GB)||1986||volkswagen Golf||1781|
|4||Paul Crosby (GB)||TBC||1969||Porsche 911||2195|
|5||Richard Leggett (GB)||James Leggett (GB)||1976||Alfa Romeo Alfetta||1962|
|6||martyn reeves (GB)||john parrott (GB)||1965||austin healey bj8||3000|
|7||Tom Ryan (IE)||Graham Samuel (GB)||1963||Triumph TR4||2100|
|1||Richard Bowser (GB)||James Bowser (GB)||1967||Austin Healy Mk3||2997|
|2||Ken Dobbs (GB)||Peter Opie (GB)||1965||MG B Sports||1860|
|3||Clare Grove (GB)||Suzanne Barker (GB)||1979||Ford Escort Ghia||1600|
|4||Marc Curry (GB)||Rob Simmonds (GB)||1968||Alfa Romeo GTV||1750|
|5||Michael Moss (GB)||James Ewing||1985||VW Golf Gti Mk2||1800|
|6||James O Mahony (IE)||Frank Hussey (IE)||1965||MG B||1800|