Bentley’s Dominate ERA Baltic Classic Rally

The vintage Bentleys dominated the Endurance Rally Association’s inaugural Baltic Classic Rally taking the three top spots in the Vintageants category. Peking to Paris European Cup winners Bill Cleyndert and Jacqui Norman added to their trophy cabinet, which also includes win of the 2015 Road to Mandalay, after holding their lead from the Copenhagen start to the Berlin finish in the 1925 Bentley 3-4½.

Bill recounted that for him, driving the WRC stages was a real thrill but the entire route was fantastic. Jacqui added: “It’s been a fabulous rally with some really tough navigation to keep us on our toes. I thought that we’d blown it in the airfield regularity and was very relieved to see that everyone else had as well!”

They were followed by Graham and Marina Goodwin in the 1925 Super Sports in second place after a tough battle with Lars and Annette Rolner who had to settle for third place, with just 00:12 between them.

Starting from Copenhagen’s Clarion Hotel on 28 May, the 14-day rally journeyed through Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland before finishing in Berlin on Saturday 10 June, covering over 4,200 kilometres.

In the Classics category, it was the 1972 Datsun 240Z of Belgium’s Rene Declercq and Eric Claeys who claimed the victory, just 00:39 ahead of Gavin and Diana Henderson’s 1965 Porsche 911. Third place went to David and Jo Roberts in the 1968 Triumph TR250.

Rene said: “Along with winning, the best thing about being on the rally was meeting old friends and making new ones. We will come back next time to defend the victory – in an even faster car.”

A special ‘Spirit of the Rally’ award was presented to the well liked and well travelled crew of Charles and Nellie Bishop with their Vauxhall 30/98.

ERA Rally Director Fred Gallagher said: “What a fantastic two weeks of rallying. We have been lucky to use some of the same terrain as the Rally greats as well as enjoying amazing scenery and great company. The Baltic Classic has been a great success and is sure to become a regular fixture in the ERA calendar.”

The next event on the ERA calendar is another brand new rally, the Blue Train Challenge. Held from 18-22 September, the Blue Train recaptures that nostalgic age of travel with an exciting five-day journey of discovery. The event starts from Deauville and finishes in Cannes, with entries still available. Visit www.endurorally.com for more information.

Words: Andrea Seed – Photos: Gerard Brown

Class Winners:
Vintageants – Pre 1932 type cars
Winner: Andrew / Ann Boland, 1934 Talbot AV105
Second: Clint / Dawn Smith, 1929 Bentley Speed 8
Third: Mark Winkelman / Victor Silveira de Conceicao, 1932 Plymouth PB3 Coupe

Vintageants – 1932 to 1948 type cars
Winner: Anton Gonnissen / Inge Willemen, 1929 Bentley Speed 8
Second: James Gately / Tony Brooks, 1937 Cadillac Convertible Sedan
Third: Arthur / Anna Manners, 1933 Lagonda M45

Classics – all 1949 to 1961 type cars and 1962 to 1969 type cars up to 2200cc
Winner: Jim Grayson / Simon Spinks, 1969 Ford Escort
Second: Jesse Smaal / Jack Boers, 1956 Studebaker Power Hawk
Third: Marco Rollinger / Marianne Hengesch, 1957 Lancia Aurelia

Classics – cars of Swedish origin
Winner: Ludovic Bois / Julia Colman, 1969 Volvo Amazon
Second: Claudine Bloom / Andrew Twort, 1965 Volvo Amazon 122
Third: Tim / Matt Wheatley, 1966 Volvo 122S

Classics – 1962 to 1969 type cars over 2200cc and all Porsche 911 under 2000cc
Winner: Jayne / Paul Wignall, 1965 Sunbeam Tiger
Second: Philip Prettejohn / Christopher Strakosch, 1968 MGC GT
Third: Hans Geist / Herbert Pinzolits, 1969 Mercedes Benz 280 SE

Classics – 1970 to 1975 type cars
Winner: Steve / Julie Robertson, 1974 MGB GT V8
Second: Rachel Vestey / Owen Turner, 1972 Austin Mini
Third: Graham Briggs / Julian Pitts, 1978 Mercedes Benz 280S

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