The London to Casablanca Rally
Essentially designed for classic cars, this could be an ideal shake-down for those planning the Peking to Paris. The first route-survey has now been completed, with Kim Bannister and Philip Young having driven a number of new roads through what will be fresh ground for the organisation south of Marrakesh.

Vintage Category for pre-1941 model types. Classics Category, with classes on engine size, for model-types in production prior to January 1971.


When07 - 16 November 2009 (10 days) 
Deadline 
WhereLondon to Casablanca

Casablanca
MOROCCO 
CategoriesRally 
Contact 

Regulars will remember that we were the first rally-organisation to run a Historic Rally in Morocco in 1993, returning again in 1998, and there has been two Sahara Challenges and a World Cup Rally since then, so, plenty of past experience to draw upon.

 

 

Morocco has changed a good deal in this time and the recent route-survey found numerous tiny roads that in the past were impassable to anything but a well-developed 4x4, now have a tarmac surface. However, the tracks still have to cope with big climatic changes throughout the year from blistering heat in summer to freezing cold in winter, ice and snow as well as torrential water of such force enormous boulders move and crash into the edges, so, at best, the surface is as bumpy as anything found on rural roads in Ireland. We are pretty confident that the Morocco route will be virtually 99 per cent tarmac, where ground clearance is not really the issue it once was – but it still calls for strong suspension, reinforced damper mountings and uprated springs with plenty of travel.

 

The route in Morocco will, broadly speaking, travel south from Tangier over rural roads, to Fez. From here we enter the Ceders south of Ifrane for a twisty and demanding network of very rural tracks, where you can drive for an hour or so without seeing a soul, and emerge onto the plateau of the High Atlas Mountains.

 

Days can be expected to be very warm, but, cold at night. We suggest a sleeping bag will be a must to supplement the cashmere blankets of the very small (and very basic) hotels. From here we travel south and after a further night of sleeping in a tiny auberge, hidden in a deep gorge between high cliffs where Indiana Jones escaped on horseback, we run out to vast empty plains, as we head towards Marrakesh. We will spent two nights in Marrakesh in a four-star hotel (the five-star Memounia is just around the corner for those who want to opt out for something even better), with a "Mountain Circuit" looping out of Marrkakesh and back again, with time to then explore the famous kasbah.

 

"Is there any night-time driving?", is a question we are often asked – the answer is very little, but, we do plan an awesome “hillclimb” from the lower reaches of the Tizi-n-Test to the summit in early darkness, as it's so much safer. If you have driven the classic Giants like The Stelvio, Gavia, Var, Perty, Madeleine, Izoard, Turini, then these are mere mole hills, or pin pricks, compared with the Tizi-n-Test. In the days of the Datsun 240Z, the Rally du Maroc used this as a timed stage when the surface was all dirt. Now, it's all tarmac, but still an awesome experience – unforgettable.

 

The final day will see the event finish with a half-day run from Marrakesh to Casablanca, including a Time Trial on gravel that sees cars run alongside the Marrakesh Express railway line.

 

Don’t forget to reach the last great wilderness within striking distance of main land Europe for remote and challenging rally roads, we have to cross France and Spain.

 

We will be organising all the hotels (in Spain, the Paradors, converted monasteries and old forts, for instance), and the ferry crossings, and formalities like customs and immigration, and temporary import of your car (see below)

 

We plan map sections (off the Michelin map), and the odd Jogularity (no speed tables or anything complicated), and sections where nobody will be on time. The only people not allowed to be late will be the marshals.

 

Other highlights: The Start will be from Brooklands, the World’s first and therefore oldest motor-racing circuit at Weybridge, Surrey, (large parts of the 1907 banking still exists in its original form), and from here, our route drives to Dover via two planned venues for our first taste of competition. New to us, the Kent woods will hopefully be something different. After the Channel Crossing, our first overnight stop is at Le Mans. France and Spain will be more of a touring-nature, but once into Morocco, we are running under a permit from the Royal Morocco Motor Federation, and entrants should be under no illusion that this is a timed Rally.