After an epic five-day, 2000km drive on a mixed route of tarmac and gravel, from Slovenia to Croatia and Austria, and back to Bled in Slovenia, Mark and Sue Godfrey piloted their MGB to their third Classic Marathon victory on 18-23 June at the front of a field of 46 cars. With the demise of favourites and long-time leaders Paul Crosby and Ali Procter in their Porsche 911 with a broken transmission, the British couple saw off a last-ditch attack by E-type drivers Marcus Anderson and Matthew Lymn Rose, who finally finished 30 seconds in arrears. After early mistakes and setbacks, Philip Armstrong and Peter Rushforth’s Volvo P544 charged up the leader-board on the last day to grab third.
Riders in the Storm
And what a last day it was. It will no doubt be long remembered by all who were there. After a very hot morning, with temperatures reaching up to 34 degrees, the exhausted crews faced the most difficult regularities of the event through the thickly forested hills of Slovenia. During the morning, the battle for third place had seen car 21, the Alfa Romeo of Jayne Wignall and Kevin Savage continuing a late charge and usurping Jayne’s husband Paul and navigator Annabel Jones in the other 50’s Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint. The best of the morning performances was from Paul Bloxidge and Ian Canavan, the former HERO Champions well out in front, even if Paul’s Volkswagen Golf wasn’t eligible for the overall prize.
But up above the sky was beginning to darken and the distant peaks around the final destination started to disappear as a weather front rolled in. The storm was colossal, and with the most difficult regularity of the event still to go, the marshals were certainly feeling it, standing steadfast in the rain and hail, with thunder and great forks of lighting splitting the sky overhead.
The weather would wreak havoc on the final two regularities. Cars were succumbing to the conditions with mishaps suffered by the Mercedes of Norwegians Agnete Segalstad and Ole Rasmus Robak, and Richard and James Bowser in an Austin Healey Mk3 losing out on a hard-won class victory. As the lightning crashed into the trees, there were reports of ice on the road, with rivers running down the asphalt and impossible visibility. The weather Gods had unleashed their wrath after offering up such incredible sunshine for most of the week.
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