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 another trophy to their cabinet — which also includes victory in the 2015 Road to Mandalay — after holding their lead from the Copenhagen start to the Berlin finish in their 1925 Bentley 3-4½ (above, Gerard Brown photo courtesy ERA).
Cleyndert allowed that for him, driving the WRC stages was a real thrill but the entire route was fantastic. Norman 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 2nd place after a tough battle with Lars and Annette Rolner who had to settle for 3rd, just a dozen seconds behind.
Starting from Copenhagen’s Clarion Hotel on May 28, the 14-day rally journeyed through Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland before finishing in Berlin on Saturday June 10, covering more than 4,200 kilometers.
In the Classics category, it was the 1972 Datsun 240Z of Belgium’s Rene Declercq and Eric Claeys that claimed victory, just 39 ticks ahead of Gavin and Diana Henderson’s 1965 Porsche 911. Third place went to David and Jo Roberts in their 1968 Triumph TR250.
Declercq 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. A listing of the various class winners follows below.
“What a fantastic two weeks of rallying,” enthused ERA Rally Director Fred Gallagher. “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 that ERA calendar is another brand-new rally, the Blue Train Challenge. Held from September18-22, the Blue Train promises to recapture that nostalgic age of travel with an exciting five-day journey of discovery. The event starts from Deauville and finishes in Cannes, and entries are still available. Please visit www.endurorally.com for complete information.
Baltic Rally Class Winners:
Vintageants – Overall
Bill Cleyndert/Jacqui Norman – 1925 Bentley 3-4½.
Vintageants – Pre-1932 cars
Andrew/Ann Boland – 1934 Talbot AV105
Vintageants – 1932-1948 cars
Anton Gonnissen/Inge Willemen, 1929 Bentley Speed 8
Classics – Overall
Rene Declercq/Eric Claeys – 1972 Datsun 240Z
Classics – all 1949-1961 and 1962-1969 cars up to 2200cc
Jim Grayson / Simon Spinks, 1969 Ford Escort
Classics – cars of Swedish origin
Ludovic Bois/Julia Colman, 1969 Volvo Amazon
Classics – 1962-1969 cars over 2200cc, all Porsche 911s under 2000cc
Jayne/Paul Wignall, 1965 Sunbeam Tiger
Classics – 1970-1975 cars
Steve/Julie Robertson, 1974 MGB GT V8