|The 2003 Arctic Winter Trial took participants on an exciting 5,000km trip around Europe's last great wilderness - the stunningly beautiful Arctic, during the last long days of crisp winter in early March, when daylight lasted nearly 11 hours.
For classic and vintage car owners, it was a competitive reliability trial, with about 50 to 150km of regularity driving during each 350 - 450km day. For those in modern 4x4s, it was a wonderful adventure drive. For both, it was an unforgettable journey of discovery, with plenty of daily snow driving.
The rally will started in Gothenburg on Monday 3 March, and finish in Helsinki on Monday 17 March. In between, the route took in a wide variety of scenery: Sweden's rolling landscapes of highland and forest; the Arctic fjords of Norway, right up to the North Cape; and the superb lakelands (and famous rally roads) of Finland
Rallying stopped early enough each day to ensure a great social life. During the two rest days participants enjoyed a wide range of activities, from snowmobiling to reindeer sleigh rides, from husky sledding to ice driving.
There were visits to places such as the Kiruna's Ice Hotel and the North Cape (which was opened especially for us), plus incredible sightings of the Aurora Borealis.
The Reliability Trial run under FIA regulations, with the cooperation of the national motorsport federations of Sweden, Norway and Finland. The route coordinator was Sweden's Arne Hertz, five times winner of the RAC Rally and one of the world's top co-drivers. HERO also had the help and advice of local clubs along the way, including those responsible for the famous Swedish, Finland and Arctic Rallies.
Participants weren't daunted by the Arctic winter: ordinary people live their lives there, and all had the benefits of civilisation, including excellent hotels - but the thermometer remained resolutely below zero.
HERO helped all to equip themselves with the correct clothing and gave indepth advice on how to prepare their cars. Studded winter tyres as well as Arctic-grade oils and antifreeze were all a nessecity - but that was all part of the adventure!