A rallying adventure to set the pulse racing







On 6 October 2001 around 100 classic cars and modern 4x4s set out from Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana Fort. It was the start of one of the world's great motoring adventures: the Inca Trail.

Half the cars were least 25 years old. The oldest being over 70. Their crews took part in one of the toughest endurance tests possible, our competitive Classic Reliability Trial. Those who did exceptionally well - and won a coveted gold medal - had a well-prepared car and excellent navigation and timekeeping skills. Some speed helped, but there's was much more to this 15,000 mile challenge than devilish driving!

Another 50 crews also entered our Adventure Drive in the relative comfort of modern 4x4 machinery - many of these vehicles were factory fresh and the newest of their type. They were free to improvise on our route, in the knowledge that they had HERO's expertise behind them for essentials such as accommodation arrangements, border crossings and assistance in the case of emergency.

Crews drove between about 180 and 375 miles daily. Special challenges were sought out for 4x4 drivers, and easier or shorter sections were an option for the earliest cars.

The Inca Trail travelled some of the best, most thrilling rallying terrain in the world: with test sections along spectacular little mountain passes with dizzying drops; relaxed smooth rolling pampas; superb gravel surfaces towards and past great volcanoes. All crews were welcomed onto the roads and circuits of longstanding local club events, and ran in the wheeltracks of the Argentinian Mil Millas into Bariloche. The annual Caminos del Inca shared its territory with some of our route through Peru, and these Inca Trail roads also retraced part of the 1970 London - Mexico World Cup Rally. HERO's John Brown drew on his knowledge from those days to help in the creation of the Inca Trail. He commented before the event: "Things have changed little in 30 years. Maybe a bit more tarmac now, but the rallying will be as challenging as ever!"

Back in Rio, crews returned after 55 days on the road with an unbreakable bond of camaraderie. They now have memories to savour for the rest of their lives and a tremendous glow of satisfaction and achievement!

Last modified 16 October 2005