Geoff Love Car prepared. Driver not...
In store for us on this year’s London to Lisbon Trial are 2091 miles, 25 regularities and 14 tests. There is also the option of the Classic Car Tour, which offers less-experienced drivers the opportunity to enjoy a nine-day rally taking in some of the best scenery in France, Spain and Portugal.
With no previous experience, a car from organiser HERO’s Arrive and Drive scheme and the optimism borne of a naïve sense of ‘What can possibly go wrong?’, my co-driver and I have opted for the full-fat Reliability Trial. We may be a little underprepared, yet HERO’s #Porsche-911-2.0T-SWB
certainly is not. Finished in periodcorrect Irish Green with a black hide interior, the 1968 Porsche has been the subject of a mechanical and cosmetic restoration in recent years.
It features a full rollcage, harness, bucket seats and Brantz tripmeter. In preparation for the London to Lisbon, it has also been fettled by specialist Andy Prill of Maxted-Page and Prill, who made good a few rattles and a number of minor faults on the carbs and ignition system. The result is a well-sorted and reliable car that should have no problem facing the challenges ahead.
The same unfortunately cannot be said of the crew. The event begins with scrutineering and documentation, which should cause us no problems as the car has been prepared by the organisers. But then we are on our own. Even before the ferry port in Portsmouth at the end of the first day there are two regularities and two tests to navigate – nothing like easing you in gently for the challenges ahead.
The provisional entry list hints at a wonderful selection of cars that will congregate in Greenwich on 27 April for the start. No fewer than seven other Porsche 911s are due to take part, alongside a Riley Brooklands, an Austin 7 Ulster, two Derby Bentleys, a smattering of Austin-Healeys, a gaggle of Morgans, a small pride of Jaguars and an Aston Martin DB4 Zagato. Altogether, nearly 60 cars will be setting out for Lisbon and the gala awards dinner on the Sunday evening nine days later.
Rather optimistically I had a look at the list of awards available for finishers. While we have few illusions of picking up any of the marque or class awards, we have set ourselves the challenge of at least being placed in the ‘Absolute Beginners Trophy’. Follow our (mis)adventures on the Our website.
Top and left HERO’s 911 is ready to roll, and fresh from some engine work by Porsche specialist Andy Prill. If only publisher Geoff Love were fit to match…