Ancient Backdrop Hosts Rally Cars that Span Decades
Photography by Máté Boér for Petrolicious
It’s nice to live in a country with continental climate, because year after year spring brings you the pleasure and the celebration of a new beginning after a long, dark and cold winter. This celebration differs from human to human, but as we know, there are many who can’t wait to get a beloved vehicle out of the garage, drive it to gatherings, cruise, or race with it. In many countries, spring also means the beginning of the new season of regularity races, like the Franciacorta Historic in Italy, or the famous Tour Auto in France. Approximately at the same time, the eighth season of Hungary’s regularity race series, the Oldtimer Supercup also departed with the Hungaria Classic. The season’s first race is always a good opportunity to see which cars were finished over the winter. For example, this time we met with an ACMA Vespa 400 and a Renault Gordini R17, both freshly restored.
The early rays of the sun found the fifty-eight participant pairs close to the world heritage site of the Benedictine Pannonhalma Archabbey, one of the oldest monuments in Hungary. It was founded in 996 and after Monte Cassino, this is the second largest territorial abbey in the world. The historic background seemed appropriate given the colorful field of cars, spread from the little Honda S600 through a Tatra 608 to a perfectly preserved Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution.
This type of racing opens your eyes to a region’s beauty and you quickly realize that you don’t have to board a plane or even drive far away to explore something new around you. Altough regularity or TSD racing is not about “open-top cruising,” it is an event where professional level racing meets a wider range of people. Throughout the event, participants can enjoy the cars, roads, countryside, and good cuisine, but on the other hand, there is no possibility of winning without routine and professional accuracy. In 2006, the Oldtimer Supercup banished digital watches and on-board computers. And so, drivers’ best friends are their co-drivers, the mechanical stoppers and their tripmaster. The best teams organize their own training and the driver learns every last millimeter of his car to know where and when will the bumper go trough the infrared gates. No, it’s not luck to run a special stage with 1/100 of a second punctuality. All things considered, it is hard work for the team and there is no place for imprecision.
Some of the special stages took place at the Rábaring, one of the largest test tracks in Europe, established by the Hungarian vehicle manufacturer RÁBA in the middle of the eighties. It served as a proving ground for civil and military vehicles, since large scale production ended the ring has been roughly abandoned. But it has allowed a place for a few motorsport events and Audi uses its 3.67 km long high-speed-track to test their TTs, but its glory days are gone. During the Hungaria Classic the oldtimers were running into the parabolicas and it’s quite a picturesque sight to see a Series I E-Type climbing, roaring up the banked corner.
The 2014 Hungaria Classic gave the participants and spectators throughout the small towns along the route a lot of joy. Everyone was smiling and enjoying the first sunny days of the year, although the late afternoon arrived with torrential rainfall and the last few measured sections had to be cancelled. Half of the series is already done, but the Supercup is always open for foreign visitors and newcomers. Feel free to accompany us in the next rounds scheduled for September and October, when we will join a father-daughter team in a 1971 NSU 1000 C.