Travel: Climbing The Andes Mountains At The Haciendas Classic Chopard Rally, Part 2

Climbing The Andes Mountains At The Haciendas Classic Chopard Rally, Part 2

Alvaro Colombiano By Alvaro Colombiano
October 9, 2017
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Photography by Alvaro Pinzón

Last month’s article will catch you up to speed on the first half of the Haciendas Classic Chopard Rally, and this is how we completed the journey. Recall that we’d left off in the town of Jenesano to take a brief respite from the road—this is where we begin.

After our cohort of about 150 or so cars did the necessary parking lot maneuvers and began filing out of the town to the same fanfare received upon arrival, we started once again to climb the mountains on our way to Tunja, which would see us on the principal road before the last leg of the rally. After arriving in Tunja for a quick snack and gas fill, the next two hours were spent in jungled high-elevation as well as in small towns along the way, and then we reached our second stop of the day at the Suescun Hacienda, an important ranch from the colonial era that dates back about 400 years. Today it is a well-known hotel in Boyacá, and after spending 200km driving near continuously since our last stop in Tunja (remember, this 200km is not done at highway speeds or on highway straightaways either!), the hotel was the perfect place to relax and have some lunch.

Besides just a welcome break from the admittedly fun but exhausting driving, it was also an opportunity to check out more of the cars from the rally in detail. My father and I had the chance to talk to many of the owners, besides the simple pleasure of watching the rest of the cars pull into the parking area. With stomachs full and a few new friends made along the way, it was time once again for our merry band of travelers to set off. This was to be the rally’s final stage, and it was to be a timed run. Only 30km remained from Suescun Hacienda to the endpoint, the Estelar Hotel in Paipa. We were let onto the route at intervals of 30 seconds, and when our time finally arrived we were already eager to join the others at the finish.

The final stint took only about half an hour of driving to complete, and we arrived at the hotel around 5PM, a perfect time to take a few more photos in front of the bordering lake. It was a great environment for these purposes, but also just a nice chance to look at some of the cars up close again. For instance, the BMW E30 M3 convertible pictured is apparently the only original one in the country, as the other that used to live here was sold brought back to Europe in the recent past. We also spent more time with the Porsche Carrera RS that we’d been following in the rally earlier, and we learned a bit of its unique history. It was originally brought over about two decades ago to compete in rallies in Central America, and it was then imported to Colombia, where it is owned by a private collector. He still gives it proper exercise as evidenced by its participation in this event, and when he took the two track caps off the exhaust pipes we could hear the car’s happiness at this fact!

The wider selection didn’t disappoint either, with a great showing of vintage metal in the form of classic Jags, a smattering of Porsche 356s, Alfa Romeos of all shapes and (small) sizes, and heaps of other well-kept classics. In all, with days of driving and countless conversations centered on the world of cars we all love so much, I can’t think of something to replace the Haciendas Classic if you’re interested in the Colombian classic car scene. The only downside to the event is that it’s held every two years; here’s to 2019!

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