Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the
World’s only International Rally for sub-500cc cars
July 17-20, 1958 -- July 11-20, 2008

Something completely new in classic rallying: an endurance rally for microcars!

In July 1958, the Royal Motor Union of Liège organised a special once-only ‘mini’ version of its legendary Marathon de la Route, specifically for cars of under 500cc engine capacity: it ran from Thursday evening to Sunday evening, non-stop apart from a break of a few hours in Brescia. 36 little cars entered, but only 13 finished the gruelling rally.

In July 2008, a celebration Touring Rally will run along the same 2000-mile route, from Liège in Belgium via Germany, Austria, Italy and Slovenia back to Liège, for the same categories of vehicles as the original event. We are honoured to have the enthusiastic support and co-operation of the Royal Motor Union of Liège for this new rally.

This time the rally will not be a flat-out grind against the clock: in deference to modern road conditions and the cherished nature of the vehicles, this will be a touring event spread over 10 days, finishing on the same date as the original event. Each day’s route will be approx 330km, visiting all the places visited by the original rally, such as Ljubljana, the Stelvio and Gavia Passes and the BMW factory at Munich. Participants will accrue points for accurate navigation and for fault-free running; optional competitions will be included on private roads or race circuits en route and winners from each category will receive awards at prizegiving dinners in Brescia and Liège.

In 1958, British entrants comprised a works team of six Berkeleys (three 492cc, three 328cc) of which one was crewed by Pat Moss and Ann Wisdom, fresh from winning an Alpine Cup on the Alpine Rally in an Austin-Healey 3000. What a contrast was the little 328cc Berkeley, yet Pat still remembers it with affection: “They were so cute, really cute, but used to seize regularly. You got out and had a cigarette and got back in and it would go again.” Berkeleys led until the rally entered Slovenia, when the Fiat 500s took over, going on to win the event. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the rally was the stunning reliability and performance of the four 250cc Zundapp Janus cars, all of which finished strongly and claimed the team prize. Other marques entered in 1958 included BMW Isetta, Messerschmitt, Citroen 2CV, Lloyd, Isard (Goggomobil), Panhard, Vespa and Meadows Frisky. We hope to attract a similar field in 2008 and will open a separate category for slightly later, slightly larger-engined models in the same spirit, such as the 1959-61 Berkeley B95, which will compete for their own pre-1967 sub-700cc awards.
Please see the Liège-Brescia-Liège pages of website and contact the organisers for more details and entry forms: there are already over 75 names on the provisional entry list. From the US, a Berkeley B95 from Missouri has been entered, and Jeff Lane from the Lane Motor Museum is expected to be a participant.

The organising team for Liège-Brescia-Liège 2008 is led by Malcolm McKay
Contact: ClassicRallyPress Ltd, 3 Pond Cottages, Edgcott, HP18 0TW, England
Tel 01296 770992

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