Spain Classic Raid
Text + Photography: Mike Blanchard
Spotlight | Sitting in plaza Sanchez Bustillo in front of the great Spanish modern art museum the Reina Sofia one afternoon I was excited to see a Renault 4 wagon classic rally car pull in and park. In the afternoons the plaza is normally the playground for young children after school so to see it fill up with rally cars was a change. Naturally this was very exciting for the children as well and they lost no time in swarming the cars.
The plaza was the Madrid stop at the close of the fourth stage of the Spain Classic Raid. The Renault was followed shortly by car after car as the rally pulled in to the plaza marking the end of the stage.
The Raid is in its third year and is a rally for cars at least 25 years old. It is open to entrants from Spain as well as Europe. Basically anyone with an eligible vehicle. According to their web site the Raid is designed to be affordable to entrants of “affluent or less resources.” Everyone with a car that qualifies is welcome.
The entrants were about evenly divided between small European cars, Like SEAT, Renault, FIAT, Volvo, Lada and larger 4wd SUV type vehicles like Land Rovers, Suzuki Samurais, and Toyota and Mitsubishi 4WD SUVs. The Raid started in Barcelona on March 25 and ended in Sevilla on April 1. It is run over 2300 miles in eight stages on dirt roads. It included some rough stretches including crossing the desert of Monegros on the stretch between Lerida and Zaragosa. The route from Madrid to Linares headed south following the old route of Don Quixote.
Spain is unique in Europe in having desert and the organizers took full advantage of the variety of terrain that the country has to offer from the mountains of the Sierra Nevada to the lush almost tropical landscape of Granada.
Ivan Solera driving a Renault 4 with his dad Manuel was having a great time. “The car has run great with no problems,” said Solera who writes for “Mascote” an online motorsports magazine. Solera and his father ended up classified in 15th place in the overall results. Not bad in a field of 60 cars.
The Raid is not really a race but it is a contest with the winner being the car that accumulates the most points. The overall winner was Victor D’Croz Esteva with co-pilot Jordi Serrat Royo in a Volkswagen Golf. But that said there are trophies for Pilots and navigators of 2wd and 4wd vehicles as well as vehicles with engines under 1 liter in size.