Gstaad Classic and why the Röstigraben is HEAVEN sent

Do you want some sound advice on how to win a rallye?

Avoid Penalties.
Avoid taking me.
OK?

Gstaad Classic is a true Rally with lots of special stages (Races) on closed mountain roads. The starting Point is Gstaad, which we returned to every night.

I have to confess to always having had a resentment against Gstaad, but it is really pleasant, with beautiful chalets and shops. If you want to go to a skiing place where you don’t need to ski, go there.

 
“Cheese, butter, milk, grass, herbs, fat: yum”

Cheeky Kobold

The service at our Hotel (Bellevue Park) was the friendliest, most attentive I have ever experienced.

As always with the Peter Auto Organisation the field of cars was exceptional, the food delicious and the weather beautiful.

The first day took to us into the hills no mountains above Montreux, which felt funnily nostalgic because that’s were I and by coincidence two other participents had studied.
Due to our accident at the Tour Auto in April (http://www.mealsandwheels.com/2011/04/oh-my-tour-auto-optic-2011-and-sudden.html) I felt a lot of respect for the special stages. Overcoming that fear was one of the reasons to participate in this event.
Yet the first special stage was treacherous: narrow, on wet gravel, steep gorges and rocky walls left and right, leaving everybody with a feeling of “just survived”, especially to those with bigger cars. We were fine with our small 911 and the best driving of the day by Marc.
No, this is not a special stage… this is to give you an idea of what the roads look like.

The following stage I drove. Not feeling confident at all and not super quick, but I did it.

I love the stratos. And two of them I love even more.

During that first day we had 4 special stages, Marc did two and as usual his times were the best overall during that day. I did the other two and came 5th and seventh, meaning that we still ended up in first place in the evening..

Until they added our penalties..
Penalties for being two minutes late: 40 seconds added to our overall time threw us back to sixth position.
Hurray, and there were even more to come..
Second day is a day I would love to leave out, but it’s better that the world is warned of the region around Bern, north of the Rösti Graben: people didn’t like us and our cars there, throwing foul words at us, (I know, because it was in german), driving in the middle of the road with their big SUVs so we had to go off road, telling us off, driving their cows and cars onto closed off roads where those special stages had been planned, (so they had to be canceled), calling the police because our cars were too noisy.
I was told that people who call the police because there are “unlawful racers” on the road receive money for it….

So thank god for the Rösti Graben, which contains these people in and us in the future hopefully out!

 
People in funny pyjamas still looking happy and hopeful, waiting for stage 2, day 2..      
All day we were stuck in endless traffic lines going at max. 43km/h, behind little cars with sagging shoulders, in a beautiful countryside were people looked grim and joy-de-vivre was definitely something uaah very very immoral.
The best bit of the day: riding behind these beautiful TZs..

On top of that we were caught speeding twice by the organisation (going 73 instead of 60km/h), when we overtook those slow cars to catch up with some other rally cars (giving us another minute penalty. Oh yes.

The third day was magnificent, blue skies, bigger roads and three complete stages, two of which stretched across 15 km. The first was short, I drove, caming forth.

The second Marc did and we came first with an advance of almost 20 secs… The same stage was then repeated (good idea), I took the wheel and messed up the first half, but still managed to come third.

Oh the penalties of THAT day?
Were induced by me: calculating our departure time.
God knows what I did with those numbers….

Here we received only twenty seconds, I think the organisers by now felt sorry for us. Thankfully we really didn’t feel sorry for ourselves. We were so concentrated on the driving that we didn’t somehow acknowlegde the fact that to win a rally you not only have to drive but you also have to pay attention to the rest and avoid Penalties! Next time we shall double check EVERYTHING and I promise I will keep away from numbers! (YEAH)


One of the best things about Gstaad Classic was the amount of female racers, at least seven or eight female pilots. That is really uncommon for an event which is about proper racing on dangerous
unknown little mountain roads. I never seen so many, one of them even won the whole event and a entirely female team came third. Hurray!

And now I’m off to the IAA.
This post is not so good.

Thankyouforreadingitanyway!

5 Comments

  1. Karsten says:

    Awesome to read your story, sounds like a great rally!
    I was supposed to be at the IAA too, but unfortunately I can’t make it.
    Have fun, can’t wait for your next story ;)

  2. DB says:

    … But the pictures remain magnificent !!!! I LOVE STRATOS !!!

  3. Arneyb: ahhhhh
    Karsten:thank you, you are kind!
    DB:Good taste!

  4. M says:

    I loved the story and the pictures ! As always…

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