Rally Classico Isla Mallorca 12-14 March 2020

— Text: Hamish Goddard / Photo: G. Westphal Yacht Photography —

About Mallorca, Coronavirus & the XVI Mallorca Rally Clasico

The former Prime Minister Harold Wilson once said, in an economically struggling 1960s Britain, that a week in politics is a long time. It seems that even an hour is long enough for some very dramatic new announcements to be made around the coronavirus pandemic – and all bets are off at the time of writing about what will be the situation when this magazine actually arrives in the frequently-washed hands of its readers.

From a local perspective – aside from the fact that almost all the loo-roll on the island completely disappeared during the middle of March – there was the sad announcement that Palma Superyacht Show was postponed until June, although timely in that this was long before any of the superstructure for the show had been put in place. This was alongside terrible news for so many industries here regarding mass cancellations of tours and hotel bookings for later in the spring. Beware the Ides of March…

The American radio broadcaster Paul Harvey once offered the placatory adage that “In times like these, it’s important to remember that there have always been times like these.”… This isn’t the case with this virus – certainly in our generation. It’s a known unknown, with only the Spanish Flu pandemic of 100 years ago being the most likely comparison. However, seeing as we are in the mood for quotes, let’s also remember the alternative Persian placatory adage that “This Too Shall Pass” – which of course it will in time. We just don’t know what it will cost us yet.

XVI Mallorca Rally Classico

So as I write, everything is uncertain with innumerable events, both here and overseas, having the shutters drawn down on them. What squeezed under this rapidly closing door, although only for its first full day before it was also cancelled early, was the sixteenth installment of the Mallorca Rally Clasico from its usual base in Porto Portals – typically, a fantastic three-day closed road classic rally event taking place over 13 special stages all over the island, with the obvious gravitation towards the Tramuntana mountains and some of the best driving roads in the whole of Europe.

Although sadly unable to take part this year, hiking off with a folding chair and a backpack of sandwiches to a decent vantage point had been on my agenda. There was the usual eclectic collection of cars and drivers belting around our beautiful scenery – from a contemporary Caterham 620S squirting over 300 horsepower out of its tiny frame to a glorious 1950s Merc 300 SLS, valuable and very dentable on the squeezy sections, along with the regular and numerous visiting Germans, trailing down their noisy and spectacular race-prepped 911s from mainland Europe. We will know when this is published whether or when they managed to get home…

The social agenda for the rally itself was necessarily curtailed, which was a poor return for those taking part – and particularly so for the organiser Toni Descallar who puts so much effort into making this high-end event one of the best classic rallies in Europe.

Gentlemen Driving Mallorca

The classic and sports car club Driving Mallorca, of which I have been manager for the last five years, has been relaunched with a new injection of energy as ‘Gentlemen Driving Mallorca’ – the Mallorquin chapter of a theme that is also being rolled out across various districts in Spain, the first being Andalucía. In its usual way, the Club will be organising driving and social outings all over the island for those with a ‘classic, fast or interesting car’, but this time with a particular emphasis on accessing track days not only here at the Llucmajor Circuit east of Palma, but also on the Spanish mainland at the fantastic racing circuits of Ascari, Almeria and Castelloli.

It’s worth pointing out here that the ‘Gentlemen’ prefix is an homage to the amateur drivers of the past that would join the professionals in classic road racing events of 50s and 60s – gaining this nomenclature in the process – and nothing to do with excluding the many female members both in the club already or extremely welcome to join! More details can be found on the forthcoming events and track days on the Club’s new website at www.gentlemendriving.com

½ Milla Moto Tourisme

Moving from four wheels to two, the 1/2 Milla Moto Tourisme took place in early March – a half lap of the island on motorbikes from Palma down towards Ses Salines, before curling up towards Algaida and finishing at the Los Ultimos Mohicanos. I’m constantly impressed by the number and quality of some of the gorgeous and veritable crotch-rockets that many working in the yachting industry own – these wailing machines perhaps the perfect antidote to the more sedate pace and relative peace of being afloat.

Our small group of yacht skippers and suppliers to the industry joined 500 or so other riders, on everything from hyper-sports bikes to street cruisers in glorious spring sunshine for a wonderful day out. This is in many ways a warm up to the Vuelta Moto Tourisme, a full lap of the island in which several thousand bikes take part on Saturday 18th April – definitely one for your diaries – if of course, it happens…

Happy Motoring!

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