|Classic Minis courtesy of BMW Group|
According to a press release from BMW Group, there will be five classic Minis and 44 BMWs participating in the seventh running of the Allgäu-Orient Rally being held from April 28 to May 12. My first thought was that that was pretty cool, especially considering BMW didn’t even make the classic Mini. My second thought was “the what rally?”
The Allgäu-Orient sounds like a different kind of classic car rally. The cars—more than 250 in all—have to drive from Oberstaufen in Bavaria to Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, a distance of some 5,000 kilometres, passing through Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey and Georgia en route. So far, that sounds like any other classic rally, but there’s a catch. It’s designed to be affordable. All of the cars entered have to be at least 20 years old, and they’re not allowed to be worth more than €1,111.11 or around $1,430. The teams must either sleep in their cars, carry tents, or find hotels that charge no more than €11.11 per person per night. And at the end, the cars are all auctioned off for charity.
In addition, each car is expected to travel around 375 miles per day, without using motorways or navigation systems. I had a look at the Allgäu-Orientwebsite, which confirmed the details in the press release as far as I could tell (most of the site is in German, but some parts have been translated into English). Google offered to translate the page into English for me, coming up with the following headline: The Human Toll in Your Bold Rickety Boxes.
I knew that couldn’t be right. Fortunately I had a German/English dictionary in the house and came up with: The Foolhardy People in Their Rickety Rattletraps.
That at least makes sense.
Not all of the Minis and BMWs belong to BMW Group Classic but they are supplying several teams of cars and drivers. They’ll have three works-prepared classic Minis running, and they also have three groups of three BMW 5 Series Touring models and a group of second generation BMW 3 Series Touring models. Mini is well known for being a great little rally car—should be interesting to see how the various teams do.