The Dutch team of Jan Ebus and Jan Berkhof won the 19th Winter Challenge convincingly, bringing home their 1964 Porsche 356 fully two and a half minutes ahead of their nearest rivals – Richard Dix and Martin Neal, who drove a 1964 Volvo 122S. A late charge on day four from Charles Colton and Ryan Pickering wasn’t enough to see their 1965 Porsche 911 regain its day three position, the pair eventually finishing in third.
The rally got underway on 23 February at Race Retro in Stoneleigh Park, near Coventry, before continuing to Le Mans, Monts du Forez and Valence, taking in Cannes and the famed Col de Turini before finally finishing in Monte Carlo on 27 February. The prizes were awarded at the Café de Paris on Casino Square. Speaking of falling short in last year’s Rally of the Tests, Ebus triumphantly declared: “No second this time!”
Among the Porsche 911s, MGBs and Triumph TR4s were two teams that came from Japan to compete. Yoshinori Yamaguchi and Kohei Kusaka entered a 1973 Toyota TE27 Sprinter, while their compatriots, Noboru Matsunami and Susumu Nagasi, drove a 1979 Nissan PA11 Violet. Both teams were in Class 4 for post-1967 saloon and sports cars and represented the Tokyo University Historic Rally Team. Yamaguchi and Kusaka finished second in class.
The gentler Retro Challenge offered a taste of the main event, following the same route and sharing regularity tests before stopping near Southampton. That competition was won by Duncan Wild and Jez Boakes, who were driving a 1965 Triumph 2000.
Rally organiser, Jeremy Dixon said: “This year’s route was a great success, and we were rewarded with a morning of fresh snow that for many was the highlight of the event.”