BMW Park Lane Classic has a new HERO

Tomas de Vargas Machuca, Managing Director of the Historic Endurance Rallying Organisation (HERO), and his co-driver Catherine Woodman were both sporting broad smiles as they climbed out of the BMW 1602 exhausted, yet happy they had helped the BMW team win the sought after Marques Award in one of the toughest endurance events of its kind. The blue and white coloured iconic 1973 classic saloon, prepared by BMW Park Lane Classic, had just completed the highly acclaimed LE JOG event (10 – 13 December) finishing in sixth position overall, second in class, whilst also collecting the Mixed Crew Award. The 1,400 mile, day and night course between Land’s End and John O'Groats had taken the crews on a gruelling journey back in time, to the heyday of British Rallying.

An inspiring collection of over 70 classic cars, ranging from the 1930’s up to the early eighties, set off on Saturday morning against a stunning backdrop of the Land’s End cliff top. The mild weather was mixed with rain showers, making the conditions notoriously muddy for the first day, featuring Tests and Regularity sections in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset.

Commenting from ‘Main Control 3’ on day one, with a mug of hot soup in his hand, Tomas said: “The car has been handling really well after the first four Tests and four Regularities. We have a BMW team comprising a 633, 1602 and 320. It’s early days, but we’re pleased to have made a solid start.  We dropped 30 seconds overall so far, which is not bad. Cat and I agreed beforehand that any shouting would not be personal and we wouldn’t take offence, it’s solely for the performance of the rally. So far, so good.”

During the latter stages the team took a wrong route, losing them a couple of positions, but the pair soon found their rhythm to consolidate a strong position within the rally, before they successfully negotiated the fearsome Welsh night-driving sections.

With only a few hours sleep behind them, Sunday’s route took the crews on a course between Telford and Newcastle. Travelling through the demanding Pennines sections, the team’s mettle was tested to the limit. Tomas clocked in at 17.30hrs to ‘Main Control 14’, located at the North Yorkshire Tan Hill Inn, which is the highest pub in Great Britain. “It’s proved a tough, tough day and we’ve seen a number of casualties due to mechanical problems. Without a shadow of doubt this is the toughest LE JOG in years! However, I’m glad to report that all three BMWs are still in the game and our 1602 continues to run well.”

The BMW Park Lane Classic backed team were lying in a strong position of sixth overall as they set off from North Yorkshire to complete the evening passage control through to the day’s final run into Newcastle.


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