Round the world in 80 days

A new rally features vintage cars and 21,000 miles, says Jake Williams-Smith

Rally the Globe Bentley mountains

Rally the Globe is also planning a Pan-America three-legged tour

From London to Casablanca, Boston to Vancouver and finally Vladivostok back to London. A British-based classic car rally firm has planned a 21,000-plus-mile epic that spans some of the world’s most striking and unexplored routes.

The endurance rally will feature a vast collection of vintage motors – there is a preference for pre-War cars, but anything up to about 1980 is generally the rule – taking on mountains, valleys and deserts in stages that circumnavigate the globe across.

Rally the Globe may be a new name, but it was founded by a highly experienced team. Following the merger between the Historic Endurance Rally Organisation (HERO) and the Endurance Rally Association (ERA) in 2018, Fred Gallagher – formerly of ERA – opted to establish Rally the Globe to offer a genuinely different and more expansive challenge.

“When we started Rally the Globe early last year, we felt we needed an attention-grabbing event,” says Gallagher. “We decided with the name of the company that we really did want to criss-cross the globe.

Rally the Globe Lancia mud

“A bunch of us sat around a table and discussed where we could go, what we could do, smaller events, bigger events. But going around the globe was a real statement.”

The adventure is split into three legs. The first runs from May until June; part two September to October, and the final leg from May to June 2021. Drivers can compete in one or all three stages.

Phase one will depart from the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, with the entourage then boarding a ferry that will deliver them to gravel tracks in Bilbao, Spain. From there they will head to the Atlas Mountains and on to Casablanca by June 9th.

Spectacular views are a prerequisite for such a journey, but finalising a route was never going to be as simple as drawing a line across a globe.

“You tend to sit down with the maps and take a bunch of interesting places and see how you can join them,” says Gallagher. “Hotels are important, but interesting roads are more important. Getting the balance is the skill. It’s a combination of interesting roads and places and somewhere to sleep.”

“Finalising a route was never going to be as simple as drawing a line across a globe”

A 6200-mile-plus route forms part two of the trek around the globe. America’s Boston-Vancouver second leg begins in the Autumn.

Forests and national parks of North America will give way to the unfamiliar in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan as part of the final stint, paying visits to cosmodromes and Baltic and North Sea coasts en route back to London.

As much as five-star hotels and uninterrupted vistas determined the course of Rally the Globe, the challenge of an around-the-world event is entering the unknown. “It’s a totally a brand-new route,” adds Gallagher.

“If you went around the globe just following the A roads, it would get fairly tedious, so we have a good team of route finders.”

While the idea of an 80-day round-the-world romp won’t appeal to all, the option to select specific stages of the rally to enter in means the field is expected to grow.

“It’s a hell of a trip. We’ve got 35 entries so far, which is healthy,” adds Gallagher. “We’re taking entries for the first part up until the end of April, and for part two probably the end of August. For the final part, it will be early next year, so people can come along and do individual bits.”