Despite being a motoring enthusiast I have never owned an Alfa Romeo. My chance to taste a bit if Milanese magic came last weekend when I took part in the Throckmorton Challenge, a historic rally day based at the old RAF Pershore in Worcestershire.

My friend Gavin and I have entered the Lands End – John of Groats (LE JoG) endurance rally in December and had entered Throckmorton for some practice. We have done a couple of rallies before but it is safe to say our technique on both tests and regularities needs improvement.

To save having to worry about car preparation and reliability we decided to hire a car from HERO, the organisers of both Throckmorton and LE JoG and their smart early 70s Alfa Romeo GTV seemed just the car. Not only does it look fantastic, it is comfortable and its sweet six cylinder engine gives it bags of torque.


Given Gavin’s inability to read a map in motion, I navigate whilst he drives. He certainly has more fun on the tests but I think I have the better time on the regularities. Having to drive at 27 mph or whatever whilst being told to speed up or slow down slightly every 30 seconds is not my idea of fun.

The day consisted of 15 tests and 4 regularity sections. The navigation using tulips was straightforward and we only got lost on the last regularity, a tight, dull maze of cones on the old airfield. Our score was ok but would have been very much better if we had understood the rules relating to self starts and losing and making up time. The tests were challenging and Gavin had lots of fun getting the back of the Alfa out as we over steered through the course on the wet concrete. One test proved very hard – when you get disorientated you can lose your way amongst the cones very easily. Still, we developed a method of navigation on the tests we can hone over the next few weeks that should help us on LE JoG. It will certainly be better than me shouting “over there, on that side” and gesticulating wildly.

We finished 23rd out of 50 cars which we were happy with. On Le JoG we will be in TR6 which should help on the tests. Role on December!