It takes a special kind of car, and an exceptional driver to achieve a class win in the Hero London to Lisbon Rally – a reliability trial of 2,000 miles of motoring through the UK, France, Spain and Portugal in just nine days. Rally Preparation Services is very proud to have prepared car No. 81, the Jensen-Healey GT that Bodfan and Bec Jenkins piloted to a class victory in this year’s event. Their car was also the winner of the 2016 Three Castles Classic Rally.
The London – Lisbon Rally attracts enthusiasts from around the world, with a Porsche 911 RS, an Austin Maxi and an Aston Martin DB2 among the 78 pre-1988 classic cars taking part in 2017.
On Saturday 22nd April, the competitors set off from Brooklands on the first of nine stages. The route encompassed forests, vineyards and mountains with the cars averaging 220 miles per day as they travelled through some of the finest scenery in Europe.
Weather conditions ranged from Mediterranean sunshine to snow and sheet ice on the final day and each section of the Rally brought fresh challenges. There were eight tests, the first of which was the ‘Hill Test’ which was devised to try brakes and engines, and drivers would negotiate roads varying from highways to narrow rural tracks often populated by livestock and the inclines of the Col de Peyresourde in the Pyrenees.
In Portugal, the Jensen-Healey faced the blind crests and heart-stopping corners of the infamous Portal do Inferno – Gates to Hell – where one section had a sheer drop of 600 metres on either side. The evenings were spent in a range of fine hotels, providing a welcome and well-deserved opportunity for crews and vehicles to recuperate from the previous 12 hours.
The Jenkins’ reached the finish line on the 30th April in splendid style having participated in a rally that was as exhilarating as it was demanding for cars and drivers alike. No-one would forget the Bretagne countryside or the landscape of Serra de Montejunto for above all the London to Lisbon is an opportunity for classics of all sizes and types to be enjoyed.
The Jensen Healey GT competed with a style and verve that vehicles four decades its junior would envy. Its class win is a testament to its driver, its navigator – and to the experience and dedication of Rally Preparation Services.