He promised us earlier, Jan van Hylckama Vlieg, to take us to the Ennstal Classic 2017. Enjoy his photographic report on three days of classic rumble in the Austrian Alps.
In 1992 Austrians Helmut Zwickl and Michael Glöckner visit the Formula One Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. In the car on their way home to Austria they conclude that they preferred motor sports in the old days. Hence the birth of the Ennstal Classic in 1993. 35 cars turn up at the starting line of this very first edition, amongst them Karl Wendlinger, Dieter Quester and Dietrich Mateschitz. Today, 25 years later, the Ennstal Classic matured to a magnificent event, gathering 100.000 spectators along the route and another 20.000 visitors to the final Grand Prix of Gröbming. Race car legends like Derek Bell, Sir Stirling Moss, Maria Teresa de Filippis, Hans-Joachim Stuck, Sir Jackie Stewart, Nigel Mansell, Sebastian Vettel, Jochen Mass and many others were part of the rally in the past 25 years. And don’t forget appearances of rally legends like Walter Röhrl and Rauno Aaltonen!
The Ennstal Classic is a great excuse for a holiday in the Austrian Alps. Enjoying the meandering mountain roads, the astonishing nature and the many panoramic views, we find ourselves a way to the hectic of one of the most beautiful classic events the summer has on offer. We are right in time to witness the starting grid on Thursday. After a relaxing day enjoying the scenery and the excitement of the first racing day, we spend our Friday chasing the Ennstal Classic Marathon to their stop at Mauterndorf, make sure we see them in the passage as well as the finish in Gröbming, but not without making sure we make it to the Marathon’s special stage at the Red Bull Ring and the Race Car Trophy’s special at Niederöblarn airport. Let me assure you, with 220 participants for this 25th edition of the Ennstal Classic and another 40 in the Race Car Trophy, meeting all these appointments is a sport on its own. Watching the local Gröbming Grand Prix on Saturday almost looks like a relief compared to the day before. Participants in both classes give it their everything to demonstrate who manages to get the most of their often unique machines. The spectators, like us, just love it.
From the very beginning the Ennstal Classic has been a free event, making it the ideal opportunity for visitors to enjoy classic car racing at close range. During its life span the programme slowly expanded to what it is today: A prologue on Thursday, the actual Marathon on Friday and the Gröbming Grand Prix on Saturday. There are ‘Sonderprüfungen’ on the Niederöblarn airport tarmac and on the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. The Stoderzinken ‘Bergwertung’ has been around for quite some time too. Besides the classic cars in the actual Ennstal Classic, a few years ago the ‘Race Car Trophy’ was added to the programme. Monoposto’s, sports- and GT-cars up to 1983 are welcome to participate.
On Sunday peace and quiet return to the roads surrounding Gröbming. Churchbells call for reflection, on the green pastures of the mountains surrounding the city cow bells play their own characteristic song. We prolong our journey, knowing that the Ennstal Classic will always be a great excuse to return to this beautiful place.
Jan van Hylckama Vlieg