The beginning of this week was the culmination of several months of preparation, hours of logistical planning, and several cases of Coke-Light.  Yes, it was running of the First Annual Non-Classic Car Rally of Mallorca.  Okay, so maybe it wasn’t as official as it sounds, but it was meant to be a fun get-together of friends who would spend two-days and one-night travelling around the island…and it was great fun.

The flyer that was sent out tried to make it clear that this was meant to be a fun couple of days:

What you need to participate:

• A car

• A desire to do something different with

  friends (old and new)

• A driver and a navigator (who can read


• Enough money to pay for your food and

  lodging for one night.

• A mobile phone (just in case you manage

  to get lost)

What you don’t need to participate:

• A map - we will supply you with the maps

  and rally instructions that you will need

• Crash helmets - if you think you need a

  helmet, you are in the wrong rally

• A compass - this island isn’t that big

• Any sophisticated auto GPS system - this

  rally is not all that complicated

• A calculator or Time-Speed-Distance

  wheel - sorry, this isn’t that competitive

The rally began Monday morning, when all the participants gathered at Sol y Mar for some pre-rally snacks and a ‘participant meeting.’  Seeing as how none of the participants had been told where the rally would take them, or what it would entail, this meeting was pretty important.  Truth-be-told, I think some of them were a tad concerned about what they had signed up for, but everyone seemed prepared (whatever prepared means).

There were seven teams of people who had agreed to participate, and each team was given a sealed envelope that contained the information for the first day of the rally, as well as a wax-sealed Panic envelope, in case they somehow managed to become totally and utterly lost.  At 10:30, with strict instructions from myself, the teams set off from Sol y Mar at three minute intervals, and the rally was underway.

Putting a rally like this together (I thought) was as much fun as participating in it.  Part of that fun was constructing the ‘rally book.’  With 25 pages of instructions, the teams were led step-by-step from the front of my house to the planned evening stop in Pollença.  Whilst some of the actual instructions were easy, ‘when you see this, turn right,’ or, ‘after about 5km, you should see this.  If you do, you are on the correct road;’ whilst many of them were connected to questions the teams needed to answer.  ‘What number should you ring if you have electrical needs?’ was asked accompanying a photo of an electrical supplier, but with the phone number on the wall blocked out.  “What is the name of this tunnel just after kilometre marker 23?” again, with the name in the photo being blocked out, was another typical example of some of the .  All the team’s had to do was see what were in the photos and write down the correct answer on their (very trendy looking) answer sheets.  All in all, there were 34 questions to answer over the two day event, and it was remarkable how many of the teams were able to get most of them.  And whilst most of the questions related to things that the teams would see along the route, there were a couple of bonus questions to keep them on their toes, such as, "how many record albums have been made by Julio Iglesias, and in how many languages?"  Nice.

By the end of day one, all the team’s had assembled in front of a hotel that was nice enough to accommodate the entire group.  Well, almost all of the teams.  One team’s car had developed an electrical fault, so they had to drive back home instead of risking leaving their car all night with open windows.  The rest of us sat around and talked about what they had encountered during the day, being careful not to share the answers they had recorded. Then we all went to dinner, helping to financially stimulate the economy of Pollença. 

After devouring the hotel’s fab breakfast the next morning, Tuesday’s rally instructions were distributed and the rally was on once again.  By now, the teams had driven about 180km, with another 140km or so to go.  Keeping track of the whole distance thing was important, so at the end of the rally, it would be easy to see who pretty-much stayed on course for the entire rally…and which team(s) managed to get lost. 

The rally took everyone to Cala Figuera, where we all met for lunch, then on to the last leg before finishing the rally at one of the participant’s home.  And then, as one would imagine, prizes were given out.  The winning team (most number of correct answers) were presented a bowl that had been acquired from the La Antigua Ceramica studio (yes, that is me), but the poor other participants all received prizes as well…although, the term ‘cheesy-prizes’ doesn’t even capture the silliness of them (a pair of fuzzy dice to hang from your rear-view mirror isn’t exactly a high-value prize).  All in all, everyone had a fab time, and after having a few glasses of cava, the conversation did evolve to who would put on the next event.  Can’t wait to see this one – making this rally was great fun, but I think it would have been even better to be a participant.  I will keep you posted.

Right, one last thing....the questions about el señor Iglesias?  77 albums, and in 14 languages, just in case you were wondering.


the site of the rally


pre-rally team meeting


team 2 departing


'what is the name of this tunnel?'


a welcome rest at dinner


teams 3 and 4 arriving in Cala Figuera


the big prize ceremony after the rally

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copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, James B. Rieley