The Blue Train Challenge 2017
18 - 22 September, 2017
The Blue Train Challenge
The Blue Train Challenge is an imaginative new Endurance Rally Association event from the same thoroughbred stable as the highly successful Flying Scotsman and Alpine Trial. Designed from the ground up for enthusiasts with pre-1948 Vintage and early post-war 'Riviera Sports Cars', the Blue Train will re-capture that nostalgic 1930's age when pioneering motorists set out to beat the famous Train Bleu on its journey across France from the English Channel to the Cote d’Azur.
L'Express - Blue Train Newsletters
Click the links below to find our current and earlier edition Blue Train "L'Express" newsletters written to enhance the flavour of what's in store for participants with event news updates and background. Keith Baud, the Blue Train Challenge joint Clerk of the Course and route designer is something of a Francophile with a fondness for the quirky and the unusual. In our latest edition "L'Express" newsletter Keith recounts the remarkable, almost unbelievable, motoring story of French restaurateur Francois Lecot.
Introducing the "Riviera Cup"
Following numerous requests from owners of 1950s and early 1960s sports cars to be part of the inaugural Blue Train Challenge, we are now giving them the opportunity to enjoy the driving experience and participate for their own "Riviera Cup" trophy on this exciting new event.
Keeping with the original vintage car ethos of The Blue Train Challenge, only limited entries are available for appropriate “Riviera Sports Cars”. As such, the organisers will consider applications for sports cars, manufactured between 1 January 1948 and 31 December 1962, which would have graced the French Routes Nationales on their way to the Côte d’Azur.
Encouraged by the quality of the pre-1948 vintage entries received to date and responding to enquiries from owners suitable later cars we believe that the addition of these “Riviera Sports Cars” can only enhance the appeal of the Blue Train Challenge to competitor and onlooker alike.
About the Event
In a contrast with the ERA's longer events, the Blue Train fits comfortably within a week without diluting the enjoyment and sense of achievement. From the Deauville start we enjoy five days of enjoyable motoring to the glittering Mediterranean. Along the way sporting action is provided with regularity and time control sections - navigated by way of easy to follow tulip instructions and marked maps. Special tests on private land add spice to raise a head of steam and., as ever, the ERA's legendary sweep mechanics will never be far away to help overcome any mechanical difficulties.
Driving a vintage car across the length and breadth of France should be a pleasure to savour. The Blue Train route will be competitive without being too demanding for Vintageant cars. The daily schedules will provide plenty of time to enjoy the experience, and soak up the atmosphere at carefully chosen coffee breaks, lunches and overnight halts. From the Deauville start we enjoy five days of enjoyable motoring to the famous Cote d’Azur. Find out more on the Route Outline page
In an age before autoroutes and budget air travel, Le Train Bleu, the luxury overnight express from Calais to the Mediterranean, epitomised the civilized way for travellers to exchange the gloom of the British winter for the glamour and sunshine of the French Riviera. This combination of luxury train travel and the Golden Age of continental motoring was the period that gave birth to the ‘Blue Train Races’ when a number of motoring pioneers raced the train on its journey across France.
The most famous of the Blue Train races was the record breaking drive by Bentley Chairman and Le Mans winner, Wolf Barnato, in March 1930. However, the first bids to outpace the train were actually made by Dudley Noble in a Rover Light Six, just two months earlier. Noble was thwarted on his first attempt, but a few days later he tried again and beat the famous train by 20 minutes! It is these heroic drives by Noble and Barnato that the Endurance Rally Association celebrates in this week long motoring adventure in September 2017.
Potential participants can be assured that The Blue Train Challenge will be carefully planned to be suitable for the specific needs of driving a pre-war vintage car, and organised with the same attention to detail that the experienced ERA team have used to bring you the very best in vintage and classic rallying for the past 25 years.
The Deauville start is conveniently situated for cross-channel ferries from the UK and is an easy drive from other European countries. If time or inclination preclude you driving home, one of our car transport partners will be able to help or perhaps it may be possible to return home by Motorail from Nice. The entry fee includes six nights in the best hotels available, all meals including the Gala Prizegiving, Rally Plates, Routebooks, Awards, and the services of the experienced ERA Team including mechanical back-up, doctors and marshals.
To find out more please call Annette, Eleonora or any of the Rally Office team or email us for your copy of the event brochure and entry form. We'll be happy to answer your questions and offer any guidance you may need.
Phone: +44 (0)1235 831221
Yes, it was a challenging event, but as always the organization was superb. We really enjoyed ourselves.
Well done to all of you at Endurance Rally Association!
Jan Woien - 1935 Alvis Speed 20 - 2016 Flying Scotsman competitor