2012 Rallye Glenwood Springs

Top of Monarch PassWe had an awesome time this past weekend at the Rallye Glenwood Springs. This is the longest running Rallye in the country and this year marked the 60th Anniversary. It is hosted by the Rocky Mountain MG Club but all drivers are welcome.

We had been planning to go since we really enjoyed the event last year. We took the Jag on a shakedown cruise a few weeks prior with the British Motoring Club of Northern Colorado to Rocky Mountain National Park. We made it almost all the way to the top of Trail Ridge but the Jag was once again having trouble with the engine overheating and we ended up having to turn around. I knew there was no way we could successfully complete the Rallye with the cooling system not functioning properly. So, I bit the bullet and pulled the radiator out. I took it to a radiator shop and had them clean it out. Got everything put back together just a few days before the rally and did it ever make a difference.

The first Rallye Glenwood Springs began with a hardy group of MG sports car owners who discovered the joys of top-down motoring in Colorado when MGs still had running boards and the new TR2 and powerful XK-120 were just beginning to be sold by Colorado car dealers. Imagine what Colorado mountain roads were like during that 1953 Rallye—gravel (some pavement!), no guardrails, single-lane bridges, hairpin curves, sheer cliffs, and thin air.

The Rocky Mountains of central Colorado, with some of the most breathtaking scenery in America, have formed the backdrop for the Rallye Glenwood Springs through fifty-nine previous years. Vintage and classic cars from as far away as California and Illinois have shared the twisting mountain roads with their newer counterparts for octane-related festivities. Enthusiasts have come from as far away as England to drive borrowed MGCC-RMC cars through such fabled Colorado mining towns as Leadville and Aspen on their way to Glenwood Springs.

This year the event started off with the Tour Rallye. We picked up our registration packet Friday morning at the Start line in Arvada (Denver suburb) and found that we were car #88. Yes, I was a delinquent and didn’t register until the week before. This meant we had time for coffee before it was our turn to cross the Start line. We got stumped almost immediately by the first tour question…something like “You wouldn’t want to go here if you had zemmiphobia” but after that we started getting most of the questions figured out as we headed west out of Arvada and up into the foothills. We found a number of scenic highways and back roads as we worked our way through Black Hawk, Idaho Springs, Frisco, Vail, and eventually down the spectacular Glenwood Canyon into town and a well deserved dinner with friends.

Saturday was the Time Speed Distance (TSD) rallye and we headed out under another beautiful sunny Colorado day with the top down on the XJ-S. We were actually doing remarkably well on this event, at least for us…one or two legs completed just under a minute off from the perfect time. The day passed swiftly as we worked the course but alas, we totally blew the last leg. Missed a turn altogether and subsequently missed the last checkpoint. Bummer.

We had other plans this year for the remainder of the weekend so did not stick around for the awards dinner and car show the following day. Instead we headed back for McClure pass and went on over it this time and down into the North Fork Valley to stay in Paonia.

Sunday morning we had a marvelous breakfast and coffee at Nelle’s, poked around town a bit, and then headed out to Crested Butte via the back roads. The Jag got a little dusty on this drive as some of the County highway was gravel. No big deal though…we found a car wash in Crested Butte, put the top up, and got her all cleaned up again. That marks the first time I’ve ever run the XJ-S through an automatic car wash (the handheld wash was out of order). It was getting cool so we found the hotel and then the hot tub. Later went out for nice dinner. Got rather chilly that night…down to 24F. Brrr…too cold for a summer night if you ask me.

Monday the top went back down and we headed for Gunnison and then up over Monarch Pass and north to Buena Vista where we hung out at the Arkansas River and watched the kayaks working the rapids. Eventually, we made it all the way back to the big D and home. Traveled a total of nearly 800 miles with nary a problem and that cooling system overhaul really paid off.

Rallye Glenwood Springs – 2nd weekend of June every year….think about it…here are a few pictures to whet your appetite.

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