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01.09.2012, 19:28:13 cet

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September 15, 2001

Participants arrived at The Charter Resort Hotel in Beaver Creek, about an hour and a half drive to the west of Denver in the midst of the winter ski resorts, on Monday 10 September to register for the thirteenth Colorado Grand. By the end of the day a total of eighty seven cars were accounted for, including fourteen Ferraris and five Maseratis. The Ferrari entry was truly eclectic, as can be seen from the list of participants, whilst the Maseratis included not only 200 SI and 300 S models, but a Zagato bodied A6 G, together with a Frua bodied cabriolet example of the same model, bought at auction in Pebble Beach only weeks before the event.

Other gems and rarities included an Allard K2 roadster, a Pegaso Z103 BT2 coupe from Mexico, a 1953 Edwards America prototype convertible, one of only five built, a 1928 Bugatti Type 44 Corsica, the one-off Hustler sports racing car built in 1959, a Jaguar D Type, and a pair of XK SS models from the same stable. Paul Gilpatrick, President of the FCA, and Ron Jackson CEO of Girard-Perregaux in the USA, one of the events main sponsors shared a Mercedes saloon. Renowned Ferrari historians Alan Boe and David Seielstad were present in the former’s Austin Healey 3000 Mk 1 rally replica, whilst FCA master judges, Phil and Martha Bachman, continued their unbroken run of Colorado Grand entries since its inception, at the wheel of their faithful 1956 Chevrolet Corvette.

The traditional eve of rally dinner took place in a marquee in Nottingham Park in nearby Avon, where the accompanying Colorado State Patrol officers warned entrants in the nicest way possible to observe their signals and traffic regulations. This was necessary to maintain the good rapport that preceding events had built up with communities en route, and to ensure its longevity. This is important to numerous charities, who have benefited to the tune of over $1.35 million since the first running in 1989. With the promise of a mainly fine weather forecast, spirits were high for another great run.

”Tuesday 11 September”
Nobody at the dinner the night before could have realised how the mood would change the following morning, with the heinous acts of terrorism in the east of the country. In fact, those who had made an early start were unaware of the scenes unfolding in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, until they reached the lunch stop. Initially the organisers were of a mind to call a halt to proceedings at the end of the day, but after much heart searching and deliberation, decided to continue. The reasons for this were many fold, with the FAA ban on air travel, large numbers of the participants would be stuck in Colorado anyway, the cancellation would not affect what had already happened, and the charities reliant upon the support of the organisers would suffer, not only from the direct donations, but a probable reduction of income from other sources as people focussed on helping victims of the terrorist attack. Thus the decision to continue was made, albeit with a subdued and shocked group of travellers.

It was a surreal experience driving through the virtually deserted stunning landscape of the Colorado back roads, with only mountains and sky for company, with the subconscious images of what had been witnessed on the television screen that morning repeatedly returning. The dichotomy was incomprehensible.

At the dinner at the first overnight halt in Estes Park, a one minute silence was held in memory of the victims, relatives and friends. It was also announced that the end of run auction would be a silent one, instead of the more raucous live event.

The Route
This year the route threaded a zig-zag course, first heading north-east, as already mentioned, to Estes Park for the first overnight stop. The venue for the night was the Stanley Hotel built by the Stanley brothers, who invented the Stanley Steamer in 1897. The historic hotel also inspired the novel ”The Shining” by Stephen King. It then moved south to Dillon for lunch the next day, before climbing north-west to Steamboat Springs for the second overnight halt. Here dinner was taken at the BK Corral at the top of the mountain, reached by a ”gondola” ride, basically an enclosed chair lift, certainly easier than trekking up the steep slopes! Thursday saw the caravan head south-west via Meeker to Grand Junction for the overnight halt. Friday saw the party heading south into the Grand Mesa with a lunch stop in Paonia, before moving north- east on the final leg back to The Charter at Beaver Creek. Here the finale dinner and silent auction were held in the Vilar Centre for the Performing Arts, close to the hotel in the centre of Beaver Creek. Country singer Jim Salestrom gave a short, but much appreciated, solo concert prior to dinner, getting a standing ovation for his stirring rendition of John Denver’s ”Rocky Mountain High”.

Scenic Splendour
Colorado has such a diverse and spectacular landscape, from the granite peaks of the Rocky Mountains in the north of the state, through the wind and rain formed rich red rock formations that abound almost everywhere, lush highland plains, barren escarpments, to the almost lunar landscape of the Mesa in the south, whenever you turn a bend in the road you are greeted by another picture postcard view. This year snow capped peaks were an added attraction, as the weekend before the rally there had been un-seasonal early heavy snowfall.

The best way to enjoy this splendour is definitely in an open car, which I was fortunate to experience a couple of times courtesy of Bob and David Donner in their 250 GT S1 PF cabriolet, and Phil and Martha Bachman in their Corvette. You really experience another dimension, as you feel totally at one with the surroundings, it all seems far more vibrant and immediate. The down side can be if you hit a sudden storm, as did a number of competitors on the Thursday afternoon, and what a storm! You could see the black shaft between clouds and ground in the distance, and suddenly you were in it! The hailstones thrashed down relentlessly with such force that you were deafened and feared for the implosion of the windscreen. Visibility was virtually nil even with the wipers on full speed, so the only thing you could do was to pull over and wait for it to abate.  Light aluminium bodies bore the signs of the severity, as did bruised lips for those in cars without a hood.

The finale was a ”concours de non elegance” of the cars in as finished the rally condition, in The Plaza pedestrian shopping area in Beaver Creek on Saturday morning. They were joined by a contingent of mainly modern Ferraris from Denver area FCA members, together with contingents of Porsches and Alfa Romeos, with an Aston Martin DB 6 and De Tomaso Pantera thrown in for good measure. The participants took the chair lift to the mountain restaurant for a farewell brunch, where it was announced that the silent auction had netted over $55,000 for charity. The figure was boosted in no small part by the generosity of Girard-Perregaux , with the pair of watches that they had donated to the cause. It was then only left for participants to reflect on a truly bizarre week, be grateful for where they were, and to try and make travel arrangements to return home.

Participating Ferraris


Colour Chassis #

212 Touring Barchetta

Dk Red/Blk 0158ED

340 Mexico Vignale Berl’

Red/Beige 0226AT

212 Inter PF Coupe

Red/Cream 0279EU

340 MM Vignale Spider

Dk Blue-White/Blk 0324AM

375 America PF Coupe Speciale

Dk Blue/Red 0355AL

500 Mondial PF Spider

Red/Beige 0418MD

250 GT TdF Berl’

RedBlue 0555GT

500 TRC

Red/Blk 0662MDTR

250 Testa Rossa

Red/Red 0748TR

250 GT PF S1 Cabriolet

Dk Red/Red 0791GT

250 GT Drogo Coupe

Red 0977GT

250 GT SWB Berl’

Red/Blk 2417GT

250 GT SWB Berl’

Dk Red/Blk 2617GT

250 GT PF S2 Cabriolet

Red/Beige 3655GT

Keith Bluemel

The Charter Resort Hotel in Beaver Creek
Lunch stop at Maeker
Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta s/n 2617GT
Ferrari 212 Inter Pinin Farina Coupe s/n 0279EU
Ferrari 250 GT PF S2 Cabriolet s/n 3655GT & 212 Touring Barchetta s/n 0158ED
Ferrari 250 GT Pinin Farina Cabriolet SI s/n 0791GT
Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa Spider Scaglietti s/n 0748TR
Ferrari 340 MM Vignale Spyder s/n 0324AM
Ferrari 340 Mexico Vignale Berlinetta s/n 0226AT
Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider Pinin Farina 0418MD
Ferrari 500 TRC Scaglietti Spyder s/n 0662MDTR
View from Phil and Martha Bachman's Corvette
Ferrari 250 GT Pinin Farina Cabriolet SI s/n 0791GT
Ferrari 166 Inter Vignale Coupe s/n 0065S
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