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Salzburg, 5th - 6th of June, 2015

In many cultures the “13” is pretended as the unlucky number, even in the high technology racing scene the number is rarely given to cars or within racing series due to superstition. But last weekend also proved that this does not always affect a good outcome as the three organizers of the Gaisbergrennen were rewarded with a sunny weekend after two rainy years on their 13th edition of the classic car interpretation of the well known hill climb at the Gaisberg in Salzburg.


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Traditionally held during the week of Corpus Christi Dr. Gert Pierer, Thomas Matzelsberger and Herrmann Schwarz of the Salzburger Rallye Club could welcome again almost 150 cars and their teams during the scrutineering on Thursday morning at the Schloß Hellbrunn. After a slow start in the morning little by little the yard at the maison de plaisance with the famous water garden filled with cars over the next couple of hours. Old friends were welcomed, the tables for the evening receptions were booked and the cars were equipped with the race numbers and the important transponder. Unlike the original hill climb as part of the European Championship today´s event certainly is a regularity event as many others of its kind as well. But going up the hill is just a small part of the fun provided over the following three days as during the Gaisbergrennen the cars do not only run up the hill three times but also have the City GP in the city centre of Salzburg, the tour through the hinterland and the visit to the nearby Salzburgring for some timed laps.

After all the cars were equipped and the drivers were briefed the convoy was escorted by the police at noon to the Residenzplatz in front of the Dome were the cars were lined up to the pleasure of the crowds. Certainly the good weather also encouraged more people to attend the City GP compared to the last years and so the cars were surrounded by many spectators all the afternoon and the fences of the closed off circuit at the Salzach overlooked by the Salzburg were packed with people the way the event does deserve.

Three categories of sports, touring and racing cars divided by their age prior and after 1945 were set off at 3 pm to take the lap of a little bit more than a mile 5 times. Separated in sectors the light barriers have to be taken at a given interval adding up the deviation and whereas most of the participants usually take this very seriously with less than a tenth of a second in variance some of the racing cars drivers just enjoyed the show and entertained the cheering public chasing through the city, when else can you see a rare racing Maserati 300S sharing the road with a small Steyr Puch in the inner city? As the cars were sent off by the race number it was a steady come and go of new cars on the road making this a diverting afternoon until the last laps where done about 2 hours later. Again the cars were led out of the city and as fast as the barriers were set they were gone again opening the roads for the traffic on this holiday.

The first evening reception was held in rather rustic ambience at the Zistelalm halfway up the Gaisberg and most of the participants were eagerly waiting for the results lists been hang up after the dinner, the first day was led by the team Quester of Catrin and Tim.

Friday is the main day of the Gaisbergrennen as the starting field is divided in two groups, the first 75 numbers going to the tour around Salzburg of a little bit less than 100 miles whereas the faster touring and race cars have their first two trials at the Gaisberg. With an intended time of 10 minutes from start-finish and a given speed of a little bit more than 45 km/h many participants take a short break at the Zistelalm to wait for their time window whereas others just blast up the hill and unlike in the past when the fastest cars managed the hill in about half the given time the times of the fastest cars were not listed in the results anymore to avoid them to race against each other.

But most of them again tried to get as close at the target time and again the best were well under a tenth of a second.

After the two attempts the cars were escorted to the Schloß Hotel at Fuschl am See where they joined those coming back from the tour. After the lunch break the two groups changed and it were now the lower numbers going up the hill. Fortunately with the great weather and sun all day nobody could complain about the conditions unlike the previous years when some barely saw the finishing line.

The evening was spent at the Gala Dinner at the Schloß Hellbrunn where the results of the day were discussed in a convivial gathering. As the leading team of day 1 fell back a little bit the new leaders were Albert Kröpfl and Gerhard Hierzer in their Lancia Aurelia B20 GT but just with a small lead over a group of teams.

Saturday morning saw the visit of the Salzburgring. In five groups the cars were sent off to take at least 6 laps and this time they set their own target with their fastest lap and the difference of the others counted for the points. Although the Salzburgring is not a very challenging track it is still difficult to keep up with your own lap time while driving with others on a different intended speed but as most of the participants being regular entrants they all got along with that.

After the race track the cars came back to the hill for their final attempt after the lunch break at the Gaisbergalm. As now all the cars drove up together rather than separated in groups the parking on top of the hill became rather full.

Unfortunately both the hill climb and the challenge at the track are basically private events as just a few spectators make up their way in the morning to enjoy the cars in front of the scenery at the hill overlooking Salzburg and the nearby Alpes. For that reason the organizers decided to bring the cars back to the Residenzplatz after the final hill climb to do the winners ceremony for the top placed teams in public whereas the actual awards ceremony with all participants was again held at the Hangar 7 of Red Bull fame in a worthy atmosphere in the evening.

Once again all the entrants and the spectators in Salzburg had a fun week with this year’s edition of the Gaisbergrennen and fortunately the umbrellas were just needed against the sun. We saw a colourful mix of cars ranging from the early Locomobile or the Austro Daimler from the Fahr(t)raum museum to the sportive Porsche 906 and Maserati 300S, agile Steyr Puch and dignified Jaguars, three Austro Formel-V single seaters and even some electric cars running up the hill. Finally the Team Kröpfl/Hierzer on Lancia Aurelia B20 GT could take their lead from the second day to an overall victory in front of the Morgan 3-wheeler of Kunz/Kunz and the Porsche 356 B Super 90 of Klackl/Martin to an all-Austrian podium.

Those who failed to get on the podium will certainly give it another try in 2016 when the cars are lined up again at Corpus Christ for the 14th edition and hopefully the weather can match up with the unlucky number 13.

Report & images: Peter Singhof
www.ClassicCarPhotography.de