Now in its 14th year the hill climb at the local Gaisberg at Salzburg relives the historic event that was long
time part of the European hill climb championship with illustrious winners including the purpose built Porsche
910 Bergspyder, it was also one of just two races (beside the Mont Ventoux) that saw the radical Porsche
909 in action. The Salzburg Rallye Club took up the heritage with a wonderful 3-days event with different
challenges for every taste.
After the cars arriving from Wednesday afternoon the Corpus Christi starts with the scrutineering in Schloss
Hellbrunn early in the morning. A lot of regular entrants found their way to be greeted in person by the
organizers and receiving their equipment (race number, transponder...). After selecting their table for the
finalizing gala dinner in the Red Bull Hangar 7 and a quick breakfast the race director gave them a final
briefing for the city grand prix. In several groups escorted by the police the convoy is led to the city center
where the cars were awaited by a huge crowd at the dome square. After several years with “less optimal”
weather for the second time in a row the team was rewarded with fantastic sunshine attracting even more
people to the closed off roads, with all the street cafés well visited a perfect day with classic cars, torte and
coffee could be enjoyed to the fullest. Apart from the usual rallye cars including several Porsche 911, Jaguar
Xks and Triumph several very interesting cars could be admired, especially a quintet of rare Austro Daimler
brought from the museum of Ernst Piech who even took one of the earliest example for a ride through the city,
well suited with matching suit and head.
A little more sportive were the one-off Maserati 150 GT, a beautiful OSCA MT4 AD or the Maserati A6 GCS
Spyder. Restorer Egon Zweimüller brought two very special cars as well, racing the Abarth 2000 Sport at the
hill and Hans Stuck’s mighty Austro Daimler racer at the Salzburgring.
But not only exotics drew much attention, one of the crowds favorite is certainly the small Puch 650T that
brought back as many memories in Austria as the VW Beetle usually does all over the world.
Another highlight this year was the attendance of the international BMW M1 meeting in Salzburg. 20 road
cars and several Pro-Cars opened the City GP with some laps before the regular field of the 120 entered cars
fought for the tenths in the regularity trial over the bridges and quays at the Salzach at the foot of the name
giving Salzburg in Mozart’s birth town. Several sectors of the track had to be driven in given time and looking
at the small variation in between the leading teams’ one could see that they take this just as serious as at the
Mille Miglia although a victory at the Gaisberg might be a more local acknowledged victory. Over the next two
hours the people behind the fences were entertained by a good amount of cars on the track, enough to have
plenty of action but few enough to give enough room in front of the light barriers for the serious contender for
the overall victory.
The next day again was split into two groups with the first one starting early in the morning for a tour into the
hinterland whereas the second group took their first trials at the hill. With a given time of 10 minutes and a
strict average on the last few meters one does not only have to look for the clock but also for the speed, a
mistake in judging one of them does normally mean the end of the aspirations. It was interesting to see the
different approach to the theme as some took the hill in less than 6 minutes clearly showing a lack of interest
in the regularity whereas others were within a tenth of a second proving their abilities.
After the second run the cars were escorted to the lunch stop at Schloß Fuschl where they met the rally cars
of the morning for a change in the afternoon. After the sports and racing cars the touring cars took the hill in
the afternoon and with constant sunshine all the favorites had the same conditions rather than in previous
years when fog and rain at the hill top made it very difficult for some to see the correct distance to the
The final day on Saturday started as every year with the excursion to the nearby Salzburgring. Unlike at the
hill the team had no given time but could set their own time with their first lap followed by laps in the same
speed. As every driver had its own rhythm the field soon spread out and some enjoyed a rather quick speed
whereas others drove a more comfy average. In five groups the track was kept busy for some hours before the
convoy of the Gaisbergrennen took off for lunch and a final trial at the hill giving room to the BMW M1 Pro
Cars who have rented the track in the afternoon.
After the final run the awards were given in the famous Hangar 7 of Red Bull owner and longtime
Gaisbergrennen supporter Dietrich Mateschitz. In between the planes, helicopters and former race cars of
Mateschitz´s two F1 team the prizes were given before the more relaxed part of the evening started with a
couple bottles of wine and good food. Many years ago during the Group C regulations in Le Mans Porsche
had an advertisement mentioning “nobody´s perfect” after finishing 9 cars in the top ten. Although not quit as
dominating still 4 Porsches made it to the top 6 with 2 356 finishing on the podium only split by a VW Beetle.
Best with the clock were Michael and Moritz Hecht in a 356 A Coupé followed by Georg Geyer and Jan
Soucek on VW and Hermann Wallner and Barbara Vogel on Porsche 356 B Cabriolet.
But actually all the participant were winners with a perfect weekend, four different challenges and a familiar
ambience in great sunshine. The first two ingredients were professionally handled by the organizing trio Dr.
Gert Pierer, Thomas Matzelsberger and Herrmann Schwarz as usual, the last one needed a little help from
above. We can just hope that this will repeat in 2017 when the 15th edition will be held again at the Corpus
Christi in Salzburg.
Report & images ... Peter Singhof