Beaver Creek, 11 September, 2000
The twelth running of the Colorado Grand historic rally took place in
perfect weather conditions, totally in contrast to the 1999 event, when
entrants encountered torrential rain and even snow on the higher
This year all they encountered were clear blue skies and daytime
temperatures between 25 and 30 degrees, making the whole event a
much more pleasurable experience. This gave them the opportunity to
revel in joy of driving on the almost deserted scenic byways, that the
route took through the spectacular scenery that Colorado has to offer.
Since the last running, the organisation had lost the founder and
driving force of the event, Bob Sutherland, who died in November 1999,
and many thought that it couldn’t continue without his presence at the
helm. However, his dedicated team decided that the best tribute to his
efforts over the years, in fact the most fitting tribute, was to ensure
that they continued the tradition of which he was the progenitor, so the
Grand goes on !
One important aspect of the event, apart from the fact that it brings
great cars to a beautiful place for a marvellous social touring rally, is
that all the proceeds go to charity. During the first eleven years over
$1.2 million dollars have been donated to a wide range of worthy
causes, and to continue this good work was one of the prime aims in
continuing with the legacy that Bob Sutherland had left.
Monday 16 September was a leisurely day for event registration at The
Charter hotel in Beaver Creek, where by the end of the day a total of
sixteen Ferraris could be counted on the eighty three car entry list.
This figure doesn’t include the McCaw brothers back-up car to their
pair of Testa Rossa entries, an earlier example, chassis number
0736TR . The first gathering of all the entrants was for a welcome
dinner, held in the evening at the ski station above Beaver Creek. This
was reached by chair lift, or bus for those of a less adventurous
nature. That said, the return journey by bus, which was obligatory,
down the dirt mountain road in pitch black, accompanied by the smell
of fried brakes, was not for the faint hearted !
The eclectic array of cars on the entry list ranged from a 1916 Lancia
Kappa, which had a surprising turn of speed for its age, through a
1932 Studebaker Special speedway racer, pre-war Alfa Romeos,
Bentleys, Aston Martin, and Bugattis, including a genuine Type 57C
Atlantic coupe, and another Type 57 rebodied in the same style,
through post-war rarities like a Cunningham C1 plus a C4R, a Kellison
J2 Roadster, a Kurtis 500M, plus numerous Jaguars, Porsches, etc,
and the epitome of the American sports car, the lurid orange and white
1956 Chevrolet Corvette of Phil and Martha Bachman, which has
participated in every running of the Grand.
The participants departed from The Charter on a slightly chilly
Tuesday morning, but by ten o’clock it was warm enough for
sleeveless shirts, and the only time that anything more was needed
for the rest of the event, was occasionally in the late evening. The
route took the caravan southwards to Salida for the lunch stop picnic
in a park by the river, where the trees provided some respite from the
blazing sun, which can burn very quickly in the thin atmosphere. The
afternoon section of the route took the participants west to the
overnight stop at another ski resort, Crested Butte, all the while
through an ever changing scenic pattern. It could be narrow mountain
passes climbing and falling around the sides of the range, or long
straight blasts across highland plains, sometimes scrubland and other
parts seemingly well cultivated rich farmland.
Even Greater Scenery
The Wednesday took everybody further west via a lunch stop at
Hotchkiss, where they were serenaded by a local band during the
picnic, through to Grand Junction. The morning section took the
cavalcade round the north rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison
River. From the rest area at Pioneer Point you are able to peer down
an almost sheer drop of about 600 metres, no good if you suffer from
vertigo ! The afternoon route actually took the cars further west past
the overnight stop, to take in the Colorado National Monument. This is
a 28 square mile national park, and if you can only visit one place in
Colorado this should be it, the scenery is so varied, and totally
awesome. Colorado has some truly spectacular scenery, virtually
around any bend in the road to the west of Interstate 25, but the
beauty in this park is beyond belief in such a relatively small area.
Thursday was the longest driving day covering 510 km, the trail went
south to the Southernmost point on the route, Durango, before kicking
north to the overnight stop at Tamarron. Friday was the last driving
day, and also the second longest in terms of distance, as it took the
party all the way north, back to their staring point at Beaver Creek,
having covered over 1700 kilometres.
The final day of the event at beaver Creek, comprised of a Concours
de Non-Elegance for all the surviving cars, which were displayed in as
finished the rally condition, and a brunch with charity auction.
Great weather, great cars, great company, great organisation, great
scenery, great food and drink, how many ”greats" can one take in a