Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Day 0 - Crossing the Alps

Hannibal had to do it driving several elephants.   Instead we'll be driving a single Lotus Elise.  And we don't expect to encounter resistance from any Roman Legions.   But only time will tell once we set out.

The journey headed over the Gotthard pass as we did in the shakedown (see photos and video clip there), and then headed east from Andermatt to do the Oberalp Pass.  This pass is less dramatic to drive, but the interactions between car and mountain train are very uniquely Swiss right to the top of the pass where there is a train station at 2,040 metres.  

We then returned back from the Oberalp and headed north as far as Altdorf where we turned east again, this time to drive the legendary Klausenpass.   This is famous for hosting hillclimbs back in the days of Caracciola, before motorsport was entirely banned by the Swiss Govt in 1955 (it was repealed only in 2007).

In case you must know, the winners of the old 14-mile hillclimb were:
1922 Nieth (Hispano Suiza) 21m 42s
1923 Rutzler (Steyr) 20m 24.4s
1924 Merz (Mercedes) 18m 48.6s
1925 Masetti (Sunbeam) 17m 28.8s
1927 Rosenberger (Mercedes) 17m 17s
1929 Chiron (Bugatti) 16m 42.4s
1930 Chiron (Bugatti) 16m 24.6s
1932 Caracciola (Alfa-Romeo) 15m 50s
1934 Caracciola (Mercedes) 15m 22.2s

Most of these are on Klausenpass.

But the one above is at the Aberalp.

And this one, you can read the name from the hotel ... the town below is Andermatt ... a town that has so many incredible passes nearby ... Nufenen, Susten, Tremola, Furka as well as the ones we just did.

And for a few artistic variations ... cool eh!

Alps to Arctic Day 0

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