One of the highlights of the 2016 Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show was the reunion of 'Puff The Magic Wagon', the first in her class of Austin Maxis, with her trailblazing female crew, which competed in the 1970 Daily Mirror London-Mexico World Cup Rally.
Now 47 years later, Puff and two of her original crew have re – run the epic first stage by successfully completing the HERO London-Lisboa Classic Rally covering 2,000 miles around England, France, Spain and Portugal over the nine-day event.
Team Puff, consisting of Bron Burrell and Tina Kerridge-Reynolds, were joined by Seren Whyte, one of the Whyte sisters who are acknowledged as today’s trailblazing women rally drivers. Yesteryear’s and today’s women pioneers driving together!
With a combined drivers age of 178, a remarkably small engine of only 1750cc, testing terrain including the massive hills of the Pyrenees, not to mention an arduous nine days of rallying in all weather conditions including snow, the stakes were challenging for this little car with a big history.
However, Puff and her crew finished a very respectable third in class, significantly beating more powerful engines in a BMW, Porsche 914s and a Lancia Fulvia. Overall Puff achieved a credible 39th position out of 80+ classic cars competing against 1925 Bentleys, Jaguar XK’s, Aston Martins, BMW’s, Porsche 911s, Austin Healey 3000s, MGBs and Mini Coopers.
The stunning event was a real-life ‘second time around’ adventure with some expected dramas including nearly loosing a wheel at speed, and then old Maxi’s exhaust bracket fell off in the middle of a speed section, needing a quick fix with a couple of bungees to keep the exhaust on to complete the regularity!
However, against all the odds this little car with its incredible crew finally crossed the finish line in Portugal for the second time 47 years after the 1970 World Cup Rally with a very emotional Bron behind the wheel, with her and Tina proving that anything is possible.