Cruising to Maputo, rally style


The first Polana Rally was run in then-colonial Mocambique in 1952, and the annual event, based at the landmark Polana Hotel in Lourenco Marques, became a highlight on the Southern African motorsport calendar.

Mocambique is now Mozambique and Lourenco Marques is now Maputo, but the Polana Hotel is till there, and each year since 1995, has played host to what is now the Polana Classic Car Rally

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A 1966 Valiant Barracuda in action at the legendary Maputo circuit on the Polana Serena Classic Regularity Run.A 1961 Austin Healey Sprite in full rally trim takes part in the Polana Classic Car Rally.

This year, to mark the 60th anniversary of the Polana Rally, 26 classic cars will leave from Centurion Women's Day, 9 August 2012, on a three-day adventure through Southern Africa, finishing at Maputo's grand old lady, the Polana Hotel.


Each year motorsport doyenne Rene Booysen puts together an exciting road-only route, and this year is no different, spanning three days, 1100kms and two countries. The Monte Carlo-style format gives participants an opportunity to soak up the sights while maintaining a healthy dose of competition.

From Centurion the rally will go through Delmas and Leandra before stopping for lunch in Secunda, then on through Standerton and Volksrust before overnighting in Newcastle.

Day 2 will tour through Kwazulu-Natal, from Newcastle to Utrecht, Louwsburg, Vryheid and Pongola, before passing through the Golela border post into Swaziland, a quick lunch stop on the Big Bend and through Goba border post into Mozambique. Goba Namaacha Boane will be the final stop before the rally officially finishes in front of the Polana.


Booysen explained: “The Polana Classic Rally is more than just another motorsport event, it's a celebration of everything that motorsports stands for: camaraderie, adventure and passion for the sport and its origins. By touring through small towns with these classic vehicles, we share an experience that some people never get to enjoy, and also make people aware of the family fun and excitement associated with the sport.”

The final leg of the rally will be a day of fun and fumes at the famous Maputo racing circuit where classics such as a 1961 Austin Healey Sprite, a 1966 MGB GT, and a 1966 Valiant Barracuda will be put to the test as drivers show off their motor skills to the delight of local Mozambicans.

And, of course, no rally is complete without prize-giving, in this case a glamorous dinner, where else but in the Polana Ballroom.

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