Latvia has a relatively large number of automobile clubs in relation to the population, however there are not that many events being organised. We had also observed that the most enthusiastic people in automobile clubs were those driving classic cars. That is how we, the Antique Automobile club of Latvia, came to the idea that we should organise a sportive event for these classic car enthusiasts and their vehicles. We aimed for Youngtimer cars – vehicles made in 1960s–1980s – as our main audience, since these cars are very interesting, fast and reliable enough to cover greater distances and endure sportier driving. Even though the idea to start events for the Youngtimer category came about around 2007, the first event took place only in 2012. It was a two day regularity rally and a photo orienteering race with the combined distance of 600km. That same year we resumed the traditional hill climb race in the vicinity of Riga. The next year we additionally held a track day in the Biķernieki race track. In 2014 the number of events amounted to 5 – we were offered to take part in two rallies of the Latvian Rally Championship.
In each event there are usually 50–150 participating teams from Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Finland. Every event is different, and therefore the participants can choose the ones that they find the most suitable – either a fastlap race on Track day, a regularity rally, mostly on gravel roads, or a hill climb race, where the result is most influenced by horsepower and trajectories. The main event of the year is a two day summer rally in one of Latvia’s districts.
The most popular car makes in our events are SAAB (especially the 96), Porsche and Alfa Romeo. There are also such striking cars as the DeLorean DMC–12, Triumph TR3 and Spitfire, Porsche 356, BMW Alpine B6 and 2002ti, Jaguar E-Type and MKII, Audi RS2.
When filling out the registration form for events, each participant is required to upload a photo of their car, so that we can judge the quality. Our selection process isn’t too strict, however all cars must be as close to original as possible, in good technical and visual condition. In any case, each new participant is evaluated separately. Usually there are at least 5 new participants with unusual cars in each event.
We do our best to keep the registration fees low. For example, participation in the Track day is 50 EUR per car, while the two day summer event is around 70 EUR per person, including catering and accommodation. It’s more important for us to have a larger number and diversity of participants with interesting cars than to make an event for a selected public.
We are most happy about our participants. Sure, there’s always some teasing and stress, but everyone is approachable, helpful, friendly, and most importantly – they all share the love for classic cars. If anyone encounters technical troubles, the other participants will always help and nobody is ever left on the side of the track.