PANAMA-ALASKA - 1997


After the success of London-Mexico there were no more events to celebrate the anniversaries of. But there was a huge demand amongst regular TWE members for another 'adventure ' event. So it was time to create a brand new event.

Panama to Alaska was exactly that. It caught the imagination of 90 competitors from 16 countries. It was 15,000 kms in 25 days through the spectacular third world countries of Central America and Mexico, across the back roads of America, through the remote wilderness lands of Canada and the Yukon into the glaciers of Alaska.

Again TWE ran to its popular formula of demanding special stages and overnight stops each night in top rate hotels.

Brittan's philosophy on the structure of events is, "Gentlemen don't race at night. Night time is for sleeping, day time is for competing and seeing the sights." Thus have TWE's events achieved their popularity.

The Panama-Alaska created motor sport history becoming the first ever competitive FIA event to run the length of America and Canada drawing accolades again from governing bodies and competitors alike.

Australian Rick Bates in a 911 Porsche won the event winning 21 of the 42 stages outright to finish a comfortable 10 minutes ahead of American Porsche expert Jeff Zwart.

The Panama-Alaska was the event on which TWE first introduced is now successful and very popular "Touring- Challenge" category. This category is for modern 4wd cars and is non-competitive enabling participants to enjoy the camaraderie of following a major International competition event without having prepare a rally car. TWE now puts up a rental or buy-back deal for modern 4wds for each of their events which allow participants to fly in pick up the keys to their vehicle and tackle the event. The car is handed back at the finish and the competitor jumps on the plane and flies home. It's the rally equivalent of 'Arrive and Drive ' On Panama-Alaska TWE provided 26 Jeep Cherokees on this basis.

Top Ten finishers on the event were :

Pos Crew Nat. Car Total Penalty
1 Rick Bates / Jenny Brittan Aus/Aus Porsche 911 6:29:12
2 Jeff Zwart / Martin Headland USA/Cdn Porsche 914-6 6:39:53
3 Janos Balazs / Andras Jojart H/H Porsche 911 6:40:05
4 Terry Daly / Bob Brill Aus/NZ Ford Mustang 6:48:28
5 Richard Martin-Hurst / Tony Devantier GB/NZ Ford Escort 6:58:05
6 Bob Trinder / Scott Trinder Cdn/Cdn Datsun 240Z 6:58:49
7 Norman Fritter / Warren Ridge GB/Aus Ford Falcon 7:00:33
8 Pat Cole / Keith Carling Aus/Aus Mercedes 280 7:13:56
9 Franz Stangl / Stanley Illman A/GB Porsche 911 7:14:26
10 Josef Pointinger / Gertrude Pointinger A/A Ford Escort 7:17:16

For the whole exciting story of the event, results and day-by day bulletins plus each competitor's own story, read the PANAMA-ALASKA RALLY 97 - THE BOOK. Copies available from the Rally Office. See our Books and Videos page.