From Sachs-Rallye-Franken to the Sachs Franken Classic

From Sachs-Rallye-Franken to the Sachs Franken Classic

The motorsport history of the German Rally Championship goes back to the 1950s. The course of the rallies at the beginning of the events differed significantly from what happened in the 1970s and 1980s.

What once started with orientation drives or with pure reliability tests visibly changed into real motor sport events, which were carried out by works teams with specified vehicles of different type classes. The so-called Hessen Rallye from 1972 and the Olympic Rallye are considered to be the first real rallies. In the years that followed, the procedure was always similar and was considered typical of the German Rally Championship.

bad kissingen brunnenhalleMajor problems with the approval of racing events with regard to the risk potential for spectators and drivers, for nature and the landscape have led to mountain races, road races and round trips being almost completely prohibited. With the idea of sending classic vehicles onto the streets for round trips, which were not judged on speed but on skill in special tests and in the overall driving performance of vehicle control, new sporty motor events could be established. The ZF Sachs Franken Classic is such an international vintage car rally in Bad Kissingen, named after its main sponsor ZF Sachs, with around 160 participating vehicles and drivers from Germany, Austria, Holland, Belgium, Spain and Switzerland every year.

As a successor to the "Sachs-Rallye Franken" held from 1977 to 1992 as part of the German Rally Championship, the two motorsport clubs AC Karlstadt and MSC Zellingen have been organizing the new "ZF Sachs Franken Classic" in Bad Kissingen since July 2000. Since 2004, the rally has taken place at Pentecost.

Sachs-Franken added a Classic (by Rainer Greubel)

DSC 2944The name of today's classic car rally Sachs-Franken-Classic is derived from the "Sachs-Rallye-Franken", which was on the international motorsport calendar from 1977 to 1992. It was the era when it was still possible in Germany to get rally events approved that sought their winners on closed special stages. This meant an interplay for the drivers between civilized driving in normal traffic and breakneck driving on closed routes, where speed was all that mattered. During a rally lasting one or more days, best-time tests had to be completed, and the addition of the seconds gave the score. The special appeal of these rallies lay in the variety of road surfaces from sand to gravel to concrete and asphalt, all in all weather conditions, sometimes with snow, even in the dark. The engines had to be designed for the highest possible performance and the entire vehicle had to be specially equipped for the tough loads.

A more widespread environmental concern, overzealous politicians and excessive regulations brought the rallies - ditto also mountain races - to a virtual standstill. Frustrated, many organizers of traditional events gave up. With the Franken Rallye, the Braun Rallye (Marktheidenfeld) and the Marienberg Rallye (Würzburg) disappeared, as did countless orientation drives that used to be the start of rallying.

Due to its great organisation, route and spectator participation, the Rallye Franken was even given the title of being a round of the German Rally Championship.

bad kissingen kurgste 1864After the success of the Sachs-Rallye-Franken and a break of several years, the “doers” at that time got together again in 1999. They recognized that a strong scene for vintage vehicles was just emerging.

It was decided to use the organizational know-how again, to revive the Sachs-Franken with the same loyal sponsor and to add the addition "Classic". Of course, you don't send the valuable old cars on special stages for the best time, where the risk of accidents is permanently high, but other types of tests are thought up. They should have a sporty character, require fast reactions and reflexes, require brisk driving and skilful handling of the car, but still be as gentle on the material and as risk-free as possible.

The organizers of the Sachs-Franken-Classic succeeded in doing this right away. A two-day event with a preceding prologue to Bad Bocklet was conceived and the intention from the outset was to see particularly noble vehicles in the starting field, which in terms of emotion were well above the bread-and-butter cars of the old days. This concept caught on immediately. The town of Bad Kissingen and the Bavarian spa administration immediately welcomed the rally with open arms. It is difficult to imagine a better focal point for a classic car rally of this magnitude.

bad kissingen round arch 1920The first "Franken Classic" took place in July 2000. The event was enthusiastically received and praised by all those involved. The Sachs-Franken-Classic 2000 was a delicacy trip, during which the participants could experience Lower Franconia and the Bad Kissingen state spa from their most beautiful sides.

The Franconian wine country, the Rhön, the Hassberge, the Steigerwald and the Spessart always form an extraordinary stage for the show with the old cars. Above all, the non-Franconian people raved and still rave about the dreamy landscapes of Lower Franconia. Strong emotions bring many of the "strangers" back to spend their holidays here in peace and quiet.

The participants are very impressed when they enter the Regent building of the state baths for the award ceremony with a gala dinner - historic ground under their feet, matching the partly historic automobiles of earlier decades.

In recent years, the Sachs-Franken-Classic has developed into the highlight of German classic car rallying. Since 2004 it has taken place on the Pentecost weekend.

Please read as well:

ADAC Sachs Franken Classic in Bad Kissingen

Almost a family meeting - vintage meeting at Nürburgring



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