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Hotel Ganischgerhof Deutschnofen Dolomiten Südtirol

The 16th Eggentaler Herbst Classic – a dream on four wheels

Wednesday, 6th October - The preparations

Let’s talk about Klaus Pichler. Head of the Ganischgerhof, founder of the Eggentaler Herbst Classic, family man. His day should actually have 48 hours – and yet he wouldn’t be bored for a second. Especially before an event like the EHC classic car rally in Eggental Valley, which is taking place for the 16th time this year. And yet every year Klaus takes the time to guide his friends (and frequent guests) from Belgium on their way to South Tyrol.

It has become a good tradition for Klaus to fly to Belgium and drive back with all the Belgium participants to South Tyrol in historic cars. On Sunday, the start was in Zutendaal, from where the route led via Freiburg, Meiningen in Switzerland and Lake Como to Nova Ponente to the Ganischgerhof. The problem this time: it was raining like hell.

No reason for a bad mood, especially as the forecasts for the Eggentaler Herbst Classic 2021 are pretty great, too. So Klaus could loudly proclaim: “We’re only going in one direction from the rain: sun”.

Unfortunately, there was little sign of that on the day before the Eggentaler Herbst Classic. Even when Klaus reached the Ganischgerhof in the late afternoon, the sky was cloudy – and when it did open up, the autumn light showed that it had already snowed quite a bit on the Catinaccio.

All the cars that arrived at the Eggental Valley were marked by the rain, which of course rolled off the polished and waxed surfaces. But as in previous years, the weather improved as soon as the group of drivers arrived in the valley to start the first technical discussions and roadbook studies at the bar at Ganischgerhof.

As last year, this was done in compliance with a sophisticated hygiene concept. All participants were tested for the corona virus on site to ensure safety and health during the Eggentaler Herbst Classic.

And it will be a tough one this year: Spectacular Dolomite passes, an espresso stop that will truly go down in history as the highlight of the EHC, gorgeous scenery, South Tyrolean hospitality. Tomorrow we will finally set off – the engines will roar, the mood will be splendid, the sun will gradually take over. And the rain from Belgium, Germany and Switzerland will soon be forgotten.

Thursday, 7th October - The Tyrolean evening is back

For once, we are telling the second day of the EHC backwards. While these lines are being written, there is still a lively party going on at the Ganischgeralm. DJ Schicky alias Georg Pichler is playing one hit after the next – and this is really the best news of the day: the Tyrolean evening is back. After last year’s break due to Corona, numerous participants of the Eggentaler Herbst Classic dressed up again, wearing Dirndl or Lederhosen, and let themselves be spoilt by the kitchen team with Kamwinwurzen, cheese and bacon and many other delicacies served up by the kitchen and service team led by chef Youss.

Speaking of Youss: It is absolutely amazing what he and his team do to guarantee that nobody loses weight during the rally. Right after breakfast, the cooks moved their kitchen outside to serve delicious panini to “sweeten” the wait before the 2 p.m. start in Nova Ponente. And while the oldtimers were still driving from Pampeago over the Reiterjoch to Obereggen on the picturesque roads, Youss and his team were already on their way to the Ganischgeralm. We can therefore reveal that the oncoming traffic, which some participants had to avoid, had culinary causes.

Day 1 could almost be described as unoriginal – or as Miss Sophie in Dinner for One would put it: “Same procedure as every year”. The weather: Dry and even sunny right on time for the start of the rally. The route: Insanely beautiful. The food: Sensational. The mood: Great. Also for rally organiser Klaus Pichler, who this year is driving a Mletzko Porsche, which not only looks spectacular, but is also spectacular to drive. Klaus simply says: ” Well, THAT is real driving fun”.

Whereby it almost seemed that all the car lovers had put aside their favourite topic on the Ganischgeralm, at least for a few hours. For example, when the “Drei lustigen Vier” from Eggen sang about who they found in a crevasse. Or later, “Gimme a man after midnight” blasted from DJ Schicky’s stereo. One thing is for sure: we definitely deserve the Tyrolean evening and the party after all these strange months. And at breakfast at the latest, we will see who will be the Lord of the Rings – the Lord of the rings under the eyes.

Friday, 8th October - up high to the mountain passes

It was one of those days that will stay on everybody’s mind. No matter who was on the road – drivers, co-drivers, race directors, organisers or photographers – everyone was amazed. Where to stop? Where to take a selfie? Where to take photos? The choice was unlimited in the land of milk and honey on the route over the Passo Carezza, Pordoi, Falzarego, Giau, Pellegrino and Lavazè. A true symphony with a panoramic spectacle that is second to none.

When asked how he manages to pull such a breathtaking route out of his hat every year, organiser Klaus Pichler replied succinctly: “It’s very simple – you just have to drive in the opposite direction from time to time and turn left or right”.

The fact that the Eggentaler Herbst Classic is located in a scenic paradise is also well known to those who live here – and yet cannot get used to its beauty.

And when, as today, you take the cable car from Passo Pordoi up another 700 metres to almost 3,000 metres and get a bird’s eye view of the landscape, it’s something very special for everyone – for locals, tourists, newcomers and for rally drivers anyway.

A day like in a storybook lies behind us with fantastic weather, which was even better than forecast. And even though it was quite windy and chilly on the way, there was one person who really worked up a sweat. Walter Münch’s Quattro was making trouble because the fan belt had broken. Luckily, there’s the rally WhatsApp group, which quickly brought help in the form of a pair of ladies’ tights. However, they only lasted six kilometres as a replacement for the V-belt. But Walter found help in Cortina d’Ampezzo. With a new V-belt, he reached the Passo Giau “in record time”, as he says himself. And he probably intends to add a pair of tights to his toolbox. But orthopaedic ones. In the hope that they will last longer than six kilometres – just in case.

Saturday, 9th October – a pilgrimage

Unsere liebe Frau im Walde (Our dear lady in the forest) – this is indeed the name of a place just below the Gampen Pass.It is the oldest place of pilgrimage in Tyrol with a uniquely idyllic location. On the last day of the Eggental Autumn Classic, however, the tranquillity was gone because of the pilgrimage of a completely different kind to Unsere liebe Frau im Walde. 120 vintage cars parked directly in front of the church and provided spectacular pictures in the bright sunshine.

The last day of the rally was a picture-perfect event. Blue skies, a fantastic route, culinary highlights. On Saturday morning it was still quite fresh – at least at the beginning on the Passo Lavazè, where the thermometer showed minus 0.7 degrees. But that changed quickly when we crossed the Cembra Valley towards Trentino and the vineyards. The scenery, however, was completely different from the day before. Instead of Dolomite mountain backdrops, we had picturesque village crossings, narrow lanes through countless vineyards – and after the descent from the Gampen Pass into the Etsch Valley, almost summery feelings.

Finally, at the Concours d’Élégance, special compliments go to Magda Pardeller and Michaela Amplatz. Not only did they look stunning in their brown leather costumes, they are also among those who come up with new ideas every year to attract attention with their special elegance. The official part of the rally was over after the finish line, but those who actually know the EHC knew that the furious finale at the Ganischgerhof was waiting afterwards.

Organiser Klaus Pichler summarised with satisfaction: “Fantastic conditions, happy participants – and above all no incidents,” he said contentedly. And he was especially grateful that everyone supported the hygiene concept of the event with its corona test screening. At the gala buffet in the evening, chef Youss once again showed all the tricks of the trade. The tuna he filleted weighed the small matter of 140 kilos. Later, Klaus showed his so far hidden talent as a circus director and moderated the evening with an award ceremony and a very special supporting programme in which artists performed feats of incredible agility and body control. And as if that were not enough, the rock’n’roll band The Killbilly’s rocked the Ganischgerhof. As if Jerry Lee Lewis had written the lyrics especially for the Eggental Autumn Classic: “You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain.”

 

Text and photos: Jens Vögele|360°-Kommunikation

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