Today participants faced the biggest challenge of the 2013 Centenary Alpine Trial, the infamous Loibl Pass. The steepest of all the passes, rising 2300 ft in three miles with very sharp and unusually steep hairpin bends, with gradients even steeper than the 28.5% of the road itself.
The road is still as it was in 1913, with a loose gravel surface rising to two obelisks at the top marking the Slovenian Austrian border. It was opened especially for the occasion and provided a wonderful opportunity to really understand the kind of conditions that the Rolls-Royce Works Team overcame in the original Alepnfahrt.
The first car to reach the top was the 2013 Alpine Trial Centenary Collection Rolls-Royce Ghost, wafting with ease through the 13 hairpin bends. The Silver Ghosts were heavy in the air as low level cloud gave an eerie feel to the spectacular setting. As the clouds lifted off the mountains, the Radlye car made history as it completed the same journey it made a century ago, powering through the final bend and joining its brand new stable mate at the top. Fourteen intrepid adventurers and their motor cars followed, each arriving with tales of daring and close shaves from the pass below.
Following a well-earned refreshment stop in the Loibl Pass ski chalet cafe, opened especially for the occasion, the equally challenging decent led to the first of two royal appointments.
Members of the 20-Ghost Club joined local dignitaries at the Grand Hotel Toplice on the occasion of HRH The Earl of Wessex and Countess of Wessex visiting Slovenia. The Royal Couple are visiting the region for a three day tour as part of the 'GREAT' campaign, promoting Britain abroad. The Earl and the Countess spent time chatting with the Club members, and the couple were also presented with a traditional 20-Ghost Club car badge.
In the evening, Club members travelled in their cars to Ljubljana to a reception hosted by British Ambassador, Mr Andrew Page. The event was held to celebrate the Official Birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, with The Earl of Wessex and Countess of Wessex cutting an enormous birthday cake with a ceremonial sword in honour of the occasion. British food was the order of the day, with fish and chips and curry the favourites, and entertainment including local singers and young ballet dancers.
Tomorrow sees a long drive to Semmering, completing the final day's run of the 1913 Alpenfahrt, exactly 100 years ago.