Rallye Glenwood Springs, Colorado from June 7-9, 2019
For car lovers in Colorado, summer can be a long time coming. Spring in Colorado is known as the “mud season,” when skiers and snowboarders reluctantly hang up their gear while the summer sports people count the days until June. In April, 1952, sports car enthusiast Hazel Hopkins Marble was ready for a proper outing in her MG TC. You should know that Coloradoans pride themselves on being a hearty bunch, and Hazel was no exception. Together with co-founders Harry Walter (the first president of the local MG Car Club), Mary Burns, Denis Evans, Doreen Evans (of “Dancing Daughters” fame who drove for the MG works team at Le Mans in 1935), the group devised a Time-Speed-Distance (TSD) rallye that originated in Denver and ended nearly 200 miles away in the resort town of Glenwood Springs. The Glenwood townspeople loved the idea. Local government and business people were eager to promote their town and promptly sanctioned the event.
This photo is from the 1955 Rallye Glenwood Springs. The background shows the Hotel Denver in downtown Glenwood Springs, originally the site of the finish line for the rally and site of the awards ceremony. Early rallies were held in April, hence the fur coat and falling snow. The MG shown is a model TD. Typically, these cars came without heaters.
At the time, there were several sports car clubs active in Denver, and word quickly got out. The Rallye Glenwood Springs was officially born, and competitors happily braved the changeable weather, gravel roads and high mountain passes to compete for various awards. Judges awarded the silverware to competitors from the back of a flatbed truck parked in the middle of Main Street. The rallye was an instant success, and quickly became a must-do event for sports car lovers in the area.
While competitive TSD rallying has faded away in much of the country, the Rallye Glenwood Springs continues, thanks to the efforts of Denver’s MG Car Club, Rocky Mountain Centre. The MGCC-RMC was founded and officially became a center of the MG Car Club of England in 1952.
Now held in early June in the hopes of favorable weather, the rallye has been run successfully, without exception, every year since 1952. Much of that success has to do with the energy and commitment of the more than 200 members of the MGCC-RMC. Newcomers are welcomed and made to feel at home. The whole event, consisting of the Rallye, Tour, Funkhana and Car Show is taken seriously, but not too seriously. “We want people to be challenged, but not so challenged that they won’t come back next year,” club president Neil White said. “The emphasis is on fun.” Awards for the various events are plentiful, and consist of Olympic style medals awarded across several classes established for each event.
In keeping with tradition, the Rallye, Tour, Funkhana and Car Show are open to all makes and models, including British, Asian, European and American iron, as well as MGs of all stripes. The car show is open to the public.
Each year has a featured car. The 2019 rallye celebrates the 90th Anniversary of the MG Sports Car, and is scheduled for June 7-9, 2019.
Interest in the event has widened over the years, with the event pulling competitors from surrounding states. As Colorado’s popularity as a summer travel destination increases, so does interest in the event from outside the region. The club recognizes competitors who travel great distances to attend the event with a special award. “We think Hazel Hopkins Marble would be very pleased,” White said. “We’re doing our best to carry on the tradition, and I think we’ve done a proper job of it.”