At Rally Maya, classic cars compete with the heat

Merida 1st of many destinations in 10-day 'rolling museum'

Children in Santa Elena, Yucatan, get an up-close look at a classic Rally Maya car. Photo: Courtesy
Children in Santa Elena, Yucatan, get an up-close look at a classic Rally Maya car. Photo: Courtesy

Over 100 classic cars began their Yucatan rally today, with the heat as their biggest obstacle.

Car aficionados from around the world started their 10-day, 1,200-kilometer rally at Uxmal, where a ceremonial opening welcomed fans and drivers on Friday.

A contingent of 110 cars is divided into five groups according to era, said Fernando Barbachano Herrero, president of Grupo Mayaland. Anything from a Rolls Royce to a Dodge can be found in what they call a “rolling museum.”

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This is the sixth edition of Rally Maya Mexico, which criss-crosses the Yucatan Peninsula in a route that changes every year.

At a press conference in the Hotel Hacienda Uxmal Plantation & Museum, Barbachano indicated that the competition that has positioned itself as one of the best of its kind in the world. More than 400 participants are expected.

The annual events highlights the Peninsula’s cultural attractions, while providing entertainment for countless spectators from Merida to the Caribbean coast. (Rally map here.)

Cars date back as far as 1915, and weren’t necessarily built for mid-May in Yucatan. Models with air-cooled engines in particular will struggle with the high temperatures.

“It is a challenge for oils, for metals, for those who operate mostly in vehicles of the old class,” said Barbachano.

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For each town on the stop, organizers are handing out wheelchairs and orthopedic devices to selected citizens, in coordination with the Telmex Foundation. In addition to the eye-catching cars, drawing contests keep the children engaged.

The Rally Maya is considered a big-deal tourism event, pumping 118 million pesos into the economy.

Starting off at Hacienda Uxmal, the first stage of the rally ends in Merida. Then on Sunday, drivers head to Izamal, taking a couple of stops in Motul and at the Hacienda de Chenche de las Torres.

The main stops:

  • Uxmal
  • Maxcanú – Hacienda Chunchucmil
  • Mérida – Yucatan Speedway
  • Motul
  • Chenché de las Torres
  • San José Kanán
  • Izamal
  • Peto
  • Valladolid
  • Cenote la Orquídea
  • Puerto Moreles
  • Great Oasis Tulum
  • Chacchoben Village
  • Bacalar
  • Dzilbanché
  • Chetumal

Car brands participating

  • Rolls Royce
  • Porsche
  • Mercedes Benz
  • Audi
  • Packard
  • Mg
  • Alfa Romeo
  • Oldsmobile
  • Jaguar
  • Cadillac
  • Austin
  • Healy
  • Pontiac
  • Renault
  • Dodge
  • Plymouth
  • Buick
  • Lincoln
  • Chevrolet
  • VW
  • Stars: Ford A and T models
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