Czechs and veterans will go to Athens next year, for their own Olympic flame


After the very successful first run of the Oldtimer Express, the second is already being prepared. This time, the goal of endurance riding in the Olympic 2024 will symbolically be the capital of Greece and the famous Olympus. Participants cover over 2,400 kilometers in five stages.

Start of the first ride of the Oldtimer Express in Prague.

| Photo: Courtesy of Odltimer Express

Oldtimer Express 2023:

Source: Youtube

According to the organizer of the Czech veterans ride, Josef Zajíček, the Oldtimer Express convoy will head to Athens in the spring. The first year took participants in the footsteps of the famous Orient Express train to Istanbul. In the Olympic year 2024, car crews over 30 years old will symbolically go all the way to the famous Olympus. The Cesta do Olympia website informs about it. The route, which will start again in Prague, is divided into five stages for 2024. They will take the participants through the Austrian Alps, the coast of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania and, of course, Greece.

The crews will set off on the 2,439-kilometer ride on May 4, but the entire ride will actually start a day earlier.

The start is after the Golden Wheel

On the eve of the start, the participants will meet at the festive evening of the Zlatý volant survey, which is one of the partners of the Oldtimer Express, and thanks to this, even the stars of motorsport will not be missing at the start.

“I cannot yet reveal the exact starting place and the personality who will start our ride, but it is certain that it will certainly be a great experience for the participants and spectators,” promises Josef Zajíček, who invented the Oldtimer Express with his Turkish business partner.

Start of this year’s Oldtimer Express ride in Prague.Source: Courtesy of Odltimer Express

The first year of the endurance race headed to Istanbul this spring, and the legendary Norwegian rally driver John Haugland and the Turkish ambassador Egemen Bagis were present at the start ceremony at the National Technical Museum on Letná.

The ride of 23 Czech veterans culminated in their joint arrival at the square to the Hagia Sophia mosque on Saturday, May 20.

Interesting stops and the Olympic flame itself

At least as unusual experiences await the participants of the second year, which starts on May 3. There are already several interesting stops along the way, which will take the crews through the Austrian and Slovenian Alps, the Adriatic coast and wild Albania. One of them will be, for example, a competitive regularity race at the Grobnik racing circuit in Rijeka. In the fifth stage, the participants will stop directly at Olympus for their own Olympic flame. The cars will finish their entire run on May 10 in Athens, where the race will culminate with a ceremonial announcement and joint gala evening.

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“In the first year, all twenty-three crews reached the finish line, and I believe that we will be just as successful this year. We have a very experienced service team that has always solved all the technical complications of the participants immediately. In addition, we have again chosen a spring date for the trip, which is ideal for driving historic cars and their crews,” Josef Zajíček explains the necessary conditions for such a long journey of veterans.

A new category is listed

Cars over 30 years old can participate in the drives, but compared to last year, there is also a special Classique Unique category for cars over fifty years old. The winner of the category will then receive a unique watch from the Czech manufacturer ROBOT, designed and manufactured especially for this event.

Participants of the ride to Istanbul at the finish line.Participants of the ride to Istanbul at the finish line.Source: Courtesy of Odltimer Express

“In the first year, we had a very diverse starting field. An extraordinary performance was shown by Ivo Tůma with his Octavia from 1960, which he reconstructed just before the race, or Alois Krejčí with his Škoda Tudor Roadster from 1951, which was the oldest participating car. One of the unmissable cars was the Rolls-Royce Corniche driven by Jiří Jirovec, a former racer, collector of historic rally cars and owner of the Invelt company,” Josef Zajíček listed some of the participants in the 2023 race.

Samohyl, the biggest collector of historic cars, will also go

For the year 2024, Ladislav Samohýl, the biggest collector of historic cars in the Czech Republic, decided to join the Oldtimer Express.

“I am very happy that such an important figure in the veteran scene, as Mr. Samohyl, will be one of our partners, and I believe that the next year will attract at least as diverse a mixture of cars and crews, which together will create a great team,” concluded Zajíček.

On the way to the destination of the 2023 drive:

Source: Youtube

What is Oldtimer Express?

It is a unique endurance race of classic vehicles. Completing a long-distance route, longer than two thousand kilometers in a historic car more than 30 years old, is a challenge that will not be easy to overcome and is intended for the truly brave. Even more insurmountable will be the experiences that the participants will bring with them from this trip.

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On the website of the Odltimer Express drive, it is also possible to read that it is not just any Sunday ride, but a route that every motorist should drive to prove that their car is not just for a short trip to the nearest sweet shop. The driving route leads along modern roads with service escort, but even so there is no shortage of adventure.

Individual stages of the Oldtimer Express 2024 Prague – Athens (May 4 – 10)

1st stage, Saturday 4 May – length approx. 350 kilometres: Technical acceptance of vehicles from 7.00 a.m. Start in Prague at 10:00 a.m. The finish line is in the foothills of the Alps at 5:00 p.m.

2nd stage, Sunday, May 5 – length approx. 350 kilometers: Start in the foothills of the Alps at 9:00 a.m., arrival at the destination, which is Rijeka, at 5:00 p.m. The first competition, the so-called hundredth rally, will take place on the circuit here.

3rd stage, Monday, May 6 – length approx. 530 kilometers: Start in Rijeka at 9:00 a.m., arrival in Dubrovnik at 7:00 p.m.

Tatra 603 from 1959 of Josef Zajíček, organizer of the Oldtimer Express endurance race.Tatra 603 from 1959 of Josef Zajíček, organizer of the Oldtimer Express endurance race.Source: Courtesy of Odltimer Express

4th stage, Tuesday, May 7 – length approx. 550 kilometers: Start in Dubrovnik at 9:00 a.m., arrival at the destination in Ionannina at 7:00 p.m.

5th stage, Wednesday, May 8 – length approx. 600 kilometers: Start in Ionannina. Arrival in Olympia at 4:00 p.m., followed by an epilogue via Tripoliis to Athens. Arrival at the destination at 20:00.

Athens, Thursday 9 May: From 10.00 a.m. the program in Athens, from 7.00 p.m. the festive gala evening and announcement.

Athens, Friday 10 May: Loading of cars and departure of participants to Prague.

Source: Oldtimer Express

The article is in Czech

Tags: Czechs veterans Athens year Olympic flame


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