A moment from the Six Bridges Rally, Source: Six Bridges Rally Facebook

Car rally aims to put Europe’s arch bridges on UNESCO heritage list

Car rally aims to put Europe’s arch bridges on UNESCO heritage list

Aptly named Six Bridges Rally, this trans-continental initiative brings excitement about Europe’s marvellous industrial heritage

The second edition of the Six Bridges Rally is set to make a pit stop in the cities of Porto and Vila nova de Gaia, in the north of Portugal, but this is not a competitive car race. In fact, the aim of the event, which spans some 6,000 kilometres across 9 countries is to advocate the inclusion of six metal arch bridges as a collective property on UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites list.

The Rally took to the road on 27 August, departing from Germany, and takes 23 teams, spread over 22 cars (two of them electric) and a motorcycle, on a journey through the biggest arch bridges in Europe. A tour that passes through Portugal, France and Italy, but also through Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Spain, Luxembourg and Belgium.

Endurance race for heritage

Since it’s not competitive in nature, the rally can be considered more of an endurance feat with teams having to cover large distances daily before finishing on 11 September back in Germany at the Müngsten Bridge Park in Solingen, which was also the starting point of the race.

It goes without saying that bridge is among the six vying for UNESCO’s attention. The other five structures are: the Maria Pia bridge spanning the Douro River between Porto and Gaia, the San Michele bridge (in Paderno, Italy), the Garabit bridge (in Ruynes-en-Margeride, France) and the Viaur railway viaduct (in Tauriac-de-Naucelle, France). All of these are considered fine examples of industrial heritage from the Victorian era.

Although the race is not competitive, the organizers have made sure to add a motivating and fun factor for the participants, who have paid up to 660 euros per car with people to join. Oh, and the cars, unless they are electrical, have to be older than 15 years.

The drivers were given a handbook, which describes the possible routes to be taken (country roads are recommended) and also tasks to be completed.

Finishing the various tasks is voluntary but, completing each of them brings points to the team. At the end of the race, the three teams with the most points will get awards.



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