1000 Miglia Experience UAE in a 1969 Mercedes-Benz 280SL
We got a first hand experience on the 1000 Miglia Experience UAE Jubilee Edition which was first announced at the UAE Jubilee Launch back in December, 2021 by Octanium Group. We caught up with the rally on their second-leg of the journey from the InterContinental Fujairah Resort towards Jabel Jais, Ras Al Khaimah and ending the race at 25Hour Hotel, Dubai.
The 1000 Miglia UAE Prologue was a 2 day, 700KM rally race across the emirates. We were paired as a navigator to a seasoned 1000 Miglia driver, Mr. Wilfried Porth who used to be a Member of the Board of Management at Daimler AG and our classic ride for the journey was a 1969 Mercedes-Benz 280SL. In line with 1000 Miglia traditions, the Road Book is the bible for the race. It has a series of directions based on visual cues and measured distances to and from each junction. Needless to say we did get lost a few times whilst appreciating the scenic roads that the team at Octanium had charted out. However, thanks to our GPS kilometre tracker we were able to back-track to previous checkpoints and realign with the route as per the Road Book.
The team at 1000 Miglia & Octanium managed to surprise us by including some off-the-beaten tracks across Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah for a truly scenic rally drive – enhancing its reputation as “the world’s most beautiful race”. Generally residents in the UAE tend to stick to the main highways and suggestions by Google Maps. However, the 1000 Miglia is not about mundane highway drives, nor is it just about driving classic cars. It is a gathering of like-minded classic car enthusiasts to express their love for classic automotive museums on wheels.
The 1000 Miglia Road Book can be a bit intimidating at first but remember, it is a regularity rally! The team is judged by time-speed-distance (also known as TSD Rally) where the objective is to drive each segment of the course in a specified time at a specified average speed. Wilfried, being a seasoned driver, was prepared with the necessary GPS & technical timing gadgets. Coupled with our knowledge on the lay of the land we managed to make up for the lost time and distance from Day 1 with Wilfried’s Team.
ADNOC Distribution were the official energy partner for the event with their Super98 Fuel. This well maintained 1969 Mercedes-Benz 280SL needed nothing but the best ADNOC could offer. We were glad to see all possible ADNOC pitstop from Dubai all the way on top of Jabal Jais with their mobile fuel truck, ADNOC My Station.
We had the privilege of racing along Jochen Mass, a 30 year German veteran in competitive motorsports. He was glad to have made it for the first UAE Prologue, especially when we are at the top of Jabel Jais with the old classics and the modern hypercars.
We did it! It was our first time on a 1000-Miglia and to have come out of it with a 2nd-Prize WIN with Mr Wilfried Porth and Jochen Mass on a 1969 Mercedes-Benz 280SL was one of the best ways to start the year.