The GUM rally!

The GUM rally is named after the most exclusive department store. It basically lines one side of Red Square, opposite the Kremlin.

GUM department store
GUM in Cyrillic

This has to have been the most outstanding day in the history of Austin Sevens in Russia! We arrived at Red Square in order to check in for the rally, and the police man at the security point took one look at the car and said, “Hello Mr Bond”! We had been assigned race number 007. What else. We were given pride of place, the car closest to Lenin’s tomb.

View of GUM rally 2019
Queue for Lenin’s tomb
Collection of the GUM rally bag, including stickers for the car, and wrist bands giving access to a GUM breakfast and ice cream!

There then followed something of a media free for all, members of the public…

And then the interviews!

Moscow 24 TV station

This is the link to the coverage by 1TV station:


This is all thanks to the PAMC (Russian roadside assistance) and their connection with CSKA rugby in Moscow – PAMC support both the rugby and the GUM rally. They also now support the challenge team for the Russian leg of the journey!

Final gathering of the first challenge team! Good luck Chris and Ilya!

Just after we were called to the start line, the map and driving instructions were handed over. Each car has a slightly different route (to prevent cheating) and a series of check points to get to.

Approaching the start…

Then, with a great introduction from the compere, and with much applause, the checkered flag lifted and we were off!

“Start” in Russian

We set off with the intention of winning something.

Portent – overtaken just metres after the start line!

Unfortunately, the race instructions were in km and m. The car has a milometer. So it was with a great deal of luck that we managed to find two of the control points, even more so that we were in time for a very stately lunch!


We did actually finally reach the finishing arch! We were treated to a competitor’s and sponsor’s lavish dinner on the banks of the river Moscva.

Such an amazing experience – an Austin 7 in Red Square! Taking part in the iconic rally! Fantastic interest and support! It was well worth the delay to the journey.

Join the Conversation


  1. A once in a lifetime experience!! Wonderful. Am bursting with pride for you – Chris Helen Arthur and now Ilya. And 007 – very appropriate! Cant imagine what you must be feeling but following your blog has become like instalments of a book or film. And more to come!


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