In addition to being a veritable “museum on wheels, the Rally Maya México is also an opportunity to learn about the natural, cultural, gastronomic and archaeological wealth of the Mayan world. About the origins of the event, its journey through time and its main achievements, Travel Trade Caribbean spoke with its CEO and founder, Benjamín de la Peña Mora.
For this classic car enthusiast, the Rally Maya Mexico is a road tourism event that promotes the gastronomy, culture and history of Mexico’s Great Mayan Route, a competition that has established itself as one of the most recognized in the world in the realm of vintage cars.
What was the origin of the Rally Maya Mexico?
I have always loved cars. I participated in a speed race several times, and on several I won in my category. From there came the idea of doing it in the Yucatan Peninsula, where there are no slopes or curves, and it would be a regular event, with maximum speeds of around 70 km per hour; and it is not necessary to wear a protective helmet, nor the special clothing against fires and burns.
This is how the idea of promoting motorsports in the Yucatan Peninsula came about, which did not exist, nor was there a commitment or a fondness for classic cars, with so many of them in Yucatan and Campeche.
We are already in the eighth edition. On this occasion we had 120 cars and it has been a complete success. So much so that the event in Mexico is one of the most important in the world, qualified by the International Automobile Federation and the International Federation for Historic Vehicles.
It’s been a decade since the idea began and nine years since the Rally Maya Mexico started
That’s right, in 2019 we suspended it due to the pandemic. It’s been a little over 11 years, due to the time we spent planning and implementing it, very calmly, so that it would be an event that would have the level that we have now. And I hope that we are not only in the top 10, but that we are the first in the world; because in the Yucatan Peninsula we have archaeological zones, underground rivers, sun and beach, very old cities, and this is part of the attraction of what we do. And every year we change the route. We are two years away from reaching the first route and again doing the first tours we did.
We cannot grow in the number of cars because we are limited by hotel logistics. People come from Central America, the United States, Canada, Europe, South America, and it is a great satisfaction, because in this way we are promoting the Yucatan Peninsula worldwide.
It seems like it was yesterday, that 2013 in which the first edition started…
Yes it does, it seems like yesterday. We did it, with the passion of motorsports, with the passion for our place of origin, which is Cancun, which has given us so much, and we want to give something back to society. So much so that within the social work that we do, at the beginning of the exhibition in the Plaza Puerto Cancún we handed out 10 chairs of the 50 that the Alejo Peralta Foundation gave us, so that we could hand them out throughout the tour.
We are also in contact with a hospital of an American foundation that operates and makes prosthetics for children under 18 years of age, and we will serve as a bridge. Similarly, the Swiss Franck Muller watch company gives us a percentage of one of its sales and we give it to children with type I diabetes, and we also help children with Down Syndrome and children with Autism. Thanks to the Oasis Foundation, we also organize a camp every year, where we take children from all over the republic for a full week, 50 children with type I diabetes, and we take along doctors, nutritionists, trainers, and they have an incredible time.
Is the route usually between 1,100 or 1,200 kilometers?
Yes. The longest route was 1,400 kilometers, which was the first edition. And we had very old cars. A 1915 Ford came and never broke down. However, newer cars did fall by the wayside. Because it is a challenge, both for the cars and for the drivers.
The event is very well organized, as well as its logistics. We bring doctors, ambulances, mechanics, security, the national guard goes with us, the state police. My respects to all the staff who help me make this great event a reality.
Which countries attend this edition?
Delegations come from Portugal, Switzerland, Holland, Spain, Italy. From the latter country comes Prisca Taruffi, daughter of Piero Taruffi, who was a Formula 1 driver and won the 1951 Pan-American race.
They also come from Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, Colombia, the United States, Canada and 17 states in Mexico.
Anything else you want to highlight?
To thank everyone who reads us and hopefully that they can come to see these jewels of classic motorsports.