Published on September 9th, 2013 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Mazda3’s Hiroshima-Frankfurt Marathon Is Complete
After 15,000km, the convoy of all-new Mazda3s crossed the finish line yesterday at Mazda’s European R&D Centre in Oberursel, just outside Frankfurt, right on schedule. Featuring a design as innovative as their technology, all the new compacts withstood the expedition fully intact, demonstrating their robust and dependable Mazda genealogy founded on outstanding build quality. And four of them will be at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA).
Hidden potholes couldn’t stop them. Football-sized rocks couldn’t stop them. Nor could overturned trucks, herds of livestock and roadworks one was forced to drive through rather than around. The only thing that could delay two of the Challenger Tour Mazda3s was bureaucracy at the Belarusian border. So if crumbling highways were the primary concern particularly during the earlier legs of the tour, there was no lack of suspense during the later stages, either. Now waiting for the go-ahead to cross the border into Poland and the EU, the two Mazda3 stragglers are expected to resume their journey soon.
The overland portion of the Mazda Route3 tour began on 3 August, after the cars had been transported from Japan to Vladivostok via ship. Starting out from Russia’s Far East, they covered two continents, nine time zones and some 30 cities. Along the way, the Mazda3 teams took in a variety of sights, including Lake Baikal, the Altai Mountains and the Kungur Ice Caves. They stood on the border between Asia and Europe, and were escorted on more than one occasion by dozens of Mazdas driven by local fans. During the final leg, they visited four distinct European capitals – Moscow, Minsk, Warsaw and Berlin.
But no matter where the new Mazda3s went, they attracted waves, smiles, friendly curiosity and sometimes even applause. So in spite of all the flat tires and other tribulations, the otherwise flawless motoring fun and warm reception kept spirits high among the Mazda Route3 teams.
“What an adventure! If I had to single out the one aspect that was most impressive, I’d say the interaction – with the people along the way, with the Mazda Route3 participants, with the support team, and of course with the cars,” says trip organiser Sascha Postner, who accompanied the tour all the way from Vladivostok to Frankfurt. “The new Mazda3s were such a joy to drive and at the same time so tough and so reliable. They took everything Eurasia had to offer.”