After a great nights sleep in the heart of Reims, the first batch of cars hit the start line. Fully rested, some having used the pool, the teams appreciated the new, later start time for 2016. Champagne Taittinger provided the start line where its employees were greeted by the sounds of exhausts. They were no strangers to this after ten years of the 'Run in Reims, but all marvelled at the collection of modern and classics for the 2016 event.
All cars pointed their noses towards the Chateau d'Etoges, en route through Champagne to Burgundy and onward to whatever other delights awaited...
Having returned from Taittinger's underground crayéres, the team's vehicles were left safely in parc fermé for the night, watched over by security. The Passavant and Lee case now loaded with Taittinger Brut, was locked away with its siblings; the evenings fun could begin.
Discovering the champagne bar in their luxury hotel, teams enjoyed a small aperitif before heading for an opening night Champagne dinner in the 13th century building in which the Counts of Champagne spent the night with the French Kings before their crowning.
After a four course dinner accompanied by Taittinger Brut and Brut Rosé the 2016 'Runners relaxed and got to know each other. After a recap of the day's events, 'Run stalwart, Anthony Reid took to the stage. A Le Mans, BTCC and Goodwood champion, Anthony gave the teams an insight into his career and what lay in store for them over the next two days of the navigational trial.
The 2016 theme for the navigational trial was 'The life and times of William Shakespeare", with day three of the 'Run celebrating this in fancy dress. The first clue was revealed with coffee and this referenced the Montague's and Capulets of Romeo and Juliet, sending competitors to the Chateau d'Etoges for their first checkpoint the following morning. The evening closed back in the hotels Champagne bar with one team member being invited to join the Champagne in the ice bucket!
All slept soundly that night after an amazing first day on the 2016 'Run.
After 'in flight' service 'Run style, the cars headed south for a liaison at Champagne Taittinger in Reims. As 'friends of the house' the caves were made available for a VIP tour and tasting in true 'Run style.
Some 'Runners were delighted to see the response from Ian Fleming to Claude Taittinger on having received the 1953 Blanc de Blancs. At this time, Fleming was writing You Only Live Twice which was published the following year.
A bottle of Champagne was loaded by Taittinger into the first of the Passavant and Lee cases for onward transmission to the UK where it would be delivered to a motoring celebrity. We think Ian Fleming's Bond would approve, himself a fan of bespoke briefcases with gadgets. But just who will that be? Only the 'Runners would know...
Having heard all about the production process and history of the region, the 'Runners sampled the house styles and then headed for parc fermé in their luxury hotel in the centre of Reims.
The Royal Automobile Club provided an ostentatious coffee stop for the 'Run as it headed to Eurotunnel. Used as a start location on three occasions, this time it provided a fuel stop for teams before the run to Reims. Leonora Surtees joined the competitors to talk about the Henry Surtees Foundation and what had been achieved by the 'Runs contribution to Air Ambulance funding. Some competitors already chose to use their fancy dress costumes for Wednesday to keep their heads warm in the Autumn air!
After a cry of "start you engines" the teams headed for The Captain's drive and onto Eurotunnel. At Eurotunnel high space carriages awaited to protect wheels and the excitement grew as Reims called...