The Beaujolais Run 2011 - Reims to Macon
Reims awoke to the lively start of the navigational shoot out, synonymous with this ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen’ event. The starting flag was dropped by Steve Berry dressed as John Steed from The Avengers; and teams headed south, furnished with their cryptic checkpoint clues. The scene outside Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger’s offices in Reims was taken back in time, to the 1960s; the decade of the E-type’s launch. Unleashed from Reims, teams dressed as ‘Sixties Icons’, seized the challenge and went about solving five cryptic checkpoints in their attempt to cover the course in the shortest possible distance.
France was in for a treat when John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Roy Salvadori and Graham Hill, Neil Armstrong, George Best, Lady Penelope and Parker, hippies and an eclectic array of groovy Sixties fashion. Polyester was rife and often ripe, with outfits arriving in Macon somewhat dishevelled after a day’s hard driving from Reims.
A unique task en route this year was for navigators to undertake a tasting of Chablis at Simonnet Febvre; in the world famous Chardonnay biased town. Other tasks included an obligatory Sixties Icon impersonation; guaranteed to bring smiles (and raised eyebrows!) to highly populated villages throughout France. But the air of comedy couldn’t disguise their dedication to finding the shortest route – which didn’t always mean taking the most obvious route.
The day presented greater challenges for some, sadly, as two teams retired from competition due to mechanical failure. Shaken but Undeterred were renamed Shaken but Not On Fire, as a fellow team came to their international rescue, to ensure that they too could enjoy the evening’s celebrations!
Teams’ antics were viewed in real time all over the world, thanks to TrackaPhone and NOKIA. For the teams themselves it was like being part of a video game, as they tracked their competition en route!
Baron Guillaume de Castelnau awaited teams at Château de Chasselas to welcome them to the region and to showcase and explain the award-winning wines. A hearty meal ensured teams were suitably fuelled before heading out into the night for the midnight release of the Beaujolais Nouveau. Inimitable in its spectacle; teams joined a torch lit walk into the heart of the village, mixing with local vignerons who were only to proud to proclaim the near perfect conditions in Beaujolais, producing a fabulous 2011 vintage! Sante! A few glasses of the 2011 crop amidst an awesome party atmosphere, music and fireworks lit the sky until the early hours.
What will tomorrow bring.... A special Thursday stage has been announced!