The Beaujolais Run 2011 - Macon to Reims
Competitors awoke in Mâcon and passed Beaune, before diverting to a small French village by the name of Prenois. It then dawned upon teams that they were being instructed to multiply lap Dijon’s famous former Formula One circuit as an extension of yesterday’s navigational trial! Turbos whined, superchargers howled and rubber squeeled as some of Europe’s finest metal was let loose on the finest operational track in France. For many competitors it was their first time at Dijon, following in the footsteps of motorsport legends; Villeneuve and Arnoux who fought a memorable battle at the 1979 French Grand Prix.
The track closed at 1300hrs. All teams then made spirited progress to Reims as they knew a treat was in store…
As the sun went down on Reims, teams were transported to the home of Champagne Taittinger; Chateau de la Marquetterie, high on a hill, amongst the Champagne vineyards. Teams marvelled at the spectacle within the chateau as they sipped their aperitif; before they then retired to the wine press room. There they found Marshall Joffre’s Paris limousine. An incredible 6 cylinder, 7.5 litre car from 1911. This remarkable car was the command vehicle of Marshall Joffre during the Battle of the Marne; effectively the forerunner to the modern scout car/modern off roader. Teams climbed into the vehicle, exploring its many historic and unique features during the course of the evening.
Clovis Taittinger led teams through five different wines; including the stunning Comtes Rose 2004, accompanying a sumptuous dinner and a charity auction. During dinner John Surtees praised teams for their fundraising efforts and gave an evocative insight into his epic career.
Expectations were running high as the time for prize giving arrived. Richard and Helen Slade; Team Kitty, in Billy their Jaguar XK150; took P2 for the GT1 Maps Only navigation class. Winners of P2, Any Assistance, were Julian Di Tomaso and Chris Boon of Full Bodied; behind the wheel of the off-roading Ferarri 360 Challenge Stradale! The highly coveted P1 went to Chris Bonvini and Dom McKay of Team Banana; an awesome achievement and in their first year on the ‘Run.The wonderfully individual James Wall Trophy for the Highest Fundraiser (P1) continues in perpetuity; donated by Andy Wall of Sunpower, father to James Wall who tragically lost his fight against cancer in April 2009
Always a hotly contested award, L’Esprit du Cours went to Greg De Prow; who overcame an incredible array of challenges from start to finish. Greg flew in from Las Vegas alone; his first time in the UK and France, when his team mate tragically withdrew from the ‘Run at the last minute, due to family circumstances. Greg’s ‘Run did not get off to the best start, as not only was he to travel alone; his car was stuck on the high seas outside Portsmouth, unable to dock! Whilst Greg set out alone in his hire car, the nature of the ‘Run inspires a wonderful camaderie that meant Greg was surrounded by friendly faces who were keen to ‘buddy up’; ensuring Greg was 110% part of the ‘Run. Greg suffered a puncture en route. Helped by Team Banana in the Corvette, he was soon back on the road, but then a wrong turn set him back and he missed the coach to dinner at Chateau Chassleas on Wednesday. ‘Run HQ left a note at the hotel reception, encouraging Greg to join the rest of the teams by taxi, which he did; entering the room during the meal to a rapturous round of applause! Greg’s adventure did not stop there... He offered to return Shaken but Undeterred to the UK; following the spectacular expiry of their Lotus Esprit Turbo the day before. Greg showed true Beaujolais spirit throughout; leading to a unanimous nomination for this esteemed award by all teams.
Team Tigger; husband and wife team Sean and Anna Devaney in their Nissan 370Z proudly collected the Wooden Spoon Award having chalked up the most miles during day two’s navigation trial.
Teams then transferred back to Reims, enjoying yet another wonderful treat; Jeroboams of Champagne Taittinger en route!