Paris to Macon, from the Eiffel Tower to the Beaujolais Nouveau release
Paris awoke to blue skies on the morning of the navigational shoot out synonymous with this 'Mad Dogs and Englishmen' event. Beneath the Eiffel Tower Anthony Reid, BTCC Master readied his starting flag. Anthony commented that he was unsure of which style of start to go for "the Italian style scissor kick and jump" or the more refined "Silverstone from the wrist". The scene outside the Hilton hotel in Paris was transformed from urban jungle to 'In the Jungle' - this year's fancy dress theme. Teams went to town, unleashing a sea of earthy greens and beiges, fully clad in pith helmets and accessories of everything from snakes, to faux ammunition. The gorilla suits amongst us enjoyed a banana over breakfast, the fruit and not Ecurie Mouton Noir who drove the course dressed as bananas. Donning their pith helmets teams had to solve five cryptic checkpoints in their attempt to cover the course in the shortest possible distance, with a jungle impression to be conducted on arrival at each. Checkpoint four celebrated the XK with the mighty Jaguar's roar.
"With their traffic intolerant 1972 Ford Escort retired to a Paris car park, the Classic Cars Magazine team of Mike and Amanda Goodbun hitched a ride in the Signs & Finance Jeep of John Riley and Nick Kift for day two's navigational challenge. Heading straight into a two-hour battle with stop-start suburb traffic, we knew we'd made the right decision - although missed the 'Super Scort' as soon as the rolling D-roads of rural France opened up. It would have been great on these roads.
Riley and Kift's text-book competitiveness, and banter normally reserved for married couples, had us riveted the entire journey to Macon. 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. Next time we'll bring a Safari Rally spec Escort - that should do the trick...
After a superb meal at the Chateau des Ravatys, the teams bussed it to Beaujeu for the midnight release of the Beaujolais Nouveau. A few glasses of the 2008 crop, and a good night's sleep, and we're all looking forward to the return to Paris - where we'll find out who is victorious!" Mike Goodbun, competitor and Deputy Editor Classic Cars Magazine (Mike and Amanda wore customised "I'm a Goodbun, Get Me Out of Here" red sweatshirts)