friday, september 09, 2005 – stelvio 2005 – day 1
i went to be at about 1am and then set my alarms for 0430, 0445 and 0500. i still managed to snooze them all and eventually woke up at 0545. i was out of the house by 0555 and on the road. i would have made the check in at the ferry port if i didn’t have to make a detour to get the stickers in sittingbourne. i eventually arrived at the check in 15 minutes before departure after doing some high speeds down the a2 and also in the 20mph zone at dover. they had closed the check in so i wanted to escape to try and book on something else. speedferries have now reserved my outbound cross for another 12 months for when i want to use it another time. this crossing was from last year – so two years i paid for it after getting a refund as well.
i went to the ticket terminal and got a sea france 0930 crossing for â£57.50 compared to p&o who wanted â£145.00, so back to the car. a police man then comes over to tell me about my illegal sized front plate. he told me to change it when i get back – don’t worry about the french 🙂 i am then going through the docks, in the 20mph zone, doing 20mph and police where there with a speed trap. about 10 minutes earlier i was doing a lot more that than. lucky escape number 1.
got to the sea france check in and she asked me if i would like to go on the 0815 sailing. the time was 0805 – so i gladly accepted. i whizzed round to the lane and then one of the dock side staff stopped me and said stop speeding otherwise they will throw me out of the docks – lucky escape number 2.
got on the boat and noticed james and kevin’s car were also there. whilst i was queuing up for breakfast, they noticed me in the queue. had breakfast with them and it turned out the kevin had not uploaded the route to his new tom tom nor had james. connected kevin’s ttg700 and dropped the itinerary into the folder and hey presto. sent the itinerary to james ipaq via bluetooth, so that was everyone with the route.
we managed to meet up with the other in reims mcdonalds – only 15 minutes behind. we then went to the reims pits for some photos and then started to follow the route. about one mile from the pits, heading into a town, i was looking at the sat nav for the next destination and next thing i see is a copper in the middle of the road. pulls me over and waves jaye past. i said i didn’t understand a word they were saying, so he had a chat with his mate and then decided to let me off for doing 84kph in a 50kph zone. lucky escape 3.
rest of the journey was trouble free. had some fun with a biker on a twisty section – he couldn’t keep up 🙂 got to the hotel after 14 hours and 9 of them was driving. a total of 902.3km from home. had a nice dinner a few bottles of wine and then everyone went to bed.
saturday, september 10, 2005 – stelvio 2005 – day 2
everyone lined up in the square for a little photo shoot and then we split into smaller groups and headed on our way. quite a few of us needed fuel, so when we crossed into switzerland, we found some petrol stations but they were only credit card ones and they didn’t accept our cards. eventually we found one that did. we were then travelling down a road and we were about to turn right onto another road and it was full of cows. the pointed at us to turn around and go another way.
we then came across a group of ferraris of all ages touring around. i overtook a few and then when we came to a junction, my sat nav was saying turn right and the ferraris were going left. i was very tempted to take a detour to have a little play, but i decided not to in the end. it turned out, that others in our group came across them as well and had some fun overtaking them.
we then following the route and it led us down a road that was blocked by a skip, had to turn around and use another road and then we were back on route. the pass that we did was great fun – can’t remember the name of it.
we were the first to get to the hotel, so we got parking outside the hotel 🙂 after 400km of driving, it was time for a well deserved beer. we went to a local place and then it poured down with rain. once it had stopped, we looked around the town for places to eat and eventually decided on the one next to the hotel. we also met up with the bend group who were staying just down the road.
sunday, september 11, 2005 – stelvio 2005 – day 3
at breakfast, i had to fix iain’s corrupted hdd on his tomtom go to load the itinerary as the itn folder was corrupted. we left the hotel and headed for l’alpes d’huez. we were the last to leave the hotel and got to the top first. some of the others tom tom was trying to take them a different route to the top and gave up trying to find it.
we were the 1st to leave l’alpes d’huez and the road after that were amazing – fast twisty roads and we came across a load of bikers and we just about managed to get past them. we then started coming across the col’s – the col de laurtaret and col d’ izoard were amazing.
next was the col de vars – i remember this from last year, but we did it in the reverse order and it was lovely sunshine. today was warm to start with then got colder. after the col de vars, we caught up with two german elise’s and had a little run with them and we got to barcelonnette and we needed petrol. it was great timing as the heavens opened, so we decided to hit the town to find some lunch. we were lucky to find a place that also had the f1 gp on. during lunch, there was a nice selection of downpours with thunder and lightening.
we then left and took it easy in the rain heading for the col de cayolle – told jaye to lead as i was unsure of the levels of grip with a038’s. i played around the car on my own and realised that there was a load of grip available in the wet so i eventually caught rob and jaye up. it stopped raining so it was time for roofs off again and it was still damp on the roads so jaye lead. i found that i was pushing him along a little and as soon as it was sunny again and there was a dry’ish road, he let me past for the next fast section.
17 tunnels in the gorges de dalius – again we did last year in the reverse order. very fast twisty roads where you could nearly cut the corner and go straight.
coming out of entreaux, we over took a few cars building back up speed and i notice something in the trees on the right. it was only a speed trap and 200m up the road a copper stands in the middle of the road and flags us down to pull in. they said we were doing about 142kph in a 90kph zone. they wanted to see our car details and driving licenses and also breathalysed us. jaye and rob handed over their photo card and paper part of their license and their v5’s. i handed over my photo card license and mot as i had forgotten the others. i also had to sneakily remove the battery from the video camera just in case they wanted a look at any evidence. in the end it was 90 euro fine and away we went. they also warned us of another speed trap up the road. however, about a mile up, we turned off heading towards le penne, so more twisty roads where the police are not to be seen.
we then carried along to roquesteron and then decided to take the unmarked road gravel trap to conjudges le ferres and boujon. it was interesting with a lack of grip and hairpins. put it in 1st and spin the rears. my car was turning in and the front wheel was off the ground. it was well worth the full route for the col de vence – it was like stelvio – awesome and then heading down towards venice and we could see the med from the top – fantastic.
got to the hotel and we were the 1st hear apart from gerald, james and kevin who took a detour and didn’t do the whole route. we discovered that gerald ran out of talent coming down the l’alpes d’huez and hit the wall on a hairpin. lucky it was only a bit of clam damage to his already damaged front clam.
cris arrived and was worried about his brakes after fitting new mmc replacement pads a few weeks ago. it turned out that the new pads had scored the disc and they were useless. it was time to find a replacement, but all the lotus dealers were closed by this time. unfortunately, cris’s co-pilot andrew had to return home due to a death in the family.
we had more good food and wine and then we got back to the hotel. the receptionist didn’t want to serve us any more alcohol, but i rob beves, rob talbot and gerald managed to persuade her to allow us one more drink.
we managed to cover 472km today. so far, a total of 22hrs 36mins of driving with a total of 4hr 51min of stopping.
monday, september 12, 2005 – stelvio 2005 – day 4
we started off by filling up with fuel and then headed on our way. we missed some turnings so had to make several u-turns. rob beves has an interesting moment on one of the hairpins. he had to go around the outside of a van while dave went around the inside – a lucky escape. we then stopped at the top of the pass for a photo shoot and we added a sticker to gerald’s car to hold it together 🙂
we then split up again and i was leading our pack and i was about to turn right up a road and dave was hooting his horn to say go straight ahead. dave was using a laptop with a bluetooth gps receiver and microsoft map point, so he could see a bigger picture of all the roads. so i went straight on and my sat nav recalculated. it turns out that the road it lead us up was barely wide enough for the cars. the tyres were hitting the walls and when i got to the top, there was a van in the way. dave managed to only drive up half way so reversed out no problems. jaye was saying that he wouldn’t be able to reverse out, but in the end managed it, as did i.
we carried on up this goat track and i noticed a danger sign – do not enter – i thought we were going to get kidnapped or something. in the end, we were chased along the road by a dog. we then proceeded to head up the col de torini which was great fun. we then stopped at the top and had a coffee. we met rob earl there who advised us not to go down the other side as it was not as good and there would be quite a lot of gravel. i then noticed a nice large stone chip by the driver’s door window on the rear clam. if the window had been up, it probably would have smashed it. also in the coffee shop place, there were loads of old photos from various car groups that had travelled to the top along with some old rally photos.
robt, jaye and dave headed off, while i and rob beves waited around a little longer. we then left with rob leading so i could video us driving down the col – it was like a rally stage with the pair of us tearing down the road. we caught up the with others and then robt was leading the way into italy. once across the border, we stopped for lunch. we then got stuck in a load of traffic trying to get to lake como so we stopped to fill up with fuel and re-assess the journey. we discovered that we needed to go one junction up the motorway. dave said that we needed to head right off the roundabout. so we set off and i was leading and noticed that my sat nav was saying turn left then right on the motorway. again, my sat nav was right, so a little reversing up the slip road and we were on our way.
once we stumbled upon lake como, we drove through some small towns at full pelt; it was like a scene out of the italian job. we passed through some tunnels at three figure speeds and then eventually got to the hotel. we met with the others who were on their out to the pub. i got shown to my room with a fantastic view of the lake and a quick squirt of deodorant and after shave; i met with the others in the pub.
sank a few beers and then had some dinner and then back to the bar. we then started drinking more and met the mayor of the local town – his picture was behind the bar. he looked like he would put a couple of brinks into your trousers and drop you into lake como. nathan was on top form, doing his chicken impression with a tea town and then walking down the stairs and also getting the bar maid to pour a full pint. we then headed back to the hotel and nathan was using his shoe as a phone – classic stuff. off to bed after covering 607km today.