With a start time of 10.17 we didn't have to be up too early to get to the start to meet up with friends from Durham Auto Club, Pam & Roger Broom, Stuart Anderson and Chris Thirling with plenty of time for chatter and the much needed cuppa & bacon bun.
Paddy Hopkirk was the star guest and he was flagging the cars off at the start. We had a brief chat about the MG3 on the start line but unfortunately I lost the video.
There was an eclectic mix of cars from the exotic to the mundane. The stars of the show were the two minis that Paddy drove back in the day, 6 EMO and 33 EJB
We were away on time and had a great drive over some lovely roads and hit our times at the checkpoints, Phew! We didn't kill each other either.
Thanks to Pam for the photos.
This didn't go so well as a couple of wrong turns had us pushing hard to keep in time. One wrong turn took us miles out of our way and we had to backtrack, but we couldn't remember exactly which way we had come. We turned into one country lane and found a checkpoint. It was the one we wanted but we had no idea how we got there.
With these problems our mileages were all over the place and Pam was kept quite busy calculating mileages and times as well as keeping me on the right road. Thankfully she's good at it and did well.
We finally made it to the end in time and took part in the optional challenge which involved me wearing a blindfold and Pam directing me. This involved a bit of shouting as can be heard on the video.
After this it was back to the start venue where a hot meal awaited and very good it was too.
Paddy was signing autographs so we got our route book signed.
This isn't a competitive event but all those who had a clean sheet were entered into a draw for two bottles of bubbly. The 2300 Club have a system where if the crew selected isn't there another is drawn until there is a crew there to receive the award. We won on the third draw. Paddy presented us with the bottles.
Awards over it was time for the talk and Paddy entertained us with his humourous tales of his life.
Only one thing that we didn't like about the day was the queues of cars at the checkpoints. That's fine if they are all on time, but many times they were early and just parked up waiting for their time. This created problems for anybody who was pushed for time as nobody knew who was early and could end up waiting and losing time before realising the situation. Also on narrow roads getting past was sometimes a problem.
To my mind the whole aim of the event is to regulate your speed on the route to arrive at a checkpoint on time, not to just drive and block up the road because you are early. That is just lazy.
It made me think of the twelve car rallies we used to do in the 70s. If you got your times wrong and approached a checkpoint early, your only option was to slow to a crawl and hope to lose enough time. If you stopped within sight of the checkpoint the marshals would give you the time you stopped, not the time you reached the checkpoint so there was no advantage to stopping short early.
Despite this we had a great day and huge thanks go to all who worked so hard planning the event and those stalwarts manning the checkpoints on the day.
We said our thank yous and goodbyes and headed off to our hotel and a comfy bed after a long but very enjoyable day.
By the time we got home we'd done 357 enjoyable miles.