Landing back in the UK from the Super Car Rally on my newly found friend, Brendons Private Jet!
I am now back from the Brooklands to Monte Carlo super car rally, which was a fantastic almost undescribable experience, five star hotels & chateaus, fantastic meals, incredible views, roads winding up the Alps, breath taking sceneries with unbelievable driving thrills from myself and other drivers, which can only be described as being close to the edge in more ways than one!
We started from Mercedes Benz World in Surrey, which is a great building, completed for Mercedes in 05 at the cost exceeding £70 Million. The building has four levels of showrooms, which shows the full range of Mercedes from Maybachs to SLRs, to Formula 1 Racing cars and even vintage Mercedes.
The site is set on 120 acres which includes a race track and skid pan, where you can test all the latest Mercedes and other cars on, which was a great experience on its own, what a way to start!
Met Joe and Nigel who work at Mercedes Benz World, they were also doing the run in the Mercedes SLR and they gave me the privilege of having a drive in this super car.
Mercedes Benz World, Brooklands
Before leaving Mercedes Benz World we had the privalige of having a lap round their track before heading off for Dover.
Day one saw us leaving Brooklands driving down to Folkstone where we got on the train to go on the Channel Tunnel, which took us to the shores of France, which gave us our first route to Versailles.
Cars all parked up waiting to get on the channel tunnel train at Dover.
This wasn’t a direct journey, as part of the rally is working out clues to get yourselves to the hotel, so got lost a few times and went around the houses. We had a little convoy going which consisted of me and Steve in the Ferrari 430 Spider, Lawrance and Big Phil in another Ferrari 430 Spider, Nigel and Joe in the Mercedes SLR and Brendon and Tony in their Ferrari California.
On day one it didn’t start off very well, got lost, didn’t find any clues and it was pissing it down with rain. We decided that the best thing to do was follow a 599, which had a Sat Nav, which also managed to get us lost.
Day one was a very long day for only covering an approximate distance of 200 miles; finally we arrived at our destination at our hotel in Versailles.
Petrol Stop in France, one of many!
We had a fabulous dinner enjoyed some drinks, and looked forward to meeting for breakfast to plan the next day.
Some of the cars parked up at the hotel
Day two of the Super Car Rally saw us up first thing ready for the journey through the rest of France. At breakfast we were given maps and clues to get us to our day’s destination, which was the Hotel-Golf Chateau de Chailly.
Leaving the first hotel, ready for the road trip that day two was to become.
Realising from the previous days experience that the Sat Nav was not going to be a benefit, as it doesn’t take you through the winding country roads, through the picturesque villages which means you miss out on the clues and meeting up with the other teams for lunch, we decided to not use it.
Steve drove and it was pouring down with rain so no opportunities to push the car, but we still had a great morning, stopping to refuel us and the cars along the way.
I had the pleasure of being allowed to drive the Mercedes McClaren SLR that day, and what a car, but still raining so couldn’t really put my foot down, for obvious reasons!
SLR En route
At the seat of the Mercedes McClaren SLR Spider.
We all met up for lunch in the famous wine region of Son Sare, where we soon realised that asking for a rare cooked steak meant that they practically brought the live cow to your table, handy tip when ordering steak in France and you went it medium/rare ask for well done!
Lawrence and Phil, part of our little convoy in the other 430.
Nigel, Me and Joe who work at Mercedes who have the SLR, what a car!
After lunch it was my turn to drive the 430 and with the weather a bit better we were able to crack on down to the Chateau.
On our travels we learnt that one of the teams had crashed, and although it sounded pretty bad, the car had to be lifted of the driver, they were only battered and bruised, the car on the other hand…
The driver turned out to be Michael Schumakers next door neighbour, would have been an idea for Schmaker to give him some tips before he set off on the rally!
We all had a nice evening at the Chateau, and got our heads down for the next days driving.
The next morning again over breakfast we were given the day’s destination and the clues.
We decided that we would use the Sat Nav today, only for it to get us lost almost straight away down a really small country lane.
Our convoy of the two 430s and the SLR stopped for lunch at a French style American diner, where the food was pretty naff to be honest, but it set us up for an afternoon of driving up into the alps on some windy roads and the beginning of some snow!
That evening we stayed in the Hotel Les Fermes de Marie, which is a ski resort in the Alps, it was strange to be there at this time of year, as not much snow, and definitely no skiers!
Day four saw us driving across the French/Italian border on the Alps, with some really windy roads and some extreme sheer drops!
This was a good days drive, and we were able to get our foot down on some good flat roads, even racing against a Lambo at one point. We stopped for lunch at the bottom of the mountain before heading off to our days destination, which was the Fiat Building, that was used in the Italian Job, and that has a race track on the roof.
On arrival at the Fiat Building the cars were taken to the roof where we were able to drive our cars round the track, bit of a surreal experience, being that high up and racing a car around a track.
The hotel for that night was the Le Meridien Turin, which was situated within the Fiat Building, and again where we enjoyed good food and good company, preparing ourselves for the next day.
The final day was upon us and this saw the route planned for us to go driving back through the Alps down to Monte Carlo, but by this time our little convey didn’t fancy the windy country roads on the Alps, and decided to drive along the coast road to Monte Carlo.
We arrived in Monte Carlo at around lunch time and parked all the cars around the square, it looked great. The hotel for the evening was the Hotel de Paris, which is an amazing hotel. In fact Monte Carlo itself is out of the world, there is defiantly no sign of a credit crunch happening here!
We had some pictures taken of the cars lined up around the square, and then it was off for some lunch and a spot of shopping in Monte Carlo.
This evening was planned for the final Banquet dinner and presentation evening, so we all dressed up in DJ’s and enjoyed the evening. Unfortunately we didn’t win any prizes, but as we didn’t do any of the clues then we couldn’t expect anything.
At this meal it was here that my new friend Brendan offered myself and Steve a lift home on his private jet, well how could we refuse!
The next morning after breakfast we were collected by car, where we were taken by car to Cannes Airport, straight to the jet and off to Farnborough Airport. We were collected from the airport right at the jet, now that is how I roll!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody that helped organise the rally and make it the success that it was, a big thanks to Greg, Amy and Rachel,Simon,Ali, Jason, Harry and Simon Sturday from Super Car rally, that were there from start to finish.
Thanks to all the charecters that I met on my travels, which we are great fun,to name but a few, Nick Thacke with the Lambo, Meyric Cox in the Porsche, of course Big Phil and Lawrence in their 430, and many others along the way, whos names escape me.
A great big thank you for Nigel and Joe from Mercedes for letting me drive the SLR,a big thanks to Brendon for his company on the Rally and the trip back on the his private jet and of course how could I not give a massive big thank you to Steve Mac for his company, his car and letting me thrash the arse off the car for five days and being a great friend!
All in all, the super car rally was a great experience and I can’t wait to hopefully do it all again next year!