Already on the front foot feeling victorious after a convincing win for England against Fiji in the opener of the Rugby World Cup, spirits were high as the Tour assembled at the RAC’s Woodcote Park at 8am on Saturday.
A more relaxed approach this year with the extra 4th day made for a later start than normal, more daylight which made Sam the photographer happy and a beautiful mist rolling over the hill tops as the sun was rising and the guests in their spectacular mix of gleaming cars began cruising in.
Beautiful personalised red boxes from Tai Ping were given out amongst the guests and crew, along with instruction packs, bacon sarnies and delicious pastries in plenty.
Last touches put walkie talkie radios and tracker devices in each car, together with high vis jackets, breathalisers, peage passes, refreshments and a packed lunch.
All the cars lined up in front of the fountain, hugs all round as tour comrades reunited, great anticipation for what lies ahead, a team shot with everyone looking sleek and smart in their Tai Ping jackets and jumpers and engines on.
A couple of last minute sticker applications and the truly magnificent line up off Astons, Jags, Porsches to name a few set off for a warm and sunny drive South to the Eurotunnel.
The entire fleet in one carriage was a logistical triumph and smooth transit to Calais. Navigators at the ready, pace notes out, the revs on and the 1000 mile route to Monte-Carlo commences.
Heading for Chateau de Courcelles just North West of Reims was the destination for night 1. As the comrade naturally disburses, all was seemingly well until one of the support Discovery’s spotted the Lagonda pulled over on the hard shoulder of the A26 having run out of petrol – 5k past the Services! A call was put in to John in the sweeper Aston to save the day with a jerry can but in the meantime the gents had found their petrol reserve and forged on – only to then run out of fuel again – but good and proper this time so John to the rescue!
Helmets off to the Tour’s very own hell’s angel on his Harley Davidson. A few unwelcome rain showers didn’t seem to dampen his spirits or any of the topless teams.
As the cars start to reassemble at the Chateaux, stories are exchanged and ideas are shared to fine tune the next leg. Oil checks all around and Howard’s overalls till spotless a great day was had by all.
A little time to relax and enjoy the surroundings before getting together again for a Lanson Champagne dinner.