Day Two of the Monte Carlo Historic Rally consisted of continuing the non-stop driving from Calais to Reims (to meet our next group of starters), then through snow, ice and thick fog to Valence in the south east of France.
We passed through some beautiful little villages along the way but unfortunately , there was no time for croissants or French mimes – apparently. It was pitch black, snowing and road conditions like I have never seen. I can quite confidently say that it was some of the most challenging conditions I have ever driven in, keeping in mind that we are doing all this in an old 1950s FX without all the mod cons – think vacuum vipers and drum brakes. But it is a cracker of an adventure!
To add to the challenges, we have come face-to-face with a snow plow when belting around a corner, have maps that are apparently open for interpretation and the volume of snow keeps covering our headlights. Cars are going everywhere! We had a cheeky chuckle as we drove past one of the Swedish cars wedged in a snowbank. We figure if they had got things crossed up, growing up in conditions like this, then Team Australia was doing pretty damn well!
Unfortunately, our MacGyver bush mechanic needed to work his magic again as we are having more wheel bearing problems. But given the stress and strain the old FX is being put under, plus snow tyres, she is doing pretty well if you ask me. Wheel bearings for an FX and a car of that era aren’t so easy to find over here so we will need to be nursing her through the next couple of days. Haha.
From here we will all get a good night’s sleep but first and foremost, I’ll be in much-needed shower! Tomorrow we head into the mountains in the region, completing more of the special stages. Now that we are in Valance all 311 cars have converged, which is making things exciting. All special stages require that we maintain an average speed of 50km or we are penalised.
With the winding roads, steep inclines and descents and road conditions, that is not as easy as it sounds. All teams are racking up the penalty points and the boys “may” have had a quiet chat to me to slow down… oops. But I reckon that is a pretty good indication that we are all having a good time.
Time for me to head to bed, finally!
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