Saturday, January 22, 2005

Monte Carlo or bust...!

Monte 2005005Well I hope it's not really "bust". Later today I head off to the airport for the tedious flight back to Europe. On my December trip I burned up some accumulated frequent flyer miles and upgraded myself with the slightly pompous view that "a man in my position" (namely the recipient of a D.Sc.) should travel in style. No such luck on this occasion. It'll be strictly cattle truck class with one glass of nasty chardonnay with my piece of dead chicken. I don't suppose United Airlines care a great deal whether I'm an official member of the Cooper Car Co team. I bet Paddy Hopkirk never had this problem.

Anyway the car is 98% ready, the maps are 98% done and I can hardly believe that after 14 months of scheming the rally is upon us. All that remains to be done to the car is a good detailing for the MiniWorld photoshoot on Tuesday, Dymo tape the instruments, obtain a "tax exempt" disc and calibrate the Halda tripmeter with the different tyres. Then we can pack and go, assuming Bill has sorted out the tools and spares. On the navigational front, I want to take some distances off the large scale (1:25,000) maps Willy Cave has procured for me (I'm trusting they'll arrive at Bill's place by Monday) and transfer them to the tulip diagrams. If I don't finish it before the rally starts I can do it on the road. I'll need to study each regularity the night/morning before we do them in any event. Jim Wirtz seems to have the service side of things in order with CB radios and all sorts of equipment. He seems very organised and I'm looking forward to working with him.

We are still dithering about whether we need an intercom or to wear crash helmets for the final night. The former is a question of money (do we really want to spend another $500 when we can simply shout a bit) and the latter issue boils down to whether we want to look like a pair of ninnies (real classic rally drivers bash their brains out on the dashboard). I'm opting for the ninny option but I'm not sure Bill is so convinced. And if we do, I'll have to source and buy a helmet in the UK -another thing to do.

I'm now out of time and have to tidy up the house, pay a few bills, send a couple of emails and pack. I'm not sure when my next post will be. I'm hoping there will be (free) wi-fi access on the road, in which case I'll be sending in rally reports. They should also be available on the Bill Richards Racing website.

A week today we'll be thrashing through the night on the Concentration Run. Wish us luck!


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