Minis to Monte 2008

Well what a great event the 2008 M 2 M turned out to be! Congratulations and many thanks to the organizing team for an amazing route. You promised an overdose of scenery, it certainly did not disappoint, should last until the next M2? Thanks also to the many old and new friends we met.

Our event started at the Mini Plant Oxford, where my co-driver Richard had arranged photographs to be taken for the plant newsletter about our trip, then onto the M25 Services where we had arranged to meet Dave and Julie Caddy, whom we would travel to the start with. Then overnight stops in Ashford and once in France, just over halfway at Beaune. As we parked we spotted another Mk 2 Cooper of Alan Forster and Phil Bateman. Unfortunately they left earlier than we did so we did not meet up until BMC Autos at Vienne.

From start to finish we could not believe how much was fitted into one week! Highlights included driving the first Col above Tain I Hermitage, the road a series of left, right bends for some distance and the afternoon Cols, where the tree felling and logging was taking place with dirt and dust all over the road. This soon made a big dust cloud, gaps in the dust revealed Simon Drew’s Cooper close behind.

During the oil and water level checks on day 2, before the morning start the radiator cap broke. Thanks to Alan Forster who generously gave us his spare. Once up and running and on to the climb up Mount Ventoux we were behind Robert and Annette Clayson. We were the first two cars to reach Chalet Reynand and enjoyed lunch in the warm sunshine watching Mini Cooper after Mini Cooper, some stopping and some carrying on. Towards the end of the day on the approach to Embrun we stopped at a hairpin right to take photos of the Lake and mountains behind. We were just about to be on our way when we heard a number of Coopers approaching – the Scottish boys again. Everybody was talking about the day’s route and the view before us.

The next morning’s run out of Embrun was just as spectacular this time with low cloud halfway up the mountain on the other side of the lake. More photos were taken. We were joined here by Shane Brading and Matt Waldock, among others. We left when the low cloud moved across from the other side of the lake and made visibility very poor where we were parked.

The afternoon’s route began to tire out both the car and ourselves. At Monte Carlo Paul Wilson checked our brakes, noting slight glazing of the pads and sorted the problem in next to no time. Thanks Paul.

The route out of Monte Carlo was along the first part of the GP circuit, from the start straight through San Devote up the hill turning left just before Casino Square. Good fun was also had on the Col De Turini for a coffee break and the group photo shoot with Dave and Julie Caddy, following us until lunch time. Nearing the end of day 4, passing over the Col De Corobin with a long straight through pine trees, we met up again with Alan Forster and Phil Bateman.

The final day’s roads were much more to our liking. Around Sisteron one deceptive left needed more braking than first thought. Apologies to Richard, we made the corner and not the field ahead which was lower than the road level. The climb over the Col De Rosset was breathtaking, stopping just before the tunnel to look at what we had just driven up. The descent down the St Jean-En-Royans stage and the Col De Batitle provided a good end to the event.

After a thoroughly enjoyable farewell dinner, the next morning we headed north back to Calais with Dave and Julie Caddy, stopping overnight at Reims. We already knew that Alan Forster and Phil Bateman were staying at the same hotel, and upon their arrival we invited them to join us for dinner.

Up early the next morning and off to Calais. It had been raining steadily all morning. A rough crossing was followed by more rain at Dover, which finally eased off when we left the M 25 and headed along the M 40 for home.

Once again, thanks to the organizing team and everybody who took part – a marvellous week.

Colin Woodage and Richard Norris

Car 15