We left the UK on Sunday 26th, the majority crossing on the 10.45 P&O ferry from Dover to Calais. The initial assembly point was the old Reims circuit, most only stayed there a few minutes for the obligatory photos, even in the teeming rain. The overnight hotel was only a few minutes away. Were the bar was the first port of call followed by the welcome dinner.
Monday took us from Reims to Mulhouse. Some opted to leave very early so they could get a visit in to the Schumlpf Collection of Bugattis and other cars. We had visited the museum on a previous event. The run from Reims was some 270 miles going via Chalon, Nancy, Luneville, St Blaise and Fouday. From here we encountered the first col, the Charbonniere. The route from here followed the route used by the 1966 Tulip Rally going over the Cols Baganelles, Bonhomme, Schult and Amic before dropping in Mulhouse for the night.
The next day took us from Mulhouse to Aix les Bains another 260 miles. Again the route followed that of the Tulip rally. Going over the Ballon d’Alsace then going via Belfort, St Hippolyte, Maiche, Morteau, Pontarlier, Morez. St Claude, Bellydoux, St germain, Chatillon, Culoz, Yenne to finally arrive in Aix. As one of the organisers we had been in touch with the local tourist office and they had arranged parking for all the cars in the main square of the town. With our hotel overlooking the square.
Wednesday saw another long loop from Aix and back again. This went via the Mont du Chat, Col de l’Epine and Cogin in to Chambery. Once in Chambery we encountered a closed road, which most were able to navigate around only to find our exit over the Col du Granier closed as well. More navigation was required to get back on the right route! Once back on route we went through Pontcharra, Allevard. to go over the Chamrousse, Col Luitel, Schilienne, La Morte, La Paute, Col du Glandon (1924m), Ste Etienne, Creut , Col de Maracaz, Challes to return to Aix. Most of this route we wear able to retrace the roads used by the 1967 Alpine Rally.
Thursday saw us leaving Aix for Lanslebourg, a shorter day only 226 miles. Again this toute followed roads used by the Alpine Rally. Lots more Col’s to go over and getting higher! This day we took on the Col du Sapenay, Mont Revard, Col de Leschaux, Lac Annecy, Col de Forclaz, La Clusaz, Flumet, Albertville, Moutiers, Bourg St Maurice, Val d’Isere then finally over the Col d’Iseran (2770m). Leaving Bourg the weather became increasingly overcast and damp. In the these conditions the climb up the Iseran was interesting, to say the least as we got higher we entered the clouds and there isn’t very much in the way of barriers, the drops were big enough to give you time to phone your insurance company if you went off! As we approached the the summit it was attempting to snow. Once over the Iseran it was only a short run to Lanslebourg and our over night stop.
The next day was the final day in the real mountains and it also saw us finishing in Monte Carlo. Leaving Lanlesbourg in the morning it was still overcast, but brighter. We went over the Col du Telegraphe (1566m), climbing the Galibier we were going through mist and rounded one corner into bright sunshine which stayed with us for the rest of the day. Also going over the Col at the same time as us was another run, Ferraris, Porsche’s, Bentleys, and the like. The Galibier is some 2645 metres, near the summit there is a tunnel which cuts off going over the highest part of the Col. Interestingly this other run went through the tunnel whilst the Minis climbed up and over! The route then took us via the Col du Lautaret into Briancon, Guillestre, Col de Vars and Jausiers. The next Col was the de la Bonette, which at 2802m is the highest pass in Europe. Going over the Bonette we pass an old fort which used to serve as the border between France and Italy. Stopping for a few minutes on the way up we were able to see some marmots, animals a little smaller than a badger scurrying around. On the descent we go through a derelict village. This pass originally was not the highest, but the local authorites recently added in about a 1 mile long loop which climbed up further so it then became the highest pass! After the Bonette we went through St Saveur, Lantosque, Luceram, l’Escarene and finally into Monte Carlo to stay at the Columbus.
Saturday, took us back to Villie-Morgon, near Macon for the final dinner and awards presentation. Going via Nice, Chateauredon, Mallemoison , Sisteron, Valance and Lyon.
No major breakdowns, all cars finished the event. Total mileage from Calais to the finish was 1752 miles.