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Friday, 12th July 2013 – Rally, Day 1

Another early rising as we had to make the starting line by 09:30. A surprise awaited us at breakfast when we found another couple of Englishmen tucking in. The surprise was that they were Team 59, Riggy Roger. Later, on the car park, our surprise proved to be inadequate and we had to resort to astonishment as we saw Richard’s transport – a 1960’s Triumph Spitfire done up as an RAF Spitfire, complete with roundels and a small tailplane on the boot.

59 Riggy Roger 1

Off we set to the Multiplexe Car Park on the Boulevarde Léon Blum near the bank of the Canal de Saint-Quentin, and there the teams were assembled.

093822 Crowd scene
Crowd Scene

After having a look around and taking piccies (please see the gallery for Rally Day 2), we counted down to the blast of the horn that marked the official start.

093700 Start line

On the way in we’d spotted a Lidl round the corner on Boulevard Victor Hugo, so we called there first to get some sandwiches for lunch. Next, we went up into the shopping centre to get a new charging cable for Andrew’s iPad. This was quite important as the iPad had our satnav software (CoPilot Live) on it. We parked outside the Basilica:

Sara & Basilica

Can you spot Sara? With Andrew back on board we set off down the A26 for Reims and the afternoon check-in, stopping at an aire to eat our lunch on the way. The afternoon meet was at the Reims-Gueux racing circuit, now sadly defunct, where we met Pims O’Clock, Riggy Roger and others.

Flying the Spit

With 65 miles behind us already, our next stop was to be Dijon, a further 200 miles. Of we went again down the A26 and A5 with a stop for afternoon tea (or coffee and hot chocolate, to be accurate).

Finding the hotel in Dijon proved to be problematic. Firstly, we arrived in the rush hour. Why it’s called “rush hour” I’ve no idea, as we spent a looong time sitting in traffic and going nowhere. Secondly, the road layout had been changed and the new one-way system was the wrong way for us. Eventually, after several circuits of the block, Stuart was booted out of the car and despatched on foot to the hotel which was on the Rue du Château. The helpful receptionist produced a map and showed me exactly how to get to the underground car-park which served the hotel and shopping centre. This proved to be somewhat exciting as the entrance to this subterranean parking place entailed driving over what looked like a pavement.

Having put Sara to bed for the night we dragged our luggage up to the hotel and checked in. After freshening up we asked the receptionist if he could recommend somewhere to eat, and he pointed us to L’Epicerie et Cie. It turned out to be on a square (Place Emile Zola) with quite a few other restaurants. It was a popular place so we had to wait a while for a table but it was worth it.

Dinner, Dijon 2

The meal was delicious. I went back to the hotel whilst Andrew went for a wander around and to find the evening Rally get-together. And so to bed.

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