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Home2Rome 2007

The Videos

The Preparation

Day 1, Calais to Montelimar
Day 2, Montelimar to Menton
Day 3, Menton to Venice
Day 4, Venice to Rome
Day 5, Scrapping Sharkey
Day 6, Florence
Day 7, Leaving Italy
Days 8-12, The Ring
Home2Rome 2007: Day 1, Calais to Montelimar

Since we've got back, Ive had a lot of people ask me about the rally, so Ive decided to answer all the questions in one go: "because", "a very long way", "yes", "lots of petrol", "france, italy, austria, germany, belgium, i think", "about 13minutes, but it was wet". Now thats all cleared up, a little background on the rally...

Once upon a time I was in a pub with Tim, who somehow talked me (Doug) into doing a banger rally with him and Dean, it was an impressive bit of convincing:

Tim: Want to do a banger rally next year with me and Dean?
Doug: Ok, what car shall we take?

After a lot of debate, we decided we needed something that was comfy and big enough to seat 3 people plus camping kit and tools, economical enough so we wouldnt still be paying off the 2007 rally while we were doing the 2008 rally, had reasonable performance and handling so we could enjoy the bendy bits and cruise at 100 ok, and it had to be cool.

We were a little limited by the home2rome rules, which said we had to purchase the car for 100 or less, after a few more beers we came up with a shortlist Mondeo ghia, 405/406 turboD, Citroen XM turbo and Primera GT. We promptly decided to ignore the problem for a while, thinking something would come up. Something did, something that didnt really fill any of the criteria (apart from the last). Sharkey was our '84 BMW 635, which we picked up for the grand sum of 100, after it had been stood for a couple of years. Check out the preparation pages to see what it looked like when we got it, and some of what we did to get it ready for the rally.

The plan for the rally was to drive to Calais the night before the start, drive down to the south of France, across the top of Italy, then down to the finish in Rome, we then planned to head up to Munich for Oktoberfest, then the Nurburgring for a few days, rather than flying back like the sensible teams.

Sharkey in the queue for the ferry at Dover, surprisingly we didnt have any problems with customs!
One team polishing their turd in the hotel carpark before the rally.
Once we got to the start, we realised that actually our car was possibly a little underdressed! The phrase of the morning was "how did they get one of those for 100".
I was starting to feel out-done on the flames. Lots of respect to those guys, I think they actually towed that thing all the way to rome.
People kept complaining that sharkey was a classic, next year I'll draw round the rust holes in hazard paint.
Credit to these guys for commitment.
The first breakdown on the rallly, the guys in the wooden 320 had launched it away from the toll booth and as the autobox had changed into 3rd it went bang and they lost drive. This was a useful reality check, as thats exactly what we had just done!
This was the second stop on the way down, looking back this was the first sign that we were going to have starter problems, but mistakenly diagnosed it as imobiliser problems. The car wouldnt turn over on the key, so we rewired the horn pullchain so it started the car!

View Larger Map

After driving south for about 600miles, we ended up in Montelimar, which seemed to be one of those crappy towns you get because you can only have *so* much motorway without having a crappy town next to it. By the time we got there, Sharkey had managed to blow a 50p size hole in the exhaust and sounded rather rude, the grumpy woman at the campsite complained that it was far too loud and was disturbing everyone. My bad, I guess 9.45 is way to late to be driving round crappy french towns looking for food! Other than the starter and the exhaust noise, the 6 was performing really nicely.

Home2Rome 2007: Day 2, Montelimar to Menton

The second day was when the driving got interesting, the plan was to do about 100miles through the wiggly back roads of the Rhone Alps, along the Gorges du Verdon, to Menton on the south coast of France. The day didnt start off too well, as Sharkey was as grumpy as we were to get up at 7am after driving for 12hours the day before. We were stuck in first for most of the way to the start, then it went into second with a bang and the auto box warning light came on. Luckily it reset after we turned the engine off and we had all gears again, although being stuck in second wouldnt have been a killer for the day, as it would happily do 80 in second, and at one point on the italian motorway Dean downshifted into second to make it round some bends.

The starting point for the second day, complete chaos acompanied with airhorns. The dixie definitly got a lot of use that morning!
We eventually got underway and took off for the hills, meeting up with the teams with the Audi, Mazda, Saab, Jag, BMW along the way, and ended up convoying with them for a while. The driving was great, lots of bendy singletrack roads through sun-scorched mountains.
Tim did surprisingly well at taking photos out of the sunroof while I was powersliding round hairpins.
The view from the top of the world (at least thats what it felt like), this was after about half an hour of continuous hairpins up hill with no run-off.
Pete: "You should take the bonnet off that thing"
Lunch in Orpiere, the restaurant paniced when we asked for "manger pour huit personne", so we had a liquid lunch then headed along the valley to another little town which served lovely rare burgers!
After hours of driving through the amazing Gorges du Verdon, we got a sight of the Med.
Tim enjoying his holiday.
Dean, enjoying his holiday.
Ok, so this one could have come out better, but it was dark and I was drunk. This is the view from the restaurant at the campsite way above menton, where we had superb steaks with the team in the Acord.

Day 3, Menton to Venice