The first ‘Minis to Marseille’ event held by the Mini Cooper Register was a great success, with 17 cars and their crews enjoying a 1400 mile tour through some of France’s finest scenery. The Minis arrived in Marseille on 5 October, and a full week of challenging driving.
Traditionally Monte Carlo has been the final destination of club touring events in France, so this year the organisers decided on a change. The Mediterranean seaport was chosen because of its long standing connections with French motor sport, being the starting point for the famous Coupé des Alpes Rally and a regular destination on the Tour de France Automobile.
The route began in Vienne, from the premises Automobiles BMC, where crews had a chance for any last minute fettling or repairs ahead of the tour. Charade racing circuit was one of the first landmarks on a route that took cars and crews via St Nectaire, the Pas de Peyrol, Aurillac and across the Millau viaduct.
Avignon was the base for two days of motoring, with a 232-mile circular tour on the first day and the final leg into Marseille offering some physical highs and lows, with a gearbox testing ascent of the 1912m Mont Ventoux hill climb and then a scenic descent into the Camargue and a ferry crossing of the River Rhône. The Mini Coopers – three of them dating from 1964 – all stood up well to the rigours of brisk driving on roads of all sorts, with no major breakdowns.
Next year the Mini Cooper Register will be running a touring event in Ireland, from 19 to 26 September, and in September 2014 the club will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Paddy Hopkirk’s giant-killing victory on the Monte Carlo Rally with a run through France to Monaco, using some of the roads that featured in the 1964 rally.
- Learn more at the Mini Cooper Register’s website.