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.
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.