Two days to go until lift-off. Well, not lift off exactly, but on Thursday evening, Declan and I will be getting on the car ferry at Dover in our trusty Rover 216 GTi 16V. Yep, Staples2Naples is nearly with us…
Preparations haven’t been as thorough as I would have hoped given my starting the new job, but by Thursday morning, we will be ready. The car that Scott gave us has now been comprehensively fettled, having received a new clutch and fluids (care of Brian Gunn) and a cambelt and brakes. We have a spare distributor, which will be in the boot, as well as a whole raft of tools…
We’re hoping that nothing has been left to chance.
As I said at the start of this little adventure, we have a good team behind us, and I do fancy our chances of making it there and back in one piece. Whether we win or not, we’ll make a fair chunk of cash for Cancer Research UK, as well as have a whole lot of fun in the meantime.
The plan looks good. We leave Calais at 10:30 on Friday morning and on the first day, we need to get to central Switzerland. However, in order to score points on the first day, we need to travel through as many countries as possible, and having Alexander Boucke as our map reader (and resident of Germany) we’re in good shape. Depending on how quickly we travel and how dense the traffic is, we’re hoping to drive through quite a few countries: France, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Switzerland.There will probably be more, but I’m sure you’ll all hear about it on our return.
It’s going to be a hectic few days,
and we’re hoping that at the end,
we can come back and telling
tales of how reliable the
Rover 216GTi is.
Day two involves navigating Switzerland. Now, there are three options, which the organizers call the Good, the bad and the Ugly. “The good” involves four alpine passes (imagine the start of The Italian Job and you get the idea). “The bad” involves six passes… and “The ugly” encompasses eight. We’re looking forwards to Stelvio, which has been the test track for some of the world’s greatest cars.
Attacking it in a Rover R8 will be interesting. The thought of another sixty or so teams doing the same thing borders on hilarious.
Day three is the trip from Switzerland to Northern Italy, and Day four sees us making it to Naples. Seeing how the Italians drive, and how they get faster the further south they are, I’m particularly looking forward to this, even if our top speed is 125mph and we’re up against some faster cars. Remember that the Italian speed limit is only 80mph-or-so…
It’s going to be a hectic few days, and we’re hoping that at the end, we can come back and telling tales of how reliable the Rover 216GTi is.
Unlike most of the teams, we’re also fully intending to drive back – and then sell the car.
Anyone fancy a 216GTi 16V – new clutch, brakes, cambelt? Never been raced or rallied.
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.