Staples2Naples 2005: Day Four – Viterbo to Pinetomare

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

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DAY four was the one Alexander was looking forward to the most. We were told it would be a treasure hunt – and little more. On the morning of the event, we congregated in the square at Viterbo, and as we waiting for the organisers to hand out our tasks for the day, we had a great opportunity to look around the competitors’ cars.

Sadly, by this time, we had lost one or two – including Les Hedaux’ wonderful Toyota-Celica based ‘Back to The Future’ car had succumbed to mechanical problems. On the other hand, we were going very well indeed… Molly was responding well to Alexander’s sympathetic touch – and continued to behave in a consistent way.

Good thing too. We were given our challenge packs – and our job for the day was a treasure hunt in the Lazio region of Italy. We needed to find five locations, then solve a puzzle based on these locations. With the answer, we would then be able to open the correct one of four envelopes, giving us the solution to the treasure hunt. Where to find Celeste. Last year, Alexander worked out our route for this day and we did pretty well. This time round, we relied on our Sat Nav – and probably did just as well. If only it wasn’t so easy to use…

We could have had a disaster though… and it would have been self-inflicted.

Thinking I would save some time in the morning, I decided to check Molly’s oil and water levels before we got going. However, I had not tightened the oil filler cap correctly, and about ten miles out of Viterbo, Alexander commented on an oily smell. We stopped – and sure enough, the oil cap had popped off, smothering the engine bay in an oily mess. Once again, Alexander had saved the day.

Funnily enough, it was a mistake I had made last year. What is it with me and car maintenance?

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As we travelled across Lazio, and picked up our clues, it soon became apparent we were in some of the most stunning scenery imaginable. These small Italian towns we were directed to were painfully beautiful to look at, and were gifted with amazing weather. The more time I spend in Italy, the more I find myself wanting to be there…

We managed the challenge, and completed it fully, enjoying ourselves massively as we did so. It was by now, very hot and sultry, so every opportunity to get out and explore the scenery was a very welcome one. And, boy, did we see some sights.

It is an amazing place – and as we found ourselves driving along the Mediterranean, each corner in the road would deliver further delights. The most pleasant surprise was that Molly was really behaving herself now. The day proved a fitting end to S2N – and following a second application of a German gunky potion, which was supposed to do the same job as Radweld, Molly behaved herself impeccably. Her temperature remained resolutely cool, and following a dousing in a severe rainstorm, we found the suspension’s clonking disappeared completely (for a while) – a dry joint in the suspension, then. Excellent news!

With me having decided not to keep Molly, it was down to Alexander to save her. During the four-day event he slowly fell for Molly’s charms, telling me: “Molly’s relaxing, and drives very well indeed. If only she wasn’t so ugly.” He decided to take her home and have her (temporarily) join his large fleet of BMC front-drivers.

As for me – I had my 40bhp Volkswagen Polo to look forward to driving home in…

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In conclusion

We enjoyed S2N. If you love driving, and appreciate breathtaking scenery, there is little to top it. Yes, it’s demanding, but it’s also a great deal of fun – and the spirit of camaraderie between the teams is wonderful. You really feel as though you’re on a great adventure. Also, the effort put in to decorating the cars was very impressive – with many teams choosing to go with movie-related themes.

Would I do it again? Probably not – I love car-based adventures, but have a hankering to travel much further next year.

My own feelings were mixed – I found Molly charming, and couldn’t help but love her wackiness (when I wasn’t driving her), but following Alexander’s decision to save her, I decided she should go to this most deserving of homes. He’ll not be keeping Molly permanently, but it’s nice to know someone who really cares will be selling her on…

As for me – my 1984 Volkswagen Polo 1.0C with 33,000 miles on the clock, and mint condition, would serve as a second car at home. I suspect its owners, David Louis-Webb and Charlie Fogg, were happy to see the reliable beast go to a good home. How little they know – I feel a trip to Russia or Africa coming on…

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Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

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.
Keith Adams

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