WE may have been downtrodden the day before, but nothing recharges you more than waking up in a hotel room, stepping on to the balcony, breathing in clean air, and taking in spectacular Swiss scenery. It made the second day’s challenge of crossing four Swiss passes while taking photographs to match ones we were given seem all the more pleasant. Talking to the other teams, we heard a couple of cars hadn’t made it as far as us.
Driving into the Alps is always an amazing experience, but this time, it was all the more sweet because I took a back seat and Alexander indulged himself. Molly may not have been particularly capable, but because she’s slow, you can enjoy the scenery – and admire the driving skills of Alexander, who managed to hustle Molly up the passes, both quickly and smoothly.
We chose to pair up with a Montego estate driven by Tony Hague and Richard Smith of the Maestro and Montego Owners Club. They decided to look out for us, in case we struck further mechanical problems on the way up. It must have been frustrating for them to keep stopping while we topped up Molly with water, but they were a cheery pair, and reassuring company at a time when our confidence was shaky. However, they were also slowed by mechanical maladies – this time, a failing wheel bearing. Our Allegro and Montego must have looked funny – one crippled product of the British motor industry supporting another.
We weren’t that good at the photo challenges – Declan and I struggled to match the landscape with our photos, and Alexander, who was driving, spent most of his time watching the temperature gauge for signs of odd behaviour. In the end, Tony and Richard missed the last couple of passes – to spare their shrieking wheel bearing – and Alexander ended up tackling our last pass in the dark. In the cooler conditions, Molly behaved well, and Alexander found himself enjoying himself on the curves… so much so, that he actually managed to overtake another team’s car. Austin, 1, Ford, 0…
The Swiss section had been fun – although Molly’s quartic wheel proved a hindrance for Alexander…
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