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Where is that 9/16 ring spanner?Classique LagondaLamotte A35 departs PaisleyClassique AC departing
Helm TR3 on ramp
Massie TR7 on its wayBelgian Taxi next stop Monte
Ranald's Rover 2000 starts
lineup at Reims restart
Jim Wilson at Reims

Ranald White Rover sits beside Xerxes Matten Escort at Reims

As seen in Ranald's Selfie

Reims restart

 Riley WD approaching blue skies of Monaco

Graeme Gallaoway's Anglia
Monte Carlo Paisley Start - Run to Monte 27 January
Part 2 - Over the ramp, the channel and France
Story Jim Paterson - Photos Andy Thomlinson

The Paisley start activities began early on the afternoon of Wednesday the 27th . The Historique entries arrived after their scrutineering at GTG services. The six crews lined up in prime place in preparation for the start at 6.00pm. The Classique cars began to arrive, completing their 300 mile drive from John O’ Groats, for some an agonisingly slow drive. The Riley WD was equipped with a web tracking device so we could follow them on With an average of 30mph it would be nip and tuck for them to arrive by 6.00pm. However, they reached the northern outskirts of Glasgow by 4.00pm. Riley driver John Lomax told me it took a full hour to cover the last 5 miles to Paisley, such was the build-up of rush hour traffic. Of course this did not help the Riley cooling, which started to rapidly overheat. Finally the Heritage cars arrived, completing some 70 classics for the big start.

The 2016 Monte Start Committee had taken the organisation of Paisley under its wing, no longer calling on CCHMSC for any assistance. This allowed those who have been actively involved over the previous five years to experience the event as either spectators or competitors. Yours truly was co-driver with John Stuart in his 1959 Austin A40, heading on the Heritage run to Balmaha.

Starting the Paisley departures was Jim Meggat in his Chrysler Sunbeam complete in special livery to celebrate the Paisley 2021 UK City of Culture bid. Going only as far as Dumfries this year, Jim told me he would love to drive to Monte Carlo in the distinctive livery. Perhaps next year if Paisley win their City of Culture bid? They may even sponsor your attempt Jim.

Brian Telfer, along with Radio Clyde DJ were on the ramp with Provost Ann Hall holding the chequered flag to wave the crews off on their way. CCHMSC member Maurice Millar was keeping the clocks synchronised and controlling the timekeeping.

Jim Meggat was followed by Jim Wilson in his freshly prepared Austin A40, running as Car Zero for the run to Dumfries, before pressing on leading the Ecosse to Reims tour crews. Pete Gibson led his Capri Club Scotland crews in their Ford Capri’s, going all the way to Monte Carlo

The Historique crews led the competitors departures with Gordon and son David Glen in the 1978 Opel Kadett. The Glen family were also represented, with nephew, also named David Glen, in the 1976 Triumph Dolomite, as in past years, making this a real family affair.   Jonathan Young and Mike Hyrons 1967 Volvo Amazon popped the bonnet as their car stopped on approach to the ramp. A quick fuse change and they were on their way. Club member Ranald White in his 1964 Rover 2000SC with Karsten Brown were next off. A regular on the event with this car Ranald had been busy with last minute fettling to get the best out of the car. Club members, Craig and Helen McGibbon joined in another Volvo Amazon, experiencing  no problems getting too or over the start ramp. Last but not least of the Historique entries was Belgian Jean-Marie Herman in the 1951 London Taxi, with Olivier Ferriere on the maps.

Quickly following the Historique crews were the Classique entries fully recovered from their 300 miler from John O’ Groats earlier in the day. The 1927 AC of Mike Grimmond and Robert Hescroff led the way, going open top as well was impressive. Following in grandfather Victor Bruce’s tyre tracks, when he won the 1926 event in an AC, would be a trial of endurance.  The Riley WD we had followed on the web tracking was next over, showing gritty determination to make it to Monte, even at 30mph average. We would follow them all the way via the internet. Our friends at Club Triumph were represented by Mike Helm in his TR3 with Andy Flexney on maps. A sparks failure caused Mike to look under the bonnet but made it to the start ramp and off toward Dumfries.

John Stuart and I in the Austin A40 were close up behind the Classique crews heading over the ramp and on our way to Balmaha. Fuel was our first priority and a local Morrison supermarket just around the corner was a welcome sight. By the look of the other classics filling up we were not alone with an empty tank!

Historique, Classique and Dumfries Heritage crews headed for the Cairndale Hotel in Dumfries for their overnight. All except the Historique crews who pressed on as they had a tighter schedule to keep.

Thursday morning would be a long day so many of the crews set off early from Dumfries. Heading down the A6 to Penrith it was over the Pennines to Scotch Corner and Croft racing circuit. The idea was a quick blart round the circuit before heading to Olivers Mount for another race circuit and on to Hull for the ferry crossing to Zebrugge.

Riley and Lagonda at Croft before cut and run to alternative channel crossings
An unwelcome tweet from P&O ferries to say the evening Zeebrugge ferry canceled due to technical problems quickly called for a change of plan. Jim Wilson negotiated a switch to Harwich for the Hook of Holland crossing, but later managed to secure places on the Hull to Rotterdam crossing (whew). Meanwhile the Classique crews decided to make a dash for the Dover Calais crossing, only 310 miles away!  The Riley WD would have to press on as fast as the old girl would go to make it before midnight.  She did, and got to Folkestone just before midnight struck, keeping her glass slippers intact!

Having reached France, either over the sea or under the Chunnel, it was full steam toward Reims. The Historique crews after clocking in at Calais made short shift to reach Reims for the annual party that the town puts on for the Monte crews. Jim Wilson’s group reckoned they would still make the 260 mile from Rotterdam to Reims in time to see the Historique crews from Glasgow, Oslo, Hamburg and Reims, restart together on their way south.

Some of the Classique crews, including the Riley WD just kept on rolling along. Stopping only for fuel coffee and the occasional nap was the only way they were going to arrive in time for the Saturday gala finish party. Historique and Classique followed similar routes, by Dijon, Lyon, Grenoble, Digne into Monte, arriving exhausted but ecstatic that they had arrived at all.

Meanwhile the Historique crews have to head back to Valence for the Alpine regularities before they finish on Wednesday. The Glens are going well, but Ranald White is nursing a very poorly Rover 2000. The P6 Club are providing arms length support and he has tried a number of ignition fixes, several times, but the car is overheating badly climbing the cols. Strategy dictates that missing some controls (30000 penalties each time) is required putting him in last place, but still in the running to finish. Fingers crossed.  Lots more tales to hear on their return. 

See all of Andy Thomlinson's photos of the event

Updated  1 February 2016