Wednesday 18th October – Turin to Dijon … lots of smiles and lots of miles
With a 6 hour plus drive in store, teams began leaving Turin very early. We were headed to Dijon on the service van route (which nearly all teams decided to follow). The basic principle is stay ahead of the service van and if a mechanical issue occurs they’ll find you.
From Turin we headed to Bardonecchia and the Frejus Tunnel. You don’t get an awful lot for your €52 fee to drive through the 15km tunnel connecting Italy and France but it’s fast enough and largely uncongested so from Turin it really is the best option. A few teams went over the top (it’s early enough in the year for some passes to still be open) and we received photo’s from a couple who’d met snow at Monte Bianco (I think they now know why it’s called that!).
As we exited the Frejus to gorgeous blue French skies, we received a message from Nod and Emma (not their real names and again not withholding due to GDPR) that they had broken own and were unable to re-start their car. They’d stopped at the point at which a slip road forked so they weren’t particularly safe. They sent us their location and we made a beeline for them as we were ahead of the service van, who I knew were currently midway beneath a Cottian Alp deep in the Frejus Tunnel.
We arrived 20 minutes or so later and found them sporting high viz tabards standing next to their car which was parked just in front of a large plastic green chevron marker. They were now thankfully being protected from the rear by a large French Autoroute emergency vehicle (with lots of flashing orange lights too) so for now everything was OK. The service van was still 25 minutes away but was flying towards us and the Autoroute Officer was very happy to wait for them to arrive. When they did the decision to move the Mini to a safer place was made so Gareth attached his dangling tow rope and dragged the Mini literally around the corner to a very quiet residential road (pic below). The issue was quickly identified, diagnosed and prescribed some #IJ2023 Service Crew Antibiotics (they fixed it) and soon we were all on our merry way.
After an uneventful drive we arrived late at the hotel in Dijon and checked in before disappearing for our traditional end of event nosh at a nice’ish eatery. Very pleasant it was too. No seafood though, so Kenjay and I will address this another time.