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Diary from the #IJ2023 – Day 5

Monday 9th October – 1st day of our navigational event starting at Imola circuit

I knew it was going to be a long day when I woke at 4am and scratched around kicking my heels waiting for breakfast to open. It doesn’t until 6.30am! It was already steaming hot by 6am and I once again cursed packing only autumn clothes and not one pair of shorts!

To start our day we had scrutineering and registration, where cars and documents are checked and official ‘Rally’ numbers distributed and affixed to the car door logos. Plenty of air bubbles were incorporated into the affixing of nubers. All cars passed the checks, some after a teeny bit of fettling. After a brief briefing in the grand auditorium where the tulip design roadbook was explained (quite well I thought but proof as they say is in the pudding) we began to prepare for our first excursion out into the wild and untamed roads of Imola following solely our roadbook for reference.

Our destination was Imola F1 Circuit which was only a short run out but still long enough for teams to nod in confirmation to my earlier comments that explaining the roadbook in a briefing always makes it seem far more complicated than it actually is. I must have explained it pretty well though as unsurprisingly all teams made it to Imola. A couple of escorted laps of Imola following the noisy Lamborghini Pace Car was fun and an experience. It really isn’t an everyday thing! We stopped at a Tamburello Corner, parked and wondered across the track to the park for a nod to the very poignant Senna memorial.

After lunch we had a special stage in one of the huge paddocks at the circuit. Here we had a slalom element, a garage to reverse park in, a long blatt to a distant corner where teams would circle three separate sets of cones followed by the hunt for and crushing of a solitary espresso coffee cup. They had 60 seconds dead in which to do this. Steve and Wendy (Team 36) did pretty well considering one half of the team (the one responsible for the stopwatch…. forgot to start the stopwatch) Geoff and Steve (aka Geoff the bad and Steve the lawyer) didn’t make the special stage, blissfully unaware of its existence at all. Instead they had a leisurely wander around a nearby Aldi (Geoff’s first time it seems) Apparently the WhatsApp group message with the location of the special stage went unread by them. So it was no surprise to find Geoff and Steve languishing at the foot of the first day results with a whopping 6000+ points (although to be fair they did have a jumbo bag of tasty cola bottles from Aldi to console themselves).

It was so hot again at 30º that a single Special Stage was all that teams could handle. They headed off from Imola F1 in all directions under strict instructions to be back at the hotel for a 7.30pm briefing, dinner and our #IJ2023 auction.

Now our annual IJ Auction is a really relaxed, informal and laid back affair. It never ceases to surprise me how brilliant our teams are in bringing so many fantastic items to the auction. I’m also always blown away by their generosity in bidding as highly they do and raising so much more money for Buttle UK. We had paintings, a LE Print signed by Michael Schumacher, a book signed by Noel Coward, a ton of Paul Smith Mini themed products and loads (I really mean loads) of other brilliant items. We started at 9.30pm (this is when I knew I’d be starting today’s entry with ‘I knew it was going to be a long day when…’!). We ended after 11pm and to our collective delight a further £6,601.00 had been raised for Buttle UK. Amazing work Jobbers….. (I told you they really are an incredible bunch).

Despite finishing at gone 11pm…. First car departs today (Tuesday) at 8.30am en route for an amazing visit to and lunch at the Acetaia Malpighi on the outskirts of Modena….. We’re throwing in a strictly ‘Quick–Step One Two’ at the start line by inserting a sneaky 10 second special stage just before the start of the Time Control. I can see penalty points a plenty emerging this morning.


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