The last day of June 2015 and what a month it has been!
3 weeks ago I returned from a five 5 day rally across Europe covering 2,070 miles crossing 5 countries.
My company Mozit signed up for the Monte Carlo or Bust rally and along with 84 other entries, our £300 banger car ‘The Lizard King’ made it back in full working order. Out of the 84 entries only 70 made it back, so we did very well!
We chose to use the banger rally to raise money and awareness for the Rotherham National Autistic Society branch, a charity which Mozit has worked with through there Rotherham branch since 2008.
With the help of local businesses in Rotherham and Sheffield and my Just Giving Page https://www.justgiving.com/team-nas-rotherham we have raised £2,647.00.
I cannot thank my clients, friends and family enough for the support.
So what about the rally? Here is a brief run down:
4th June 2015: Rotherham – Namur
After a very stressful week we were all packed and ready to set off to Dover.
A nice steady drive to the Ferry getting used to the Celica and all it’s little quirkiness i.e. a 3rd gear syncro crunch!
We arrived in Namur at about 10pm meeting the rest of the rally teams. Tired, we got to bed about 11pm to get ready for the rally.
5th June 2014: Namur – Freiburg
We had a meeting point at 9am at the Citadel in Namur to meet all the teams and and to see the plan for the day. There were some amazing cars with a lot of time and effort in their designs, especially a limousine converted as a green tank heading to Germany on the VE weekend anniversary.
It was also at this point that we realised the true challenge was actually getting home with the car and this was the “winning”. We heard of 3 cars not making it out the UK and one team we met from Bristol went with a Rover (A Rover has never completed the rally).
After we checked in and set off for Freiburg we later found out that after check-in the Rover car did not start due to a fuel pump issue, again a gentle reminder that the car could go at any time and anywhere.
We set off to Freiburg passing through Bastogne and through Luxembourg to a beautiful lake Upper Sure Lake. I would recommend this area to anyone who wants to get away. No mobile, computers very peaceful and calm and in a strange way it was a surreal 5 mins taking it in before realising ‘what are we doing in the middle or Europe with a 21 year old £300 car trying to get to Monaco’.
Heading to Freiburg, we knew when we hit Germany … everyone goes about 30mph faster! We pulled up outside our hotel, exhausted after the first leg and thankfully our parking spot was right outside the door. It was a great feeling we had made it and taken in some amazing scenery.
We met up at our check point to discuss the day with fellow teams and enjoy a few cold beers.
- The Hill to the Citadel following everyone getting lost
- The heat and a car with no air con
- Impressive organisation seeing 80+ teams all from the UK setting off on the rally
- The Beer in Freiburg was amazing and I still say one of the best pints I ever had http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g187281-d1866958-Reviews-Hausbrauerei_Feierling-Freiburg_im_Breisgau_Baden_Wurttemberg.html
6th June: Freiburg – Lake Como
It was 9am and we all met up with the teams at a local Mcdonald’s. There we saw the Ghostbusters car with a major radiator problem.
We later found out that they did not complete the rally but did get home.
The day started off great but soon turned out to be the most challenging and stressful.
Entering Switzerland we made our first mistake – going into the car lane of “we have paid the Swiss tax” but we had not. An honest mistake but one that led to us being interrogated for 10 mins taking out luggage, passports and all manner of documents. Thankfully we just paid the tax and we were on our way. Taking the mountains in with the blue sky it was all calm and serene for a short while.
We were heading for the Gothenburg pass and about 10 minutes before our turn off was a massive stationary traffic jam, there was an accident in a nearby tunnel.
Whilst waiting we were behind a Scottish team who decided to have a water gun fight and yes me & Rich got drenched although in a strange way it was welcomed.
After we got going the traffic was stop start, stop start and it generated an awful burning clutch / gearbox smell. At the same time our radiator was up and down like a yo yo. ’This is it’ I thought, ‘the journey ends in the middle of Switzerland’!
Whilst standing out of the car in the traffic jam we found out the Gothenburg pass was actually shut due to a rock fall earlier in the week. This meant we had no alternative but to wait for the accident in the 10 mile long tunnel to clear.
As we entered the tunnel our palms were sweating and me and Rich had ‘The Fear’! Luckily as we got going everything settled down and the smell of our burning clutch / gearbox disappeared.
We headed toward Lake Como, a truly amazing place, dealing with very narrow sharp turning roads which were a little tricky to negotiate sometimes.
What should have been a 4hr journey took 8hrs due to delays and we were relieved to be parking a working car at the end of the day.
- Switzerland Border Police
- 2hr Traffic Jam – Burning Clutch – Radiator Up and Down
- 36 degrees weather
- Entering a 10 mile tunnel with burning clutch / gearbox and radiator issues
- Lake Como amazing beautiful place
- Seeing a still drunk, fellow rallier at 8am whilst having my breakfast, explaining he slept on the bench and that he broke down in the Switzerland traffic and had to get a £700 taxi to Lake Como!
7th June: Lake Como – Monaco
The last day of the rally saw us set off to Monaco. We had a certain worry if The Lizard King would be OK after the issues encountered the previous day… but she fired up fine
Negotiating the Italian mountain roads, we headed down through Milan and the Italian motorways before reaching the coastal drive into Monaco.
It was such a pleasure to drive open roads with no issues and the prospect of completing an F1 lap at Monaco.
As we got closer to Monaco I turned the sat nav off and headed to the Casino square to meet the other teams. In a strange way, due to doing the Monaco PS3 F1 lap a few times and after attending the 2013 F1 Monaco race, it felt like I knew where I was going and we started a lap of the streets of Monaco. It felt amazing!
We had reached our destination and completed the rally!
- Completing the Monte Carlo or Bust Rally
- Driving a lap of Monaco
8th / 9th June: Nice to Rotherham
With the rally over it was time to head home. Some teams opted for the sensible idea of ditching the banger car and hopping onto a plane.
That would have been too sensible for me & Rich… We were determined to bring The Lizard King home to Rotherham. Covering 900 miles in two days, it was one of the most gruelling tiring drives ever, but seeing the J33 M1 turn off brought a smile to my face.
We had done it.. completed the Monte Carlo or Bust Rally. And after being forced by Kat Cowan on my interview with Radio Sheffield to say “We will win!” WE DID WIN … our banger made it home in one piece and did us proud!
The Lizard King will be seen driving the streets of Rotherham, proudly adorned with sponsors logos in coming months.
Long live The Lizard King
In the Media:
Radio Sheffield Pre Interview:
Radio Sheffield Return Interview:
Since signing up for the Rally in February it has been a busy 4 months in the planning and completing the rally whilst running a business, but it has been worth it and something I will never forget.
It has taken much organisation and help from clients and suppliers, who I cannot thank you all enough for your support.
Thanks again to all sponsors, all the money donated from businesses, friends and family has been donated to the Rotherham National Autistic Society branch and I am sure it will be a great help them.
Rotherham Sitwell Rotary Club
Don Valley Windows
Sanderson Building Services
Maltby Auto Electrical Services
CT Butterfield & Sons
Lion Industrial Roofing Supplies
Francis Chambers & Co