Day 1 Run2 Europe 2013

We are awake to to sound of Ramshackle Ralliers leaving the hotel car park (there were 3 teams) as they start their own journey (ultimately Valencia).
 It's 8am when we meet Cassise and Robert (our camera crew) for breakfast where we contemplait the long journey ahead.

Ramshackle Raly car on the Pride of Kent

Meanwhile on the other side of the channel, the Run2 mob form up and head for Folkstone and the Eurotunnel.

While the teams cue up for the Eurotunnel we head off for the first destination....St Quentin, France. Unlike a few weeks previous during the rece of the route the weather was great, not a cloud in the sky and the smooth open French roads lay before us.....that was until we hit Lille!
A quick route change took us onto the Toll roads and back on schedule, timing IS the key to these events.....
St Quentin Town Hall
We arrive at St Quentin and set up ready for the teams and their first challenge. The first challenge is for the teams to unlock a box with 2 combination padlocks, the numbers are found around the town centre on plaques, road signs and monuments. There is also a bonus 10 points for the first team to find myself and Sian who will be hiding in the same area (well in this case sitting down on a bench watching the world go French).

We awaited the teams just around the corner from the entrance to the underground car park, then at approx 12.50pm the rumble of a V8 then the huge white Bathurst S appeared....we legged it!
Sian and myself went to our hide out whilst Cassie and Robert met the teams at the town hall to give them their instructions.
Seb in Winston Churchill Square, St Quentin
As predicted Seb (Sleazy jet) found us first for the bonus 10 points, and he also found the numbers to the padlocks and opened up the maximum score envelope in the box....lottery numbers anyone?

After this challenge we all met up in the square and grabbed lunch in one of the resturants, "table for 15 sil vous plait".

After lunch it was time to hit the road once more but this time in convoy, next destination Pont A Mouson in the Meurthe-et-Moselle region of France.
This route would take approx 3 hours.

After what seemed like approx 3hrs! and a few fuel stops we left the Toll roads and hit the good French roads.

We were now minutes from Pont A Mouson but before we got there and as it was getting on a bit, there might be the prospect of a closed bar (due to time) at the first hotel. The obvious solution was a Carrefour supermarket and a chance to buy "Emergency Beer" this we did.

Ok then onto Pont A Mouson and the next challenge, pretty much much same as the second unlock the box. This time team M.I.D.G.E.T. win.
We all grab a bite to eat there before we head for the hotel.

Now about 8.30pm and we have a 2 hour drive to our hotel in Germany, only thing is we need to get there before midnight as the check in desk closes then....aaaaaarrrrgh!
This becomes a Top Gear style challenge in itself

By the time we leave Pont A Mouson it's already getting dark and we have over 100miles to go yet.
First of all it was a race against time to get to the hotel before it closes, but as we get closer the co drivers start sending text messages to each other almost like a night time bombing mission during the war. ETA 11.40pm, ETA 11.18, ETA 11.30 etc came the messages....we then realise Sleazy Jet (Bathurst S driven by Seb) are only a few minutes behind us!!!! The adrenaline kicks in now which wakes me up and tells me we now have a race to the finish. We cross the Rhine then enter Germany, SAT NAV don't mess up now (it had froze up half an hour previous), we turn onto the autobahn where I realise the SAT NAV is giving me no indication of speed limit....UNRESTRICTED!!!
We have approx 6 miles of autobahn before turning off at the next junction, Seb is minutes behind me so it's foot to the floor. The Golf Gti winds up to 130mph, this feels wrong but it IS legal here. I keep checking my rear view mirror expecting to see the lights of the pumped up Vauxhall bearing down on me, unbeknown to me Seb has taken a slightly different route and won't hit the autobahn. 
We turn off onto the normal roads and quickly get caught up behind slower traffic, study the SAT NAV don't misread it now. I count down the miles 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 we now hit 0.5 miles to go we are all staring out looking for the hotel. 0.4, 0.3, 0.2, 0.1, 350yrds, 250yrds, 150yrds....there it is! The Gruner Baum appears in front of us, "Right as soon as we pull up I will dive out and make sure someone has stopped up to let us in." I say to Sian and Cassie. We pull up I dive out run round to the bar entrance, the door is not locked, I walk in to be greeted by the barman. "Do you speak English?" in my best er English..."Yes" is the reply, "We're here keep the place open. Oh and is the bar staying open?"


We have arrived





After I was shown the keys to the rooms, I walked outside and Sleazy Jet was already there a couple of minutes behind.....but still er.....SECOND!
The other teams one by one turn up all before midnight apart from one......VIKING.
They are transiting through Luxembourg? Wrong turn! Never mind we're here and what you drinking. Jaques and Angela turn up just after 12am but all is OK, rooms sorted and bar open.
We call it a night at 2am......Day 1 over!