Sunday 2 July
The Full Monty team met up in Hoddesdon and faced their first real challenge: getting themselves and all their gear in the car. The fact that one of the team had dropped out at short notice was possibly a blessing in disguise.Having squeezed it all in they set off for Newcastle just after 09.00, with Neil commenting how stable the car felt despite all the weight in the back. The 300 mile journey passed by very quickly, boosting our confidence for the 3500 mile one we face. And we hope the queue on the A1 near Gateshead, caused by a minor accident, will be the last one we face till we arrive back in the UK.Scrutineering in the car park outside the hotel did not present any real problems, and we were able to get some instruction on the use of the tachograph. Here we met our fellow competitors for the first time.
The teams are driving a variety of vehicles, a 4x4 class seemingly proving popular as many are driving 4WD vehicles. Volvo have entered a team of the new V70 XC models, supposedly the only three in Britain to date, and from Vauxhall there is team of Fronteras. A favourite seems to be an Audi A6 TDI estate, but the nearly new W-reg car has been beset by problems, including having been run into on the left side, and the need to fit a new gearbox in the last few days - so much for German 'technik'. The RAC have also been summoned to fit a new power steering pump on one of the new Volvo V70s. There are a few teams from the forces, and one foreign entry, Erik the Viking in a Peugeot 406 estate from Norway. One of the last cars to arrive was the car that is running at number 1, an S-reg Bentley Turbo with the team name Chelsea Blues.
The Full Monty is, as we suspected, the oldest and highest mileage car in the event, so hopefully we can demonstrate what a good car it is against the very latest models on the market. We are certainly attracting attention with our team name written on the side, but it is a bit embarrassing to be expected to provide the enertainment fo the night when we pull into a pub car park! Tomorrow afternoon (Monday 3rd July) the adventure begins when we take the ferry to Kristiansand in Norway, after driving in convoy through Newcastle.
John Dalton

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