Monday 10 July
It remains to be seen who will win this year's Cape to Cape Challenge, as the organisers are checking the tachograph charts to ensure that entrants complied with the 'no-speeding' rules.
Some competitors have reported that others passed them while they were driving at the limit. But it looks like the record will be broken as several crews, including our Full Monty team, have recorded times below the existing record. The fastest time has been recorded by a Volvo V70 diesel, in under 54 hours, but official results will not be declared for a few days at least.
A Scottish crew in a Frontera were less than complimentary about our choice of transport at the start. Their view seems to have changed, especially as they developed a clutch problem on their car. The Defender was the only car forced to retire: it headed for home from Germany with a blown turbo and a top speed of about 50mph.
The Bentley Boys in the Bentley Turbo were one of the first teams to finish. A couple of Volvo V70s and the Astra GSi were among the stragglers at the back. One factory Volvo entered V70XC had a Telegraph journalist on board and they apparently spent several hours taking photographs en-route. They then went off route in Granada and did 100km on windng roads to Almeria. The Astra team included a lady who had never driven abroad before, and she had not told her fellow team members of this before the event. They got drunk the night before the event and then took an unusual route via the Gothenburg to Frederikshavn ferry. They arrived at Tarifa this morning about 18 hours after the first car in.
One crew have had a big argument and two of them have left in the car, leaving the third member to get a flight back. I hasten to add that this is not the reason why David is flying back from Gibraltar tomorrow.
Most crews have taken similar routes or the same route as us. The Norwegian Peugeot 406, actually crewed by three people from three offices in three different countries as a sort of team building company exercise, seems to be the only one to have taken the Rodby-Puttgarden ferry into Germany. They jumped the queue much to the annoyance of the people loading the ferry, and squeezed on the back of the boat thereby losing only a couple of minutes, so this should give them a theoretical advantage. Of course it helped that they could demand to get on it in three Scandinavian languages.
Some crews have been much more professional than others. While some people carried all their dietary requirements from Nordkapp, others bought food on the way and the Discovery crew apparently stopped off to eat at MacDonalds on two occasions! We tried to bring all our food with us, but Neil made a large quantity of pasta and tuna mix and then found that he could not eat any of it after the first day, and my sandwiches were certainly past their sell-by date by day 3. This was despite the fact that we had two refrigerated cold boxes plumbed into the loadspace.
Incidentally, having started the event we discovered we had located our boxes in such a way that it was impossible to open the top of one of them, so David had to rearrange the location of everything while on the move! But some of our preparation worked well for example the GPS connected to AutoRoute Express on our laptop was permanently on, and could show our position on the map exactly at all times. And our modified glovebox in which to fit the laptop was ideal, yet we only tried it in the car the day we set off for Newcastle.
One of the organisers has told us that the person who took our call, when we phoned in on Sunday morning to give an ETA, was so shocked she immediately phoned HQ in Jerez, because they did not think we would even finish. So you could say that even the organisers have been stunned by our performance.
John Dalton

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