View Full Version : Rallye du Retour

Rallye James
15-04-2008, 12:33 PM
Not so much a Ring Report here, but I'm sure you guys would like to have a read and see some pics.

It all started about this time last year, after our first trip/challenge (Lands End to John O'Groats - no motorways, no dual carriage ways!), we decided we had do arrange another trip this year to top it. So the destinations were chosen, a new trip (Rallye du Retour) was planned, and at the start of April, four of us set out for Dover...

On arriving at Dover docks on Friday, I met the other three who had came down from the north, as I had come from the west, and the four 106 Rallyes boarded the Norfolkline ship and headed to Dunkerque. Tom, in his white (with red bonnet and stickers) S1, Pete in a blue S2, Gus in an identical S2 with mudflaps and me in the white S2.

We got into Dunkerque port at 11pm local time, and after changing the radio frequency so that we could all hear each other (and not random french people) and finiding Gus who had gone missing on the 5 minute drive to the hotel, we all got the Formule 1 for the first night.


We set out on Saturday morning with no fixed destination. Shortly after I lost myself from the front of the convoy and headed off on the motorway. When I received a phone call from the others in France, I had already reached Belgium! Belgium was a dump - you wouldn't go there if didn't have to, but it was the most direct route through. Not keen on the motorways and fed up of being blinded by spray, we detoured to the main roads, only to find they are even worse! Lunch today was provided by a Belgain Lidl and the 'car sandwich' was born.


Running out of time and keen to leave Belgium, we abandoned our idea of visiting Spa and drove on to Maastricht. The Tomtom found us a Formule 1, but when we arrived it was deserted. So we continued to Cologne and found ourselves accomodation in an Etap (a slightly more upmarket Formule 1). I nominated myself as Taxifahrer and we all went into the city centre and found a Pizza Hut.

Sunday, we departed for our first day at the Nurburgring, arriving at a fairly full car park in the snow.


Once the track opened we bought a lap each and went out two cars at a time, a driver and passenger lap each. Other than the Viper and a couple of Mercs, the track was pretty empty for us. Tom's belgian apple tart lapped the circuit in roughly 11 minutes, becoming legendary. Opening time was extended so we set off for the museum, as reccommended by Tom - except it had now been bulldozed, d'oh!

So we went back and had another lap each instead, and then left for our accommodation in Cologne again. Sunday's evening meal was provided by the Golden Arches (they will be our sponsor next year!) where we all ordered 'Gitterkartoffeln' from Pat Sharp.

Once more on Monday, we set off for the Nurburgring, arriving in the snow, this time having left our luggage and back seats at the Etap.


A car wash was sourced along the way, to stop Gus from having a panic attack. Tom wanted to look for a spot to photograph the S2s on the track, so after a walk from Adenau up to Wehrseifen, we headed over to Brunnchen - where we now hold the record of four Rallyes on three wheels at a time :D


Brunnchen was good for our photo, but Tom was adamant he could get to the inside of Karussel by car and an epic off road adventure began. Gus gave up after 20m of gravel, Pete got through the first puddle and I got slightly further. The mighty JDU made it as far as a pair of fallen trees.



The official tow barge (my S2) came to the rescue twice and we all got out of the forest alive. Tom's car had lasted 2 hours clean, and was a now brown again, even inside...

Tom returned to Brunnchen as we went to the track. Having dried out a bit now, with a break in the snow, we got on for two more laps each. The track empty, we managed to pose ourselves in formation for Tom.


The track closed and we got booted out of the car park and then got on our way back to Cologne, for more McDonalds and to put our cars back together.

Tuesday was track time again, this time we went North - to Holland. We met the Dutch Rallye club in Uden and washed our cars again.



We followed the Dutch guys for about 5 minutes, sticking to their speed limits, before we got totally left behind. Eventually we reached Zandvoort and began the process of shedding weight again.



The two hour session on the track was great, as soon as the bunch of Dutch guys had done their lap and departed to the pits. Me and Pete had a lesson from the Stig, aka Gus, and went out for a few sessions together, before deciding nothing could seperate our cars/skill - we are totally evenly matched!

The evening drawing in, we put the cars together again, Gus fixed his brakes, and for the second day running we got kicked out as we were the last left. We headed to Eindhoven, where tonight we shunned our low budget hotels and seeked refuge in a church. Tom's contact in the Salvation Army put us up for the night, providing us with cake and breakfast for nothing, and at about 5 minutes notice - what a nice chap!

We set off early on Wednesday morning, we had a long way to go... We headed for Strasbourg, via Cochem (where we found the numberplates amusing) and the Mosel.


Another supermarket (this one had a helicopter though!) and some more car sandwiches later we ditched Strasbourg in favour of another F1 in Saarbrucken. Arriving late and tired, only to find it fully booked, we headed further south - arriving in Mulhouse in the dark, around 11pm, where we found a bed for the next two nights.

Thursday was the day we had all been waiting for, this was the day we went to the home of Peugeot. Part 1, we drove the 15 minute journey to the PSA plant in Mulhouse - where the S1s were all made, Tom's car was going home (the S2s on the other hand were made in the Saxo factory outside Paris). After speaking German to French people, we had bad news. Three top secret new models at the plant, meant we couldn't go inside unfortunately, even though we weren't remotely interested in the Peugeot variant of the new Picasso. After a quick pic by the sign, we hit the road again.


An hour down the road, Sochaux, home of Peugeot and the Peugeot museum. 7 Euro to get in sounded good, but we were dissapointed. It seems they never made the 106, or the 205, there wasn't even a 206 there. Peugeot's history ended in the 70's and then started again with concept cars. There was a few nice competition cars though.





We couldn't even fin anything in the shop worth buying. Two thrirds of it were taken up with pepper mills and saws and chisels. The rest was models of every Peugeot ever made, except the 106 - only a diablo red 5 door for £30.

So back to the F1, via McDonalds, to prepare for the journey home - through Germany probably as we don't like France now.

Next morning, we set the Tomtom for an F1 at Reims and set off North to the foot of the Alps. Ignoring the directions we found ourselves some mountain passes, firstly the Col Amic and Grand Ballon, where we reached the summit to find the road ahead closed due to snow.



Back down the way we came, and over the Col de Bussang into the Lorraine national park, in search of quiche. We stopped for late lunch from the boulangerie in Verdun and sat in the deserted town square. A game of boules later and we set out for Reims again, to find yet another F1 that didn't want us. Mister Bed, 100m up the road did though, and we could see why - health and safety does not apply in France.

Saturday, our last full day of driving on the right (wrong) side of the road and a short drive to the old F1 circuit at Reims, completing our trio of former GP tracks and probably the highlight of the trip - especially once we were met by a french Williams Clio owners club, who gave us croissants for breakfast. What is left of the pits and grandstand is amazing - in England it would have all been demolished and built on.





We headed on north, not stopping unless we had to, and found oursleves back where we started at the Dunkerque F1 in time for tea. Pete's turn to play taxi, we drove to the town centre and had steak and chips on the sea front, watching the sunset. An epic journey had just about come to an end, 2500 miles later. The morning we would board the boat and set off our seperate ways again.

All in all, a totally awesome experiance, one I will no doubt do again, even if it has cost me at least £600! Stay tuned for next years trip, wherever it takes us...

15-04-2008, 12:47 PM
Great report and a great trip there matey

less of the car washing you geeks :lol:

Rallye James
15-04-2008, 01:15 PM
Originally posted by Weeman@Apr 15 2008, 12:47 PM
Great report and a great trip there matey

less of the car washing you geeks :lol:
I blame Gus for that :lol: He gets paranoid about salt.

I was going to leave it like I did last year, but the others all washed theirs :P


That was at the end of the trip last year :D

15-04-2008, 01:17 PM
Cracking picture of the three wheelers at Brünnchen :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:

15-04-2008, 01:37 PM
Originally posted by Rallye James+Apr 15 2008, 03:15 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Rallye James @ Apr 15 2008, 03:15 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-Weeman@Apr 15 2008, 12:47 PM
Great report and a great trip there matey

less of the car washing you geeks* :lol:
I blame Gus for that :lol: He gets paranoid about salt.

I was going to leave it like I did last year, but the others all washed theirs :P


That was at the end of the trip last year :D [/b][/quote]
It needs "faster than a scousers giro" on the back of it :lol:

15-04-2008, 02:07 PM
LOL "Just done, the salvation army"

You dirty old man you :lol:

Rallye James
15-04-2008, 02:11 PM
Originally posted by Karl@Apr 15 2008, 02:07 PM
LOL "Just done, the salvation army"

You dirty old man you :lol:
:lol: :shame:

Most inconveniently place sticker ever :P

17-04-2008, 03:15 PM
I like my car clean :P

And an amazing trip, well worth every penny :D

17-04-2008, 04:09 PM
Looks like you had a fantastic time mate :D

Gary Kinghorn
17-04-2008, 05:17 PM
Great report thanks for sharing, some really nice pictures there :thumb:

106&#39;s on 3 wheels, you copying the 205 pic from a while back :whistle:

Rallye James
18-04-2008, 07:37 PM
Originally posted by Gus@Apr 17 2008, 03:15 PM
I like my car clean :P

And an amazing trip, well worth every penny :D
Hello Gus&#33;

When we going back then? :D

I need a new car first :rolleyes:

Darren Langeveld
18-04-2008, 07:59 PM
Good read that :thumb:

19-04-2008, 07:21 AM
Great read.

Rallye James
20-04-2008, 10:03 AM
Cheers guys

Originally posted by Gary Kinghorn@Apr 17 2008, 05:17 PM
106&#39;s on 3 wheels, you copying the 205 pic from a while back :whistle:

As I said yesterday, I&#39;ve not seen the 205s. Have you got a pic of that?

22-04-2008, 08:48 PM
Originally posted by Rallye James+Apr 18 2008, 07:37 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Rallye James @ Apr 18 2008, 07:37 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-Gus@Apr 17 2008, 03:15 PM
I like my car clean :P

And an amazing trip, well worth every penny :D
Hello Gus&#33;

When we going back then? :D

I need a new car first :rolleyes: [/b][/quote]
As soon as my bank account can manage&#33;

Ash Mitchell
24-04-2008, 08:20 AM
Great read mate&#33; Love the pic of the 3 wheelled rallyes&#33;

23-05-2008, 03:28 PM
Some more &#39;Ring photos taken by Tom (driver of the white S1)

(Well this one is in France, but nevermind&#33;)





Fun even in the snow B)

23-05-2008, 03:47 PM
Gus - Inverurie Gus?

Basically the same trip as I did with my mate last year except rather than go to Peugeot at Mulhouse we went to the Schlumph collection

http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/findlay69/Nu...lumpfCollection (http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/findlay69/NurburgringTripSchlumpfCollection)

More piccies of the old F1 circuit at Reims here:

23-05-2008, 05:39 PM
Inverurie Gus for sure, Hi Findlay :D

Hows the MX5?

23-05-2008, 06:16 PM
Just grand matey :D

Away to get the intercooler, boost upgrade and uprated ARBs fitted next week ;)