Monte Carlo to Bormio
3 of us agreed to be up for 6:45am so we could retrieve the cars from valet parking and drive the Monaco F1 circuit (well before rush hour). There was no flat out – even at 7:00am there are police around! We followed Fuggs’ instructions to the letter and managed admirably. To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of F1 (I prefer the door to door excitement of touring cars, but I’m sure F1 fans can explain why they find touring cars boring), but it is exciting to drive the same route and you quickly realise how small the circuit is and yet how fast the F1 drivers take corners/short straights – wow!
Unfortunately we lost Adam (roadsweep or something in the tunnel…they never have that on F1!!).
Technically, we could not go round the casino correctly, because of the classic cars (I mentioned them on day 5). It was surprising to see several photographers turn from multi million pound Ferraris, Bugattis and Alfa Romeos and stop us in the road so they could photograph R34 & R35; our cars are more rare and desirable than even we realise!
After a sumptuous breakfast in our fabulous 5* accommodation, we discovered Geetak wasn’t able to escort us to Bormio due to other business matters, so I was asked to lead the way, based on Fuggs’ itinerary. We all had our cars outside the reception – it is surprising how much attention the cars got throughout our tour, but especially in Monte Carlo, where the average hotel patron had 6 figure Euro cars!
Some picturesque roads and tunnel after tunnel actually became a little boring – all of us eventually stopped flooring it in lower gears (after about tunnel 86!!) but the roads then quickly turned to Italian motorways and some interesting opportunities to prove the prowess of the GTR compared to M5, M3 or Mercedes appeared along the way!
Once again petrol was not cheap and by now we all just forgot about it and did the usual bi-daily refueling stop.
A slight wobble in my front drivers side wheel gave us an opportunity to stop for lunch…at McDonalds…yes you read that right! We decided time was of the essence and did not want to go off route. Actually, all of the European service stops were far far superior to anything the UK can offer!
I realised my tyre pressure was off by about 6 psi and having fixed that with Shaun’s pump, we set off after lunch. 2 minutes later, disaster! The wobble got worse (especially at high speed) and I quickly realised something else was wrong. We had hit something in one of the tunnels in the morning but it had not made much of a noise (just enough to notice a clunk) and I had assumed it was something hitting the undertray. I could not believe our bad luck – the same damn wheel has been hit and the rim buckled again!!!!! AAARGGGHHHHH
Tyre change no. 2 was done at the roadside with assistance from all participants (at least we got to wear our yellow jackets, he he!). As my spares were in the back seats and you’re not allowed to go round the passenger side to do anything, I ended up driving to Bormio on 3 semi slick (2 front and one driver’s rear) and a 19″ passenger side rear…not ideal!
A long, long journey ended safely and apart from John and Helen who had missed the hotel, we were all in our rooms by 7:15pm. Thankfully they discovered they had gone past the hotel and done a U-turn and arrived safely 20 minutes later.
I changed the wheels around so I now had 2 x 19″ rears and 2 x 18″ front (stop the 4 wheel drive system blowing a fuse), had a quick jacuzzi in the lovely fitness centre downstairs and then, for tonight anyway, Sue and I ate on our own.
Although all the hotels were lovely – facilities and rooms were excellent in every hotel – it was low season in Bormio, so we had to go into the village for food, but that meant a nice walk in very clear air and an opportunity to look round the village…I would say this is somewhere well worth a visit as I understand the food was very good in the restaurant where others ate, as was the food in the one we found.
Fantastic scenery around us and cool crisp air made for a relaxing evening and great photo opportunities, but with another long drive (to Stuttgart), tomorrow morning, it was an early night for all!!