The 2020 Rallye Monte-Carlo Classique

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Keith Bennett
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Joined: 09 Nov 2019 21:40

The 2020 Rallye Monte-Carlo Classique

Post by Keith Bennett » 30 Jan 2020 21:09

The A40 Farina Club is pleased to be following the two members who are pitting their A40s against this internationally famous rally.

Chris Mockeridge and navigator John Varney are aboard their Mk 2 "Tina the Farina" and because their starting point is on the near Continent, we have, at the time of writing, no information on their progress but naturally wish them well.

However, Colin Levin and Fergus Millar in car number 406 started from a very wet and dark Glasgow yesterday to begin their journey south.
CL Glasgow start.jpg
One of their Passage Controls happened to be in my home town of Banbury where members Liz Smith (driving up from Henley-on-Thames) and Derek Minter (from Maidenhead) motored up in their A40s to join my wife Bar and me with our A40 in an informal classic car display around the area of the Start Gate.
CL Market place to town hall.jpg
CL market place.jpg
Our cars attracted considerable interest especially when we told folk about the two A40s in this year's Rally. (We suffered all the usual "My dad/gran/teacher had one of them", or "I learned to drive in one.")
We spotted the rally cars arriving at the Park Fermée and I went down to find Colin and Fergus...
CL in park fermee.jpg
...and, in fact, they found me! They knew that three Club members were hoping to meet them and, despite their long drive and need for a rest and some lunch, insisted on returning to our display cars to meet everyone - a most generous gesture which we all appreciated.
left to right: Liz, Fergus, Colin, Keith and Derek.
left to right: Liz, Fergus, Colin, Keith and Derek.
We didn't want to keep them long, as they only had a little over an hour for the break and so we chased them off back to their car. All-too-soon it was time for the competitors to depart and here's car 406 being flagged away amid music, disco smoke and cheers.
Off to Monte Carlo !
Off to Monte Carlo !
A frantic wave from Fergus as they shot past.
A frantic wave from Fergus as they shot past.
After all the cars had left, all those folk who wished to, could themselves drive over the Passage Control as we headed home (not Monte Carlo !) Naturally, three little A40 Farinas couldn't resist:
Leading the charge, Keith in his Mk1 saloon (Bar taking the photos...)
Leading the charge, Keith in his Mk1 saloon (Bar taking the photos...)
...followed by Derek in his Mk2 Countryman...
...followed by Derek in his Mk2 Countryman...
...and, finally, Liz in her Mk 1 saloon.
...and, finally, Liz in her Mk 1 saloon.
For us three, it was home for tea after a fascinating little show, enjoyed despite the drizzly weather. For Colin and Fergus, of course, they were already well on the way in the 1,300 mile dash to the South of France.

But their story has only just begun: for them the emotional journey is being run in commemmoration of Colin's late father Gerald who, a quarter-of-a century earlier had 'done' the Monte in the same car. Here he is, standing proudly (on the right) at the Finish Gate by the Mediterranean along with his navigator/co-driver Bernard Buss.
third with gerald.jpg
gERALD 62, September 1995 1.jpg
And a final twist to their extraordinary story? Colin was originally being accompanied by brother Richard who, just two weeks before the rally, fell and broke an ankle. Panic! "Don't worry," said Richard, "I can still co-drive if necessary."
"Oh yes?" came the reply. "With a pair of crutches and wearing a moon boot over your plaster? I don't think so!"
Thus it came to pass that a totally unexpecting work colleague, Fergus, was bullied into joining Colin in the mad endeavour after never having done any rallying before!

I'm sure that the spirit of Gerald is with them all the way to the Finish, and as info is received, I'll add it to this thread. Until then, join me in wishing the pair - and the car! - all the very best for a resounding success.

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Stoney13
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Joined: 09 Nov 2019 21:51
Location: Somerset

Re: The 2020 Rallye Monte-Carlo Classique

Post by Stoney13 » 31 Jan 2020 21:00

WOW ;)
if it has wheels RACE IT, break it,fix it, RACE IT :twisted:

Chairman Ed
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Joined: 10 Nov 2019 06:29

Re: The 2020 Rallye Monte-Carlo Classique

Post by Chairman Ed » 01 Feb 2020 06:53

Thanks Keith, Liz and Derek for seeing them off.

Wish both teams well.

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Dave the rave
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Location: Coventry

Re: The 2020 Rallye Monte-Carlo Classique

Post by Dave the rave » 01 Feb 2020 08:38

Fascinating read. Thanks Keith. Best wishes for both cars and occupants.
If in doubt....kick the Ruskies OUT ❗

Keith Bennett
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Joined: 09 Nov 2019 21:40

Re: The 2020 Rallye Monte-Carlo Classique

Post by Keith Bennett » 05 Feb 2020 20:17

Sad news from Colin and Fergus: their head gasket failed as they approached Valence and so didn't make it to Monte Carlo this year. They were really disappointed as they'd hoped to repeat Colin's late father, Gerald's, sucess 25 years ago.
Levin route.jpg
But look at what they'd achieved - one heck of a journey from the start at Glasgow all the way down England and through France to Valence. Here's what Colin told me in his e-mail:

Firstly, it was lovely to meet with you at Banbury. I'd also say that what the people of Banbury put on for that day was outstanding and put Glasgow to shame.

Back to the Monte. Good and not so good news. The good news is that the car behaved perfectly until 150 k from Valence. Likely that the cylinder head gasket went. However we stuck it out and made it to Valence so officially completed our challenge. We met some great people along the way and felt there was a fabulous team spirit.

So the only unfinished business is getting over the Alpes to Monte Carlo. Will do that another time. We got a lift in a fabulous 1964 2300 Fiat coupé so I can't complain. We enjoyed all the festivities there. We have just literally waved off the car to the UK. A friend drove to Valence with a trailer and plans to take it home and repair it once I'm back.

I'll keep you posted about the car.
Best wishes, Colin


Well, talk about a friend in need! Such a shame after all their hard work preparing for the rally. Let's hope they decide to have another go next year. Meanwhile I'm just waiting for a reply from Chris Mockeridge and John Varney, but as I write this, it occurs to me that of course driving down to Monte is only half the trip - the poor saps then have to drive all the way back home!

More when I hear anything . . .

Keith Bennett
Posts: 1498
Joined: 09 Nov 2019 21:40

Re: The 2020 Rallye Monte-Carlo Classique

Post by Keith Bennett » 06 Feb 2020 16:35

Here are four links to photographs taken at the Banbury stage:

https://youtu.be/AXG9apSUxMw - 360 Degree film, Paul Donovan

https://www.facebook.com/pg/MySquareWhe ... 7997915568 – Aaron Hawes (My Square Wheel Photography

https://flic.kr/s/aHsmL5YGLC - Mike Watling

https://youtu.be/DiDHjNTVG8A - Paul Donovan

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