We Made It!

The final day of the 2016 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique consisted of five Regulatory Stages.  The first part of the day would consist of three stages which would take us back to Monte Carlo. Then, after a break of a few hours, we would leave Monte Carlo to complete the final two Regulatory Stages.  The final two stages would be especially tough – the first one was to be about 53 kilometres long, while the last one would be 47 kilometres long.

Along the entire route of the Rallye Monte Carlo Historique were a number of people taking photographs of the cars as they go by.  I was somewhat surprised to find that there was a photography business that was selling photographs of the cars as package specializing in each car.  My driver, Dan Allven, was kind enough to gift me a package of photos of our car.  This was very kind of Dan and I very much appreciated it.  Among the photos in the package were two black & white photos that I think look very appropriate for this event.

The two photos are shown below.  When I first looked at them they reminded me of what a 1964 photograph of a privateer entry of a 1964 Fiat 2300S Abarth would have looked like in the 1964 Monte Carlo Rallye.

On The Road 2

Our 1964 Fiat 2300S Abarth In A French Village

I don’t remember all of these villages and buildings, but we passed through a number of picturesque French villages during the 2016 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique.

On The Road 1

Passing By Some Well-Worn French Village Buildings

Our transit to the start of Regularity Stage 10 went well but at the starting line of Regularity Stage 10 things began to fall apart for us.  It was an uphill start and our clutch began to slip as we waited in line.  In addition, we were advised that we were leaking some fuel under the engine.  Despite these difficulties we started the stage away.  Dan took it very easy on the clutch and as we progressed down the stage, the clutch cooled down and began to work properly.

Just as we got to the end of Stage 10 we pulled over and took a look under the car.  There was a pool of fuel there.  We made what we thought were some repairs to fuel system but then the car would not run on anything but fuel poured into the carburetors.  Then the car just refused to start.  Things were starting to look grim.  The organizer’s sweep car came along and told us that if we wanted to be able to carry on without being considered as DNF then we would have to make it to the control in La Turbie by 8:00PM which would represent our maximum permitted lateness of 30 minutes late past our target in-time.

We were in a small French village at this point and the organizers’ sweep car was kind enough to give us a tow to the garage of the only mechanic in the village.  Unfortunately for us, the mechanic had gone home for lunch and therefore the garage was closed.  The post master called the mechanic at home to advise him that we were at the garage and that he would be returning after lunch at 2:00PM or in about an hour.

We decided to remove the air filter assembly to get a better look at the fuel lines and to make things easier for the mechanic when he showed up.  The photo below shows Dan working on the car outside the closed repair garage.


Dan Allven Working On The Fuel System While Waiting For The Mechanic

Once we got a good look at the plumbing for the fuel system, we determined what the real problem was.  It turns out that at some point in the past the previous owner or some uncaring mechanic had made a questionable hose connection to the tee fitting that delivered the fuel to the two carburetors.  In addition, the rubber hose itself was deteriorating, indicating that it was possible that a heater hose had been used instead of dedicated fuel line hose.


Making Repairs

We managed to get repairs made before the mechanic returned from his lunch.  We saw no point waiting as the car seemed to be working fine with our repairs.  As a result, we packed everything up and loaded everything back in the trunk.  Then we had to figure out what to do next.  Do we head straight to the control in La Turbie to beat the required in time target to remain in the rally or do we rejoin the rally directly at this time?


Our Final Repair Using A Hose Clamp, Black Electrical Tape, and Snare Wire

We figured out how to get out of the French village and rejoin the rally route.  We were about 1-1/2 to 2 hours late.  To develop a strategy of what to do next we used the maps that had been prepared by Jens Gandrup.  The maps were bound in a book as pages which was a little difficult for the problem that I was trying to solve.  As a result, I removed the relevant maps from the book binding.  I had some Scotch Tape in my rally bag, which allowed me to tape the individual maps together to get a better overall picture of our situation.  The assembled map below is what we used to plan our next move.

IMG_2050 Marked 1

Our Assembled Map

It was evident that we had no time to do Regularity Stage 11.  I was able to co-relate the information in the road book with the route shown on the assembled map.  We developed a plan to take a short cut, avoiding the Stage 11 roads, but to rejoin the route on our way to Regularity Stage 12.  Once we were able to rejoin the rally road we would assess if we had time to do Regularity Stage 12 or just go directly to the control in La Turbie.  Once we rejoined the rally route after the short cut I was able to calculate that we were only about 2 minutes behind the perfect time at that point.

In the map shown above we took the route shown by the green arrow and thus avoided the rally route within the area outlined by the orange line.

We did run Regularity Stage 12 and made it back to La Turbie and Monte Carlo in time.  The run to La Turbie was a little challenging because we encountered some very thick fog which slowed us dramatically.  We could barely see 3 metres in front of the car.  The narrowness of the road and the proximity of stone walls was very attention-getting.  It made us worry about the last two stages.  It would be very dangerous if the fog was bad on those long mountainous stages.

We had about 6 hours in Monte Carlo before we started the last leg of the rally with the final two regularity stages.  There was a hospitality tent with entertainment, food, and non-alcoholic drinks.  This was very much appreciated.  After getting something to eat and drink I did some shopping for some rally related items.  I was also able to sit in our car and catch a little sleep.

It was almost midnight when we headed out for the last two regularity stages.  Our concerns about fog went away as only encountered some light fog.  The last two stages went well for us, but there were a number of cars that had difficulties.  Unfortunately the Sunbeam Tiger team with Jeremy Holden and Angelica Fuentes had problems with their clutch and were unable to complete the final regularity stage.

Dan and I made it back to Monte Carlo and the final control after 4:00AM.  We we very pleased that we had accomplished our main goal of finishing the 2016 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique.


We Made It!

It was very interesting to look around the parking area around 4:30AM after the end of the 2016 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique.  There was a light mist over the area as people milled about.  A number of crews were enjoying champagne that they must have been carrying around to be opened when they successfully finished the rally.


After The Rally

I only had minor inconveniences getting to my new hotel that early in the morning.  I was sitting in my hotel room at 5:30AM just winding down when my telephone rang.  It was my wife calling thinking that I might have been just waking up and wondering how I was doing.  She was quite surprised to learn that I was just sitting in my room contemplating going to bed at 5:30AM!

Dan had considerably more problems.  Dan lives in Monte Carlo, therefore he just wanted to go home.  It turns out that finding a taxi at 5:00AM in Monte Carlo is not easy.  Dan waited and waited for a taxi that never showed up.  He then decided that if he was going to get home at all, then he would have to walk home.  Dan finally got to home and to bed about 7:00AM.  It was a long night for him.

The next evening there was a gala awards dinner in Monte Carlo.  Dan said that he would not be surprised if the Prince was there.  Below is the formal invitation that we got to attend the awards dinner.

Gala Invitation

Indeed it was quite a spectacular venue and dinner.  There was a huge room full of well-scrubbed rally participants, a multi-screen display of video from the rally, music, lights, champagne, and beautiful women.  Quite enjoyable.

The entertainment was very impressive.  There was a dance group who performed what I would call an eastern European “Riverdance”.  This was followed by a magician/pick pocket who was extremely adept at removing items from Kristian Jorgensen, the navigator of Car #17, who had been an audience volunteer.  The lesson to be learned here was that if you want to protect yourself from pick pockets, then you have to be very diligent.  The final act was a scary gymnastic display that would take your breath away.


An Eastern European “Riverdance”

After the entertainment a multi-course dinner of tasty food was served.  This was followed by the awards portion of the evening.  There were many awards and following the awards in a category, the national anthem of the category winner was played.  This was a very impressive part of the evening.  As Dan and I finished well back in the field, our award was considerably more modest.  The picture below shows Dan and I with what Dan said was our award – a Rallye Monte Carlo Historique key chain.  That key chain, modest as it is, now sits proudly in my trophy case.


Myself and Dan Allven With Our “Award”

The winning car, a 1971 Renault Alpine A110 1600S, was prominently on display on the main stage.  After having participated in this event, it gives me an even greater appreciation of those who get a good finish and I am very impressed by the team that can finish on top.  I did not have an opportunity to congratulate them in person, but I would like to congratulate them here.

Winning Car 2016

Daniele Perfetti/Ronnie Kessel Won In Their 1971 Alpine A110 1600 S

Finally I want to thank three people who made this adventure possible for me – my wife for supporting my decision to go, Jens Gandrup Jorgensen for putting my name forward as a substitute navigator, and especially to Dan Allven for asking me to sit with him, for being a good rally teammate, for being fun to be with, for his generosity, and for being a nice guy to hang around with.  Thank you and I enjoyed it all.

If you have any comments or questions either leave a comment below or contact me privately by email at: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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4 Responses to We Made It!

  1. Rich Bireta says:

    Wonderful story, Steve. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Dan Allven says:

    Hi “you´ll” after been living in Florida for many years, I still have a piece of my heart in the United States of America! Steve, as you are Canadian, we share the same mixed feeling about the USA, great people but a screwed up system, which seems tougher to fix than a fuel line on the “Ferriat”, we used for the HMCR. But as life goes on, no matter what and “Carpe Diem”, guys like you make it easier to enjoy even tough moments, as you are calm fellow, which I guess goes back to when you where driving the tractor on your fathers farm in Ontario, dreaming of your lifes big adventures.
    You told me about the burning Corvette in Mexico but for you, it was not a big deal even though you had to spend a couple of days in a Mexican hospital. I have met lots of people but nobody like you, calm, smart devoted and on top of everything a good friend!
    Thanks a lot, for letting me meet you and become your friend!
    Dan ( optimist but realistic)

  3. Thomas Alvén says:

    It was very nice to read all this and what a pictures, I do love all those cars even Renault R 8 and the Alpine 1600.

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