Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sunday 3rd February 2013 - Thank you to our supporters.

We are still grinding our way north, but now in the UK on the M40.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank those who have supported us in the Event - most especially my crew - Peter Moss, co-driver / Nigel Chetwynd and Lisa Thornton, service team who have contributed so much to the planning and delivery of the result.

I would like to say Thank you to my sponsors Mini Spares, and to Justin Jeffery who has helped significantly to reduce our expenses on much needed consumables and spare parts. To Plastics 4 Performance and Paul Davenport who provided a significant contribution to lightening the car with the provision of their plastic window kit. To Mini World Magazine and Karen Drury for her continued support and acceptance of the articles I write concerning our Monte Carlo story and others. To Southam Mini & Metro Centre for the reliability, performance and a good proportion of the preparation of the car. Finally and without reservation to my family, who put up with my absence to participate in this adventure.

Thank you all - it would not be possible to do it without you.


Thank you to key sponsor: Mini Spares

Thank you to sponsors - Plastics 4 Performance for plastic glazing, and Mini World Magazine.
Thank you also to engine builder and rally preparation supporter Southam Mini & Metro Centre.

Team logo - Thanks to Mini Spares again

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Friday, 1st February 2013. Final Results.

I write this from the back of the Service car as we grind our way back up through France.

The results are confirmed. The CRX89B team has done enough to fight back and win Class 11/1 for 1962-65 cars of 1300cc or less. A fantastic achievement for the team to have won this class for two years in succession.

In finality our overall placing was 86th which is a fair result given the timing challenge we had given ourselves at the outset.

We also placed first amongst all the Minis, and were the best placed British competitor.

Team GB placed 15th of 24 finishing teams.

Team GB results are:

1 - Vines / Moss - Austin Mini Cooper S - 86th

2 - Ring / Cave - Datsun 240Z - 97th

3 - Mustarde / Thorpe - Alfa Guilietta - 124th

4 - Ostle / Brack - Morris Mini Cooper S - 142nd

5 - Richards / Morrow - Morris Mini Cooper S - 176th

6 - Roberts / Tomlinson - Fiat 128 Coupe - 211th.

RTD - O'Nion / Wilkinson - Imp.

Amongst the Minis final positions are:

1 - Vines / Moss - 86th

2 - Picquier - 92nd

3 - Nakagawa / Morikawa - 133rd

4 - Ostle / Brack - 142nd

5 - Arnal / Arnal - 143rd

6 - Burnier / Alibaux - 147th

7 - Hart / Hart - 152nd

8 - Richards / Morrow - 176th

9 - McAlpine / Gallagher - 182nd

Gary / Blumenthal - Fan belt issue in ZR14

Thus ends the 2013 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique.

Next year is the 50th anniversary of Paddy Hopkirk's win on the Monte Carlo rally, so it is widely anticipated that the Mini contingent will be well represented. We will be back.

Pictures coming later.


Hi Noon, and the results have arrived, confirming class win for Team CRX89B. L-R: Nigel Chetwynd, Willy Cave, Peter Moss, Al Vines.

The Picquier / Picquier Mini which led the Mini pack for most of the rally.

The Picquier team

The Arnal / Arnal Team of whom we saw quite a lot during the rally

Bill Richards (right) with Justin Jeffery (centre) of Mini Spares - our joint sponsor.

Team CRX89B - L-R: Al Vines, Peter Moss, Nigel Chetwynd, Lisa Thornton.

Birthday lunch for Willy cave

Willy Cave - still going strong at a mere 86 years old this time around.

Loaded up and ready for the long haul home

Les vanquers - Rally Winners Gerard Brianti & Sebastien Chol with their Alpine A110

Class winners - Peter Moss & Al Vines in Class 11/1 up to 1300cc 1962-65

CRX89B - Winning Team L-R: Peter Moss, al Vines, Lisa Thornton, Nigel Chetwynd.

A one hour video of the rally highlights for the winning Mini team. - Compelling viewing - be warned!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Thursday 31st January - Final day and Night

The Rallye Monte Carlo Historique has finally rolled into town.

At the end of the Common Run Part 2 from Gap to Monte Carlo we were 119th, with Ginger Ostle at 127th, thus we maintained our new position as class leader in Class 11/1.

The CRX89B team set out with the target of pushing into the top 100 and maintaining position in the class. Ahead of us are the Picquier Mini, and two Brits - John Roberts and Oliver Tomlinson in the Fiat 128 Coupe from Team GB and Graham and Graham in a Lancia Fulvia from the Irish Rally Drivers Team.

ZR 13 - Col de Castillon - Dry for the most part, very long at over 40km and icy for 3km at the top, this was a tremendous fight. We overtook three cars and caught a fourth. We caught and overtook the Minis of Nakagawa and Arnal in one go on the same corner.

ZR14 - Utelle to La Tour sur Tinee - Very twisty, no barriers, big drops, no ice but damp and very slippery. Nearly came to grief three times because the front tyres were going off - too much stud and not enough rubber.

ZR15 - Col de Turini - A classic Monte Carlo stage - dry going up, and icy down hill for about 3 or 4km - overtook three cars in this bit, then had a tremendous tussle with a VW Golf the whole way down the mountain, before shaking him off toward the end.

Safely back in Monte, it is traditional for teams to take a little beer in the harbour front cafe, before bed at about 5am.

Results are published at 12.00 Noon today - Friday 1st Feb, and we are hopeful of a good result.

In Team GB - the leading Fiat of John Roberts had a brush with the scenery which affected the scenery on ZR14, so they returned to Monaco without doing the Turini.

The other British contender of Graham in the Lancia had electrical problems on the auto route after the last stage and checked in 25 minutes late to the final control.

Amongst the Minis, Bill Richards and John Morrow suffered a puncture in the Turini stage, which had to be changed and cost them alot of time.

Other war stories will no doubt come out as we gather for a coffee on the harbour front in the morning sun and await the results.


Service for the final night - A8 La Turbie sortie

Service for the final night - A8, La Turbie sortie

Guardian angels - Checking that all is ok before dashing to the first service point

....and we're off - into the night...

Pleased to be back safe, and fairly sure that we have won our class.

A thrilled Hart pairing with Auto-BMC team - pleased to have made it safely

Celebratory beers on the prom in Monte-Carlo - about 3.00am

30 Minute film of the highlights from the Common Run Pt2 from Gap to Monaco

30 Minute film of the Final Night - The Mountain Circuit

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wednesday 30th January 2013, Common Section Pt1

At the close of Wednesday we have now completed an additional 4 ZRs. The final Team GB standings  after ZR 10 are as follows:

69th (was 71st) - Roberts / Tomlinson - Fiat

125 (was 157) - Vines / Moss - Mini Cooper S

129 (was 126) - Ring / Cave - Datsun 240Z

132 (was 130) - Ostle / Brack - Mini Cooper S

172 (was 142) - Mustarde / Thorp - Alfa

201 (was 217) - Richards / Morrow - Mini Cooper S

RTD - Imp - O'Nions,/ Wilkinson

We started out from Valence from Valence again toward the next night halt at Gap on a beautiful warm sunny morning. The news was that much of the anticipated ice and snow had melted and that we would be treated to one of the least snowy Rallye Monte Carlo Historiques I have ever known.

ZR7 - Col de Gaudissart / La Chapelle enV. We had news of ice, but it was suggested that much of it would have gone by the time we got there. In the event there was a substantial amount of ice which caused some folks to have a difficult time. We passed a Healey 3000 and and Alfa digging themselves out of snow banks - 81st here.

ZR8 - St Barthelemy. Icy in places, but passed without incident - 95th.

ZR9 - Chillanne / Col de Menee. Had to be driven very hard, twisty on the way up, but great corners for sliding the car round - 61st

ZR10 - Col d'Esperaux - Extremely twisty everywhere, lots of large fallen rocks lying in the road. Very icy over the top, several cars in snow banks digging furiously. A very difficult stage - 97th.

As we came into final service before Gap we had left hand indicator and front headlamp not working. Corrosion had got into the indicaor bulb holder and the headlamp connector block behind the front grille. All easily resolved.

In the Mini standings Wednesday results are:

- 68 (was 51st) - Picquier

- 125 (was 157th) - Vines - New Class 11/1 leader

- 132 (was 130th & Class 11/1 leader) - Ostle

- 155 (was 141st) - Arnal

- 163 (was 149th) - Nakagawa

- 158 (was 165th) - Hart

- 198 (228th) - Burnier

- 201 (was 217th) - Richards

- 209 (was 227th) - McAlpine

- 257 (was 269th) - Gary

Pictured here are my service team of Nigel Chetwynd and Lisa Thornton, with co-driver Peter Moss fixing the lights on CRX, and secondly with Ginger Ostle and Isabelle Brack anmd Minis in Gap Parc Ferme.

Fixing the left hand headlamp and indicator near Tallard
Gap Parc Ferme - with Ginger Ostle and Isabelle Brack

 Photo: Lisa - Queueing to get through Gap Control

 Anthony and Tessa Harts Mini in Gap Parc Ferme

 Photo: Lisa - Gap MTC - Crossing the ramp

Here a 30 minute video of the best of the days action through the windscreen of CRX89B Austin Mini Cooper S

Tuesday 29th January - Classification Section Pt 2

The final team GB standings from yesterday Classification section part 1 - ZRs 1 and 2

63rd - Roberts / Tomlinson - Fiat

142 - Mustarde / Thorp - Alfa

177 - Ostle / Brack - Mini Cooper S

179 - Vines / Moss - Mini Cooper S

184 - Ring / Cave - Datsun 240Z

213 - Richards / Morrow - Mini Cooper S

The Hillman Imp of Geof O'Nions has sadly retired with gearbox problems

On Tuesday 29thJanuary  we started out from Valence in number order, so at 287 we were well toward the back. The first cars left at 7.30am, and our turn came at about 11.00am. The weather is warm and sunny, and little or no snow on the roads was expected.

ZR 3 - Les Ollieres was a nightmare. A very long, tight and twisty section where it was necessary to push hard all the time. We got the speed for our timing wrong in here and pushed too hard, overtaking two cars and catching a third, so we collected some more penalties. 249th in this one.

ZR4 - Albon / Le Cheylard was better - 104th

ZR5 - St Bonnet Le Froid was completely devoid of snow - nothing at all. It was so dull to drive around in the dry that I nearly went to sleep. Big improvement here - 45th. Top Mini and equal to last years 1962-65 Category winner in a Volvo 122 Amazon.

ZR6 - Lalouvesc / Col de Bouisson was fantastic - I know this one reasonably well. The tricky bit starts with a really awkward downhill hairpin, which is so steep as to be almost like a step, and then you have to drive like the wind through a whole series of extremely narrow a twisty sections to stay on time. Exceptionally pleased to have got a 17th finish position through here, and soundly beat the Volvo, and top Mini again.

At the end of Tuesday after ZR 6 the final Team GB standings are:

71st - Roberts / Tomlinson - Fiat - going really well for the team and leading Brits

126 - Ring / Cave - Datsun 240Z

130 - Ostle / Brack - Mini Cooper S

157 - Vines / Moss - Mini Cooper S

158 - Mustarde / Thorp - Mini Cooper S

217 - Richards / Morrow - Mini Cooper S

In the Mini standings Tuesday results are:

- 51st - Picquier

- 130th - Ostle

- 141st - Arnal

- 149th - Nakagawa

- 157th - Vines

- 165th - Hart

- 217th - Richards

- 227th - McAlpine

- 228th - Burnier

- 269th - Gary

Pictured here are Bill Richards commiserating with Geoff O'Nion and David Wilkinson after they had retired their Imp at Valence with seized gearbox.

Second picture is at St Agreve time control with Vines, Arnal and Richards red and white Cooper S types queing to check in.

David Wilkinson, Bill Richards, and Geof O'Nion

Red and white Minis everywhere - it could be from a different time - 1965?

Photo: Nicolas Nogue.  Pushing hard

A comparion of Mini offices - PRX720B of Richards / Morrow above and CRX89B of Vines / Moss below.

St Agreve - service for Bill

St Agreve service for Al, Peter and Nigel

Replica works Saab and Healey

Photo: Nicolas Nogue.  Not so much snow in the Ardeche this year

Photo: Auto-BMC - Gary / Blumenthal

Photo: Mini Spares - Richards / Morrow

Here a 30 minute in car video with extracts of the best of the four stages today.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Monday 28th January - Classification Section Pt1 - ZR 1 and 2

A quick overview - no snow too warm. ZR 1 Burzet went ok, came out 50th. ZR2 Antraigues better, and wound up 40th. Picked up penalties - possible check in too early at Blod - now 170th!

Roof top breakfast for Nigel and Lisa the morning after the Concentration run

Peter Moss wrestling with the Halda gears

Team GB - Mustarde and Thorpe catch 40 winks after the Concentration Run at valence MTC

Photo: Lisa.  Nigel setting up to receive us at Beauchastel service

Photo: Auto-BMC.  Anthony and Tessa Hart driving for Team Auto-BMC

Photo: Nicolas Nogue.  Team GB - Al Vines and Peter Moss pushing on in ZR1 Burzet

Team GB - David Ring and Willy Cave

Bustling service area at Burzet

Here a 20 minute video of ZRs 1 and 2

Sun / Mon 27th / 28th January - Concentration Run

We started as planned at 7.00pm from Reims Centre and set off for the Passage Controls at Sezanne, Bar sur Aube, and Langres. We arrived at Langres around midnight and all was well. The trouble started at Champagnole where snow began to fall heavily. We were running 145 x 10 Black Rocket studded tyres, which proved to be the right choice. Our passage over the Col de la Croix de la Serra in deep snow was interrupted by a small collection of stuck rally cars trying to untangle themselves. We had to wait several minutes before being able to push past. A Volvo 122 Amazon which we had been following closely lost it in the grande manner in front of us and lunged into a snow bank - nearly taking us with him. The Col de Granier, also laden with snow,  was challenging but well ploughed and had an alarming amount of civilian traffic going up and down. The time control at Annecy was thick with snow, and inspite of pushing hard we only had 7 minutes in hand. We got to our final destination at Valence with a clean sheet  and without further incident.

A trio of E-Types at the busy start in Reims

Bar sur Aube Passage Control

The snow starts to fall hard at Champagnole.

Langres Control at about midnight  - the last warm meal until day break. Peter, Lisa and Nigel enjoying their soup

Film: - 'The Concentration Run' - 2013 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique - 40 minutes of fun filled action on the very snowy run from Reims to Valence.