Day 32: Gstaad to Troyes

Day 32

Gstaad toTroyes

Can't believe it we crossed into France today. The Palace hotel was a marvel and our  skeleton like bodies are beginning to show signs of being back in the west. 

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Gifts abound and of course that includes tons of chocolates and candies. We even were given a little St Bernard. He is so cute. That was on St Bernard's pass. One of the umpteen passes we crossed yesterday. The dinner last night was decadent and so all of our hollow cheeks are filling out. We were informed we are officially overall now in 4th place the clerk of course came over to say they had read my suggestion  about dealing with the penalties and felt it made sense. They were in a unusual situation with the group all accumulating penalties. How do you appeal  lateness, whenever one is late. The Bentley Boys were in an accident but others had other reasons for being late. We were all late  When you are late, we couldn't really have gone any faster but those were the rules and so everyone needed to be treated equally. We got a 6 minute penalty. Others got what they got. Only Udo and Peter in car 10 did it without penalty and so they were justly rewarded for winning the day. Udo has a swollen hand the size of a grapefruit he does not know what caused it. The doctors think some kind of inflammation perhaps from driving.

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We all busted our proverbial butts to get to the time controls at the right time and Udo and Peter timed it better. Udo got there in time.

This morning we got to start off in fourth for the day. The Burridges  in  car 12 from New Zealand took a 12 hour penalty yesterday. We had gained on them over the past few days and have worked very hard to catch them. It was sad to see them take the penalty, we like the challenge of chasing them and it made it exciting for us. They have worked so hard as have we all.

So our first and only time trial today begins up a pass. Jaunepass, it isn't as high as yesterday's but it still means we commence today climbing. We head off for close to 55km to the start. It's a race track 'Centre du Conduits' at Lignieres in France.

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The course is fairly short, we are to do it twice on different routes and then exit the track having straddled the finish line accurately the first time then starting up from a stop. What's interesting is that we don't get to practice. We get a drawing of the track and that's all. normally you would either walk a track or things would be explained. not in the car 

 The track has barrels and cones and some figure 8s to do. We head off we have unloaded the car but decided not to unload the tires and rims from the trunk. This is our last official time trial and the time change will make little difference to our overall standings. it may make a difference in the European Cup. Hard to say.

We do better on the second lap until we get to the 4 barrels in a row. Tony isn't sure which way to go so in a split second we have lost some speed and some momentum. We straddle the finish line just after that and reflect on the other races. It wasn't our fastest but it was respectable. Now on and to 9 Passage controls on the day,

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We drive past our first and second Passage controls. The second has a small cafe and they offer us sandwiches and cheeses and tea and coffee. Peter and Udo stop, Christian Schenke and Annette and Lars all stop for a quick break. We like driving behind Christain as he goes like stink and his Bentley is lovely to look at. Two days ago in Austria we arrived to a beautiful rainbow and tons of rain thereafter. Lars and Annette followed Christian and he brought some of his helicopters to film the cars. We heard them by a huge waterfalls. After the second Passage Control we notice Christain's car is blowing blue smoke. Oh no, we pull over and search for some oil and Tony goes to have a look. He doesnt know much about those old Bentleys.

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LAter we find out that It was just a small oil leak which they fix quite quickly. Sad new car 18 is out a Model A. Then John and Gary have a broken crank shaft and poor Bill in his Ford Riley have their water pump is kaput.

We stop tonight in Troyes at the Mercure hotel. Dinner is in a local restaurant. We are a lively bunch. Squeezing as many as we can around the table. From all different groups. Tomorrow night is our final awards dinner. We will say many of our goodbyes before that and greet our families in Place Vendome. We are escorted into Paris and then the streets are closed for our arrival and we finally stop and park in Place Vendome. Should be an interesting day.

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Lee Ann🏁 

It's not over till the fat lady sings

© Anthony Strelzow 2013