Monday 18 July 2016, Paris

Postscript.

It's finally over and we have survived.  Was there ever any doubt?  It’s actually quiet stressful travelling at the back of the field, worrying if something is going to impact and cost time penalties.  Our 40 minute lead could disappear easily, with road works or a missed exit on a motorway or (shudder, shudder), a mechanical fault.

But none of that happened. 

We were the first Classic car to the finish, and for a couple of old cynics, we were both a little moved seeing our wives after the longest period we have been separated for in 40 plus years. Mary and I were married in '74, Mark and Anne in '76.

My eyes were soon after filled with champagne as I enjoyed the moment and spread it everywhere.  Probably a shame to waste that expensive champagne but I enjoyed it.

Last night was a very long presentation in the ballroom of the Paris Intercontinental. 


 

A very elaborate over-the-top setting where we were all expected to wear dinner suits.

We were lucky to have Mary and Anne already in Paris who were able to hire suits for us.

***

This morning, Mark and I took the car to a cargo depot out near the airport where we ran it out of petrol and disconnected the battery, ready to be rolled into a container for the trip home.

So, a fabulous experience with the best possible result.

I need to congratulate Mark on a splendid drive. I want to congratulate all competitors who finished, with special mention of the prominence of Australians in high placings. The Jacksons in 3rd, David Gainer/Peter St George in 4th, Gerry Crown / Matt Bryson in 6th. Our Belgian friends Eric and Renee came in 5th.

The ERA Sweeps and Mechanics need special mention, along with fellow competitors who helped along the way and without their help, we would not have made it.

And finally, a big thanks to Anne and Mary who allowed us to be part of the adventure.

The last word should go to Mark:

Due to time restraints, I wasn't able to express the following last night at the presentation dinner…

I wish to thank Anne, my wife of 40 years who allows me the time and money to rush off all over the world on these adventures. Whilst she does worry about me, she has always been supportive of me chasing these dreams.

To my long time friend Dave for his patience, commitment and for keeping me grounded. Also Dave's wife Mary for lending him to me again and many thanks for all the behind the scenes work you do for us.

  • Stewart Wilkins and Bill Brown for building such a fabulous car.
  • Kim Bannister - thank you and all the best to you and Nikki.
  • To the marshalls - thank you for enduring sun stroke and hypothermia - sometimes all in the one day.
  • The mechanics - who, without your help, our charge would have been halted on the first day in Mongolia.

Our fellow competitors, especially :-

  • Car 55 who gave us petrol when, due to a faulty fuel gauge, we ran out 20 Kim's from town.
  • Car 91 - the big Chevy, who offered to tow us into town.
  • The cars - who, although tight for time, waved us through to start in front of them because we were faster.
  • Rob and John, we missed chasing you in the big Mustang. Glad you are on the mend. It was great to see you in Paris!
  • Especially our Belgium team mates and friends. You are the best!
  • The ever super competitive Matt Bryson who gave advice and assistance even though he knew we were competitors. Gerry, you are amazing on your performance, I still have 25+ years of competition left!

In closing, I would like to remember Philip Young. Those of us who knew him would probably have had a robust conversation with him at some time :-) but he gave so many of us the chance of a lifetime

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