Back in 2012 I was talking to Gordon Hick in the paddock at Loton Park and he was telling me that the previous weekend he had been in France doing a hillclimb in Brittany. He described how the whole village embraced the three day event and how there was a wonderful atmosphere, with music and wine and good food.
The following year Jacqui and drove down in her S2000 to see for ourselves. Everything Gordon had said was true though we were still unprepared for the wonderful welcome we received, the abundance of bars and food tents in the paddock and the huge number of people spectating. That was in 2013 and our visit was of course recounted in this blog.
This winter Jacqui said we should go back for a long weekend. I thought she meant to watch, but no, to compete in the Lotus. Best not to argue with the wife, so I got on the website to get the dates (last weekend in May) only to find that competitors had to pre-register in December and that a list of lucky drivers would be published in January. So it was perfect timing and I paid my ten euros (I think it was) to pre-register and crossed my fingers. Then on January 17 the list was posted and there was my name on it. I felt very privileged.
I’ve already booked the ferry from Portsmouth to St Malo on the Thursday night, returning on the Monday morning. Next I will have to buy an FHR (Frontal Head Restraint) for my new helmet and a fire extinguisher – both required in France – and accommodation also has to be arranged.
The entry fee was very reasonable at €220 but the ferry was a bit steep at £575 with a cabin. This all comes out of my racing budget so I may not be doing as much travelling up and down the country chasing HSA points this year, focussing instead on my local hill, Loton Park.
Anyway, I’ll continue to blog about the preparations for the event and of course the journey and event itself when we get there. But for now, a picture from 2013…