No hurry for veterans on Bordeaux-Paris race

4th July 2007, Comments 0 comments

BORDEAUX, France, July 4, 2007 (AFP) - In a cloud of exhaust fumes, 35 hundred year old cars on Wednesday started a commemorative Bordeaux to Paris race, and many will not reach the French capital.

BORDEAUX, France, July 4, 2007 (AFP) - In a cloud of exhaust fumes, 35 hundred year old cars on Wednesday started a commemorative Bordeaux to Paris race, and many will not reach the French capital.

"We are supposed to be in Paris for brunch on Sunday, but you never know,³ said Mary Ellam as her husband Ellam did a final check on their French made 1904 Darracq, which despite its age suffers only from a dodgy clutch and oily brakes.

The 35 are commemorating the first ever city to city car race, Bordeaux-Paris in 1895.

"The biggest challenge for us is just to finish, and only about 60 per cent of us will," said John Brydon, driver of a 1904 Lorraine Dietrich.

Brydon, who has taken part in the London to Brighton heritage car rally 25 times, has had a passion for old cars since he was 16.

"I bought my first 1935 Ford 10 when I was 16 years old. Then a 1927 Austin Chummy. They cost me five pounds each," he said.

"To save money I used to put in paraffin instead of petrol when I drove them - at 16 not legally, but in those days everything was much more relaxed."

The cars will drive at speeds of between 18 and 45 kilometres (11 and 28 miles) an hour.

"We will do about 45 kilometres an hour and stop every 60 kilometres or so," said Philippe Vercruysse, a management consultant from Belgium and driver of a 1900 Nagant-Gobron-Brille. Others, he said, have to stop every 20 minutes.

Asked what he does to pass the time while driving the two cylinder car with opposed pistons ­ which basically makes it faster - Vercruysse said, "Listen to the engine."

"We like to look into the gardens as we go," said Richard Ashby who will take things a bit more slowly at 20 to 30 kilometres per hour (15 to 20 miles per hour) in his 1904 Darracq.

The cars were to spend the first night in Angouleme, Thursday night in Poitiers, Friday night in Blois Friday, Saturday night in St Quentin en Yvelines and reach Paris on Sunday.

However with historic cars such as these, the obligation as explained on the programme, is simply to follow "as closely as possible" the original itinerary.

Thirty-nine cars registered for the race but three were missing the first morning. Two had mechanical problems and one driver health problems.

From just outside of Bordeaux, Pierre Wehner the Bordeaux co-ordinator who is following the race, reported by telephone that so far one car was in need of a push and another had broken down.

However, he added, "good weather and good humour are with us."


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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