Rotary Club of Upper Eden activities

Rotarians Tackle the Col du Turini

2006. Venture supported by the Rotary Clubs of Appleby and Upper Eden.

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The Mission
The French Rotary Club of Antibes organised a Classic Car Rally to increase the awareness of Rotary International's PolioPlus program as part of Rotary’s Centennial celebrations. The task was to drive in regulated stages to Menton in southern France, including the Col du Turini pass in the French Alps, famous as a stage in the Monte Carlo Rally. The 7 day event was open to entrants throughout Europe.

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The Team
Roger Frank (Rotary Club of Upper Eden) and John Taylor (Appleby Rotary Club).

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The Result
£12,000 was raised to support polio victims throughout the world. For every £150 raised the organisers provided a wheelchair to a polio victim. Upper Eden and Appleby Rotary Clubs each donated £150 to provide 2 wheel chairs. These sums were presented at the Gala Dinner in Monaco.

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The Story
John’s 1947 MGTC was the oldest vehicle in the event. The British leg of the rally started with a 2 day consolidation stage from Gatwick to Paris. 13 cars navigated the back roads of Sussex and Kent before crossing from Dover to Boulogne stopping the first night in Rouen. Here they were joined by the Dutch and Belgium starters and proceeded the following morning via the busy Paris suburbs to a spectacular finish in front of the Chateau at Fontainbleu.

At 7am the next day the rally started in earnest with time controls and regularity sections as well as navigations and map readings. By now cars from other Nations had joined the event and 48 vehicles charged their way South to Vichy via Sancere. It was soon discovered that the old MG was significantly underpowered against the Mini Coopers, Porsches and Mercedes that were typical entrants and hard driving was required to keep up with no time to take in the view. It also became apparent that the rally was dividing into two factions, the professional rally fanatics and those along for the wine. Being novices to the Rally World John and Roger, as true Rotarians, decided to have a foot in each camp and the next few days became very intense with over 10 hours of driving per day.

The overnight stop at Nimes provided a few hours of rest and some time for fellowship with the Dutch teams before heading for the Alps via Avignon. Here the going got even harder with many regularity sections at fixed speeds of up to 50 Km/hr. With the MG’s limited power maintaining position up the hills proved difficult however it was found that the time could be caught up on the down hill legs and two regularity sections were completed with only 7 second deviations, after up to 45 Km.

The final day started with a regularity section over the Col du Turini, the famous Monte Carlo stage. The extremely steep incline and countless hairpin bends meant that the car had to be driven at the limit with tyres howling on every corner and no time to consider the consequences of shooting over the big drops at the edge of the road. Accurate navigation and timekeeping over the stage was crucial and the hard work paid off with a fifth position finish at only 5 seconds off the pace. The Rally terminated with a Podium finale on the sea front in Menton followed by a Civic reception in the Town Hall and a Gala dinner high up in the Italian Alps.