Midnight Run – The Recce

The first official Midnight Run outing in the form of a recce was an outstanding event. Ranking amongst one of the best outings I’ve ever engaged in, this epic trip to the continent involved high speed cruising, country rallying and probably the nicest motorway service station coffee ever.

The 21:51 Eurotunnel tickets bought, I made my way with 3 other cars towards the Folkestone terminal to meet with the other 4 cars. An hour ahead of schedule, rough plans were made dictating where within France we would head towards. With 8 hours at our disposal, time was on our side. We didn’t need to be back until 08:00 the following morning. Fortunately for most of us, we had passengers to help with not only the navigation, but also assist with photography, warming the RedBulls and providing a soundtrack to the sound of snoring. Being a driver in such exciting times means the adrenaline is constantly pumping and the heart is in overdrive. Fatigue during this instance is practically non-existent, so although the body may be tired, the mind is always alert and sharp.

4 Subaru Imprezas, 2 Skyline R34s and an Evo 6 meant a good balance of cars. It was alleged, however, that if we were to have travelled to the German Autobahns, speeds of 180MPH would have been reached with comfortable cruising speeds of 120-130MPH. Imprezas and Evos find that kind of pace uncomfortable, however. For their short gearing and light bodyshells make such progress not only painfully loud, but harsh on the engine also, for you find yourself constantly near the redline. In the Skyline, you enter an alternative reality. 6 gears and vast roadholding and ride mean a stable and comfortable ride which makes 130-140mph child’s play. But you must be careful, for with ease comes complacency. With supposed straights that initially seem to last forever, flashing past with incredible frequency, it becomes an art form to judge where and when this kind of driving is suitable. Thankfully for us, the roads were utterly bereft of both hazard and traffic.

But all that was the way there, for on the way back, we ventured off the ill-lit motorways and enjoyed some of the best country roads I’ve seen. The quaintness and petite nature of the villages demands respect, so peaceful was the ambience the thought of 7 brutal Japanese cars tearing through the neighbourhood was a restrained exercise. Not in Le Havre though. An old, decrepit industrial town totally bereft of character meant a no holds barred approach to tunnels, for there were many to enjoy, not least the one that lasted a kilometre.

Fuel is scarce in N France. Especially good fuel. This recce provided us with invaluable information, the kind we will all benefit from in the near future.

A 10 out of 10 event.

(high speed runs were conducted on the German autobahns)

Pictures here

Edit – Email received:


Subject: Enquiry From Website
Date: 12 May 2002 19:58
On 2002-05-12 at 19:06:00,
The following information was submitted:
name = PePe lePeu
comments = British drivers! I was driving round happily in my black golf sur mon historic coastal home town, on the French coast when the most unbelievable thing happened. I was just showing the wife and bebe how to take a racing line across a Give Way sign when no less than 1800bhp of British owned Japanese sportscars decided to cut across my very path!!! This made me very angry, VERY VERY ANGRY!! I discussed this with my wife and we decided that French rule means we have priority over any other car on the road especially when p*ssed at 3 in the morning – Jean-Pierre, despite being 4 and a half – agreed wholeheartedly. Imagine our COMPLETE disgust when, upon being confronted by us jumping up and down in the street like a coupe of coke snorting baboons the British drivers simply drove round us! Ooooh, we were fuming. We see you British on television at your football games so expected at the very least a good pasting. We were most disappointed and rung ahead to cousins in the French International darts team to hold up the silly British drivers whilst we caught them up with Grand-pere Claud’s shotgun… We’re still looking for them…submit_by = pepe@dubbsnet.com