15 July 2010

The Cannonball Run

Do you remember the 1981film of the same name with Burt Reynolds, Farah Fawcett, Roger Moore et al? Well they have a Cannonball Run through France, Belgium and Italy, organized of course by the Brits but the aim is not quite the same – with Cannonball Europe, the objective is to get to the finish destination having travelled at an average speed of 61mph.
There have been many stories of the event in previous years, but 2010 seems to have taken the biscuit with all sorts of illegal driving going on.
Last year, the race started in England and finished in Croatia. This year, the event ended at Brighton, England but I’m still searching to see where they started off from. It’s all very secretive with not even the competitors being told where their next destination is until the morning they set off on each leg of the trip.
It costs £5,950 to enter and that pays for ferry crossings, accommodation and entry fee but of course, the majority of the participants are high-rollers and so the entry fee is but mere pocket money with huge parties being thrown by them when they reach an evening stop.
But back to this year’s shenanigans and some paragraphs from the Daily Telegraph….    
Seven British drivers were yesterday branded 'spoilt delinquents with more money than sense' by police after being arrested for racing through France at speeds of up to 130mph.
All were taking part in the annual Cannonball Run Europe, a six day rally which attracts minor aristocrats, entrepreneurs and others who can afford the £6000 per car entry fee.
French gendarmes intercepted three of them on Thursday afternoon at a toll station on the A6 motorway at Fleury-en-Biere, in the Seine-et-Marne department, south of Paris. A Bentley Continental GT and a Porsche 911 had been travelling at about 50mph above the 80mph speed limit. Both cars were confiscated and their drivers, men aged 40 and 52, were charged with "endangering others".
The drivers, who were not named by police but are believed to come from London, were bailed to appear in court at a later date and their cars, worth more than £100,000 each, will be sold.
The driver of a Ferrari was also stopped at Fleury-en-Biere. All three drivers received on-the-spot fines of euros 1500 (£1258). An Audi RS A6 and another Porsche 911 were meanwhile stopped on the A6 at Mercueil, in the eastern Cote-d'Or department, while an Audi R8 was also stopped near the eastern city of Dijon.
All had been followed by a specialist high-speed unit of French officers in Subaru Impreza WRX cars, who were determined to clamp down on the annual Cannonball Run, named after a 1981 comedy-drama film.
"We are dealing with spoilt delinquents with more money than sense," said Captain David Adam, who said that a seventh Cannonball car, another Bentley, was stopped doing twice the 45mph speed limit through the Mont Blanc tunnel in the Alps.
"What they were doing was utterly selfish. French roads are not a playground for these spoiled delinquents.
After being released by the police and paying their fines in cash, all of the drivers involved booked into £350-a-night bedrooms at the five star Trianon Palace Hotel, at Versailles, near Paris. They were then escorted to the Channel Tunnel by gendarmes, and told to return to England.
See the Cannonball Website here (it’s too early for the 2010 story but there are some blogs posted from this year’s participants) ……

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