Luxembourg - Dover - 601kms
Our team had agreed a 6am start, the route book said 0630 and the board in reception said 7am so we guessed this was a fairly relaxed day in terms of getting back. We got to our car at 6am, refuelled and hit the highway by 0620hrs.
It ended up for the first time since The Mall, it was just our car, Lorina and I.
Our ears were ringing, our eyes felt like they had sand in and the level of fatigue and counter adrenalin had become completely normal.
For the first time all rally we settled into the pace of the road ahead, chatting about all our experiences, the things we had seen and the people we met. Our conversation ranged from Venice, to Mostar and Split and was peppered with what must be said were fond recollections of both funny and challenging times.
The thing I had grown to love and frequently use on the M2 is the cruise control, not least because it is frankly a licence saver. It has the most impressive engine braking I have ever experienced with a cruise control meaning that you can just sit comfortably on a long motorway stretch without jumping on and off the brakes.
The miles melted away and the oh so familiar landscape of northern France opened up before us.
Lorina and I have been racing together all over Europe for years and years and made this home run countless times. However on this occasion we felt a genuine sense of achievement.
There were times throughout the last ten days that I would have given a kidney to be this close to home. Rally fatigue, hunger, tiredness, Satnavs and challenging personalities had on occasion made me question the wisdom of taking part in this event.
Yet now as our frankly brilliant BMW sat nav took charge and the walkie talkies remained silent we began to feel a little sad that our adventure and new found way of life was coming to an end.
We arrived in Calais early having enjoyed a great drive, and soon the radios fired back into life as those who arrived behind us came into range. People were congratulating one another on their brilliant teamwork in completing the drive and sharing exaggerated tales of just how awesome they were compared to others – the adrenalin was certainly back in full force and Lorina and I were having a good chuckle listening.
The sun shone and we gathered around for one last time on the dockside fielding countless questions from the public about who we were, where we’d been and why we’d done it.
Lorina and I decided that we’d enjoy a nice luxurious private lunch and raise a glass to ourselves and what we’d managed to achieve. Most importantly and unlike some we were still talking and hadn’t really had a cross word all rally… terse was as bad as it had got thanks to a broken down lift, a closing restaurant and twelve flights of stairs at 11pm in Sarajevo – having found out we were in a Muslim area and no alcohol would be served!
We disembarked at Dover with a black tie dinner and dance waiting for us at the end of the journey.
We reached our UK Hotel and final destination (did I tell you how much I love the fully working BMW Satnav which operates at sea-level) and collected our evening outfits that we’d handed over at Horse Guards.
One last pre-dinner cheeky glass of vino in the room.
One last which bed do you want?
One last battle for the electricity sockets to charge our phones and plug in our hairdryers.
One last race to the mirror to do makeup whilst the other one bobbed around behind.
One last time we helped each other with zips, and clasps and made sure our dresses weren’t tucked in our underwear.
And when that hit us, that this was the last time and our rally spell was about to be broken, we both had a good cry! Having adjusted our makeup we cracked on with enjoying our last evening together with what had largely become our rally family.
Speeches were made, prizes awarded and shapes thrown on the dancefloor – we were tired, we were emotional, we were euphoric and we were at the very end of our adventure.
Well, this particular adventure anyway…
With huge thanks to BMW UK, our Sponsors, The Rally For Heroes Organisers and those who made us so welcome on the rally.
Stay tuned for our next adventure review for a manufacturer... next time with more miles and far further away!