A Wedge in the Monte Carlo or Bust Banger Rally - 2015.

 Glasgow to Ashford (via Oxford) - 432 miles.

Arriving at BBC Radio Oxford.

In the car with Radio Presenter Kat Orman.

After the BMW Cowley factory tour.

Leaving Oxford - on route for Ashford - with Escort!




Adding the final touch before the off!

The Full Team .

Arrival at the Cowley Mini Factory.

Jeremy Bagg, Neil Campbell, and Ronnie Forde - Mad Molars team,  Kacey Simmons - BMW Mini Plant, Ray Smith and Gerry Morrish.

The French Coastline - hopefully tomorrow.




                                    Ashford to San Quentin - (team meeting place and rally start point). 159 miles.
Euro tunnel terminal reached in good time for our 08.20 am train

Well done to the Princess for getting us the first 500 miles to Le Shuttle.

Time for the Princess to take a breather, engine off, first gear engaged. Let the train take the strain! Au revoir nos amis!

Les Mad Molars sont arrivés en France!

The artificial beach in the centre of San Quentin. Registration for the rally is from 7pm until midnight at Le Golden Pub adjacent to 'the beach'. Our papers are ready for checking and our beachwear for donning!

Beachwear on and ready to wander up to the registration point. Thanks to Marina at the Ibis Budget Hotel for taking the picture!

The Mad Molars are fully registered for the rally. What a carnival atmosphere - and lots of new petrol head friends made already!


Time to head off for the Currency Exchange and some breakfast
 before we board Le Shuttle.

They're letting the Mad Molars out of the country - France here we come!

We've had a great journey down the A26 and have now parked up at our hotel in St. Quentin. Ronnie is giving the Princess a hug for bringing us safely to the starting point of the rally - he and his team prepared her well! Time for lunch soon, then some sightseeing before the rally check in at 7pm this evening. Watch out for the beachwear pictures later!

The Mad Molars Princess now has an increasing number of Monte Carlo or Bust neighbours in the Ibis car park. It's hotting up to be a great adventure!

Now that's a Mondeo The Mad Molars can appreciate!

The rally briefing in San Quentin at 9am was a scream. Some pictures to follow



 San Quentin to Dijon. 260 miles.
(Stage and Day 1 of the Rally Proper).


Our first stop this morning was at the iconic Reims racing circuit last used for a formula 1 race in 1966.  One of the challenges for the day was a photo of a team member in pit lane 13.

We arrived at out hotel in Dijon at 5pm and gave the Princess a hug for bringing us another 260 miles south.  We celebrated with our new chums from Essex, whose pink Mondeo is going  strong despite an orange engine management system warning light on the dash. fingers crossed for the st Bernard Pass tomorrow.






The Mad Molars were up bright and early this morning for the first day of the rally. Before leaving the very comfortable Ibis Budget  Hotel in St Quentin we modelled our 'freestyle' day fancy dress - 70's gear for a 70's Princess. Thanks again to The Party Shop Glasgow for our outfits!



 Dijon to Turin. 313 miles.
(Stage and day 2 of the Rally).


First, many apologies to The Mad Molars loyal friends and supporters for the abrupt suspension (an important word as you'll see later) in Facebook posts since we left Dijon. Life suddenly became something of a challenge for us on Day 2 and there has been neither time nor WiFi in the last couple of days to keep you posted. However we're back and here's the story so far. The picture shows us enacting our logo at the rally rendezvous in Dijon at the start of Day 2. The fancy dress theme was 'white'

Day 2 included the famed Great St Bernard Pass, which was going to be the ultimate challenge for our much loved Princess. Ronnie fitted a new set of plugs and replaced two HT leads before we set off, but nevertheless The Mad Molars' fingers were permanently crossed after leaving Dijon. The mountain scenery was breathtaking.

Flushed with success, we headed down the other side of the Pass with no brake fade or problems whatsoever. Uncrossing our fingers we cruised towards Turin, looking forward to a shower, a good meal and a good night's sleep. Never count your chickens !

Oh woe is us! If you've ever visited Turin, you'll know about the charm of its cobbled streets. Well, The Mad Molars and their Princess could have done with less charm and more smooth tarmac. Here she is, just yards from our hotel, with a front Hydragas suspension displacer that had burst as we hit a very rough piece of cobbled road three minutes earlier.

After a family brief sleep, the Mad Molars were up bright and early to tidy and polish the Princess for her grand arrival in Monte Carlo. In doing so, we noticed a bullet hole in the boot - those rascals in the two BMW Red Arrows cars had got us. One more statistic in the stated aim of covertly sticking a bullet hole in every team's car.

As we slowly negotiated the steep and winding roads for the last 30 minutes of our journey to Monte Carlo, listening for any sudden changes in the groans from the broken suspension, Ronnie's sudden interjection "We're very low on fuel, guys" was less than welcome. Luckily we were carrying an emergency can of fuel ... a final sup for our loyal Princess.



A badge of honour permitting us to travel on Swiss highways. 

At the summit of the Great St Bernard Pass, we stopped with fellow competitors for a breather and to show off our Princess' warm (very warm!) heart.

We managed to manoeuvre our stricken princess into a roadside car parking space, using somewhat unorthodox traffic control procedures - Mad Molar Bagg was still wearing his fancy dress SOCO suit which provided a surprising degree of authority in Turins busy streets! We had a Team conference, examined the options , did a risk assessment and decided to forgo our stay in Turin for a slow overnight drive towards Monte Carlo. It was the Monte Carlo or Bust Rally after all, and while we may been bust, we were certainly not broke, so we set off..

At 1.15am we arrived at Hotel Astoria in Bordighera, thirty minutes east along the French Riviera coast from Monte Carlo. Big thanks to Elaine Wales and her husband for sourcing this oasis for us in our hour of need!

At last, time and WiFi to recount the final chapters of our rally adventure. The rally rules stipulated we were to arrive in Monte Carlo dressed as film stars - something of a challenge for The Mad Molars! Those of you who have been following us for a while will remember that we visited the Isle of Jura with the Princess earlier this year and picked up a bottle of Diurach's Own, signed by Willie Cochrane, the Distillery Manager, to deliver to HRH Prince Albert II of Monaco, the President of the Monte Carlo Whisky Society. We therefore dressed as members of the cast of the Ken Loach film, The Angel's Share. While the Princess sparkled after her clean, we glowed in our kilts as the temperature soared.

Those who have been following our story will also know that through Willie Cochrane we made contact with the amazing Anita di Sotto, who established and runs the Monte Carlo Whisky Society. Anita had asked us to meet her at the Hotel de Paris on Casino Square in Monte Carlo at 11am. There followed an unbelievable sequence of events, all master-minded by Anita and her delightful husband, Dario.


Whilst the Princess bathed in the glow of stardom, with special permission to park for 10 minutes at the hotel entrance (ordinary vehicles like Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Rolls Royces were restricted to the other side of the road), Anita invited The Mad Molars into the hotel for a cool drink and to reveal her plan for the day.



                  Visit to the Prince's Palace - Monaco.



At 11.10 we left the Hotel de Paris in the Princess and Anita directed us to the road that leads up to the Palais du Prince - the Prince's Palace of Monaco. Anita had made prior arrangements for us to be allowed to drive right up to the Palace Square - an amazing experience!


Following our audience with HRH Prince Albert we moved back to the Palace Square, where the Princess remained for the next 24 hours, receiving massive attention. By this point, our team Principal Ev Wallace and her friend Laura had arrived. Unfortunately their plane had been delayed and they had not arrived in time to join is in the Palace.

When the prizes were announced, The Mad Molars won the award for the best fund-raising effort - the envelope contained 100 euros to add to our running total - close to £10k now!

After our dram, Anita and Dario treated us to a lovely lunch at one of their favourite restaurants in Monte Carlo. We were all in a bit of a daze after the morning's excitement and it was great to relax in the sun, with lovely food and friends.






Already pinching ourselves to check that what Anita had arranged was happening, a guard appeared, the Palace gates opened again and we were asked to move, with the Princess, into the private courtyard. The gates closed behind us, then soft drinks and canapés were served. Shortly afterwards, HRH Prince Albert joined us and spent half an hour speaking about Monaco and our adventure. We took no photographs but an official photographer captured the moment and we hope to receive a picture to share soon. HRH Prince Albert posted good wishes and signed one of our lip decals on the bonnet.

Now, no doubt you will be wondering what will happen to the Princess.  Well, there is a fairy tale ending! She is staying in Monte Carlo and will be auctioned later in the year to raise funds for HRH Prince Albert's charitable Trust. In the meantime Mad Molar Neil is working hard to track down a new Hydrogas unit (they are as rare as gold dust). Harry Parker , president of the UK Princess owners club is helping with the search.  We can fly the part out for a local engineer to fit. We need our Princess to be well balanced for the auction.

The next element of Anita's plan was a visit to the Monte Carlo
Whisky Society's Tasting Room. Anita established the room, with
 a massive stock of whiskies and stunning views over the Square
of the Palais du Prince. We all enjoyed a dram of Jura Whisky to
celebrate the safe arrival and successful delivery of the Diurach's
Own. Sláinte!



The Prince's Car Collection.

HRH Prince Albert had invited us to visit his famous car collection. He had presented each of us with a piece of porcelain in a beautiful presentation box when we met him earlier in the day - these were our passports to this amazing collection. A full album will be posted in due course.






While we sat in the Café de Paris, many of our new Monte Carlo or Bust Rally friends started arriving at the end of the event - once again, the Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Rolls Royce's faded into the background!





We were so pleased to see our friends Jo and Kate, in their Wizard of Oz Renault Megane, reach the finish line. We showed them where to park nearby and they joined us for a drink.


the little yellow Meganne - Bingo! Within 30 seconds Mad Molar Bagg had made an acceptable offer to Jo and Kate and it was agreed that paperwork would be concluded in the morning.

Mad Molar Ronnie gingerly driving the Princess out of the Palace Square and into a space in the multi-storey car park near to the Meganne, so that they could start the tricky job of packing all their gear and three slim passengers into our little cabriolet

When the prizes were announced, The Mad Molars won the award for the best fund-raising effort - the envelope contained 100 euros to add to their running total – now close to £10k!




 And hopefully this is not the end of the road for this fine Princess.