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Saturday, 21 June 2014

Foolish men and their extravagant soapboxes

32nd Meeting AMILCAR and Cyclecars at Savoy in Aix les Bains

It was when I was travelled down to the Swiss mountains four years ago that I first came in contact with the Bugatti T35C, it instantly reminded me of a hornet, because the body is cleanly and compactly tapered at the rear.
To prepare chassis number #4882 for the road, we had to tow it from its nice warm garage bed directly onto the road, so we could whiz it down the mountain and awaken this pre-war beast into life.

At this point I was following in the back-up car, and to my surprise I really had to step hard on the accelerator to negotiate the narrow curves of Mont-sur-Rolle and try to keep up with this old engineering marvel.
A last-century Bugatti really doesn't have any resemblance to the security of today's vehicles, the car has a pure soapbox feeling to it. Maybe only for real men racers. This was quite clear to me, when I was invited to co-pilot the old racing machine. With my flip-flops on an oil-stained cockpit floor, we raced off and the driver shouted out against the wind "This is better than sex". I was confident knowing that I was sitting  next to one of those intrepid men, that enjoyed the trill of a fast car more then the company of a beautiful woman. However, since that adventure I discovered that I had developed a very strong affection and respect for such a 'raw' racing machine.

This particular rally is a social event for Bugatti and Amilcars owners, that draws many people from all over Europe and England for a fun and action-packed 3 days.

Its course covers the area around  Aix les Bains in France visiting many different places between trees, lakes and mountains on some very small roads chosen by the organisers, Laurent Borgogno, Laurent Descubes and Michel Martelling. Hans Matti was there too, also many other Bugatti experts and enthusiasts. 

There were around 100 cars like Amilcars, Bugatti's, some small french cars from 1922-1935 also took part, all by application, and driven by teams.
An extensive program from 9AM to 5PM, with tours and courses that kept the cars and drivers busy, the route selected on the roadmap meant that the rallys and routes were anything up to 200 km in total distance. The highlights were speed events and competition. 




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