The big finish
Before I hand the blog back to Tim I really wanted to write a final post about our weekend in Paris and the final day of their amazing adventure.
We arrived in the Place Vendome just before 12pm and the finsh line was all set-up with a tape in place to keep the spectators out of the way of the cars as they passed the line and went round the square to park-up. We enjoyed nearly an hour of a particularly officious gendarme shouting at everyone to move back from the tape. To be honest it’s not suprising that he was getting a bit stressed as everyone just politely ignored him.
It was a somewhat charged atmosphere as we waited, as like us, most of the crowd had a personal reason to be there. Everyone went wild as the first car came through and it was such a pleasure to see the car piled with family members in addtion to the crew. Their delight at not only completing and winning this gruelling journey but being able to share the moment with their loved ones was clear to see.
We went down the other side of the Place Vendome to try and catch Tim and Julie as they approached the finsh line. The boys were really anxious about whether or not Benson was going to make it. My phone wasn’t working so we didn’t know for sure that the temporary repairs had actually held out to Paris.
Then they appeared round the corner, Benson looking far smarter than we had expected, Tim and Julie beaming from ear to ear. It was just so fantastic to witness them complete this incredible challenge they set themselves more than 2 years ago (and possibly never quite believed they would actually complete).
With characterisitc kindness and generosity they invited Freddy and Henry to join them in the car to cross the actual finish and I can honestly say that I have never seen either of them look so thrilled. Tim wearing the required silly hat (borrowed from Hugo) and a look of quiet disbelief as Benson nosed over the line. Julie looking typically beautiful and elegant despite 6 weeks of really hard travelling!
What an astonishing achievement for them both. Most of us might have heard about the rally, toyed with the idea over a bottle of wine and then woke-up the next morning and never done anything about it. Not Tim and Julie who had the idea and made it a reality – no soft start rallying for these guys – it was right in at the long distance deep end. It’s really hard to express without sounding patronising how incredibly proud we all are – congratulations on a good job very well done!
Tim as both driver and mechanic has done a stunning job of keeping Benson going with so few traumas over such an outrageously long distance. Julie has navigated them through desserts, mountains and plains with few mistakes and little or no real help from her monkey assistant.
So some champagne to soften the edges, a fantastic dinner to celebrate their successful return and a luxury bed for the last night of Peking to Paris 2010 – the Intercontinental must have seemed like heaven after some of their more recent resting places. The good cheer and camaraderie between all of the participants was genuinely touching – many of these are doubtlessly life long friendships.
I have really enjoyed blogging for them for the duration of the rally but now it’s back to them. I think that their plan is to add a new section to the blog as a Post Rally review once they have had a few days to digest everything they’ve experienced.
I hope Tim and Julie won’t mind my final words being a reminder that they funded this whole crazy road trip themselves and that every penny of the money they raise will go direct to the Angus Lawson Memorial Trust. If you’ve enjoyed the blog and haven’t yet done so please make a donation by clicking on the Charity Sponsorship link on the left of this page.
Thanks for reading – Clare xx