Why We Road Trip
In the current climate of an imminent ‘full lock down’ about to be rightfully enforced, I like many others, find my mind wandering to plans of European road trip adventures and making the most of our eventual freedom.
There have been many RPM Technik road trips over the years, from the slightly more hedonistic events in the early days of the business which we couldn’t (and definitely shouldn’t) recreate, the early morning dash’s across our favourite back roads right through to our full on escapades venturing into and across Europe. One of the most memorable in recent times, was our trip to Le Mans Classic (LMC) back in the summer of 2018. Although it seems like eons ago, the memories are as fresh as ever. Our plan was to retrace similar steps this year to LMC. However, due to the ongoing world health crisis, this will rightly be postponed until later in the year or maybe even next year.
As with most important occasions, planning is everything. Darren, my great mate and lofty business partner, is king of the route planning for all our trips. I put this enviable skill down to his long-held fascination and participation in rallying. Whatever the reason, when asked what route we are taking all eyes swing to Darren… ‘follow the big man.’ The routes avoid motorways as much as possible, always include the best coffee shops en-route and usually conclude at a watering hole with crisp cold beers and great French food. However, the bit that gets the drivers mouths watering the most, is the innocuous squiggly lines on the map that take us from point A, to point B.
What makes road trips so fascinating are how such varied vehicles, measure up to each other when everyone finds ‘that’ bit of tarmac and the grins widen. Between 20mph and 70mph on your favourite back road, how many bhp you have is less important compared to driver skill and commitment. Throwing all this into the mix is what creates the stories and memories we recount time and again.
There were two road sections that are etched into my memory from this road trip. The first one was from Day One. We had just made our way into Europe and refuelled ready to high tail it to the hotel a few hours’ drive away. The way that the sun was slowly setting, the ambient temp at around 20c, everyone was laughing and relaxed and that alone was a good enough picture for the memory bank. However, the best was yet to come. After about 30 mins of sensible driving the lead car ‘upped’ the pace somewhat which created a pool of two cars, those with a conscience, and those who left it on the Eurotunnel. The three cars which forged on ahead were a 996.2 GT3, 997 CSR and a 997 Turbo manual. For around 25 miles, exceptionally trusting passengers went silent, palms sweated and rev needles were fully flexed when opportune moments presented themselves. Cue another fuel stop, where nervous laughter and wide eyes met with big smiles.
The second road section was a typical Anderson find with tight and twisty switchbacks interspersed with short straights and nicely sighted sweepers. One particular downhill section of about 5 miles, through a series of well sighted medium to slow corners was the most memorable. Those lucky enough to have driven a 911 hard will relate to the feeling of turning the car in hard on the brakes, feeling it swivel around your waist just to the point of traction, nailing your apex and then punching it hard back out of the corner onto the next straight, right on and sometimes over the limit of adhesion. The freedom of letting the car run out to the limiter, listening to it howl, squeezing the brakes just before the point of the ABS kicking in and finessing the perfect heel/toe technique for any petrol head is the nirvana.
Magic times made all the better with mates you can recount these memories with over a pint for years to come. Plenty to look forward to everyone. Stay safe.