goes East - 5
Gordon and Jennifer Hesketh-Jones
have been making their way through France and Italy on their way
to join the MG Italia event. This report is from the long ferry
crossing between Italy and Greece - it was sent by telephone because
the internet connection on the ship proved so unreliable that after
three failures to get an email through, Gordon resorted to a simple
phone call! This report is prepared by Victor Smith from that call.
From the overnight
stop at Bourges in France, much of the route to the Italian
border was on motorways passing Lyon and Clermont Ferrand (the home
of Michelin). On reaching Chambery, Gordon was horrified by the
concrete building which have built over recent years and savaged
the beautiful town and views he remembers from visits there 40 years
ago. Just 25 miles or so before the border he reached St Jen de
la Maurienne with its impressive granite cliffs. Gordon and Jennifer
spent a comfortable night at the Hotel Georges with its splendid
cuisine. The following morning they were off for the Frejus Tunnel
passing through a region involved in bauxite mining and aluminium
production using local hydro power. As soon as they were into Italy
the weather changed with pleasant sunshine and the temperature rose
by ten degrees F - very welcome after the cloud, thunder and rain
The route through Italy went by Marenello, a one industry
town as the home of Ferrari. The Hotel Domos has Ferrari memorabilia
everywhere and is the hotel where visitors to the Factory stay.
All around the town you see modern Ferraris and on throwing open
the shutters of the bedroom window the following morning there was
the sound of five or six Ferraris on test at the nearby track. Sadly
there were no tours of the Factory but a visit to the Ferrari museum
the MG Italia group, the lengthy briefing was brought to an
end after an hour and half as Gordon realised the hotel restaurant
was likely to close! The V8 table at dinner was by far the most
lively with the arrival other V8 enthusiasts like Bob and Caroline
Owen. Bob has also sent a report which is published alongside.
The MGBGTV8 is
performing well but not so the Michelin tyres! In Gordon's first
note on his preparations for this epic 5,250 mile trip he mentioned
he had replaced the front tyres with two brand new Michelin Energy
tyres. On driving back to Cornwall after having a new fuel tank and
front brake discs fitted, Gordon experienced front end vibrations.
He stopped at a garage he knew well and they checked the new tyres
and found one of the brand new Michelin Energy tyres was seriously
out of shape. This was demonstrated to Gordon by a skilled tyre
mechanic. Fortunately the garage had just one Energy tyre available
in stock and were able to fit it, putting the faulty tyre on the spare.
However in Italy the other new Energy tyre developed the same difficulties
so Gordon dropped into a tyre fitter with some very sophisticated
balancing equipment. The mechanic there pronounced the Michelin
Energy tyre to be faulty, so another replacement had to be fitted.
The mechanic examined both tyres and found they were from the same
batch manufactured in France.
Safety notice - Michelin Energy tyres
So Gordon has put out a safety notice to V8 enthusiasts - take care
when fitting new Michelin Energy tyres. As soon as we can obtain the
batch number we will post that on the V8 Website. Needless to say
Gordon will be following this up with Michelin just as soon as he
is back from his 5,250 mile tour!
More reports will
Reports from Gordon
Hesketh-Jones so far
goes East 11
goes East 10
goes East 9
V8 goes East 8
V8 goes East 7
V8 goes East 6
V8 goes East 5
V8 goes East 4
V8 goes East 3
Preparations for the trip
Reports from Bob Owen on the MG Italia
Additional photos from Bob Owen
Final report from Bob Owen
Second report from Bob Owen
Report from Bob Owen on the MG Italia
- MG Car Club
at the MG Italia
Report from Bob Owen who is a member of the UK
party attending the MG Italia event along with Gordon Hesketh-Jones.
British MG contingent disembark at at Patras in Greece
- the two V8s of GHJ and Bob Owen. (Photo: Bob Owen)
We are on board ship somewhere between Italy and Greece. Last night
we had a very enjoyable meal with Gordon and Jennifer and half a dozen
other MG friends from mainland Europe that we met last year on the
MG Italia in Sardinia. We have now done about 1,300 miles from home.
The MGBGTV8 is going well except the bloody brake judder is returning
- Gordon is doing some research into this. Curiously, after a
particularly long and steep descent in the Dolomites, with brakes
smelling generously, the judder went for a couple of hundred miles
but is gradually returning. The pre-production brake fluid level indicator
I have developed is working well - the check flash/beep at ignition
on is very reassuring, but Carolyn is getting a little weary of having
me point it out to her.
The only a minor problem we have had so far was after a bad bunching
episode on a Belgian motorway so I put the hazard flashers on. But
then I found the indicators not working. On basis that last thing
touched is usually the problem, I pulled into a layby and repeatedly
operated the hazard switch with indicators first in one then in other
position. The problem was cured and it seems that since the hazard
switch is rarely used, the contacts had oxidised. After a bit of loaded
operation and it cleaned up - but couldn't do this in busy traffic.
Our first overnight stop was in Cambrai in France at Le Clos
St Jacques with our good friends Babeth and Roger. A gorgeous little
Chambre d'Hote and highly recommended. Then through Belgium (free
motorways), Luxembourg (cheap petrol), Germany - and a stop for the
night. Then up into Austria for the Otztal valley and planned crossing
to Italy via 2,500m Passo di Rombo, only to find it is still closed.
We understand it will be open in June, so we had a change of plan.
Went through various other passes at 2,000m plus and encountered a
light falling of snow. We also experienced a little of the stuff of
fantasy when we stopped near the top of a pass to look at the view.
Dutch model at a fashion shoot at the 2,500m Passo di Rombo.
(Photo: Bob Owen)
There was a fashion shoot going on and we were approached by
the director who we thought was going to say "Could you move
on please. We don't want peasants spoiling the shoot", but
in fact we were asked if they could use the car! So, fame at last.
We were promised copies of both the shots and the Dutch magazine in
which they will be featured - we'll see. We did get a couple of photos
of the ladies, actually as charming to talk to as they were beautiful,
not at all the air-head image of models that one often has.
We arrived at Ancona to meet up with the MG Italia group at
1605, just five minutes behind schedule due to two accidents on the
autoroute, one standard Italian tailgating shunt and the other a fire.
There are 49 cars at the MG Italia with about four from the UK - two
MGBGTV8s, an MGBGT and a TD. More accurate data later, or probably
from Gordon who has more statistics at his fingertips!