I got the message late or, be more specific, realised the meaning in that short notice in one of the Mini Clubs members magazine. Namely that 2014 years Monte Carlo Historique was going to have one of the starting places in Stockholm!
I applied for a day off and prepared the Austin Mini Cooper 1962 by mounting time typical studded 10 inch wheels on steel rims instead of the 12 inch wheels on alloys that I had mounted for the November Sun Run rally last November.
Thursday 23 January came shortly after I went to bed and at 5:30 am the alarm went off and after a slow breakfast I was behind the sterring wheel, driving on the motorway towards Stockholm, 70 km away. I arrived the capital in decent time, just before the queues started and stopped for a coffee, bagel and loo at a burger place on Sveavägen.
Back in the Mini and found my way over to Grand Hotel where the start should take place. Already an hour and a half before the actual start there were lot of activity with people and most of teh rally cars on place. I found a free parking space just across the road, perfect in that sense that my Mini would see the rally cars and that I added some extra atmoshere in the grey mass of modern cars that occupied the other parking spaces. But it didn´t take long before a man came over and told me to move the Mini over to the other side and to place it just behind his car in front of the start grid, towards the lineup of rally cars. I grab the opportunity quick and now the Mini was really in the center of activity!
The car I parked behind was a Mini Cooper S 1965 in mint condition, totally restored a couple of years ago. The owner Thomas Hedberg is in the board of KAK – Kungliga Automibil Klubben(Royal Automibil Club) and have several old classic cars. He was one of the organisers of this event.
More people gathered and a lot of pictures were taken of the two Minis in the “start position” . It was perfect as it is 50 years since the first classic Mini won the Monte Carlo rally. BMW MINI had a new Mini on display just beside us, they see the value of this heritage, of course.
On the other side of the start grid the real rally cars that were to take part of the Monte Carlo Historique lined up. First in line stood a Mercedes 220 S 1965, a replica of the car that Evy Rosqvist drove with Ursula Wirth as navigator during the sixties. Now driven by Åke “Bryggarn” Andersson a with Anna Sylvan as navigator. The funny thing about this was that Evy Rosqvist herself was on site as well! 84 years old and as beautiful as ever. Ok, much older compared to when the two blond girls were driving the rally in the old days. Evy Rosqvist is an icon and people with cameras crowded around her.
Other cars on the line were MG MGA Coupe 1960, Porsche 911 SC 1978, Porsche 924 Turbo 1979, Ford Escort RS2000 1974, Alfa Romeo GTA 1300 1968, Lancia Fulvia HF 1.6 1970, Datsun 240 Z, A Saab 93B 1959, Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV. More details on the teams can be found on http://www.acm.mc
Time became 09:00 and time for start. With one minute in between the cars was driven to the start position and flagged away by rising a swedish flag. It was Evy Rosqvist who was in charge of the flag in cooperation with Björn Waldegård, another swedish rally icon. The cars drove out in the morning traffic on the streets of Stockholm, followed by their service vehicles and trailers. They were driving through Sweden on the highways, lunch break in Gränna and goal of the day Volvo´s car museum in Gothenburg where the met up wit the 10 cars that had started from Oslo in Norway.The night were to be spent on the ferry to Kiel in Germany.
I had the rest of th day off so I took a walk in beautiful Stockholm, around the small islands in the very center. There is a lot of water in our capital! After a nice relaxed day I got home to Uppsala just in time for the choir practise!
A day well worth to have a day off for!