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Friday 23rd May – Hurtling Around The Dolomites

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Today was a day out driving the GTs but we were not expected to be ready to rock until 10.00am so we did not have to be up too early. We had our breakfast at 9 not wanting to be the latecomers. There were to be two groups and we would be the second car in our group behind our friend Norbert.


We all set off together and I had a shock at how fast we went down the single track road straight out of the hotel! Very soon we had separated into two groups, which made more sense in this terrain. The rules were simple, no overtaking other GTs, look out for the person behind and don’t lose them at turns. The pace was very fast but I loved the chance to really drive the Opel. Being left hand drive you just can’t chuck it around as well in England. The traction control was coming on at every bend and slowing me down exiting, so I quickly turned that off and after that I made a reasonable effort of keeping the English end up against this gang of enthusiastic German drivers. After about forty minutes of this intensive driving, we realised we had lost the chap two cars behind us, who was in a Corvette. He had definitely turned the corner but was behind a truck, and now he wasn’t!

So we slowed down and Norbert, who was leading, went back to see what was wrong. He shortly returned and told us that the Corvette had lost its braking ability and needed urgent attention, certainly no possibility of it continuing the trip. We made the decision to finish the run that was planned with just us and Norbert, while the other two GTs stuck with the Corvette and guided it to a Corvette garage. When we returned to the hotel we found out it was air in the brakes but it was fixed and he was ok for the next day.

After carrying on, we soon found ourselves at Canazei which was the base for the 2007 Dolomites trip that we did with a gang of MINIs planned by our pal Wigley and it was very strange driving past the hotel we had used on that trip, as it wasn’t a place we ever thought we would get a chance to go back to. We drove up the Pordoi pass and then the Sella and some parts did seem familiar. It was great fun to drive the Opel at such speed on these roads. It was staggering how fast it picked up speed but also how well it did the bends. Driving the car on the right side of the road, this left hander does not feel as wide as it does back at home. We had a few photo stops, actually some at places we visited with the MINIs but the weather wasn’t great and it was quite cold up there and still very snowy.

So after a lunch stop in a handy village which saw us eating soup and pizza, we were off again and this time we led so that Norbert could get some footage on his Go Pro. It seems such a long time since we were hurtling around mountain passes and hairpin bends and I had forgotten how much fun it is, and the scenery in this part of the Dolomites is quite stunning. P meanwhile had assumed that brace position known and loved by all high speed passengers, one hand on the door rail, the other on the middle and both feet wedged in the footwell, it all came back to her quite easily. We both noticed though that the Opel is a comfier ride than the MINI is. There is no roll at all, the suspension does its work in the bends, while the car just copes with the potholes. Neither of us expected to be so impressed. The MINIs handling is superb maybe a smudge better but if so not much and there is a high price to pay in lost fillings!

After lunch the weather got slowly more cloudy and the threat of rain, which had already raised its head at some of the earlier passes, became more of a reality and we made the decision to put our roofs up just in the nick of time, as it began to pour down for a short while.

We got back to the hotel just as the other group, who had already returned, were washing their cars. There is no slacking with these folk and they like their cars to look good after each days fun, So naturally, I dispatched P out to join them in the cleaning ritual.

Later we had our usual tasty dinner and then there was the promise of The Garage. It would appear that underneath this hotel is a garage with a pit that they tinker and play in on the Friday night of these trips. With a tray of Ramazotti to keep the brains well oiled the evening went very well and the garage itself was not only huge but full of the most marvellous array of bits and pieces, and was every handyman’s dream. We now realise that we need a big brake kit, chrome alloys, a Magnaflow Exhaust and an Opel load of stick on bits for the inside and out. It is a sad fact of life that my virtual wallet is bigger than my actual wallet!

Eventually though the concrete floor made my chemo battered feet ache like mad so we said our good nights. I dreamt of razzing round some glorious mountain passes in a sexy red sports car with a fit bird in the passenger seat and realised my dream had come true!






Author: ibeastie

Interested in Photography, Watches, Style and Cars

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