A big thank you.
£5,816.51 was JUST enough to give us the crown as this year’s highest Scumrun fundraisers by a huge four quid! I would like to say a big thank you to all those that sponsored us either personally or from a business! We originally targeted £3,000 as a team, but generated £3075.01 from stainless steel stockists and traders alone, meaning we were able to eventually beg, steal and borrow our way to the top of this year’s fundraising tree!
The charity Tommy’s has almost raised its target of £100,000 (currently £94,500 received) to help build a new research centre which will carry out vital research investigating the causes of miscarriage and stillbirths. This is really crucial work and affects as many as 1 in 4 people, who will suffer pregnancy related issues. The fundraising ends this month, so if you forgot, didn’t have the time, or would now like to donate to this great cause, then please feel free to follow this link.
Scumrun 2014 – What’s it all about?
I have had a lot of contact with customers and suppliers right up to and after this year’s event, all asking what we were doing and why? About 6 years ago I heard about this charity event and decided along with a mate of mine that we should get involved. Having let life get in the way of a good idea, I had to wait until this year to eventually take part. I discussed the event over the Christmas holiday with 3 other friends from RS Motors and Rippedbody.jp, just like me, they were instantly up for an excuse to go on a glorified holiday!
The aim of the Scumrun event is SIMPLE. Get a large group of car enthusiasts together, buy a load of bangers (cars under £500), and then have an organised road trip across Europe. The destination and checkpoints for each day of the event are not released until each morning making the trip even more interesting. The competitors are then challenged collectively to raise £100,000 for a nominated child or baby charity. This year, the charity was Tommy’s.
Our team had decided on an 8 year old Renault Laguna as our cheap chariot, and with a little help from Vision Media and RS Motors, the car had its ‘go faster stripes’ and company logo’s added in typical bloke fashion – i.e. the night before the journey. We left Birmingham the day before the event begun and headed down to the meeting point – Brands Hatch race circuit – to meet up with the 350 other competitors. After a bit of a meet and greet in the car park on the evening, it was off to bed ‘early-ish’ to get set for the start of the event.
Day One – Thursday 8th May
On Thursday morning we met back at Brands Hatch circuit, and took in a few laps with all the other teams. This was our first chance to see some of the opposition vehicles taking part in the event. Due to the sheer number of vehicles that were on the track we didn’t get much chance to stretch the legs of the ‘viper stripped’ racing Laguna, but we did spy a number of heavily modified BMW and Audi motorcars, as well as a couple of Jags, a SHED complete with picket fence and pot plants and even a Rolls Royce!
After signing in, we got to meet 5th Gear’s Vicki Butler Henderson, the Tommy’s charity crew and the Scumrun events team. We then cruised down to Dover ferry port for the first leg of our journey.
On disembarking in France, we were set a challenge to reach a campsite in Nancy France but had to try and cross as many EU boarders as possible and take accompanying photographs as evidence. We took in only Belgium and Luxembourg and arrived at the camp site about fifteenth in some truly horrendous conditions. Some teams took in Holland and Germany as well, and arrived considerably later that evening, considerably wetter, and considerably hungrier!
Day Two – Friday 9th May
After a good night’s sleep the question on everyone’s lips was, ‘Where are we going to be going today?’ I was hoping we were going to be going further south, and I was not disappointed when after breakfast, we were told to make our way down to Milan! Not only are we going to be going to Milan tonight, but we are given a couple of tasks include finding a car show in France, and to set our sights on the largest plain water waterfall in Europe on the river Rhine in Switzerland.
After dispatching the first two missions in good time, we noticed on our route map that we could take either the Gotthard Tunnel, or the Saint Gotthard Pass. Quick vote, 100% in favour of the pass. Unfortunately we didn’t notice that the pass was closed at this time of year and after excitedly whizzing round hair pin bends for a couple of miles with a few other scumrunners, we were forced to turn around. Rather than turn back for the tunnel we instead tried the Furkapass made famous by a car chase scene in the James Bond Film ‘Goldfinger’ featuring an Aston Martin DB5 and a Ford Mustang. We were not able to replicate the film as travelling at any great speed was made impossible due the amount of melting snow and ice water flowing all over the road!
As you can see in the image below, there was still a fair amount of snow on the ground and we were unable to pass the summit where the snow was still a good 6-8 foot deep!
Therefore our only option was to join the traffic jam slowly filtering through the Gotthard Tunnel.
Arriving at about 9pm in Milan was not ideal, but after a pizza (‘When in Rome’, or Milan in our case) we were straight out on the town. After spending several hours in the town centre we noticed a group of trendy looking youths boarding a tram. We decided that this must be where the party continued and so boarded the tram ending up about 6 miles outside of the city and wandering through what seemed like any ordinary suburban housing development. Our new found ‘mates’ seemed baffled that we had driven from Birmingham to Milan and boarded a tram with a bunch of strangers in search of a nightclub.
What we found was quite spectacular, Armani Prive is an open air private members club which has played host to many celebrity clientele over the years including Beyonce et al. Suffice to say, we were not the A list type, and looking at the Queue we made the decision that our only chance of entry was to scale the fence, hide from the security in the bushes, and then slide in through the semi open walls of the nightclub. Unfortunately we were spotted and rather unceremoniously escorted out via the garden water sprinkler systems. Not to be defeated, we collared another doorman and on showing him our trip photo montage, he decided that it was better to let us in, than listen to any more of our inane ramblings!
Day 3 – Saturday 10th May
After a late night, the early start the following day was not welcomed with rapturous applause. Instead our designated driver shoe horned us into the car and began the journey to Lyon our destination for that day. Being in Milan, we were given a couple of tasks to complete, and duly took in the San Siro and Monza race circuit before beginning the journey into France.
It seems like some of the spirit of Monza had rubbed off on us and we were relived of 90 Euros for speeding when only a couple of miles away from camp! After two long days it was a welcome relief to arrive at our destination in the afternoon, and we spent the afternoon relaxing and chatting to fellow competitors and the organisers about the trip so far.
We also found out that we were three cars lighter, after two BMW’s and the Rolls Royce had all had major engine failures and had been replaced with courtesy cars for the remainder of the event!
About 200 of us were then collected from the camp site later that evening and spent a good three to four hours in Lyon’s main square before returning to a nightclub nearer our campsite for a nightcap. It seemed to be a much more relaxed night, but later that evening the locals began an impromptu breakdancing competition, and I cannot wait to see the video footage, IF of course, it makes the final cut!
Day 4 – Sunday 11th May
Rather sensibly, the final drive in our journey was a relatively short three hours to the Bordeaux region of France. Rather than spend time sampling the vineyards of this famous part of France, we headed straight to our camp site, which came complete with a large Jacuzzi hot tub and outdoor swimming pool.
The organisers had sensibly arranged for us to arrive early so we could have a party and BBQ that afternoon resulting in many people getting a much needed early night before the long drive back home the following day.
Day 5 – Monday 12th May
The long and winding road back to Dunkirk was despatched in a little over EIGHT hours without any major drama, and after a couple of hours spent at the ferry port, all of the remaining cars boarded the ferry back home.
The most important part of the trip was coming up on the way back home, when prizes were given out for Best Modified Car, Best Dressed Team, Completion of all Tasks Awards and then the big one. The top three fundraisers!
As you already know, we managed to claim the title by a couple of pounds and won a signed replica Mercedes Formula One Car signed by Sir Sterling Moss and Lewis Hamilton! Happy Days 🙂
The fundraising ends on the 16th of June, so if you have a few pounds you would like to throw into the pot, then please use this link.
I feel we have in our own way done our little bit to reinforce the stereotype of the Brit/Idiot Abroad.
The whole journey was over 2300 miles, but the car journeys flew by in the ‘racing laguna with added viper stripes’. At every checkpoint or service stop you bumped into other competitors and regularly ended up in convoys traveling on motorway, country lanes, or mountain passes.
Next year will be the tenth anniversary of the Scumrun, and it is likely to be the biggest event yet. I for one am eagerly looking forward to the adventure…is anyone else in?!
If you would like to make a personal donation to Tommy’s, please use this link, and thanks for reading 🙂