Road tripping – Rouen to Cabo da Roca

by RickMadden

Last month I took part in the Sucata Run, a charity banger rally across Europe in cars worth no more than £250... organised by and for the benefit of – a UK-based charity working to improve education in over 90 countries.

We visited some fantastic places along the route, taking us from Rouen in northern France 2000 kilometres to Cabo Da Roca in Portugal... Europe’s most westerly point.

I’ll be writing a guide on the trip shortly, but here’s a quick summary of the route covered...

Day 1 - Rouen to La Rochelle. 7am and circus were in town - unfortunately, a start line of over 50 dressed up bangers and teams in full fancy dress were parked in the spot where the circus was due to set-up!  But after the team successfully negotiated with the gendarmeries, who were ready to tow the cars away, we were on our way.  We headed through the Loire Valley, with a quick stop at Le Mans to see the motorsport museum, before arriving in La Rochelle late afternoon - the sun setting behind the harbour offered a picture perfect reminder of the Tricolor books from my old GCSE French lessons.

Day 2 – La Rochelle to San Sebastian, a good opportunity for some wine tasting in the Dordogne and then through the mountains and into Spain. By this time our car was overheating every 50k (may have been something to do with the fake grass on the bonnet for our Crazy Golf theme!) and a few of the other teams had already dropped out.  Fortunately many other teams were gracious enough to give people lifts.

Day 3 - San Sebastian to Salamanca, the Golden City, with its stunning architecture and lively nightlife. Even after some roadside fixes, including a hard wire to the fan so we could switch it on every time we stopped in traffic, our car was near to death.  Water was pouring straight through the radiator and it wasn’t looking good.

Day 4 – the final furlong, Salamanca to Cabo Da Roca, 40k west of Lisbon and close to the popular towns of Cascais and Sintra.  Although the car was defunct, we were unrepentant and decided to see how far it would go without a radiator. The result... not far!  I’ll fill you in on the details some other time, but safe to say we did make it to the end (with a little help from Peter Pan, Fred Flintstone and the Maybugs).

A great trip and certainly recommended for anyone wanting a different kind of holiday, an opportunity to visit some fantastic places and a way of raising some cash for a good cause.