QMG Citroën Classic Challenge 2012

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QMG Citroën Classic Challenge 2012

Post by citroenesque » 07 Sep 2010, 15:55

Much has been talked about a follow-up to the BXagon Challenge; much of it by me and some of the other participants. I know I could be accused as having some sort of big ego issues in wanting to be the organiser of such a thing but the calling is there and I feel I need to at least have a go at doing another event. So bear with me.

First, successful though the BXagon was (well, we all returned in one piece and we did raise a few grand for a worthy cause whilst still having a good time), it was flawed. The concept was too big for most and indeed the amount of commitment in money and time was just too great. (Having said that, it will remain in the memories of the participants for a long time and I believe that some who opted out before the start probably regret it now having seen the pics and read the anecdotes!).

So how can we make another event as good, but more accessible, challenging and less costly for all involved?

Here's an idea:
Rather than do 3,000 miles over 12 days, I'm considering 1,000 miles in five to seven days. ('Why' I here you ask 'is it not 1/3 or the time if it's only 1/3 of the distance?'… there's a reason, read on…).

It's open to anyone with a Citroën.

The route will expressly avoid the autoroutes (and other major carriageways where possible). There will be challenges, observation and navigation tasks, riddles and other little bits of fun to complete).

The halfway point needs to be something a bit special like joining up with a French Citroën Club somewhere.

Accommodation was a killer last time and few of us (being honest) found that aspect satisfactory: and for those of us who stayed in hotels it was bloody expensive too. So I suggest holding this event at a time when camping will be available. It will also help to build the camaraderie if can all gather around of an evening and chat about the day's events - and those to come.

It might be nice if we could meet up for lunch now and then along the route as well as just rendezvous in the evenings. It also means we are possibly more likely to drive around in convoy 'batches'.

I will be suggesting some alternative routes and dates over the next few days, so if you're interested, watch this space (PM any suggestions to me and I'll try to incorporate them).

Finally (for now) the 'big question'….

How much will it cost my team and how will the Charity benefit?

My initial thoughts are each team should pay entry of say, £200. The lion's share of that goes directly to the Charity via JustGiving (because GiftAid meant that CRUK received more than £900 extra last time). Off the top of my head, maybe £25 of that will go to administration (communications and printing) and the purchase of stickers, although more might be needed if we need 'props' for our tasks (TBC).

So, in addition to the entry fee (which could be in part collected as donations from friends, neighbours, colleagues and family as well as sponsorship from a company(?) there would be the cost of travel to the port, the Channel crossing itself - free if you have sufficient Tesco vouchers, food and camping and other (either optional or necessary Hotel stop over), fuel and insurance(s). I would estimate allowing £500 for a six-day event. Possibly less - it depends on a few factors like exchange rate and fuel prices. That means if we planned it for, say May/June 2012 that'd mean putting less than a tenner in a pot per week from next month…

Ah well that's all for now folks:

In the meantime some pics of the BXagon to get you dreaming of 'the next time' lol!

Citroën Rally - Return of the BXagon?

Last edited by citroenesque on 20 Apr 2012, 11:50, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by citroenesque » 08 Sep 2010, 22:47

I have been in discussion with an interested potential aide and participant and here's a snippet of the discussion. Some useful stuff there. (me in bold)

My French is rusty - I can read it infinitely better than I can speak it - however, a basic e-mail exchange in French would be relatively easy. I haven't had any dealings with the French Citroën clubs, but there's a first time for everything.

Much like me then. I will contact the CCC board and see if there're any established links we could exploit.

My thoughts are that, for those of us with wives and children (one of each in my case), a week is long enough - it's also expensive enough.

The plan is to make it no more than 6 days. Unfortunately a spate of other people's commitments will mean a fairly rapid elimination of the spring/summer half term as a possible 'slot' (it's not just me). For me, the summer hols 2012 are out because of the need to take the family on a big holiday (to make up for lack of one this year!). Funds will be tight, so I can't afford to make it a long event, which is going to resonate with many potential participants!

Basically, the best way to approach things is to drive to the furthest point as quickly as possible and to leisurely drive back. A road trip is great if one has time to see things, but a nightmare if it is nothing but driving. One also wants to be off the autoroutes as much as possible, as they are boring. I'm sure everyone will want a mix of landscapes and I can't help feeling that a mix of countries would be good ….

I had considered this and would suggest a deep 'thrust' into the continent; maybe 280-320 miles, to start to ball rolling. My preference would be to make the route relatively free of main roads (except for the initial push) and certainly peage free. I have had requests for some mountain terrain to be included. This - given our self-imposed time restrictions - will limit options. I am personally keen to see some high stuff too.

…. the drive through Belgium to Luxembourg, out through Germany, into Alsace-Lorraine and back via Paris would be a good drive out. Some fantastic scenery too and the option to go to the Schlumpf collection and the French Railway Museum at Mulhouse.

I am considering suggesting a route which does indeed take in some of this, as I agree with you: in essence, variety is the spice of life. I'll post rough outline(s) soon to encourage debate..

However, my experience is it is better just to tell people where they're going and where we are staying each night, etc. As long as it is interesting enough, they'll follow. Anarchy is what happens if you give them too much choice. I'd recommend a maximum of 200 miles (300km) a day - that should be four hour-five hours driving each day. The 'proper' rallies have some form of trials and competitions along the way to keep people together and interested, so that would need sorted. Again, wackier the better for some, with one or two serious ones too.

My thinking too, although for a short event I might suggest a first and last stage longer than 200 miles (as indicated above). I have to consider the position of the event should anything befall either a participant or other party whilst an activity is being undertaken. I would rather do nothing than have to buy extensive legal protection.

I'd perhaps suggest a route that involves the Conservatoire - can't help feeling we should all go. If going via Alsace, it may be possible to organise a trip to the smart factory too, at Hambach, as I have very good contacts that could see us get a tour of the factory.

In all honesty, I think a Conservatoire visit is not in the scope of this; it's something the CCC arranges periodically anyway: I went there in May. As for Hambach, I am intrigued, so if we can work it in, let's.

……with runs out and evening entertainment organised each night. Obviously, doing something in another country involves a little more effort and a recce trip, but it could be tied in with a holiday.

I would have thought handling each and every evening's activities would be seen by many as too organised! But we can suggest options; no harm in that. Organising too much also gets us into the potential quagmire of liability. The BXagon didn't have to insure or accept liability for anything as it was deliberately arranged as a 'facilitator' suggesting mere choices in an event framework. However we might want to arrange a bash at the end. Recce trips: It's something we could put a call out to interested parties. We've got next year for those to take place.

I'm not a camper - hence the big motorhome we own - but have the kit for a week away in campsites and can access French campsite details quite easily. Again, there are cheap hotel chains and one may be able to organise a block booking with Ibis or similar.

I don't camp much either; I like my comforts, however if it's just for a run of say four or five nights I'll do it. Maybe a hotel stay at either 'end' of the run. I tried block bookings with Ibis and B&B last year. In my opinion; forget it: it's not worth the hassle. Let people sort it themselves given the information of where and when, it means we have no liability.

Bearing in mind the anniversaries, one would want to encourage BX, AX and XM owners, with an attendant following of CXs, 2CVs, etc. First things first is to organise a couple of routes and a date, and open it to people on various forums, with a maximum number of cars (one may only get ten, but one wouldn't want the logistics of a hundred wanting to go).

This, I shall do, but I don't think we need to worry too much about numbers. I would consider getting 50 cars involved would be extraordinary. But maybe right from the start we ought to set a limit? Let me consider.

… approaches can be made to a ferry company for a block or discounted booking, etc. It may even make sense to do a longer ferry sailing too and plan the route accordingly. I'd so much prefer to go to Normandy or Brittany via Portsmouth, Poole or Plymouth than Calais via Dover.

If we were considering Benelux, Germany, Alps I think the Calais crossing would make sense, but also because some participants will be able to get free crossings on the tunnel using their Tesco Clubcard Vouchers (as it is I book three or four crossings a year using them; 'saving' well over £120 each time).

In fact, perhaps a Battlefield tour of France/Belgium might be a good approach - one can cover from Lorient or St Nazaire and the Normandie beaches to the Ardennes battlefields, via places like Oradur sur Glane and the V2 launch sites.

That's a heck of a trip, and it wouldn't be do-able in the time given the other constraints discussed above. Also it would put off potential punters I think. (Although I think one day I would like to do a battlefield tour again). Having said that we could consider a Maginot line detour?

A lot of the above was prompted by comments made earlier, but you get the gist.

I received and responded broadly in agreement (ie limiting the number of entrants):

I can arrange something with smart (it’s a perk of being well known on the smart scene) as I know who to speak to to do some organisation of this.

Six days is perfect – mid-week to mid-week may be good (cheaper ferries/tunnel – and I used the tesco vouchers on the tunnel this year too) as it also gives the option for some to stay for longer. My opinion is always to get as far from Calais on day one as possible, but that last day is always good for shopping in Cite Europe. We stocked up with our year’s supply of wine in August.

I’m keen for mountains too, but I’m from Scotland and quite like them. A trip to Luxembourg and southern Germany is not really far from Switzerland and still possible on 200 miles a day. I’d be keen to let those who want Alpine scenery to make their own way there if they want to progress deeper into France or Switzerland.

Again, activities – I understand the insurance implication and the last thing one would want is an activity that would encourage excess speed or danger. A gentle run through the countryside with a lunchtime pit stop and some well-chosen sights would be adequate.

I would set a limit – say thirty cars. If it sounds exclusive, then some people will be keener to go. That’s the way it works, I think. If you’re committed as part of a small group, you will be more likely not to opt out. Apart from that, it’s better to have a small but close knit group than an uncontrollable mass – especially if doing things like swamping an attraction. In the evening, a smaller group will be easier to accommodate in a pub or restaurant if required. It can become unmanageable very quickly. It’ll also mean people are more likely to mingle....

.... I'll put together date/route combinations for discussion.

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Post by Sl4yer » 08 Sep 2010, 23:40

I'll not be in a position to do this for a few years probably - we've got a baby due very soon, and the Activa is still at the garage (who I haven't chased at all due to the first reason!).

But it strikes me that the Millau Viaduct is a good target to go to and from. It's 2-3 days easy driving (even from Zeebrugge) and easily routed around Normandy for some historical interest. I have family about 40 miles south of Millau, and the Causse du Larzac (immediately south of Millau) is facinating (look up the Cirque du Navacelles!). I'm also sure Millau would be glad of the trade now that the bridge has taken much of the passing trade away.

One warning for the bridge though - although it was designed by a British architect (Norman Foster), the visitors' centre toilets are definitely French, as if in defiance! Caught the trouser-wearing ladies out! :D


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Post by CitroJim » 09 Sep 2010, 06:00

Sl4yer wrote:But it strikes me that the Millau Viaduct is a good target to go to and from.

Yes :D I've been across it twice now and both times in the dark :( I'd love to see it in daylight...

All I know is it gets very windy up there in December when piloting a LWB Sprinter :lol: :lol:

James, congratulations on the imminent arrival of the little one :D :D

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Post by citroenesque » 09 Sep 2010, 11:11

I agree. I've never been and I'd like to see it. Encouraged by the responses I have given it some thought…


I have looked into a possible six day tour which includes a crossing of that bridge, and - although I'm open to suggestions, I just can't seem to make it 'work'.

I want to keep the average daily drive down to about 200 miles, so we can fit in some 'activities' and socialising and in acknowledgement of feedback about the original BXagon's scope. Although I have no problem in racking up 300+ miles a day, it does mean spending a large proportion of the day in the car - especially if one takes the scenic route.

For example; with a start point of Calais, avoiding peage, Millau is about 610 miles away (c.340 miles of that on motorway). It's closer to 740 miles if you don't want to spend a lot of time just on a boring motorway. And that's not even considering doing a tour around Normandy, as Sl4yer suggests (attractive though it may be!).

Assuming we do stick to the motorways (without paying) where possible, with an overnight at Nevers, say, that's do-able, but allowing for short stops etc. that's a full two days taken up getting to our destination. In all honesty I think most would prefer a slightly more leisurely event so maybe two overnights en route would be more acceptable. Let's call it three days.

Anyway, it gives us three days left, to mill about Millau for a morning (crossing the bridge at the start) and make our way back to Calais via a different route. Avoiding motorways where possible and always missing out the peage, that means day four might take us through Rodez (worth a visit) and end near Tulle. That's just over 170 miles. Given the stops and morning activity that's about as far as you might expect to get... and so on… (averaging 'only' 175-200 miles per day through some lovely landscapes and charming villages etc. is not going to upset too many.

That means on day five, from Tulle we get as far as Valençay, possibly. Then by the end of day six somewhere around Evreaux/Bernay. (Then it's either Dieppe or Amiens (both interesting places) before the final day off to Calais). Clearly we've run out of 'days', however.

I reckon to try to make Calais in two or three days (or even one) from Millau would be possible of course, but not much fun. Especially if people wanted to stop for any length of time en route or deviate slightly to visit a place particular interest. I reckon on four days, to arrive not too late in the day in Calais. And that's without arranging a day with a French club meet which is something I'd like to look into.

Unless I'm missing something (suggestions?).

OK. Here's what I think: a trip to Millau is attractive but in the context of the original aim of this event, not feasible.

So if someone wants to arrange (even for 2011?) a trip there, then please go ahead :) I would be tempted but probably unable to attend, sadly!)

I will be posting some tour alternatives soon. All of which will be considered a possibility, and I will take a poll and seek counsel as appropriate :) and that goes for dates too.


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Post by citroenesque » 09 Sep 2010, 13:34

From the BXC forum, in response to a question:


any particualar reason why you're wanting to do this in France, this adds levels of expense that are avoidable if you did a UK one instead. I fancy a trip upto Scotland which has got some amazing scenery. Just my 2p worth.

Just because I'm organising a 'BXagon II' in France doesn't mean others can't organise something in the UK. Scotland was an idea a while back. So was Wales, but in the end, I like France as do so many others in the French car fraternity.

I would really welcome someone organising a 'domestic' event (but in 2012 the ICCCR is a biggie anyway). I also think (although nobody can be too certain these days) the weather will be better (generally) the further south you go.

In addition there's the opportunity to raid French breakers, to come across Citroën-related 'finds', enjoy some different food and, well spend some time in the home of Citroën cars. In my mind it has always been more than a car.

Let's examine the level of expense aspect:

Fuel here is about on a par with France.

The Euro exchange rate is a pain but it is still easy enough to eat cheaply and well there. As here.

Accommodation: It'll cost wherever you are. And camping in France might prove a little more comfortable/warm/dry? I acknowledge the sites may cost a tad more over there.

Crossing. If you use the tunnel, and use Tesco vouchers, the cost is minimal.

An additional cost that needs to be taken into account is Travel insurance (cheap now) and Europoean recovery and repatriation cover (allow £85 for a week). That's where the UK comes out top of course.

Distance to travel, I thought about this: Birmingham (for the sake of argument) to Oban (for example again!) is c.400 miles. Allowing for driving up and around the Highlands, allow, say another 500 miles. Then back again. Total approx 1,300 miles. That means it's entirely likely that well over half of the mileage a team covers in total is to actually get to and from the circuit.

Taken another way, Birmingham (for example, again) to Dover is 200 miles or so. If we clock up 1,250 miles in France, that gives a total of 1,550 miles. Not a lot in it really.

So all in all, (without meaning to sound dismissive, honestly!) I am not really interested in doing a UK event, I like the Continental aspect. Having said that France is not the be-all and end-all, I am planning to include incursions to Switzerland, for example.

BUT please - get organising if you want to do a UK tour - you'll have a lot of interest. (And probably more teams!)...

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Post by citroenesque » 09 Sep 2010, 16:30

So, on to an idea for the route. Many have expressed an urge to visit somewhere a bit mountainous. Of course the options are limited given our time/distance constraints, but the Jura Mountains seem a good bet...

Citroën Challenge 2012. Option 1

Draft route: Map at the ready…

Start point Calais.
Calais to Nancy via Cambrai and Verdun. This takes the cars through some lovely countryside as well as allowing a 'themed' WW1 quiz trail for instance. Avesnes-sur-Helpe, possibly, for lunch/picnic. 325 miles.

Nancy to Solothurn, Switzerland via Mulhouse (lots of options for visits around here, plus a rather good breakers yard near there) and up into the Jura Mountain region. 200 miles.

Solothurn to Villefranche-s-Saône via Neuchâtel (Hilly bits and lakes). 205 miles.

Day FOUR (Option A)
This is if we have been able to arrange a rendezvous with a French club at Nevers/Lurcy-Levis/Magny-Cours.
Villefranche-s-Saône to Nevers a short-ish run to ensure we get a reasonable amount of time at the destination. 135 miles.


Day FOUR (Option B)
Villefranche-s-Saône to Nevers via Vichy and Montluçon (lots of opportunity for navigation riddles/quiz). 220 miles.

Nevers to Epernay via Auxerre (possibly). An evening meet and event (tasting?) in the heart of Champagne country. 190 miles.

Epernay to Calais via Eperleques/St. Omer (possibly). 215 miles.

Total mileage: 1,270 to 1,355

IMPORTANT: If the basic IDEA of the above meets with general approval and I get the impression that we will get some teams participating, I will look into camping and other accommodation options. It could be that we need to substantially shift a way-point or two to allow for camping over, but I need to start somewhere.

OK, that's the first. I like it because it includes - at a scrape - some impressive mountain scenery, a big lake, some historical landmarks and the odd automotive attraction, as well as the opportunity for a central France get-together with a domestic Club. There's a pretty good variety of scenery and cultural regions and a reasonable variety in roads, although with the first stage we need to acknowledge that in order to thrust deep into the territory, we must make use of a motorway or two.

Anyway. Thoughts?


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Post by citroenesque » 10 Sep 2010, 12:37

Following on from some feedback....

I think rather than waste time trying to come up with a completely different route we should build on the option posted. So although it will transmute as required by the location of campsites and other attractions (!), it is our framework.

Number of spaces to be limited to 30. Open to any Citroën. Entry per team TBC but is likely to be £50-75 per car-ish although this might climb a little if, a) we have much fewer than 30 cars taking part or, b) there is any significant cost associated with any rendezvous with a French club (e.g. venue hire share etc). Any profits go to charity (CRUK again).

So, any input on camping etc. is hugely welcome... I think I've got a French camping guide somewhere too.

Now. Timing...

I've given this a lot of thought.
First 2011. Why not?
First, with family holiday (a three-weeker is due), anniversary and birthday considerations (Liz and I are 50, Amy is 18 next summer) as well as unavoidable work commitments, I can't do it. I can't spare the time to! Much as I'd like.

2012 is the 30th Anniversary of the BX which is significant in promoting the event, even though it is open to all. Maybe French club Planete BX ( http://planetebx.ifrance.com ) might be interested in a meet-up? What's more, for those continental-types who can't make the ICCCR in the UK it's an opportunity to do something different closer to home. That's why picking Nevers/Magny-Cours is a good idea - it's central in relation to much of France and the low countries/Germany etc.

Also, it gives ample time to plan the route/options for visits, to sort out and book crossings, camping etc. It also gives family-committed (if you know what I mean!) Citroenistes to plan their 2012 whereas many will have already discussed/planned if not already booked their spring/summer breaks.

Holding this event 18 months in advance means all participants have time to save up. To get their car fully sorted (or a 'new' one bought and prepared - which is probably what I'll do) and to leave a nice wad of cash behind for their spouses/kids to spend to offset their absence! Laughing Rolling Eyes


Having said that, I think a mini-event for 2011 is a nice idea. Some have suggested a trip to Millau, or Normandy - I even suggested a trip to Loheac - so maybe in May next year we can nip over and do a three/four day jolly? It's just that I realistically won't be able to devote much time or resources to it. My youngest daughter wants to do a road trip so a quick one is on the cards anyway at some point.

For discussions of a 2011 event please, someone start another thread, and gauge opinion. It could end up with being one in the UK even!

I am going to throw in this suggestion and see where it goes...

Saturday 26th May to Thursday 31st May 2012. The following week is (in our region anyway) half-term (which includes TWO days of bank holiday).

Follow us on BXC...

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Post by red_dwarfers » 10 Sep 2010, 17:08

I'd certainly consider the idea of a UK roadtrip, don't think I've mustered up the courage to drive on the mainland.
Good luck with the next BXagon!

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Post by citroenesque » 10 Sep 2010, 17:35

Kev, just ask BXer Tim Leech, he was really unsure about driving on the continent until earlier this year when I went with him in his GT to the Citroen Conservatoire, Paris. He'd never crossed the Channel in a car let alone driven. He was soon driving confidently on the road in France (as a passenger I was able to relax even!). And now he wants to come on the BXagon II/Citroen Challenge. It really is not that hard - certainly a bit daunting, but go on! You only live once. And take a co-pilot who's driven in France before, that always helps.

Also, you're probably going to have to one day... why not make it in 2012 (or sooner if you can)...

There's lots of advice out there about continental driving. And once you've done it you'll be wanting more... I promise.


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Post by citroenesque » 11 Sep 2010, 21:32

Couldn't resist....

I think I'll call it 2012 CITROËN Classic CHALLENGE...

And yes, I know the flags on the right are wrong lol!


And the two route options being debated:



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Post by citroenesque » 13 Sep 2010, 12:39

OK, done my calculations etc.

Here is the announcement you've all been waiting for ... :roll: :lol:

Entry fee: Per CAR (team) will be just £50* Every team gets one main and two secondary sticker and a certificate at the end. *This assumes upwards of 10 participants. If less there will be a surcharge of a few quid.

Profits will be paid to Cancer Research UK via JustGiving (which will enable GiftAid to be included, adding 28%). Based on my sums with 30 teams that could amount to over £1,300.

T-Shirts and/or polo-shirts will be available at cost, plus £5 to CRUK, plus p&p.

Route plan and so on will be made available via e-mail. So: if you want to go on the list - REMEMBER it's limited to 30 places - e-mail me at yo.phil@btopenworld.com

Names I already have on my list are: From the BXC...
Phil Boxall (Kermit)
Tim Leech (Roverman)
Ian Seabrook (Dollywobbler)
Andy (Arctic-steel)
Campbell (Messerschmitt)
Mark (mds141)
Mike E - but please confirm you'll also do the non-Alps version if that wins the poll, Mike
Todd (part of the route)

And possibilities:
Ray Fenwick
Mat Fenwick (although I assume you will, Mat?)

Anyone I've missed?

From the CCC:

Trainman possibly?

From the Club-XM:

nobody yet. (apart from Campbell, above)
But Robert is an obvious 'must-have' Wink

From the FCF:

Kev (Red_Dwarfers) - a possibility...

Early days, I know but it'd be good to build a 'core' of definites'...

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Post by citroenesque » 13 Sep 2010, 12:48

Hi all, contact me with route preferences too if you like. I will make a final decision based on feedback at the end of the week.

It's either

The red route (Route A - Jura mountains etc. including a foray into central France)


The blue route (Route B - the Alps - including longer stages and possible an extra day)

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Post by citroenesque » 15 Sep 2010, 11:02

OK everyone, I've drafted this which I propose should form the basis of our plans. It's a SEVEN day trip (six just wasn't enough). It combines the two routes to a degree, and addresses the wishes of some potential participants who really want lots of mountain stuff :)


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Post by messerschmitt owner » 15 Sep 2010, 15:41

that's 3 miles too long for me to do in a week ;)

Sorted - if the roads are open - will we need snow chains or winter tyres?