Big BEN Rally day two

Time 6:21 pm, October 14, 2012

IT’S quite poetic really isn’t it? Our Rover Sterling’s clock has another 500 miles on it – and we’re now in sunny Spain.

It’s poetic because we’d like to think our 136,000-mile Sterling has spent the vast majority of its life smoking around the Black Country with a 90-year old codger behind the wheel, and has never been this far south.

The car’s first owner, a Mr. Michael Rayner – his name is on the number plate, yes really – did look after this car.

We’ve spent the long hours on the motorways by dreaming up just who Mr. Rayner was. We like to think he was a respected member of the Midlands – a parish councillor or something like that, probably.

Whether Mr. Rayner would approve of our charity run to Spain or not is anyone’s guess. Day two has seen us leave Limoges in France, stop off at the Viaduct de Millau – the world’s highest bridge – and arrive in Barcelona just in time for dusk.

And it seems, for the most part, the Rover is enjoying its continental cruise. Apart from a hiccup 150 miles north of Millau – the Sterling developed an alarming judder and emitted a burning smell… five minutes later it was fine – our 800 is licking along.

A broken six CD autochanger has meant we’re relying on one of those transmitter things that are always on offer in Robert Dyas. It’s not very good and is without doubt THE most complicated thing to use in the world.

Everything else seems to be rosy, though. The last residues from Mr. Rayner’s pipe seem to be going at long last, and we’re doing about 27 miles to the gallon. All the other teams seem to be in fine spirits too, with no breakdowns (yet).

But I must go as we have just hit traffic and have a date with Wags and Rob outside Barcelona Cathedral. Cheeribye.

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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