Four men, four bikes, one quest - to bring home the first bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau 2004 to British shores. The question isn't 'Why?', it's 'Why not?' Allez!
This is a tale rotten to its core with lies, deceit and treachery. Some was small, some considerably larger, but all resulted in four of us riding into deepest France in hostile conditions on a motley selection of motorcycles before racing back clutching bottles of freshly-released Beaujolais Nouveau.
On the face of things, I must take the blame for starting the ball of deviousness rolling, for it was I who stole the Triumph Daytona 650 key from a hapless Adam Harvey, the trip's dogsbody. Having had to detour on my way to the office to collect the Ducati Multistrada, I arrived behind my compadres and, knowing the other three bikes were a) already at the office, and b) better suited to the coming trip than the Multistrada, I knew I needed to act fast to secure a superior machine. So when Harvey foolishly left the Trumpet key on his desk as we chatted I palmed it fast, swapping it for the Duke item. Job done.
Dastardly you may say, but as this was to be a Wacky Races styled event, and as I was Dick Dastardly, it seemed all too appropriate.
The crew and their bikes were: Adam Harvey, as the helpless, hapless Penelope Pitstop, on the Multistrada (no discussion would now be entered into and the judges' decision was final), Colin Goodwin in the role of Mutley aboard Yamaha's Fazer 1000, while snapper Martin Heath would ride the ZZ-R1200 as Peter Perfect.
As mentioned earlier, it would seem I begun the deceit that permeated this road trip, but in fact it was someone more powerful who did this, and they did so long before we left. "The Beaujolais run's brilliant, it's an institution, there'll be all sorts of Brits doing it, it'll be like the Cannonball run," said TWO's editor-in-chief, Grant Leonard weeks beforehand. "I'd love to do it with you but I'm playing golf that week," he added.
So it fell to me and my brave band of merry men to bring home the Beaujolais. Our mission was to ride the 600-odd miles to the centre of the Beaujolais region for the party to celebrate the arrival of this youthful wine and, at the stroke of midnight upon its exact release, to bag a bottle each and leg it home. No prisoners were to be taken, no quarter to be given, it was an all-out fight to the finish. The first man home to Café Rouge in Esher, Surrey (conveniently near the home of a certain G. Leonard esq), would win and once all had arrived we'd quaff our quarry over a hearty homecoming breakfast.
Not a bad sounding idea, but then nor was the Titanic. Still, we had our orders, we had our bikes. What could possibly go wrong?
Continue Beaujolais or Bust - 2/2
Posted: 21/02/2008 at 12:12
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