Team Red Bull on the way to Berlin

Team Red Bull entered a slightly modified BMW M3 CSL in the Top Run. Here’s the team captain’s story on the week:

Day 1: Chelmsford, Essex –> Berlin (1100km)

Up early and a long drive to Berlin, via the Channel Tunnel. Arriving in Berlin about 9.30pm, nearly 14 hours of traffic and shite roads and weather all the way. Staying in the Ritz Carlton Berlin, really, really beautiful hotel. Checked in & straight off to the restaurant where most people had finished their meal and I met the 3rd member of our team, Sten the mad Norwegian. Couple of beers and back to the hotel for some more drinks and finally some dinner.

Hit the sack shattered after a long day.

Day 2. Berlin (0km)

Up reasonable, for a breakfast in the lovely club lounge. Acquainting ourselves with the very nice and friendly staff. Then out for a bit of atm bashing and a very little bit of shopping. Then back to the club lounge and on to the free booze and some lunch. Then registration. Then back to the room for a power nap and a quick spruce up for the dinner club Bangalu. Quite an awesome place.. (You can see the pictorial evidence of this on We really had a good night, first chance to meet everyone and get used to the support girls incredible drinking ability !!

Day 3. Berlin – Budapest (881km)

First up was a good breakfast and lots of water. Then a quick trip to the car park, and chuck the bags in, set up the navigation systems and off we go.. Oops right outside the hotel a squad of german traffic police checking our papers. Remember Smythers Rank and Serial number only !! Very nice traffic cop was only interested in my road angel bracket, which i managed to convince him was just a accident black spot warning system. Pulled out of the hotel and off down the road feeling very nervous. Immediately followed by an unmarked police car. Who just before the limits of Berlin City pulled me over and took half an hour doing a full spectrum drug test. Obviously I was all clear. It was a pain in the arse though and wasted valuable time. We carried on and drove very sedately in Germany (unless it was an unrestricted section).

Flat Tyre just before prague.

All was going superbly, the car was flying the music was loud and we were making excellent progress. I should have known it was all going too well. 59km north of Praha we blew a front right tyre. Given it was Sunday I knew it was going to be a real problem getting a CSL tyre in Prague. We waited 3.5 hours for a tow truck who took us into prague and we were transferred onto a trailer with a 4wd pulling it. ETA Budapest at an average 100 kmh, was 00.30am. Party was due to start at 11pm, so we were hopeful of getting there in time to get amongst the chicks and the booze. We actually started boozing in the tow truck on the way, with some beers from a motorway service station. We even arranged our own in flight loo, but i’ll let Peanut Bladder Sten, explain that one. We arrived more or less as expected and with a 30 second turn around went straight to the bar/club. This night will go down in history as truly of mega proportions… spawning the by now famous roadside assistance urban myth.

Day 4. Budapest – Zagreb (400km) (via the Hungaroring)

Team Red Bull in Budapest

Up at the crack of dawn feeling very shabby indeed, with only one mission in mind, finding a tyre for the CSL or 2 if i couldnt find the exact one i wanted. To cut a very long and boring quest very short, Sten’s friend Dimitri, pulled on all of his local knowledge and found me the perfect solution, two Michelin Pilot Sport Cups, which i paid nearly 1k Euros for.. about 400 too much, but beggars can’t be choosers. About 3 hours after getting up we had the tyres fitted and we were back on the road again, heading towards Hungary’s world famous Formula 1 track. We arrived just as the lunch break started and realised we hadn’t eaten since the day before at lunch time from a motorway service station. We were ravenous. After lunch we stripped the CSL of the copious amounts of baggage and crap we’d been carrying around. Fitted the towing eye, donned our race apparel and headed out on a sighting lap. The Hungaroring is a great circuit fast bends and a nice straight down past the start and finish line. We didn’t have time for many laps before it dawned on us we still had to get to Zagreb some 400km away. We refilled the car with people, luggage, fuel and water and hit the road.

Just a short 3 hours later and we arrived outside the hotel, ahead of our nearest rivals with some comfort. Time for a couple of beers in the bar , before a shower and some fresh clothes. A really luxurious dinner ensued with some fine local wines and great company! Thanks Anis, Julie and Lilly!

After dinner we headed into town for a couple of quiet drinks with me calling it an early night as I Was designated driver for the next day. I hear the others partied until early into the morning. Room parties rock !!

Day 5. Zagreb – Dubrovnik (707km)

Leaving the hotel in Zagreb early (7.15am) in an attempt to beat the much reported rush hour traffic, we heard that one car had already made the outskirts of Zagreb, it was the Edo modified Porsche GT3 of one of the organisers. It turned out he had left 30 minutes before us.

What then ensued is one of the best days driving I or any of the Team had ever experienced. Speed knew the roads and was very good at telling us how to deal with the incredibally fast motorway stage to Split and then how to negotiate the nightmare twisty coastal roads to Dubrovnik through Bosnia. We had heard that the last section was littered with many sections of roadworks and kilometres of dirt roads and weren’t looking forward to it. I got in the zone driving wise and the team gelled perfectly.

The first section was superb, three lane highways with beautiful tarmac and hardly any traffic at all. The M3 CSL sucked up the miles like me with my first beer, it was becoming clear that this car was just stupendously capable in all kinds of conditions. As we passed Split we were aware that we had been making really really good progress, but how good only became clear about halfway through the twisty coastal section. We caught and passed the bright orange Edo Porsche and were ecstatic especially given the 30 minute headstart we had given Nils the driver. This was even more amazing considering we had been stopped twice by the very friendly Croatian Police. First for doing 94kmh in a 70kmh and then as we pulled out from this stop we overtook 25 cars stopped at a red light for road works, our undoing was that the first car through the lights was also a police car !! He was extremely angry and made us reverse way back past the line of jeering Croatians. He then fined us and started admiring the car, within 10 minutes we had sweet talked these coppers into a full police escort to the Bosnian border.

The policemen were obviously closet Top Runners, they drove the wheels of the Skoda Octavia nearly having head on collisions on numerous occasions as they overtook in blind bends and mountain hairpins, tactics even we had eschewed up to that point. Anyway they managed to break the speedlimit quite amazingly, 180kmh in a 50kmh with blue flashing lights going and Team Redbull in hot pursuit. A seriously great memory and after the blast with the cops we were only to happy to laden them with stickers and t-shirts, what top top top chaps! But all in , the time with cops cost about 30 minutes delay, but hey what a memory. The moral in the team was boosted enourmously by this and we arrived in Dubrovnik on a complete high and ahead of all the other cars. Nils the speed king of Top Run and several Gumballs arrived some 11 minutes later. We were probably not very sporting our welcoming of him, but he took it in good humour.

After about half an hour of revelling in our first place we checked in to the really beautiful Dubrovnik Palace Hotel, and adjourned to the pool bar and restaurant for a beautiful seafood lunch. After lunch we went poolside and generally partied for about four hours, the photos of the antics around the pool are all over the web, and the rumour that we drank the bar dry of beer, is easily believed.

Red Bull in Dubrovnik

Dinner that night was a quiet affair and post dinner drinks to celebrate Des the owner and founder’s birthday were very relaxing and great fun. Thanks to Des for the Vodka !!

Day 6. Dubrovnik – Lago Di Garda (via Split and Zagreb- don’t ask !) (1218km)

Leaving really late, we picked up stories of people leaving nearly 6 hours before us. Retracing the previous day’s route to Zagreb, we made even better time, cutting the stage time down to 5 hours from the previous days 5.5 hours. (Only later realising we should have cut along the coast and saved 100s of kms. Road familiarity helped but so did lighter traffic and a lack of police. We did pick up one fine of 75 Euros, (no receipt) and were back on our way very quickly.

Everything was going smoothly and quickly right up until we hit the A4 in Italy when not 1 mile in front of us a huge lorry burst into flames and jack-knifed really badly.. The poor driver was hurt but alive, and the traffic ground to a halt completely until the emergency services eventually arrived. Total Delay 3 hours and 15 minutes. Shortly after getting moving we came to another diversion which related to yet another big accident that had delayed all the earlier cars quite significantly.

We arrived in Lake Garda and were truly impressed with the beautiful winding streets of Sirmione and the Villa Cortina Hotel that was to be our home for the evening.

The party that night in Teatro was a pure VIP affair with the dinner way exceeding our expectations. Unlimited Prosecco, live cabaret and dancing till the early hours were the perfect recipe for a monster night! Team Redbull rocked the house yet again, and by now were firm favourites for the Party Award!!

Day 7. Lago di Gardo – Monaco (423km)

A short stage that really was easy. We left at 10.15am. The route card having stipulated a time of 10am. We blasted the 400 odd kilometres in a very quick time and on arrival in Casino Square realised we were in fact the 3rd car in, the first of those who didn’t leave early and the first non-crew car. So another satisfying result.

We relaxed the afternoon away at the beach with the Vikings from Carbon Black Run and in the Spa of the Hotel Du Paris before reconvening for the final party at about 8pm. Another great night was had, and the Monaco night life didn’t let us down. If only the same could be said of the taxis !!

Team Red Bull in Monaco

Day 8. Monaco – Home (1407km)

We had a nice leisurely lunch and left Monaco very reluctantly. A long and uneventful drive through France and home, which saw some awful weather and a very tired crew.

Got into bed at home in Essex, England about 6.30am having set off at 3pm. 15 1/2 hours of driving. I was totally shattered.

Conclusion: 6,136kms

A great trip, great hotels and really really good parties. We met some great people, drove some great roads and can say money and time permitting will be back with bells on next year !! Watch out for Team Redbull on a rally near you !!



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