Radical Rally: Coronavirus response & what’s coming in 2021

There’s no getting away from it, we have to mention the dreaded C word. COVID, the pandemic – however you refer to the damn thing – has had a serious impact on the rollout of many anticipated events for Radical Rally. Coronavirus led to a total halt to the two events we had planned, the 2020 Welsh Weekender and the 2020 Grand Tour.

But we’re not ones to look backwards. So, with the successful vaccine rollout, the possibility of immunity passports (in whatever form this takes) and the news that we’re on the brink of herd immunity, while it’s important to consider what’s occurred over the past year, even more importantly it’s time to look forward to what we might be able to achieve in the latter half of 2021.

Why we Cancelled our Events

We’re pretty sure that everyone’s up to speed with why the virus caused the cancellation of most group events over the last 12 months. However, at Radical Rally, Coronavirus gave us additional aspects to consider, over and above those of tourism and hospitality industries that run from a fixed location. 

A lot of complex planning goes into every event we offer. And, of course, our primary concern is the safety and well-being of all who get behind the wheel and head out on a Radical Rally adventure.

Some of the issues we had included:

  • The ever-changing travel risks and restrictions
  • Last minute hotel closures
  • Becoming stranded overseas 
  • Trying to secure hotel bookings was, to put it bluntly, a nightmare
  • Restrictions meant that our minimum tour numbers risked breaking lockdown rules
  • Carrying enough PPE in a supercar was going to be challenging (it’s hard enough to cram in your smalls, let alone boxes of masks, hand sanitizer, gloves etc…)

We thought long and hard about the impact of running our events during the pandemic. We certainly didn’t want to deliver a sub-par event (that’s not what we’re about). So in April 2020 we reluctantly took the decision to cancel all events for the rest of the year.

As the long days of lockdown rolled by, we briefly considered whether or not to plan something for the summer after restrictions were lifted for a while. But international rules weren’t the same as ours and, with hindsight, we’re so glad we made that choice as the R rate was definitely on the rise throughout the UK and Europe during that period.

When it came to the Radical Rally—Coronavirus battle of 2020, we, along with pretty much every other niche tourism/travel provider, had no choice but to throw our towel in the ring…

What’s in Store for 2021?

OK, so enough about the past. What about what we can do going forward?

The Sandbanks to Monaco Grand Tour is still waiting to be confirmed. For those that have signed up or those who’re waiting to do so, we do have the flexibility to move bookings back a little. However, this will be dependent on the lifting of restrictions in the UK and what happens in Europe.

Keep up to date with the very latest on this exciting trip at Sandbanks to Monaco Grand Tour 2021

We’re anticipating that the Welsh Weekender in July will, fingers crossed, go ahead. Thanks to being a wholly UK trip we’re not dependent on overseas virus rates and all the associated issues, such as the anticipated traffic light system regarding countries we can and can’t visit. The mountains of Wales are just waiting for us to explore and we, for one, can’t wait to get out on the road again.

Make sure you’re the first to know when booking is available by signing up for updates at Welsh Weekender 2021

And… Stop Press! We’re also working on a late summer foray to Scotland. Again, as this is within the UK borders we have high hopes that this will be a goer. If you’ve never driven a supercar around the highlands, lochs and mountains of this super country then wow – are there some treats in store for you!

Head to the Radical Rally home page and join our mailing list to be kept in the loop.

The Radical Rally Coronavirus Guarantee

Of course, while we’re all keen to get bookings in the diary and head out on the open road, we want you to know that we’ve got your back should things go, ahem – a bit awry. After the past year we all know that the best laid plans can turn around and bite you in the ass… 

That’s why we’ve put a robust Radical Rally coronavirus guarantee in place. All our 2021 events are fully covered, meaning you can sign up safe in the knowledge that should restrictions come into force you can either get a full refund, transfer your event or postpone your rally for up to 2 years.

Read the full Ts & Cs at Radical Rally COVID guarantee

Image by icsilviu from Pixabay

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Supercar Paradise: France’s best mountain passes

Excuse our presumption, but we’re betting that the numero uno reason you invested in your dream supercar wheels (apart from the kudos, naturally) is the thrill of pushing your driving skills and the ability of your vehicle to the limit. Well, there’s no better place to do this than in the wilderness paradise that is the French Alps.

So join us as we share some of our favourite locations that combine roads boasting inclines so steep that they scream for you to floor the gas, breath-taking vantage points and hairpins so numerous that they’ll set your heart a-flutter (and no, it’s not just because of the altitude…).

Welcome to the best French mountain passes that you have to experience at least once in your lifetime…

The Best French Mountain Passes for Supercars

Whatever you drive, we promise that the following mountain passes are perfectly equipped to bring on the buzz every supercar owner craves. The following are uber-drives that present multiple cols, passes, steep inclines and declines, switchbacks galore and the continual adrenaline rushes as you harness your inner Colin McRae. Just remember, they drive on the right in mainland Europe…

The 7 Cols of the Ubaye Valley

Named after the Ubaye River that runs through it, this is an amazing location to spend a lazy few days discovering the 7 amazing cols of this Alpes de Haute Provence department. These are:

  1. Col de Larche: Reaching 1991 metres in height, the Col de Larche is known as the Gateway to Italy as it heads into the Stura di Demonte valley in the neighbouring country. You’ll be delighted to know that at the present you won’t have to navigate cyclists, pedestrians or tractors as they’re currently banned. The perfect scenario for uninterrupted supercar driving.
  2. Col Saint Jean:  You head down from Barcelonnette to Le Lauzet (a drive of around 20km). From here you begin the climb to the 1333 metres, with gentle gradients of around 5-6%. Col Saint Jean is a relatively relaxing traverse, getting you revved up for the white knuckle drives further down the line.
  3. Col de Pontis: Nature at its best, the short winding road up to the Col de Pontis is a gritty drive, but well worth it for the views out over the dam and the resulting reservoir that flooded the original ancient village of Ubaye.
  4. Col de la Bonette: The highest paved road in Europe, the Col de la Bonette saves the best for the final kilometre of its 2715 metre climb, where the incline increases to around 10%. The view when you get there is, quite simply, jaw-dropping. Take a backpack, park up, and wander a little. The air is among the cleanest on the planet, and the delicious silence is the perfect antidote the 21st century life. And – breathe…
  5. Col d’Allos: This Tour de France classic offers plenty of places to stop for a refreshing dip at one of the natural beaches of Bachelard along the way. Top Tip: In July and August the road to the Col d’Allos is closed to all cars between 08:00 and 11:00 (it’s cyclists only at this time).
  6. Col de la Cayolle: Breathtaking from start to finish, Col de la Cayolle delights with an incredible 9kms of zigzags and hairpins. Stop off in the hamlet restaurant of Madame Arnaud in Fours for a hearty plate of local ravioli.
  7. Col de Vars: At 2109 metres, the Col de Vars is a serious climb that gets more stunning with every curve and bend. There’s some incredible natural rock formations on the way up, knowns as Demoiselles coiffees, and you can take a detour to a tiny lakeside inn where Napoleon once stayed.

The Route Napoleon

What could be better than driving the high altitude road that takes you from Grenoble to gorgeous Grasse on the Côte d’Azur? Spring or autumn are great times to take on this glorious route, perhaps stopping along the way to kayak or bathe in the bright blue-green waters of the Gorges du Verdon.

Take some time out to enjoy the towns of Corps, Sisteron, and Castellane, and you can indulge your love of perfumes in the epicentre of the industry – Grasse – at the end of this classic route.

Top Tip. Avoid Route Napoleon in the height of summer as this is when you’ll encounter the most traffic. Plus the temperature in spring and autumn is pleasant, averaging 20 – 25°C, instead of the blistering 30 degrees plus in July and August.

The Daddy of them All: The Routes des Grandes Alpes

At 684 km in length (425 miles), this adventure starts at the shores of Lake Leman and finishes at the Mediterranean. Along the way there’s an incredible 16 mountain passes, with the highest hitting an oxygen-thinning 2,802 metres.

The Route des Grande Alpes was opened in 1913 and was fully paved by 1937 – this truly is a legendary route, but only one you should attempt from mid-June onwards. Only then will the highest passes be guaranteed snow free. They’ll close again when the snows arrive in the autumn.

Journey’s end, in Menton, is a French Riviera delight, and well worth a few days R&R. And, of course, you shouldn’t fail to drive your wheels in Cannes or St. Tropez. As the video shows, you’ll be in good company.

Why France?

So apart from the obvious (scenery, incredible driving experience, the food, wine etc.) there are many additional reasons to book a Eurotunnel ticket and set your satnav for our nearest major mountain range.  These include:

  • The solitude: While there’ll be others enjoying the same adventure playground, the sheer scale of this mountainous region means that in general the roads are quiet. 
  • The nature: OK… So the roar of your engine might not be conducive to spotting shy creatures, but packing a picnic and stopping along the way for a peaceful alfresco lunch might mean you’re lucky enough to spot beasties as diverse as Golden Eagles and even wolves! However, you’ll be lucky with the latter (there’s only an estimated couple of hundred covering an enormous area). But keep your eyes peeled and marmots, chamois, ptarmigan, mouflon and even Ibex might make an appearance.
  • The language: It goes without saying that if you learn a little lingo you’ll enamour yourself with the locals. Pick up a phrase book, don’t worry too much about your accent, and give it a go. Your supercar will have undoubtedly piqued interest from others, and the odd word or two en français will do wonders for English-French relations.

Check out our Radical Rally Sandbanks to Monaco Grand Tour where we’ll include some of the above. We also hope to include the D23 near Boulogne as well. Although do check local information as rocks slides and other issues often cause it to be closed.

Image by Frank Derrier from Pixabay

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