Lokinen Geneva motor show 2009 blogTue, 10 Mar 2009
10 March 2009 12:00
Getting To Base Camp Thannon
It had all gone too well. Having failed to secure accommodation near the centre of Geneva, I’d easily managed to get an apartment in the same block as my two forum blogger colleagues, Robbie (1977) and Mark (car4mh). I’d also, purely by chance, managed to get a flight that landed ten minutes before Robby’s flight into Geneva which meant that we could jointly figure out the best way to get the 35k/m from the Airport to Thannon Le Bain, over the border in France and split the cost if necessary. The journey down to Bournemouth Airport went without hitch and as I sat sipping my Latte, waiting for my flight to be called, I looked forward to the next few days…
Then I got a text.” Sorry mate, been a bit of a T*T, tell you about it later but need to catch a later flight. Wont be there till after booking in time so can you collect mine and Marks room keys.” Oh No!!
Landed in Geneva about 2pm and discovered a taxi to Thannon was a Hundred quid. The info desk at the airport advised that I catch a train to Central Geneva and then from the Bus station down at the lake, bus it straight to Thannon. Next bus ? Two hours time!!
After wandering around for ages looking for the Apartment block, I finally got into my room at 6.30pm. Robbie has text again and his flight is an hour late. He will be too late to get the last bus at 7.15 .I decide to nip out and grab some beers, then sit back watching a dubbed Patrick Swayze film and fall asleep. I wake with a start at 9.30pm. This isn’t good. The guys are still not here and in order to meet Tim Pollard and the guys at 7.30 am, we need to be on the 5.45am bus, back to Geneva. I decide to go back down to the front entrance and wait out in the street. Within four minutes I spot a forlorn figure trudging up the street carrying two bags. As he gets near he says “I don’t suppose there is any chance at all that your name is Reg “…Hello Robbie!!
We head upstairs and have a beer and wonder about Mark. Robbie nips off to freshen up and we head back down in the lift to grab a bite to eat in the restaurant over the road. As we leave the lift we bump into Mark…..and he has a hire car. Result.
Next morning, and the plan is to hit the road at 6.15 which should get us into Geneva and in good time to meet Tim Pollard at 7.30. Robby ,who by the way had lost phone network somewhere after Birmingham Airport and only got it back once back in Blighty, had also forgot to put his phone clock forward an hour once in Switzerland and his alarm hadn’t gone off!! Finally hit the road at 6.30 and got the car parked at 7.45.
Heading towards the entrance where Tim will be waiting for us with TMS (Tim the comp winner from the web site) I spot a Giant of a man, he must be a least 8ft 14”…its George Kacher. I immediately remember and instantly dismiss Battys request re the Kacher bum. The two Tim’s are there waiting for us and we have a quick chat ,get our press passes and agree a time to meet later ,13.30 on the Rolls Royce stand. Tim then leaves us to our own devices, we decide to get a bit of breakfast and hit the first big press launches on the Audi and Bentley stands, having been too late for the VW polo launch. Time to have a quick chat to TMS who has driven over from the UK in an Audi 80 bought just for the trip, for £900. He is very keen to get into Motoring Journalism. He also loves Rover 75’s and p6’s…just like me!!
Upstairs and into the hall where Audi are situated, Mark disappears and TMS goes off to stash his jacket somewhere and we agree to meet him in 10 minutes on the Lotus stand…we never get there. Myself and Robby are like two 14 year olds in a naughty book shop, dashing from stand to stand, overwhelmed by the glitz and glamour. The Bentley press launch is at 09.30 and we get amongst the press camera crowd. The show begins and on the wall behind is a teaser of the front end of the new car currently hidden under a cover. Suddenly, music, lights, smoke, cover off and……oh it’s a white Continental. You could sense the disappointment, neither a clap nor a cheer and within minutes the press crowd had cleared more than enough for the digi camera brigade to get some snaps. What we had here was the 621 bhp continental super sports e85 bio fuel with some extra slots in the front and if you know your Bentleys, some wider rear arches. We moved swiftly on.