Buttle UK

Italian Job

Italian Job

Unfortunately the GPS Tracker we have fitted has failed.
However you can keep up to date of our progress on Facebook link above.

Sunday 4th November 2007

An early start for a long drive to Liverpool to catch our ferry home, we travelled with Carl and Angie (Team 18) and got there in very good time, however the SeaCat was running late, we got home around 11.20pm.

We’ve had a brilliant time on the Italian Job and definitely will consider doing it again another year.

The car performed great but the clutch oil seal has been leaking and gradually getting worse as the miles piled on, but she got us home.  We covered 3,253 road miles since leaving home, we didn’t disgrace ourselves with the final position of 9th and what it was truly about Team 21 raised in excess of £6,000.00 for the children’s charities NCH and The Isle of Man Children’s Centre due to our very generous supporters, whom we thank very much.  The support of everyone has been brilliant.

Saturday 3rd November 2007

From Reims to Calais it was a one and a half hour journey, however we needed to rendezvous there to get our allocated slot at 11.30am.  Giving ourselves time just in case of breakdown we set off early, just as well as we caught Carl and Angie (Team 18) up on the side of the motorway with bonnet up and people peering in, two of the other cars we were traveling with had stopped too.  On investigation it was an electrical fault, a bad connection on the main feeds at the solenoid, a few replacement terminals and he was up and running again.  Just before we set off, the service van broke down behind us, they had been suffering problems with dirty fuel and air in the system.  Tim’s head was soon on the job and they were off again to meet up with another team in a service area who were suffering electrical problems too, we followed them to offer assistance, on arrival the car appeared fine, we checked the charging system and they went on their way.  It did turn out not to be a charging problem but low oil pressure, however they made it to Calais.  Everybody made it on time to the ferry terminal and we were on our way back to “Blighty”.

On arrival at Dover, as Italian Job tradition dictates, as we left the ferry horns were blaring out as we disembarked.  An hour and a quarter run brought us to a point where we were all in line for a police escort to Brighton, what a sight!  On arrival in Brighton we passed the finish line and were presented with a Finisher’s Trophy and Certificate.  Now was a chance to book into the hotel and take a rest, well a rest at the bar!

The grand finale dinner and presentation started at 7.30pm where Freddie made a few announcements and drew the “Prize Draw”, unfortunately we didn’t win the BMW Mini, shame.  Then it was time to reveal who had won the navigation rally and the special stages, 1st was Roger and Yvonne Team 22. 2nd our travelling companions Carl and Angie Team 18, 3rd Gunther and Susan Team 69, and 4th Keith and Bill Team 48, the latter three were all party of our party who travelled back from Italy together, shame we let the side down and didn’t get 5th but we did get 9th position overall, which we were pleased enough with for a first attempt out of the 40+ vehicles that took part.

Friday 2nd November 2007

We are now officially “Off the Job”, all timed stages and navigational runs have finished.  We needed to travel to Annecy yesterday which was approximately 140 miles away from where we were in Turin, not a big distance as we had all day to do it in therefore we thought we would take in a few more of the sights of Turin before our departure.  We travelled to the church to see where the filming took place of the scene where the Minis come down the steps of the entrance to the church, and across the road the weir where the mini cars went through and the police Alfa got sunk.  After numerous photos etc we travelled down the side of the river to pick up the autostrada to head north for Annecy.  We arrived in Annecy at about 4.00pm so we took the opportunity to explore this lovely town.

Today, the 2nd November, we had a long journey ahead of us to Reims, which was 340 miles, this took most of the day, upon our arrival a tour of the house of MUM had been arranged for us, this is a champagne/wine company and the tour was quite interesting.  We booked into our hotel and, after a drink at the bar, a number of us went in search of an evening meal.  We found a brilliant Canadian restaurant and indulged ourselves in steak etc.  Tomorrow (Saturday) we head for Calais to catch the ferry back to Dover for our final leg into Brighton for the grand finale!

Ian & Mike

Wednesday 31st October 2007

It is now getting increasingly difficult to remember where we are, what day it is, and where we are going to!  Today we have moved on to Turin via our navigation book and, of course, timing was critical.  En-route we had a special stage in the grounds of Cascina San Cassiano in Alba, where they provided lunch for us all and showed us round the food processing factory.

We arrived in Turin after covering approximately 125miles, once here in Turin we gathered in the centre in a beautiful square called Piazza Carlo Alberto, which we had time to explore, before the police escorted us around some of the Italian Job film sets.  This was crazy, four police bikes and a car with flashing blue lights escorting a load of Minis around Turin with the Minisí horns blaring and their lights blazing, for the startled onlookers it must have been a rare sight!  The traffic lights were ignored, the pedestrian crossings were ignored, we had a free run of the city for a while (well not entirely free run), but what an experience!

The police escorted us then to the famous Lingotto roof top test track, a very popular area where some of the filmís car chases took place, we had a fantastic time going round the main road way up to the top and an equally fantastic time all getting a couple of laps around the track, once again an experience not to be missed.  Now we are settled in the Meridien Lingotto hotel which is the old Fiat factory converted into a hotel.

More photos are now up in the gallery, we have had trouble at the last two hotels in getting internet connections, so sorry for the lack of recent photos.

Speak again soon.

Ian & Mike

Tuesday 30th October 2007

Yesterday we moved on from Quattro D’Altino to Monza, a 169 mile navigation run, went without problems. We had lunch at a national park area ìParco Di Monzaî after which we moved onto the Habitat Hotel.  We had two hours to change into our dinner suits before going to one of the sponsors, Briancars of Monza the BMW Mini agent, where we saw the new Mini Clubman and had a few nibbles.  It was then another navigation route to the Monza Race Circuit, it was getting dark by then but that didnít stop them escorting us around the race track in our cars.  We had another special stage around cones etc before having dinner at the Monza Race Circuit restaurant.

Apparently they are not giving any more results out from the special stages until the final evening at Brighton, so we have to just do our best and hopefully keep in the running.

Today we were up early to complete a navigational run to Stressa, en-route we visited a crazy military museum, it was a bit like a “Fred Dibnah” site, many old steam engines, tanks, aircraft, mountains of old motorbikes – a real Aladdin’s Cave. Moving on from there we arrived at Stressa by the lake where we were taken on a boat to a small island for lunch.  Another boat trip back and yet another special stage doing reversing manoeuvres in a pre-set time (think we did okay on that one).  We are now in our hotel for this evening, a very swish one “The Grand” it is 2.10pm, the afternoon is ours.  Tonight we are all suited-up again for yet more food in the dining room.

We will keep you up to speed as our journey back north progresses further.<br>Catch you later.

Ian & Mike

Sunday 28th October 2007

Today was to be a navigational run to and from the Adria Raceway and back to the hotel here in Quattro D’Altino, about sixty miles.  Unfortunately the navigational part was canceled due to a push bike race which included road closures, etc, so we made our way to Adria with Sat Nav avoiding the road closures.  On our arrival, there was a special stage where we were timed on crushing plastic cups with our wheels and doing it all bang on 30 seconds, unfortunately after crushing all the cups we were 2 seconds early crossing the finish which gave us penalty points.  However, after an organised processional run around the race circuit hooting our horns and flashing our light to the cheers of the spectators, and a spot of lunch, we did another special stage.  This time we had to do a figure of eight in bang-on 12 seconds, I think we managed that in the correct time.  All will be revealed when the score sheet goes up in reception tonight.  Prior to today’s events, we were 9th on Friday, 7th on Saturday and lying 6th overall, but this is very early days and after today’s performance I think we will be down the rankings somewhat.

Tomorrow we leave Quattro D’Altino and make our way to Monza, more then.

Ian & Mike

Post Script – Today’s results are up now, we were 15th today, which puts us into 10th place overall at present – boo hiss, a bit of catching up to do – must try harder!!!

Saturday 27th October 2007

Today we had the navigation run to the children’s home, and what a greeting from the children we got.  They were so excited, I think it was like Christmas and they couldn’t wait for us to arrive.  After checking-in with the timekeeper, we then did a special stage on their football pitch where we were timed to do some entries into boxes and touch the front and back of the vehicle on a plastic obstacle and doing it all in a predetermined time, great fun and loads of cheers from the kids.

After all cars had completed that, we were invited to give our gifts which were displayed on a table with a vast amount of little eyes just eager to get “stuck in”.  But before they were allowed, thanks and songs were sung by the children.  It was a very humbling experience seeing so many children with varying disabilities.

Time to go, we navigated to a little town called Asolo where we had about an hour to get a coffee and tour the very idyllic town.  From there we had to navigate to a place called Villa Razzolini where we had lunch.  This was our last navigational stop, they intended to take us to a military airport, but due to a last minute ìsecurity scareî we were not allowed in.  We were left to do whatever we wished for the rest of the day so Team 18 and ourselves went to the town of Treveso, a pretty place where we had a coffee and soaked in the local atmosphere.

Back to the hotel where our very dirty little Mini was treated to a wash, tonight we have the charity auction so I’ve told Mike no twitching or else we will be bringing extra stuff home.  We have a few items to auction for the charities, four fake gold bars made by Gary Smith out of resin and sprayed gold and embossed with “The Italian Job 2007”, we have had a good deal of interest in them already so we’re hoping for some good results (we’ll see) – weíve put a photo on the gallery of the gold bars.

That’s all for now folks.


Ian & Mike

Friday 26th October, 2007

We arrived at the hotel here at Quattro D’Altino just outside Venice yesterday.  We traveled from Innsbruck to Balzano where we stayed the night before pushing onto our final destination here in northern Italy.  We have now covered 1,410 miles.

We checked-in at the hotel where we had a very warm Italian Job greeting.

After scrutineering and registration for the event we decided, being so close to Venice, we would venture down there by train.  What an interesting and vibrant place, we spent most of the afternoon and part of the early evening there before catching a train back to the hotel.

The car is still going fine and doing us proud, we did a few maintenance checks and then met other Jobbers in the bar for a chat and bite to eat.

Today, Friday, saw our first event, a briefing at 10.00am and start at 12.00, it was to be an easy day today to get us new Jobbers used to the road book etc.  We managed to follow it with precision and didnít get lost!  We arrived at a vineyard for two special timed events and some lunch, the road book instructions brought us back to the hotel where we have a debrief tonight at 7.30pm.

Tomorrow will be a totally different day with a very full day of navigation and special stages taking us around the Venetian hills and visiting the Medea of Coneglianco, one of the childrenís homes which is supported by the Italian Job, fingers crossed we donít get lost on our way!  While we are there we will be able to take the opportunity to meet the children and give them gifts which we have brought with us.

That’s all for now.  We’ll catch up again with you all soon – unless we’re lost somewhere in the depths of Italy!

Ian & Mike

Tuesday 23rd October 2007

Yesterday we had a visit to the Auto World Museum in Brussels, said to be one of the largest in Europe. There were some fantastic exhibits there which really needed more time than we had to appreciate them.  We got away at around 11.00am and headed for the Nurburg Ring, getting through the centre of Brussels was a nightmare, the poor Tom Tom navigator had a “breakdown”, the traffic was mad but we eventually got on the right road for the Nurburg Ring and arrived in time to take a lap round.  What an experience that was, there were some very “Tasty” motors leaving us standing but an experience not to be missed.

That evening was spent in the hotel restaurant where we met up with another Italian Job team who were on their way to Venice in their BMW Grand Prix Mini, Chris & Jax, Team 41, second time jobbers who got married on the “Job” last year (very dedicated jobbers).

We had a great evening, they have a mascot “Quack Quack” a plastic duck who is so well travelled you wouldn’t believe it.  Unfortunately Quack Quack got kidnapped, but Chris & Jax were soon on the trail and made a successful rescue attempt from Carl & Angie Team 18.

An early start Tuesday morning put us on our way to Innsbruck, this was one of our longest legs on the way down to Venice, the cars behaved brilliantly, apart from a sticking accelerator on Team 18 Carl & Angie’s car, which was eased with good old WD40, we had a few stops on the way, one celebrating our 1000th road mile since leaving the Isle of Man.  The whole journey today, some 480miles, was done in about 9 hours.  Some spectacular scenery was enjoyed coming over the mountains to Innsbruck, lots of snow, and Christmas card-like scenes.  More photos have been uploaded  www.italianjob.info/gallery.

Tomorrow we make our way to Balzano which will be a short leg, will update again soon.

Ian & Mike

Sunday 21st October 2007

Well it’s 11.20pm here on Sunday 21st October; we’re in Brussels at present.

After meeting up with Carl and Angie from Team 18 on our arrival in Liverpool we all had an uneventful trip on our drive down to Dover on Saturday, I say uneventful we had some friends of Ian’s from Stone in Stafford on a bridge on the M6 with a banner and waving furiously wishing us good luck.  We replied with lights flashing and horns blasting as we sped past underneath!

The car performed well, it took us about 5 hours to complete the journey to Dover arriving at the hotel at around 6.25pm. Having what we thought was a slow puncture on the offside front wheel Ian went off looking for air to pump the slightly deflated tyre up, after much searching at that time of night he had to buy a small compressor from a filling station. The tyre duly pumped up we were ready for the trip over to Calais the next day.

Sunday arrived the tyre stayed up and after a good nightís sleep we were ready for the trip to Calais and to start the journey for what we thought really on the wrong side of the road and in a different country. However, as we left the hotel a mere 5 minutes from the ferry terminal, and as we were approaching one of the concrete ramps into the terminal marshalling area Ian and Mike’s car was “rear ended” by a Renault Scenic, needless to say the air was blue for a while! The guy (fortunately an English chap) was very sorry and after calming down and a friendly word of advice from the police, insurance details were exchanged. This wasn’t a good start to the trip!  Luckily the Mini wasn’t damaged too much; although a few panels are a bit crumpled we are able to carry on with the trip.

There were a few other “Jobber” Teams on the ferry, and the presence of a few decaled Minis attracted some interest.  We arrived in Calais, had a quick chat to the other Teams from the ferry, and then we headed off for Dunkirk.  From Dunkirk we headed to Brugge where we stopped a while and took in some local sights and had some refreshments. From Brugge we had a good run to Brussels where we are now staying the night, tomorrow we are planning to go to an automobile museum here in Brussels which is said to be one of the biggest in Europe! Tomorrow afternoon, if the weather permits, we will travel to the Nurburg Ring and take advantage of a run round the famous Nurburg Ring race circuit.

All in all the total mileage covered so far is 473 miles.

Will update again soon, bye for now!!!!

Ian & Mike