Paddy, you are not a driver. You are a feckin' pilot!the_s41nt, 2015
Paddy, you are not a driver. You are a feckin' pilot!the_s41nt, 2015
In 2010, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May headed off to Romania in search of the unpronounceable Transfăgărăşan Highway (Top Gear Series 14, Episode 1). Jeremy proclaimed afterwards that the Transfăgărășan is "the best road in the world". Since then Paddy wanted to drive this magnificent road and see for himself if that's truly the case. This September, his dream came true: Paddy the driver drove all the way to Romania and back ‐ sadly without Paddy the Navigator. Paddy had to work with a soulless computer in his Audi S3 instead.
The Transfăgărășan, or DN7C, also known as Ceaușescu's Folly, is a paved mountain road crossing the southern section of the Carpathian Mountains of Romania.
It starts near the village of Bascov, near Pitești, and stretches 90 kilometers to the crossroad between the DN1 and Sibiu, between the highest peaks in the country, Moldoveanu and Negoiu.
Paddy spent a few days in Romania and drove dozens of times over the mountain road. Up and down, back and forth, round and round. Paddy completely agrees with Jeremy here, the Transfăgărășan Highway is best road in the world. It has everything what a great road needs. On top of it, the view is astonishing:
Needless to say, Paddy made a video:
"You'll navigate. I'll be in the back", said Paddy the Navigator to Paddy, the Propaganda Minister. This is highly unusual. But, you see, Paddy is testing a theory. Because of their constant quest for challenges and the challenges running out, Team Paddy Murphy has to resort to the ultimate measure: Making their own challenges.
This weekend's trip took Paddy from their home town to the Swiss Alps. Ahead of the three Paddies aboard Henry, the trusty Ford Capri MK III 2.3 S, were 255.64km of Swiss Mountain Roads. No highways. Driver was in for a challenge.
But before any of this happens, Navigator had to explain to Propaganda how to actually navigate a rallye. This was the mission: Test out Paddy's roadbook-making skills.
"You watch the Trip Master that does a ticking noise every ten meters, call out the distance and the turn and then reset the Trip Master", says Navigator.
"Does it matter which of the two Trip Master counters I reset", asks Propaganda.
"No, it doesn't, as long as you only ever reset the counter that is to the route", says Driver.
After some more explanation on terminology, the team came to the conclusion that can best be summed up as a mixture between "Eh, what could possibly go wrong?" and "Dear God, we're going to die today" and hit the roads. The roadbook planned for six hours of driving, passing 107 waypoints. Propaganda was in for quite something.
The first 20 waypoints went smoothly. But then came the 21st: A roundabout!
"Take the second exit onto Morgentalstrasse", says Propaganda.
"That turn", asks Driver and points to an exit.
"Yup", says Propaganda.
"Wrong", says Navigator from the back seat with an evil laugh.
The team doubles back and - lo and behold - there's a hidden exit. It's behind the sidewalk and it looks nothing like a road.
"Come the hell on, that's a driveway, not a road", says Propaganda.
"What am I supposed to do here? Just run over all the pedestrians when I take that first exit", asks Driver.
"An exit's an exit. Besides, the roadbook says you're taking the second exit", says Navigator and he's right. Because Paddy would have gotten way off course had Navigator not intervened.
"This better be the only mistake Propaganda makes today", says Driver.
Roadblock, Swiss Style
Somewhere in the St. Gallen Highlands, Paddy hits a roadblock. Coincidentally, Paddy has managed to have the test drive on the date of a Swiss tradition: The Alpabzug. It's the polar opposite of the Alpaufzug that happens in the spring. In autumn, the cattle that was put onto the lush meadows of the alps, are being led back home to their farmsteads where they're spending the winter. Swiss men, women and dogs drive the cattle along public roads, wearing traditional garb and having decorated their cows with ornate flower arrangements.
None of this is of any particular interest to Paddy. Because not only is he losing time that he'll have to make up again later on the drive, which might put him above speed limit. This is against the rules.
Driver gets nervous.
"Come on, darling, move it", he says to a cow that seems to have taken an interest in Henry, the car. The cow seems uninterested.
"Don't you dare slobber onto my car", Driver tells another cow.
The cow doesn't listen. Slobber hits the left side of the hood.
"You're steak, you miserable bloody cow", growls Driver. He asks Navigator for his pocket knife.
Navigator and Propaganda manage to dissuade Driver from butchering a stranger's cow, because there's time to make up.
The Long Stretches
Driver, however, shines on the long stretches of road. After Propaganda has announced that they're hitting the mountain roads, Driver sees his chance.
"I hope you lot don't get sea sick", says Driver and the engine howls as he hits the pedal.
What you need to know about most Swiss mountain serpentines that snake up the mountains: They're fairly liberal when it comes to speed limits. Some are limited to 50 km/h, others are limited to 80. However, very few drivers actually drive at or even over the speed limits as these roads are treacherous. Depending on the weather, bad accidents can happen. However, Paddy is in luck. The roads are dry and clear. So Driver hits the speed limit, takes risks at the curves and makes up for a lot of lost time. Propaganda can see the focus in Driver's eyes. This is driving honed by thousands of kilometres at rallyes across mountain passes in several countries. Henry's tyres squeal and the cab of the car smells of a mixture between rubber and gasoline.
Not once does Paddy have to pull a full stop.
Paddy is fast. Navigator has set the average speed to 40 km/h, but Driver manages to get to the last few waypoints half an hour before the time limit. What happened?
"I didn't account for all the stretches of 80km/h and your driving", says Navigator to Driver.
"You really should know better", replies Driver.
"Oi, can we go inside", asks Propaganda.
Because Paddy has reached his destination: Waldhaus am See. This is where the three crew will stay for the night, because the infamous Whisky and Dine is on the menu.
Paddy is a driver some days, but a connoisseur later. Complimenting steak tatar, salmon, mushroom cream soup, quail, rice, entrecote and chocolate mousse are:
Even though Paddy did some heavy driving and a bit of drinking this weekend, the team would like to remind you that drinking and driving is neither legal nor smart. This is why the team stayed the night at the Waldhaus, ate a good and hearty breakfast in the morning and headed home with a clear head.
Paddy's advice: Enjoy it all. Drive safe. Drink responsibly. Enjoy the view. And have a great and long life!
On 08 July 2017, Paddy attended the fifth edition of Charity Classics in Weinfelden. Charity Classics is a one day rally around beautiful spots in Eastern Switzerland with three regularity tests and some passage controls. Paddy did very well and finished the rally on the second place! The score from two years ago is now settled (Charity Classics 2015).
The statistics of the rally are:
|Total Elevation Gain/Loss:||1314m / 1314m|
|Elevation Range:||383m - 916m|
Team Paddy Murphy attended the 13th edition of Coppa d'Europa 2017 from 6th to 9th April 2017. The 2017 edition started in Maastrich (NL) and led through the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria and ended in Munich (DE). Coppa d'Europa is among the most challenging rallies in Central Europe. Team Paddy Murphy started in the category CoppaSport for the second time and finished the rally 43rd of 52.
Paddy had a slow start. The first day, he seemed to drive according to the legendary drivers' motto ambitious but rubbish, coined by automotive legend Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear / The Grand Tour fame. On the second day, Paddy could improve his performance and it looked like the team would match or even surpass last year's result. Things never turn out the way you expect. The problems startet in the afternoon of day 3, after a great morning. Suddenly, Paddy couldn't shift gears anymore. None of the gears would stick and there were weird noises coming from the general direction of the engine. "Surely, this must be a leprechaun", thought Paddy. Whether or not a character of Ireland's folklore made it under the hood of the Audi quattro to plague your valiant hero during his most arduous test became irrelevant as the situation got so bad that, in the name of safety, Paddy had to stop. It was pretty bad. Was Paddy beaten?
After half an hour waiting, the mighty Audi quattro was brought to a garage.
The car mechanic figured out that break liquid was leaking and was empty. This caused the problem with the clutch. He could pump out air out of the clutch system and refilled the break liquid tank ‐ the quattro was alive again! Much like an Irishman on St. Patrick's Day five minutes before last call, Paddy refused to be beaten. Quitting the race? Out of the question! With the Audi purring like a kitten again, he was back on the road! He lost a lot of time and collected lots of penalty points for missing checkpoints. Eventually, though, triumphant and undefeated, Paddy rolled into Munich. While he was not first, it tasted a whole lot like victory. Because against all odds, in an old car with a clutch that has a mind of its own, Paddy finished the race.
The statistics of the Coppa d'Europa 2016 are (data is missing on day 3):
|Title||Total Length||Total Duration||Elevation Range||Average Speed|
|Way there||634 km||7h 43m||25m to 772m||92.00 km/h|
|Day 01||582.67 km||12h 27m||49m to 637m||51.83 km/h|
|Day 02||484.17 km||10h 28m||102m to 1084m||51.14 km/h|
|Day 03||365.58 km||10h 20m||405m to 1471m||49.83 km/h|
|Way back||340.33 km||4h 45m||387m to 714m||81.14 km/h|
Map of the rally Coppa d'Europa 2017:
Team Paddy Murphy emerged again victorious as the winner of this year's Strade del Vino rally ‐ they scored a hat-trick! The definition of hat-trick is three successes of the same kind within a limited period.
Team Paddy Murphy attended the 7th edition of Strade del Vino from 1th to 5th June 2016 in Piedmont, Italy. It was once more an awesome experience. Beautiful landscapes, interesting routes, great food and drinks. Thanks to the Orga-Team of Strade del Vino for that!
The statistics of the rally Strade del Vino 2016 are:
|Title||Total Length||Total Duration||Total Elevation Gain/Loss||Average Speed|
|Prologue||245 km||4h 22m||2904m / 3012m||74.09 km/h|
|Day 01||192 km||7h 59m||4553m / 4558m||40.38 km/h|
|Day 02||237 km||8h 40m||6299m / 6291m||41.75 km/h|
|Day 03||171 km||7h 53m||4837m / 4849m||40.51 km/h|
Map of the rally Strade del Vino 2016:
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