John O’Groats to Monaco – with a dash of 1926 magic

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THE grandson of the first British man to win the Monte Carlo Classic Rally is recreating his journey 90 years later.

 

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Michael (left) with co-driver Rob.

 

Michael Grimmond set off in a 1927 AC car from John O’Groats at dawn yesterday (Wednesday).

His grandad, 29-year old driver Victor Bruce, won the world famous rally in 1926 after battling through snow and ice during the 2500km (1553 mile) race.

 

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The team at the start line.

 

Arborist Michael, 44, is now at the wheel of a car his grandad used to break a string of world records the following year as the original car was scrapped.

His co-pilot is family friend Rob Hescroff, 48, whose uncle now owns the vehicle.

Michael’s wife Jacquie, 45, and mum Wendy, 67, will follow on in a support vehicle.

 

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Victor Bruce sets off from John O’Groats, 89 years ago.

 

The journey in the six-cylinder, 2-litre petrol AC Acedes car is expected to take three days and will involve crossing the French Alps.

Michael will then lead 25 classic cars past cheering crowds as part of the starting ceremony.

He said: “My grandad did it in 1926, in an AC car. He was 29. The one we’re doing it in is a 1927 model.

 

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The open road: the view this morning as the team set off south from John o’Groats.

 

“John O’Groats was a good starting point for the Monte Carlo rally. The further away you started, the more points you got.

“We’re doing it to follow in his footsteps . It’s nice to do. It’s kind of weird to be here knowing he was here.

“There’s a family connection to him but through the car as well. It was amazing what he achieved and it will be nice to do this in his memory.”

 

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Michael’s mother Wendy Grimmond with a photo of her father posing with his car in Monaco.

 

As he prepared to set off in near-freezing temperatures, he added: “We’re pretty wrapped up with ski wear. We’ll stay warm one way or another. There’s no heater. Hopefully the rain will miss us.”

The team expect to drive 12 hours a day, and hope to arrive in Monte Carlo on Saturday afternoon.

 

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Michael’s grandfather and co-pilot set off in freezing conditions, yet still crossed the French Alps and won the race.

On the way they will join other drivers setting off from Paisley, Renfrewshire.

Michael said: “Although it can do a reasonable speed – 80mph – I don’t want to break a car that’s not mine.

“We’re not doing it competitively – we just hope we’ll make it. “

 

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The 1926 winners battled fierce snow in their six-cylinder vehicle.

Shortly after setting off, he added: “It was a good set-off, there was no rain. We’re wearing all the right gear, we’re pleasantly surprised.”

He will carry with him the trophy that Bruce and co-driver, W.J Brunell, won for their 1926 victory.

 

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Victor Bruce at the wheel of his car, shortly before winning the 1926 Monte Carlo rally.

 

John O’ Groats was once a popular starting point for Monte Carlo rally, but fell out of favour after WW2 made conditions too difficult.

The rally was set up in 1911 to promote tourism in Monaco. Competitors set off from different European cities before gathering in Monaco.

 

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