A damp start for Dawn Refuelling

Major Waffle
A brief look back at the first Dawn Refuelling event held last Sunday. It was a little wet, wet, wet. But good fun was had by all.

You have to be a pretty committed petrolhead to prize yourself out of bed in the early hours of a Sunday morning and head to a motorway services on the M5. When you awake to the sound of pouring rain, you'd be forgiven if you switched off the alarm clock, pulled the bed covers over your ahead and squeezed in a couple of hours extra sleep.

But last Sunday, with little more than a brief drive and a bacon sandwich in prospect, 13 hardy souls braved the elements and the incredibly early hour and ventured to Exeter services.

Arriving first, I was quickly joined by Rob in his Passat and it wasn't long before a modified Skoda Fabia, a Jaguar X-Type and a brace of Renault 21s turned up. By 7.30am we were joined by a Mazda 3 Sport, a Mazda MX-5, a Jaguar XKR, a Mini Cooper and a Fiat Coupé. After some grumbled mutterings about the price of motorway petrol, the rain and the early hour, we made ourselves on to the M5 and went in search of some great driving roads.

To say the drive was a little wet would be a huge understatement. By the time we'd exited the M5 and ventured on to the B-roads, our lights were on main beam, the wipers on full speed and I'm guessing that most people following my lead were questioning their decision to get out of bed. For my part, I was just thankful I'd made the late decision to replace the Citroën AX GT with the Audi S6. Had the AX actually made it to Castle Drogo, I'm pretty sure it would have disintegrated under the pressure washer conditions it was being subjected to.

Dawn Refuelling - the old A30 Whiddon DownBut it was these conditions that actually contributed to what became quite an epic drive, as it probably discouraged the Car booters, Doggies and Tippers from leaving the house. Broadly speaking, we had the roads to ourselves, which is exactly why a Dawn Raid can be so appealing. About halfway through the drive we pulled over to wait for Mike Lemon to catch-up in his MX-5. Having optimistically started the drive with his roof down, he was forced to stop to put it up again. But then, having caught up with the group, he stopped again to have a wee! The next time we hold a Dawn Refuelling event, we'll insist that Mike does a wee before we leave!

Once on our way again, we were treated to some sublime driving roads, the highlight of which being an epic six mile stretch between North Tawton and Whiddon Road. It might be a short road, but it has just about all the ingredients needed to make a great road. We probably could have done without the rain though.

After Mike's wee stop we eventually made it to Castle Drogo about 15 minutes late and were greeted by the site of some typically petrolhead metal. So I promptly parked up alongside a waiting Noble and we all made our way into the coffee shop for much needed coffee and bacon sandwiches. The general consensus of opinion was that the principle Dawn Refuelling can work and that a second event should be organised. But perhaps unlike Formula 1, everyone is hoping for a dry event next time...

[gallery link="file" columns="2"]

Thanks to all those who made the effort to attend and to Castle Drogo for the breakfast. Also thanks to TDIfurby for road image and Mike Lemon for the gallery pics.