BXAGON CHALLENGE

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Philip Chidlow
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Post by Philip Chidlow » Thu Jan 15, 2009 4:52 pm

Potential participants might want to visit http://about-france.com/travel.htm This is an interesting site, especially if you are unclear about the requirements and idiosyncracies of driving in France.
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Philip Chidlow
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Post by Philip Chidlow » Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:03 pm

I have been discussing the BXagon with a couple of chaps who run businesses and it got me thinking...

In the spirit of a SWOT analysis

Strengths:
Good concept, easily communicable with a clear objective and a worthwhile goal.
Relatively easy to manage.
We have a 'captive audience' in the shape of the club, so we are guaranteed better impetus than doing it as a one-man show or jumping on the back of an already established event.
It's also cheaper for the participants than the latter, above.
Sponsorship isn't dependent on the final number of teams - although the 'break even point' of (I calculate) eight teams shouldn't be the goal: we should be looking at 12-18+ teams.

Weaknesses:

It's very 'niche'. If it was Classic French Cars, we might be perceived as less 'anoraky' - or plain oddball (which is also a strength, mind-you).
The Event is vulnerable to a strong Euro vs. GBP.
Teams have such small initial commitment that late drop-out is going to be a factor, so right up until the Start, we won't know exactly how many teams and who they are will be taking part.
If we get less than eight teams it makes it not worth doing - unless the Event itself can obtain large amounts of Sponsorship irrespective of the number of teams taking part.

Opportunities:

The Event will form a 'template' for others to use in future. This will be stressed in vying for Event support. Commercial associations at this stage might reap excellent-value publicity returns in the future.
This will help bring members of the Club together who want to participate but can't do the run itself: The 'BXagon Supporter' will be a valuable factor in attaining the funds-target.
The BX cannot be ignored anymore by 'Classic Citroen' owners, this will elevate the profile.

Threats:
The Recession:
It will probably effect the challenge in the following ways:
A: Obviously large donations will be harder to come by, but essentially, small pledges shouldn't be affected. We'll just need more of them, that's all.
B:Some potential participants - even those who have said they're going to take part, may be forced to pull out because of financial difficulties at home - or significantly, because of the feeling that taking that much time off work worries them as there might not be a job to return to.
C: We may not be able to get any discounts for Cross-Channel crossings (now highly unlikely anyway) or Hotel accommodation, which will add pressure for teams facing a large outlay anyway.
Another Club may do a spoiler. Although unlikely it is possible. This would harm our publicity.
The Event is vulnerable to a strong Euro vs. GBP, (See Weaknesses), but also vulnerable to a return to astronomical fuel prices.

Anything you'd like to add, anyone?

Of course the aim of this is to show that we are prepared. We should encourage responses that either address the negatives with solutions (or precautions/countermeasures) or build on the positives.

An interesting exercise.
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Philip Chidlow
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Post by Philip Chidlow » Wed Jan 21, 2009 5:32 pm

Back OT for a moment:
Not entirely cheery, but hey...

As I have mentioned to a couple of BXers, the Euro vs Pound business coupled with the recession is my biggest worry with regards to the BXagon.

If things don't improve (by that I mean if I get sufficient feedback from others indicating it will be too expensive to take part - despite wanting to) and I can't get enough people to commit either as contributing participants or sponsors in the coming months, then I will have no choice in postponing it to 2010 or canceling altogether. Things is tough. But we must be realistic... But... there's a big but:

BUT I have had enough positivity from quite a number to indicate it is established now in people's minds and despite the situation it will be done - against all odds. I will not initiate a review in any case until after April, (and the BXagon's final form isn't entirely up to me anymore as it has its own momentum). It's still early days.

Worst case scenario? Euro and Pound remain at parity and fuel costs climb very high again, while many potential teams become too worried about being away from work for that amount of time that the BXagon is completely untenable in its current form. I think this is something which needs to be pointed out (which I will do as a follow on to my recent 'SWOT' missive)...

However: I get the idea that even in the face of such obstacles, the resolve is there to see it through. I'm certainly not going to give up. Everything that can be done, will be done to push costs down. This will be obtaining deals with individual hotels, camping where practical, offer teams the option of ironing out parts of the route, avoiding tolls etc... All I ask is that those wanting to take part firm up their commitment, get those entry forms and fees in, promoting their team and to all BXagon supporters: get those pledges in. The more we have earlier on the better it is!

I will post this in the Events BXagon section too for consistency's sake.

In Kermit's words: LET'S DO IT!
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Post by mat_fenwick » Wed Jan 21, 2009 6:33 pm

I'm getting a feeling of deja vu here...didn't I just read this? :wink:

I would just like to say that I will be doing this regardless if at all possible, even if it's only me! Recent events have shown that it is important to grab life by the horns (so to speak) and go for opportunities when they arise. Life's too short for regrets, and in any case better to regret doing something than regret not doing it!
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Philip Chidlow
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Post by Philip Chidlow » Wed Jan 21, 2009 6:54 pm

Absolutely Mat! Good man, I don't think you need worry about being the only team :D
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Post by Way2go » Wed Jan 21, 2009 7:03 pm

Philip Chidlow wrote:I don't think you need worry about being the only team
More positivity needed here Phil :? How can Mat be the only team if there's no uncertainty of your commitment to go? :wink:
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Philip Chidlow
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Post by Philip Chidlow » Wed Jan 21, 2009 7:08 pm

You pedant! I was being ironic... (please tell me if that's the wrong expression :lol: ).

Of course The Philibusters are going. And so are others. And you too I hope :D
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Mike E (uk)
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Post by Mike E (uk) » Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:31 pm

The German economy is doing rather badly now, so that may level things out a bit, Pound vs Euro.

anyway, 9 months is a very long time in the 21st centuary economy.

Keep calm and carry on chaps!

Mike
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Jaba
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Post by Jaba » Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:19 pm

Yes, lets go for it !

Dont panic you guys. This is no time for cold feet.
If you want to do it - then commit to it now.
The Joy of BX with just one Citroën to my name now. Will I sing Bye Bye to my GTI or will it be Till death us do part.

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Philip Chidlow
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Post by Philip Chidlow » Fri Jan 23, 2009 12:10 am

EXACTLY Jaba... Let's Do It!
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chriscarterstevens
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have i missed the boat?

Post by chriscarterstevens » Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:34 pm

hi all,

apologies if ive 'missed the boat' on this thread but im presuming we can economise as much as possible while in france, have we done a guesstimate top and bottom end costing per team member all in?

this might highlight the feasability.

chris
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Philip Chidlow
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Re: have i missed the boat?

Post by Philip Chidlow » Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:52 pm

chriscarterstevens wrote:...if ive 'missed the boat'.... have we done a guesstimate top and bottom end costing per team member all in?
In fact quite a lot has been done in the planning for this thus far. We really have looked into the costs. It doesn't mean it's all set in concrete. But don't assume this has not been already duly debated and discussed on the forum and now we have a handful of grand people involved in this event on an organisational basis: route planning, technical, communications - as well as having chaps in France giving their input.

So (from my blog):

I always wanted to over-state rather than under-state the possible expense - so that those participating aren't caught out.

As I see it a BX and two crew will have to find (not including the journey to the coast prior to departure) money for accommodation, fuel, tolls, food and communications. A big economy will be a couple sharing in a diesel BX so you might be right. For others who will be choosing to have separate rooms every, or every other night, and drive a petrol BX, it will clearly cost more.

It's up to each team to cost out their BXagon - although I will be supplying lots of info in the coming weeks to help out.


and then:

Team costs: (Note I haven't converted the €uro costs to GBP as it's a bit pointless - and depressing - at the moment!)

As Phil and I won't always be sharing a room (for sanity's sake) our accomodation will certainly cost more than your Stuart. I've budgeted €770 including a generous allowance for the stop-over at Alaigne and a reasonable consideration for Mike E in Brittany.

Food and drink.
While the temptation is to go to nice resaturants and enjoy French cuisine whilst quaffing a bucket of Vin, the reality is likely (certainly for our team) to be less gastronomical - more economical. Baguettes and brie, jambon etc. for lunch, washed down with nothing much more exciting than a bottle of Badoit during the day. Maybe the odd cafe stop for a bavette et frites or a croque... and in the evening, not necessarily Hotel food, but maybe a pizza or burger, you know the stuff. I estimate €540.

Crossing:
I'll pay for this via Tesco vouchers (crossing is £110)
European breakdown and recovery cover and communications cost allow another £130. Tolls will add c. €50.

Fuel.
This is another instance where having an economical diesel makes sense. I have chosen to take my GTi auto - a heart not head decision - and will pay for that. I won't even ask my co-pilot to cough up 50%! I estimate that if the car is full up upon touching French soil with 40 litres of finest English 95RON in the boot, we'll need €415 or so (at today's prices) for French fuel.

So for the Philibusters we're looking at approx. £220 and €1775.

Stuart, you might be able to save around €400 pairing up in rooms all the time and using a diesel BX.

That doesn't take into account any discounts that we may have been able to secure for accommodation. I would hope we can shave €80-100 off.


But now we have elected to take a TZD turbo diesel which will save the team as much as €190...
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stuart_hedges
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Post by stuart_hedges » Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:46 pm

I've mentioned elsewhere I think Phil's figures are a little high, but he's right to be cautious and as he says we'll be saving money on double rooms everywhere and the extra economy of a diesel.

Regardless of the state of the economy, food is cheaper over there - as long as you don't go wild you can eat much better on a budget than you can here.

We're also hoping it will be warm and dry enough to camp some nights - certainly in the South it should be warm enough to camp in October.

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chriscarterstevens
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Post by chriscarterstevens » Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:55 pm

stuart,

as id be adopting the make it as cheap as possible strategy, what is you opinion as to the lowest and highest cost in £s if anybody has a clue cos i dont lol

im going for the experience, and would feel happier slumming it in some ways lol

thanks chaps
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Philip Chidlow
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Post by Philip Chidlow » Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:28 pm

If you can get a diesel doing 50 mpg, eat cheap food and sleep in the car or sleep in a tent (not recommended in the Alps late October necessarily), and take advantage of the toll-free alternative routes that will be offered, then of course you can do it cheaper! :D

The cheapest hotel room will be around the €31/33 mark if you take a single in a Formule 1 bucket Hotel - share and it will clearly work out less. Typically I have tried to find Hotels that are less than €42 per night for a room.

If you shop at Tescos you can use your vouchers to buy your crossing - which will obviously help. I have bought my crossing already (the earlier you book the cheaper it is)...

Here's my view on what the bottom line is ROUGHLY - assuming a team of two in a diesel BX - who don't take out recovery repatriation insurance (against my recommendation):
Travel to the Channel, plus:
Crossing: 'effectively free' if you use vouchers, or around £60 return with Norfolk Line for example..
First night at Ibis (OK you could sleep in the car but I wouldn't recommend it)... sharing: €57 including breakfast, plus food for the Sat. evening @ €40.
After that: €280 for accommodation - assuming you can camp a few times, a minimum of €150 for food and drink (you'll lose weight!)... tolls: €45, fuel: €270...

Return on the 29th Oct to the UK, avoiding the cost of stopping over in Calais on the 30th...

Total for the team?: around the €900-1000 mark. Bare bones.

But in previous estimations I have included appropriate recovery insurance, hotel accommodation, two night's camping, tolls as per the 'official preferred route', a 'realistic' contingency and a real-world fuel economy (given there are some winding, elevated stages)...

It's up to each team to decide how close to the wire they can afford to run.

As Stu suggests I am trying to ensure teams are not left penniless 3/4 of the way around! Hence my view on costs.

It's going to be an amazing experience so let's work together to make it so! I know it's over eight months away, but the excitement is already building up
:D
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