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Tim Leech
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My Cars: 1963 VW BEETLE 1200 KGJ413A
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1985 CITROEN BX 19DTR C943DYA (again)
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Post by Tim Leech »

No worries mate, I took the liberty to use some aswell as some Phil kindly donated, coming to a Citroenian near you! :lol:
1963 VW BEETLE 1200
1985 BX 19GT Mk1
1985 BX 19 DTR Mk1
1991 BX 19TZI Auto A/C
1994 Xantia 1.8i SX
1972 Morris Marina 1.8 SDL
1979 Rover SD1 V8-S
1980 Morris Marina 1.7 HL
2003 Rover 25 1.6i XL 5 DR

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My Cars: Citroen BX 19TGD 1991 "Daisy" RIP 21/7/2014
Citroen BX 19TGD 1990 "Myrtille "

Post by Daisy »

The Green Hornet made the front cover of January Citroenian- congrats Phil and Phil.
Lots of BX pics inside - thanks Phil C. and Tim for some good reading.

'90 19TGD 'Olympic Blue' "Myrtille"
'91 19TGD 'Alpine White' 28.02.91-21.07.14 "Daisy" R.I.P
Still on the road - Many thanks to Rob Moss at Chevronics, Hitchin, Herts

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Philip Chidlow
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Post by Philip Chidlow »

Thanks Tim for including so much of the report in the Citroenian.

For those of you who don't see the CCC magazine - A slightly edited version:

BXagon Report

The BXagon Challenge 2009 is finally over. Well, actually when I say that, it sort of isn't, as we are still in the process of collecting pledges and donations. And once that's done it still isn't over as we haven't reached our target. All in all, we would have raised £5,000 or so for Cancer Research UK. And we can do better than that (so we'll dream up some other mini-event or two).

Let's not dwell too long on this, but lessons have been learned and any subsequent event(s) will be the better for the experience. And it has to be put into perspective: The original target was set in pre-recession days, when it looked entirely feasible that we could field 12-20 teams. In the end five teams did the whole circuit and we were joined for various stages by four other BXs, so maybe the result is fair.

First, I must say I was heartened by the donations made by CCC individuals yet similarly disappointed by the lack of CCC participants. Given the promotion and support of the event, as well as opening entry to a wider range of Citroens from the BX's era, I would have expected a Xantia or two, maybe an early XM and maybe an AX but none were forthcoming. I can understand why a 2CV owner might not want to do it, but we did have (until the last minute) a Visa planning to join us for the last stage. But there you go, maybe if the event had been less ambitious (although all of us who took part are glad it was ambitious!) and in the UK, the result would've been different. One thing that I must say is CB radios are a must on something like this: it was almost invaluable in the end.

So how did it go? The BXagon was a challenge. It was tiring and difficult at times, but what an adventure! No-one who took part will forget it. We frequently found ourselves expressing the sentiment that if those who 'bottled it' could see and experience what we were, they would be kicking themselves. The route was excellent (with many thanks to Matt Fenwick and Mr. TomTom); helped enormously by the decision to avoid - wherever we could, any stretches of Péage (toll road), which meant we saw France a lot closer up, passing along beautiful tree-lined roads and through stereotypical French villages and towns on our way.

The teams that did the whole run were: The Philibusters (me and Phil Boxall in a 1992 BX TZD Turbo estate - 'The Green Hornet'), Team Green Tiger (Ian Seabrook - deputy ed of CCW and his team mate Matt Concannon in their 1990 BX 19D estate), a red - and rapid - 16v saloon crewed by Mike Edmonds and Alan Baker, Andy Jones in his black 1986 BX GT (which was recently refurbished after standing still for several years) and Matt Fenwick in his 1.9 TD BX estate 'Old Smokey'…

Between us, and the other BXagoneers who joined us en route, we must have covered well over 20,000 miles in eleven days of driving. And the BX proved itself, even after all these years, a capable and comfortable car. Surprisingly few problems hampered progress - a leaky bottom hose, a stifled GT engine (resuscitated by pulling the oil filler cap out a bit!) and water in fuel were about it. The BX has just about the best seats of any Citroen I've ever been in, and even after 300+ or so arduous miles, I would emerge from the BX with no aches or pains. There was no shortage of 'go' from the TZD, although it has since emerged that thanks to a past dodgy throttle pedal repair, we weren't getting the full benefit from the engine!

And what of France? Here are some notes from the Philibuster's Diary:

We travelled over on the Saturday, popped into Cité Europe sorted some lunch, and met up with the others at the Ibis hotel. Day One: Calais to Saverne, near Strasbourg. Keeping off the toll roads meant that the 370 miles took a long time, but we did stop off at Avesnes-sur-Helpe a fascinating bastion town; well worth a visit for the surroundings as much as the fortress itself. We ended up at the F1 in Monswiller, Saverne, in time to meet up with a BX Club member, Todd who'd driven from Germany to meet us in his lovely Mk.1 BX - complete with its period louvred rear window accessory. Oh, and a few bottles of Faustenburg (which I can recommend too).

Day Two and it was off to a rendezvous with another BX fanatic Rémy, who took us to a scrapyard (we know how to enjoy ourselves!) where we found, amongst other less complete examples, a BX 19RD with perfect (or so it seemed) non-sunroof body in a fetching burgundy red - and strangely, brand new Valeo headlights - sadly destined to meet its end in the yard. Then, with a few bits and bobs in our collective boots, it was onwards to Pontarlier. Another F1, this time less well positioned, so we had to avail ourselves of La MacDonalds, ah well.

I must confess it would've been nice to spend some time in Pontarlier (although it's the Home of Absinthe, so maybe not a good idea) before setting off on Day Three's stage on to Albertville; further into the Alps, skirting around Geneva, and passing through Annecy, with its picturesque lake before arriving at the Etap. Where there was a BX pit stop: Phil changing the front brake pads on the Green Hornet (which was just as well given what was coming up). A five km round trip to a restaurant for dinner loosened up our legs ready for the next day.

Day Four: This was the day I'd really been looking forward to; an assault on the mountains… And it didn't disappoint, although the Col du Galibier was closed due to snow, we did climb up and over the stunning Col du Glandon (meeting up with a local BXer, John Baile (Jaba) in his tidy GTi), which gave all the BXs a thorough work out. In fact after the succession of climbs and descents on very, very windy sections, the suspensions of all the BXs had rarely felt better! All the crud from the bottoms of struts and wedged in the extremities of the system must've been loosened and collected by the filter in the LHM tank, who knows? But it certainly is to be recommended for any BX.

As an aside, Team Green Tiger (Dollywobbler's team) did make it up onto the Col du Galibier - it was closed immediately after they'd passed through the beginning of the ascending section - and they had what might be described as a 'hairy drive' to our rendezvous on the other side later in the day. A very wet evening saw us arrive at Digne-les-Bains. Not the best of experiences as the Hotel proved very illusive. We were tired and when the heater fan decided to stop working and the car steamed up, nerves did fray a tad… (but Kermit and I, after some colourful language, weathered that upset!) and being a Campanile Hotel, when we go there it was pretty grot. But after a bit of food, a glass of plonk and a room to ourselves, our spirits lifted. A good night's kip saw us ready to do the Day Five stage.

This was another long one: Digne-les-Bains to Montpellier. The drive to the Med was exhilarating and provided some of the best driving to date. I can recommend the N202, Barrême to Nice. We had also decided to take a detour to drive the Monaco circuit. Big mistake: It was one big traffic jam, with posers in their hideous Porsche Cayennes and Audi Q7 bloat boxes clogging up the unexceptional streets. There were a couple of glimpsed gems (not to mention the odd Lamborghini dealership) but on the whole: Don't bother. So it was onto Nice. Or rather Not-nice. To be fair the weather was starting to close in and we were pushed for time, but not a good first impression. As we left for Montpellier, the heavens opened; we drove the next four and a half hours in torrential rain. Visibility was bad and at times we felt we were navigating a canal, unable to see the difference between earth and sky. Luckily we all made it to Montpellier in one piece only to be confounded by the directions to the Etap Hotel. It would have been easier to find Atlantis. But eventually, exhausted, damp and a long way from home, we all got our heads down.

Day Six: Montpellier. We awoke, instantly invigorated by bright, cloudless skies with the Mediterranean Sun beating down on our bedraggled BXs. Jaba's GTi had suffered from problems (which later needed fixing at a garage: water in the fuel tank - too much for meths to deal with) but John was cool about that, as he had planned to spend a few days locally with friends. We met some other friends of his, who demonstrated just how effortlessly (it seemed!) the French can create an unforgettable (and welcome) lunch out of thin air. Suitably replete, off we all headed for the village of Alaigne, in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Phil and I thundered along some spectacular roads. One of these we named Rue du Bonk, as for kilometre after kilometre, and seemingly every few hundred metres there were a couple of 'working girls' dressed (in part) for action… (sorry no pics!). We felt so very 'English' observing just how unfussed everyone seemed - with some French motorists pulling over to 'engage' with these ladies… But, flat cap pulled firmly on, Kermit stalwartly drove on, eyes fixed to the road and the objective of our day: to find the small village of Alaigne, nestled deeply in the Languedoc...

When we arrived in Alaigne we felt thoroughly 'in France', so when I stepped out of the BX and approached a lady to ask for some final directions and I was greeted not with a "Bonjour. Monsieur", but a 'Oh, hello!" I was a little surprised. We had a great evening in the local cafe, La Galloise, run by the affable Les from Chester. Our accommodation for the next two nights was B&B at Chez Dyna, run by consummate hosts, Lyn and Geoff Faulkner. A local contact, John Rolfe, another BXer (this time a '14') joined us in marking the half-way point of the event.

Day Seven was a rest day, when we were taken by Geoff to another breaker's yard (lots to see) where some choice bits were acquired. Later on a workshop session and then a quiz at the cafe. A great day that will be fondly remembered by us all.

Day Eight: Off to Pau. But first we had to join the local classic car club in Limoux. A coffee and a croissant and then a wander around the car park admiring the cars there: Including a nice DS21, a pretty brace of 2CVs, a tasty Renault 4 and lots more. We were happy and looking forward to the next treat in store: A potato festival up in the mountains! As it turned out, it was a massive agricultural fair. I indulged (some did some didn't) in snails, duck and pate made from pig head. With that lot settling in my ample stomach, off we went, through the mountains and on to Ax-les-Thermes. An interesting place, we stopped briefly but we decided to press on to Pau. Hotel fine. Food? Buffalo Grill and beer. (I had little sympathy for my poor gut). Matt and Andy decided to kip in their BXs for some of the nights of the event. This night they found a wooded area and prepared for sleep: only to discover they'd located the cottaging capital of SW France and beat a hasty - and very muddy - retreat.

Day Nine: We 'did the street circuit' around Pau and shot off towards Arcachon. We'd all met up and had agreed to go to the Atlantic coast at Biscarrosse: One of our finer decisions - it was fantastic, with lunch on the beach, next to the roaring Atlantic. Some brave BXagoneers decided to have a swim. A great place for a holiday I'd guess. So, with the sun still high in the sky, we drove determinedly on to La Rochelle, where we parked our BXs - giving them all a well-earned rest after a couple of hours of fast and hard driving. Dinner on the quayside of the old port. Magic.

Day Ten saw us convene and make a decision: We would all visit the Manoir d'Automobile (www.manoir-automobile.fr) at Loheac, SW of Rennes. This meant we would be deviating from our planned route. We were all very pleased that we did. This museum is worth a trip to France on it's own. A stunning collection. Here, we met up with Anne-Marie and Steve Squires in their lovely BX 19TGD. After that it was off to Dinan, via some lovely Brittany countryside, where we found the Ibis hotel ideally situated for exploring the town that evening. Dinan too is worth a special trip. Matt and Andy spelt in their BXs again: Unfortunately Andy parked next to a very busy loading bay for the hotel, so didn't really get any sleep! Next day: Normandy…

Day Eleven was an early start. It was a foggy morning but we were on the road to Arromanches before the rush hour. As we were all making decent progress (and here having CB really helped) we decided to visit Ste-Mere-Eglise. A poignant visit to the US war cemetery at Omaha beach followed, and we arrived for a late lunch at Arromanches, where a couple of cheeseburgers and chips and a drink (we were too hungry by then to care) cost an eye-watering €18. We felt a little reluctant to pay another €13 to enter the (admittedly good) museum there, so we again deviated from the planned route and took the coast roads all the way to Ouistreham. We visited Pegasus Bridge before pressing on to the huge Pont de Normandie, on the way to Dieppe. Dieppe was to be our last evening together, as we all had different crossing times the following day. We spent it in Cafe Cactus, being served by a hyperactive guy with a peculiar but very friendly manner!

So the last stage was here. Dieppe to Calais. A brief stop on the Somme river to take our bearings and we decided to try for a crossing that evening rather than spend another €90 on a Calais stop-over… A few phone calls later - with considerable help from Liz, my good wife - and we had a tunnel crossing booked for that night. So, off we set - and straight into thick fog all the way past Le Touquet, it cleared around Wissant, but like the Mediterranean section we appeared destined not to see much on this stage! We stopped at the Batterie Todt (recommended) and ate lunch at a nice cafe where we had the best steak of the whole event! A trip to Cité Europe: We parked a mere two metres away from where we'd parked up 12 days and 2,756 miles earlier. Before we knew it, we were crossing back into the UK and drove the 90-odd miles back to base in yet more dense fog. Despite the fact we were tired we were elated.

The cars that took part had a combined mileage of over one million on their clocks. They ranged in age from 16 to 23 years. And yet, these Citroen BXs had proved themselves an economical, practical, comfortable, characterful, reliable and involving drive. But we knew that already. Didn't we?

Would we do it again? Never say never! In the meantime another event is being discussed, drawing upon the BXagon experience; this time it'll be in the UK and over a long weekend as opposed to just about two weeks… so, watch this space. And this time, I ask anyone who might be initially keen - don't 'bottle it'.

• 1992 Citroen BX TZD Turbo Hurricane
• 2006 Xsara Picasso 1.6 16v

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Post by mat_fenwick »

Very enjoyable write up there Phil! Like you say, although the target hasn't been met, the total of over £5k certainly exceeded my expectations given that's from only 5 teams.
I'd certainly be up for another event, although getting that much 'time off' is probably a once in a blue moon opportunity, so it's just as well it'll be a long weekend instead!

1993 1.9 TZD Turbo Estate
1996 3.9 V8 Discovery
1993 VW LT35 campervan
1985 Hyundai Stellar V8
2016 Hyundai iLoad

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Post by docchevron »

I think a long weekend hoon about will be ace!
Opens up more oppertunities for more people to attend than would be possible with a longer event, and if the weathers good, on great driving roads it should be bliss!
Smokes lots, because enough's enough already!

Far too many BX's, a bus, an ambulance a few trucks, not enough time and never enough cash...

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Post by Jaba »

Brilliant report Phil. Thanks for giving all of us the preview especially as I wont be getting my CCC mag until I return to the UK sometime later in the winter.
It sort of brings it all back - well the few days I spent with you all.

Now I am starting to get maudlin and philosophical...........

WhydoIlike BXsWhydoIlike BXsWhydoIlike BXsWhydoIlike BXsWhydoIlike BXsWhydoIlike BXsWhydoIlike BXsWhydoIlike BXs.
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.