30th-31st May 1970 50 years ago. Timeline: Mexico City – England
Daily Mirror London-Mexico WCR Tish and Bron’s last adventure
At last we were ready to go home, so onto the pre-booked flight to England with British Caledonia. British Caledonia served real food in those days. I remember a lovely fillet steak as one of the meals it was absolutely delicious after so many weeks of bananas and biscuits. But it had been a great weight loss campaign. We had to fly via Montreal – very long-haul flights were not available back then.
After the last drop-off in Lima the aircraft, sometimes called “Brownings Bomber” returned to UK. After the finish in Mexico City the crews and mechanics were due to travel home in the Britannia.However, inboard to USA the aircraft suffered a bird-strike damaging the wind-screen and was diverted to Montreal.All those due to fly were now booked on a Brannif DC8 to Montreal to connect with the Britannia which was having a new windscreen fitted.Bill Price, Comps Manager for BL recalled:
My memory was that we were delayed in Montreal and had to sit in the aircraft for some time while the repairs were going on. At last, onto England, arriving in Gatwick (a very simple airport then – just a tin shed really) at about 8 in the morning. Rob came to meet me and had borrowed a DB5 from a friend – well he wanted to impress after our fabulous adventure, but I was just thrilled to see him again. I remember, when coming in to land and on the way home, thinking just how wonderfully “green” England looked after all the hot and dry countryside we had been travelling in. Said a very emotional farewell to my travel companion Tish, what adventures we had together, with promises that we would catch up soon, and off we went….home at last.
Back to Hindhead and my family safely with so many stories to tell. I had spoken to them back in Buenos Aires when we were out of the rally (with no mobile phones in those days – you had to rely on the transatlantic cable and operators), and as far as they knew then we were ‘missing’. I hadn’t been able to speak to them again until safely arriving in Mexico City. In those days, no news was “good news”.
Went for a meal that night at one of my then favourite places, the Duke of Cumberland pub at Henley near Fernhurst. I could not wait. I wanted a fresh trout, followed by a medium rare steak and then would decide what pudding to have. But oh dear!!! Once I had finished the trout that had been caught in their little pond, I started the steak and just could not finish it. Sacrilege. It was wonderful, but my stomach had shrunk over the past 6 or so weeks and I just could not eat it all, let alone the chips. And there are friends who know how awful that would be for me today!!!
Footnote – I believe when Puff finally arrived back at the docks at Harwich in September, having been delayed by yet another of the 70’s dock strikes, Peter Baldwin went to collect her and, knowing the problem, fitted a new rotor arm. Puff, bless her, fired up on the first turn of the starter motor and ran as sweetly as ever! Sadly, I was not to see her again until August in 2013, nor indeed Tina. That is another story.
Later that year, whilst in Harrogate on the 1970 RAC Rally of Great Britain, someone told me that there was a film showing of the World Cup Rally and that I was in it, but I have never seen this ‘film’ if it still exists.
It was all such an amazing and fantastic adventure, though, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. THE END!
This post is a part of a series of posts in which Bron Burrell recalls her 1970 World Cup Rally. See all Brons posts in this series.