Part 1. Prepping for the epic journey.
Weeks before the start of the QBR, Driver 308 was briefed with various information needed for the job. Let’s have a peep of what he’s up to.
1. Driving rota:
Here is what he’s
driving tasks are. You can see that there are thousands miles to cover.
Or you may like to see the routes on maps:
Portsmouth to Bury St Edmunds
2. Looking the part. No epic journey is truly epic without looking the part. So, Driver 308 was kitted out with the proper gears top to toe. Let’s have a look at Driver 308’s secret agent look:
Satisfied with the look, Driver 308 then went on a very important mission to pick up his shuttlebus. But wait, the bus also has to look the part!
I’m very pleased to share that Driver 308 has been able to share some of his experience by email. Below are some direct quotes shared by the man himself.
Let’s have a look at what happened for the first 3 days of the mission:
“The first 3 days are the training etc.
Everyone on the Baton Relay has a crew number – mine is 308 and I am the Chaperone shuttle bus driver. The relay provides chaperones for all vulnerable adult and under 18 baton bearers. So my role would be to drive the chaperones to wherever they were needed, quite a challenging role as it would be necessary some days to cover the whole convoy route.
Saturday 2nd July
Spent all day convoy operation training and how to use the printed day book. There is one A4 size printed day book per day containing 60 to 100 pages depending on the requirements of the day. In the afternoon I had to take the silver Transit I was driving to have its vinyl branding wrap applied. - the minibus looked really good afterwards.”
This is how the bus looked before:
This is how it looked after a professional make-over:
You can see all sorts of vehicles have put them forward to be in the limelight:
The next part is shared by Driver 308 without any alteration.
Sunday 3rd July.
Today we had to check out of the hotel, the Marriott Sandy Park which was very nice and next to the Exeter Chiefs Rugby ground. Here is the totem inside the clubhouse where we did our training.
First we all drove to the Wyvern Barracks, which is an Army Depot with its own private road network so we could drive around practicing convoy procedures, learning how drop off and pick up baton bearers. See Day 3 Relay training.MOV showing the Media vehicle filming one of the crew being a baton bearer, not baton bearers have a special shirt with pink arms, crew have grey polo shirts with white sleeves.
Team briefing at the Barracks outside the team security coach which carries the Police team assigned to the relay. It wasn’t that warm, many people are wearing their uniform jackets. You can also see the medic who followed behind the security coach in a short wheelbase Land Rover Defender.
For lunch there were shop sandwiches, but I had a very tasty bacon butty that I’d made at breakfast in the hotel with freshly cooked bloomer bread. It was a very shrewd move.
After lunch we all drove from Exeter to Plymouth, the Future Inn. I had a minor navigational issue as my satnav couldn’t get me across a specific junction so I went around the houses a bit.
When I arrived in Plymouth I discovered that my role had changed, I was now to drive a wheelchair adapted minibus, as the company providing the shuttle buses couldn’t supply enough, luckily there was a suitable WAV minibus being used by the police so I was allocated that.
Each shuttle bus has a driver and a baton bearer host. I was in Team C with Alison, and would be paired with her for the duration of the relay. Hosts and drivers work 4 days and then have a rest day. Alison’s rest day was tomorrow so Sarah was her replacement for Monday 4th July Day 1 of the QBR.. Sarah and I spent the evening planning our routes and departure time from the hotel. We had to be in Weymouth for 12:56 so decided we must leave by 10:00 at the latest – allowing for traffic and pitstop en-route.
And so I went to bed, I was sharing a room with Trevor T a driver that I knew from the 2014 QBR in Scotland.
Next day to follow soon.
<The journey continues, stay tuned for Part 2 – The Journey Begins>