When the Secret Supercar Owner called and offered us the chance to drive his F40 back to the UK, through the Alps, it wasn’t a hard decision to make. Here are some of Henry Catchpole’s words on the fantastic journey:
Another underground car park goes from silence to being filled with the sound of a supercar icon warming its vitals. A curious resonance makes it sound like there’s a light aircraft waiting to taxi out onto the street. It’s still early in the morning but, when there’s an F40 available, sleep suddenly seems so inconsequential. I also figure that the mountains will be empty. There are no static speed cameras up there so we’ve only got to worry about the police, and I’m pretty sure our chances of avoiding them improve if we get out of bed while the world is still dark.
We’re going to tackle a big, 80-mile loop (it’s more of a rectangle if you look at a map), starting at its north-west corner. It will take in the Susten, Furka and Grimsel passes – all different, all stunning, all surrounded by immaculate picture book scenery. But why stay in Switzerland and not head straight for the border? After all, while the Swiss tax system might make it easier to afford a supercar, their police have a reputation for being singularly unappreciative of the feats that supercars are capable of. It’s a risk, and to be honest I would have fought shy of Switzerland until a couple of years ago, but then I was sent here to do a feature for the very first issue of Cyclist magazine. That changed my mind.
There was remarkably little traffic as we cycled that day; what’s more, we saw no police. This could just have been luck, but as I slogged away against the gradient of the Grimsel, I heard the distant but unmistakeable sound of a V12. It grew closer and closer, and louder and louder until eventually a black Murciélago came yowling past, heading for the summit. As I listened for several more minutes to its wonderful exhaust note rising and falling as its driver went up and down the gears, I thought how very much I’d like to come back in a car. I never dreamed it would be an F40…