Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Tuesday we got stoned and today we feel deflated!

Tuesday 10th November
Time: n/a
Distance: u/k
Rally Position: 1st in class, 4th overall

After an early start we left the comfort of our hotel in Ronda and headed to Algeciras in order to catch our ferry to Tangier.


All the cars made the ferry in time and some 100 classic cars left Europe, passing Gibraltar and headed out to Africa. As we passed Gibraltar
I thought, I can see my house from here... Although it was actually obscured by the many cranes that are currently transfering the old Naval city.


Some 2 1/2 hours later we arrived in Morocco and were placed in a holding area by the officials. To keep a long story short after only 2 hours of form
filling and general bullshit, we were all on our way and heading towards the first time trial in Africa. Unfortunately the long snake of cars attracted
the wrong kind of attention and by the time we arrived at some of the smaller villages the local 'youth' had armed themselves with a selection of
rocks and stones and proceeded to try and take out the windscreens. Several cars were hit including ours, one lost a winscreen and several
suffered dents and scratches but luckily no damage was done to Colin, such was the build quality of the Dagenham dustbin!

By the time we arrived at the stage it was complete darkness and I mean total darkness! No street lamps or orange city glowing in the distance,
just pitch-black.... Well it was until we used the spotlights, plus headlights... 7 in total literally turned night into day and we knew we had a siginifcant
advantage. The stage went well, but I have to say that a big previous night in Ronda, combined with an early start and a long drive had taken there
toll and by the time we arrived at our next hotel, somewhere in Morocco, I was simply pleased to have arrived safely.

In summary for Tuesday, we got stoned but held our position.

Daily Colin Score: 9/10 (Replaced track rod arm)

Wednesday 11th November
Time: 19:30hrs
Distance: huge
Rally Position: 5th in class, 18th overall.

What can I say...... today there were 5 stages, all of varying length. We were very pleased with the first 4 and quite happily continuing to lead our
class. It was whilst on the final stage of the day that it all went wrong!

We were pushing hard on a sweeping left hand bend, when I felt the back breakaway, luckily I was able to recover it and keep the car under control.
I immediately knew that we had a puncture on the rear off-side (drivers). The decision was do we stop and change the wheel, which we practice
and takes 4 minutes or do we push on? Now normally, in a "proper rally" you know how long the stage is, but on this event we don't always get the
stage distance, so all we knew was that it was between 5kms and 28kms. If it was only 5kms and tyre change was put us last, but if it was 28kms
we were not sure it would last the distance. I found that I could still hit 80 - 90mph on the straights and make the right-hand bends at speed and
under power. The left-hand bends were as scary as hell though, with the back stepping out big time.....

An instant decision was required and as the driver it was my call...... We pushed on and the stage ended-up being the full 28kms! The funny thing is
we still weren't the slowest car on the stage!

The final result at close today is that we've slipped down the leader board to 5th in class from 1st.. To say I am deflated, is an under-statement but
there are 4 stages tomorrow and anything can happen, as the Datsun 240Z found when he left the road and ended-up nose down a 6 foot gully. He
was lucky, because some of the drops today were over 800 feet straight down!

Three wheels on my wagon!

Daily Colin Score: 5/10 - A spotlight fell out and punctured the tyre, also had to change the other track rod arm, plus boiled over!

1 comment:

  1. Glad to hear it's all going to plan(ish)... despite the old woman in the DS.

    Still chuckling from Ces' comments once she realised what was involved with navigating!

    Something I learnt to my cost on a Nurburgring 24 hours was stuff tends to fail in pairs. We had an engine mount fail, but didn't change the other hand as it seemed sound.... 2 laps later the car was back in to have it changed!

    Good luck for the next few days!