Official website: www.londoncapetownrally.com

Day 19: Nairobi (Kenya) to Arusha (Tanzania)

 Today was a reasonable rally day in that there was some competitive driving. The down sidewas trying to pass slower cars who are ahead of us in the results. The first section had an average of 120 kph on it. We passed 4 cars in the dust and felt reasonably good with the result. The 2ndsection started at the end of the first so no slow cars in front of us and was enjoyable.

There was a long transport preceding the 3rdsection so the slower cars (and 4WD) all started in front of us again. Things started to go amiss when driving in dus, we hit a hole and launched the car off the road bending something in the front end. We continued with dust getting thicker and eventually got close enough to the girls in the MG to attempt a pass. This went haywire when they, not knowing we were there, were intent on passing a 4WD which was holding them up. Anyway the result was we ran into the back of them.

We then came across a 4WD passing another 4WD (no wonder it was dusty) and we went between the 2 4WDs. All pretty hairy.

After a quick and rough wheel alignment we headed for the Kenya/Tanzania border (left) and it was here that we met the guys who serviced the car yesterday and they told us we needed a new ball joint.

We tried to source one Arusha where we are tonight, but couldn't get the right one. Another competitor has lent us one of his spares. Getting all this done has taken a long time but we are now ready for tomorrow.

Mark's back has been playing up a bit (especially after the rough of Marsabit), and I don't think laying under cars fixing ball joints will improve it.

Just looked at results and start list, and notice we are being seeded tomorrow. So (in theory) tomorrow might be a bit safer.


 left: View from our hotel in Arusha.

Day 20 - Tanzania - Arusha to Dodoma

20-01-2012

 

A bogged bus on the main road form Arush to Dodoma, which delayed the start of the rally today.

(Photo from official rally website)

A day of big drama. Writing this morning of the 21st. We didn't get in until 1am this morning.

Yesterday was an important day with 4 timed sections. We did well on the first, but the fan belt broke on the sescond. We replaced it with a spare in a few minutes, but this one jumped off within a few kilometres, leaving us with a boiling engine. 

We struggled to get the fan belt back on but simply could not get it back on a second time. 

Made a temporary one from insulation tape to drive the water pump, but eventually the battery went flat.

A local hunter and policeman towed us the 160km into Dodoma. All dirt, max speed about 30 kph, stopping at every village on the way to try and find a fan belt.

End result, we will have lost probably 2 hours which will be near impossible to recover. We will take it easy from here to get to Cape Town.

Day 21 Arusha to Dodoma to Mbeya (Tanzania)

The last few days have been a bit hectic, rally-wise. Yesterday was disaster day, and I think we are in 13th place now [official results say 12th]. There is no way of catching up any of this up, except to wait for others to have problems

Today, after 20 days of putting us in order of results they decided to seed us based on speed. They have put Joost in the Porsche at the front (they did this in Nairobi when they hit him with the 1 hr penalty for his canister shocks) and we have been given 2nd on the road as we are usually 2ndquickest even with the dust and slower cars in front. We did run into a car in the dust the other day and this probably influenced the decision. However, today we didn't feel like going that quick after yesterday's events, so we annoyed the guys behind us who have had it so good for the last 20 days.

We are on the way to Mbeya as I write this. Tomorrow morning is into Zambia.

Tanzania is interesting. Definitely a better living standard than Ethiopia but still with lots of villages built of mud bricks, crops of corn, sunflower, beans and things I didn't recognise.

I got to walk thru one yesterday in search of fan belts. The locals were prepared to take belts off the little machinery they had, if they had fitted.

The men who towed us 160 km didn't want any payment for it. We insisted on giving them $10 each.

More on yesterday's drama....

Did I mention that they were village policeman and one told us proudly he was a sharp shooter? They had a carcass in the back of the ute and stopped at various control point to hack off pieces of carcass for the people on the checkpoint.

It was a very long hard drive. The road was pretty rough, we had no lights and it was a short rope (see photo). All we could do was try and keep the slack out of the rope and try to stay behind the ute. The dust was thick and would settle on the windscreen blocking out vision.

About 2km out of Dodoma, they handed us over to another police ute that towed us to the motel.

Another competitor arrived not long after us and he had a collection of fan belts. We have borrowed one that's still a bit short but stretched it on and it has stayed on today. We have put new bolts in the alternator brackets.

We were incredibly filthy when we arrived last night. There was no food available and the shower wasn't hot. The water also very hard. My hair felt dirtier after a shower than it was before.

At Mbeya tonight, will be interesting to see what the accommodation is like. The organisers have done a pretty good job with the standard of hotels. There are some parts where there are no 5* hotels.

 

left: Our Mbeya hotel.  Looks OK

Not taking as many pics now. All villages, border crossings and shots of rally cars are beginning to look the same.

Next: Onto Zambia