Official website:


Forgot to mention it was our 37th wedding anniversary yesterday and the first one we have ever been apart on the 28th December. There is a first time for everything.

Spent the first couple of hours tracking down a new GPS. Anne (Pickering) and I drove down to Chichester (about 100km) to get it. Now I just have to load it up with maps etc.

While we did this, Mark repacked the car. He is sounding more confident that we can fit everything in. We are going to be cramped I think.

 In the afternoon we set of to see more of the Pickering's nieces and nephews this time about 200Km to the north. I was extremely tired on the way home.


Today we had a get together for competitors called rally school. We were told all about to use a GPS (which I already knew) and how they wanted us to use the trackers that are installed in each car. At various points along the way, we are expected to press a button on the tracker to transmit our position to a satellite which in turn sends the info the scorers in London. No need for officials!! Our position also gets updated on their internet site so the world can see exactly where we are.

 After the lecture they had a map reading exercise which they said would similar to what we will have on the first night of the rally. The exercise had us drive a mapped route through the back blocks of Newbury, about 50 minutes drive west of London.

It was a good exercise for us in a few ways. We learnt we need to do something about the windscreen fogging up and we have some water leaks we should try and block up. The route went through narrow lanes with high hedges and a turn every Km or so. It poured rain the whole time and there were sheets or water on the road.

The nicest thing I could say about the weather here is that it's miserable. Freezing cold and raining most of the time. My toes go numb while we are driving along in the car. I will find my thickest socks for tomorrow.

Mark has bought an in-car camera which is proving to be a bit of a challenge for us to install. I hope we can get on top of that tomorrow.

Ended the day having dinner with another of Mark's nephews - Murray's son Philip and partner Bec


The 31st was fairly quiet. We fiddled with the car, bought a few bits and pieces and settled into the bar with the other Australian and a Canadian crew in the evening. We were all gone by about 9:30.

 I didn't hear any of the New Year celebrations until about 2am when there was a fair bit of noise outside. At 6:30am the fire alarm went off so this is being written at 6:45am

 Big day today – we have to be at scrutineering at 10am and we leave for House of Lords/Parliament Square at 4pm. We are all booked in for dinner at some famous pub before the start at 7pm.

If all goes to plan after a navigation section, we will be catching the ferry from Dover to Calais at about 4am and then driving all day to Beaune in France.

 I'd be happy to start now!!


1/1/2012 – 2/1/2012 (London to Beaune, France:)

This is the longest stretch of rallying I've done since probably the '95 Round Australia. After a poor night's sleep we took the car to Brookland's motor museum at 10am for scrutineering & briefing.T here were hundred of vintage cars there (above).

Only problem – pouring rain!!.
We left there at 4pm (still in heavy rain) for the House of Lords car park adjacent to Big Ben, Parliament House where the rally officially started.

The first car left at 7.01.
As car 10 we left at 7:10pm

We did three forest stages in Kent plus what I thought was a horror navigation stage (which I didn't do too well at) also in Kent, plus one stage in the Somme region of France.

In the UK, they used different timing systems almost with each section, and some 'forest sections' are more like a motorkhana than a rally.

I am writing this as we travel the motorway to Beaune.

We did get a sleep on the ferry and I've just driven for a while to give Mark a break.

Our car has some annoying problems but nothing serious. It leaks water and fogs up badly, power steering doesn't work sometimes which made 10 point turns on narrow lanes a very long process when I need to go back to find the road we should have be on. The exhaust was touching the sump guard and making noise but Mark fixed that while we were waiting to start the Somme section.

Glad to be away from the miserable weather in the UK. France is cold and overcast but it hasn't rained yet .The UK seemed to have rain 90% of the time.

At hotel now after doing another driver swap. t's a Novotel and had wifi. Need sleep!

Results show us as 16th – I'm amazed we are that high but it's a very long way to go yet.

Next - across Europe, from France to Greece