Day 9

Border Village to Kalgoorlie

 I’m typing in the car on the 377km transport to Kalgoorlie - plenty of time to write....But today didn't go so well.

With a 6:30 am start, we were up early as we stayed at Border Village )on the border of SA/WA) and had to drive down to Eucla.We left in the dark with just 5km to the first stage of the day.  The sun rose while we were waiting at the first control.

The stage called “Old Coach Road” was 80km long and had everything.  Some good road, but also a lot of grotty tracks with sharp rocks and ruts. Somewhere in there, we must have hit something hard enough to rearrange the wheel alignmen,t and the car became more difficult to drive.

Fortunately we have a good service crew in Stewart, Jamie, Will and Logan who realigned front and rear and sent us on the way on 453km of transport.

These guys take the car from us when we get to night stops and deliver it back to us in pristime condition (sometimes we are already asleep when this happens).

I’m not exactly sure how many service crew there are on the event. 

 Geoff Olholm has a couple of guys (Gary Kirk and Bob Duck) who seem to be everywhere.  Their service vehicle wins the prize as the best presented.  Painted in the same colors as the rally car it looks good.  Gary and Bob have helped us out in other events.  (We would not have survived Day 1 of the Red Centre to Gold Coast rally  in 2008 without their help).

Pat Cole, who is doing only the Australian leg is winning that fairly easily. He would be in 4th spot outright if he was included.  Pat has seven people in his service crew.  He also had an aeroplane chasing him for a few days.

The Czech service crew are also interesting. They have no English but boundless enthusiasm and seem to always be rushing somewhere.  That said, I think they are travelling a little slower after an officer spoke to them the other day.  (Our Belgian friends Joost and Jacques were also spoken to for doing 71 in a 60 zone).
.Following that long transport, there was a short 14km stage which we didn’t do all that well, struggling to find a road shown in the tulip that we didn’t see.

Bottom line, we probably lost 4:30 or so today that we shouldn’t have, and young Ondrej Cofal will likely threaten our current 2nd place tomorrow. Ondrej on his first rally is getting better and better. He now sometimes takes time off Joost’s Porsche.

above: Pat and Bradley Cole in their Mercedes, and the Czech crew of Ondrej Coufal (right) and Jiri Kotek  in their left-hand drive Datsun. (the Cole photo is from the Classic Outback Rally Facebook page).

Other things I could write about are: the organisers, my experience with the HANS device, the looming difficulty of getting the car up to tarmac spec for Europe, and meeting the deadline for loading on the plane, but I’ll do that sometime in the next couple of days....

                                                                                                                                                      Next: Day 10, Kalgoorlie to York