Saturday, April 8, 2017

That wraps it up

And so to summarise:

Day 1 - 200km then the clutch let go.  Towed out by Sweep Team:

Day 2 - Ali Al Shawi's mechanics pull out engine, replace clutch friction plate
Day 3 - Took the start, pulled out at Moreeb, drove to PC1 on the blacktop, did PC1 to PC2 then bailed again.  Beast (and Sheila) well down on power
Day 4 - Welded up the exhaust and replaced the brake master cylinder.  Beast now fettled.
The Beast appears to have eaten my mechanics

So that brings up up to Day 5, which went extremely well - apart from one bad decision which left us stuck in some ridiculously soft sand halfway up a dune.  Fortunately we were rescued by car 228, Ahmad Al Malki's Isuzu, who gave us a massive tow out.  Thanks guys!  The Beast was once more on top form, handling everything we could throw at it without complaint.  (Except when we hit a hard tussock with the front right wheel, causing the top left side of the windscreen to shatter - go figure!)

So we ended the stage in 18th place, ensuring a classified 25th place finish overall.  Nasser Al-Attiyeh, by contrast, was leading at the start of the final day by an hour and 40 minutes from Sh. Khalid Al Qassemi - then pitch-poled his Hilux it on a sand spit, and was unable to finish.  One mistake is all it takes to go from hero to zero.

The day ended as usual with prize-giving, dinner and excessive alcohol consumption before being evicted from the Y-Bar at 2.00am.

Massive thanks are due to the entire team -
Rick, Jason and Phil for their unstinting hard work and expertise,
Kate and Cristina for racing off to collect a clutch,
Tim for fetching the clutch,
Sabertooth Motorsports and Rob Bryan at 1000 Dunes Garage for supplying the clutch,
Ali Al Shawi and Dakar Garage for fitting the clutch
Ahmad Al Malki for pulling our chestnuts out of the fire
And last but not least, Sheila (my better half and trusty co-driver) who battled ill-health to complete our run of 10 consecutive Desert Challenge appearances.

So what does the future hold?  Well, the Beast is up for sale. so if you have Dh 180k (o.n.o) looking for a good home, give me a call.  We may decide to get a buggy instead and compete in National Class at the EDC.  We've looked at the Yamaha YXZ 1000, and are hoping to get a test drive in a Can-Am X3.

So watch this space...

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Exhausting work, the Desert Challenge

So THAT's a spanner. Got it.
So, we raced on Day 1 and had a rest on Day 2. But with the car apparently back in fine fettle, on Day 3, Ian and Sheila put the pedal to the metal. Back into the dunes and, unfortunately, back into the furnace. Again the heat was taking its toll on riders, drivers and co-drivers alike, and it was not long before Sheila was feeling unwell. Not only that, but the The Beast was being beastly and Ian was struggling to maintain momentum through the dunes. A distinct lack of power made the car difficult, even dangerous to drive, and after battling with the elements for a few hours, our dynamic duo decided they'd rather be the drive home duo, so that's what they did.

There's no point battling the terrain and the heat when you're feeling unwell and the car's not at its best. That's when accidents happen, and Ian and Sheila have enough experience in the race to know when to back off. Discretion is after all, the better part of valour. Just like the chocolate is the better part of a Crème Egg.

Surrounded by the beauty of the desert,
Rick saw the light.
So back to the bivvy they bowled, where Rick, Phil, Jason, Cristina, Kate, Beaky Mick and Titch threw themselves bodily at the vehicle and started taking things off. The vehicle, obviously, not themselves, for that would be smutty and vulgar and we're not THAT kind of team.

Ian was exhausted, Sheila was exhausted and, we soon discovered, The Beast was exhausted. Or rather, it wasn't exhausted, for The Beast's exhaust was not all it's cracked up to be. Or rather, it was, in that the exhaust was cracked, where it's not supposed to be. Sorry, I'm cracking up. So that explained the lack of power. Instead there was a lot of hot air, all of it in the wrong place, and where there ought to have been power, there was none, meanwhile there were noxious fumes where there shouldn't be. Think of it as Donald Trump.

Oh and did I mention the missing headlight? Not a major problem you'd imagine, during a daylight race, but it was the impact with the orange buggy which knocked the headlight out, which was the real problem. Damage here and there, bodies and body work bruised, but no personal harm done.

The Liwa Bearded Weirdies and Shunters Club
So the lads and laddesses worked through the night again to try to reassemble bits with bits and bobs with bobs. About 3am Bob came over and asked for his bits back, so that left us with a bit and a bob missing. Fortunately it's Bob a Job week in England so we gave Rick a bob and he got on with the job. By this morning (Wednesday, Day 4) though the team made a call; The guys were still working on issues with the car, and Sheila still wasn't feeling at her best, so the decision was made to take the day off.

Not something we usually do in the middle of a race, but we were well past the middle, by about 12 hours, so that was OK then, and we all had a nice cup of tea and a lie down. Jason and Phil decided to go to Qasr Al Sarab hotel this evening and enjoy some fine dining, but were refused admission because the 5 Star hotel 'does not accept walk in diners'. We're guessing that only applies when they walk in looking like hard working mechanics who've been under a car in the desert for 3 days and nights.

Phil's rubbish at Hide and Seek.

The upshot is that The Beast is now quite Beastly again, and Rick has once again been playing with welding rods. (It's safer than letting him shoot things - he's REALLY good at that!). So Ian and Sheila will be able to complete the DC by driving over the Finish Ramp, at at that point, there may be a special team announcement. (I'm not sure but I think Phil and Jason may have got engaged. But that's just a rumour which I started about eight seconds ago)

Monday, April 3, 2017

Into the clutches of the desert.

Yesterday's report, today. Try to keep up. I'll ask questions tomorrow.

Ian and Sheila singing, "I believe I can fly"
So, Day 1, the first proper race day in the dunes, and usually a day when the organisers have just a modicum of sympathy for the racers so the course is slightly shorter and easier than the following days. Of course Mother Nature in her infinite wisdom decided that meant the competitors were all pansies, so she turned the wick up. RIGHT up. Many of the moto riders, including friends of the team Alan Boyter and David Mabbs, retired from the race due to heat exhaustion, or accidents brought about by the effects of the same. Ian and Sheila didn't succumb to the heat but sadly, after making good progress for the first 200kms or so of the stage, The Beast did.

Without warning and with no prior indications that there was a problem, suddenly Ian discovered he had no drive. No efforts to engage drive seemed to help, and after a while, they called in the A Team to come and rescue them from the clutches of the dunes.Which was ironic since as they would find out later - much later - it was in fact the clutch which was FUBAR.

The underside of a UFO
 Nor was that the only drama, for as Rick and Kate were driving out to the point on the road where the fantastic Sweep Team had recovered The Beast, their own Patrol (actually Ian's Patrol, not Rick's Patrol, although he does have one, nor Dawn's Patrol) overheated, meaning they had to abandon their attempt to meet The Beast, so Jason drove up instead and stood guard over the race car whilst Ian and Sheila, who had no clothes (well, obviously they had SOME clothes - their sweaty race overalls) headed back to the bivouac with somebody (frankly I've lost track) and then couldn't shower. Yeeuch.

So Jason spent his birthday baby sitting a sorry looking Patrol, Rick spent his evening fixing a different Patrol, Kate did some knitting, Cristina contemplated the solar system, Phil wondered where everyone had buggered off to, and The Phantom Blogger (oh, that's me) worked out how to blog.

Finally The Beast got a lift to the bivouac and Rick and others ( I know not whom but I guess Jason and Phil) ripped its innards outward, decided the clutch was bereft of life, and summonsed T-Phlog sur la telling-bone. "Though shalt go to 1000 Dunes garage at 8 am tomorrow, go to the main workshop doors, walk inside 8 paces. 7 paces is too few, 9 paces is too many, and 10 paces is WAY out. Turn left, walk 5 paces (not 4, not 6) forward, reach down with your right hand and LO, there shall be a box marked "This is the clutch you are looking for" at your finger tips. Collect said clutch and anything else you can lay your hands on, jump into a rapid automobile and drive, drive like the wind, for yet another illicit liaison with the great Kate. Don't be late, remember, start at eight."

Today's News now - well done, you've caught up.

No-trix racing today so...
"Sam Sunderland"
So I was all ready to do so at 7.15 this morning when I received a message. "It's the gearbox, delay your visit to 1000 Dunes". So I did, and had a nice cup of coffee, disturbed by Rick's urgent phone call at 8. "No, only kidding, now it's 45 minutes later and we wish you were there, it's the clutch, hop to it, sharpish now, stop buggering about". You know that noise Muttley used to make when Dick Dastardly annoyed him? That.

So great haste was made, clutches were clutched, doors were slammed, petrol was consumed, roads were punished, and I was rewarded with hugs and kisses by not one but TWO fair maidens at the side of the road halfway to Qasr Al Sarab - underneath a never opened restaurant disguised as a giant Land Rover, and in full daylight! Which makes a change because when Kate and I usually meet, she likes to switch the lights off.

Cristina proved her petrol-head credentials by looking at one of my car tyres and saying 'Looks a bit flat' and lo (low?), she was right. A difference of only 4 psi (37 not 41 - yes it's high but so would you be driving at 140kmh when the outside temperature is 50C) but well spotted that girl.

They raced back, I raced forward, Rick paced backwards and forwards, Phil was a little forward, Jason laid back, and Ian and Sheila spent the day in a bar getting wasted (it's not true but hey, this story needs an angle - Fake News!!)

Metallic things were bolted, unbolted, wobbled around, lubricated, aligned, spanked, torqued to nicely and generally manipulated, until The Beast was a car again and the whole team had a beer. But of course, being Newtrix, that wasn't straight forward, oh no. The clutch plate was a different diameter, so the flywheel didn't match, and the replacement flywheel had no starter gear ring, so that had to be fitted, and we're using the old release plate, new fly wheel, new clutch etc. Once that was finally finished, Ian and Rick took it for a test drive, got stuck, there was no phone reception, so they couldn't call for help, they walked back to the bivouac, Jason went out and winched them out the sand, etc. etc. etc. Just another day at the DC really!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Some like it hot. And muddy.

Lights, camera, "Action"
It's that time of year again, when all hell breaks loose in The Empty Quarter, Ian and Sheila go off in search of glory, Rick and Kate go off in search of paradise, Jason goes in search of his birthday presents but ends up in the desert anyway, and Phil asks himself what the hell he was thinking. Yes, it's DC time! Nothing to do with David Coulthard, other than a bit of stubble and a crash helmet, it's the other DC, you know the one - "Damaged Car". But I'm getting ahead of myself, which, given how slow I am, is not very difficult.

The Beast's behind.
Yes 'tis I, the Phantom of the Blogger, soon to be the subject of a terminally dull musical by Andrew Webbed Feet and starring Sarah Brightspark for no other reason than she's ever present in his worst musicals. i.e. all of them. She'll be wearing half a mask, which is a shame because it's Mr. Webbed Feet who should probably wear the mask. But anyway, I digest.

Those of you who were expecting me yesterday probably forgot to reset your clocks last weekend. Either that or I must apologise; "If there weren't no bloggin', it's 'cos I couldn't log in". For some reason (probably my age and decrepit brain cells weakened due to excessive consumption of Cabernet Shiraz grapes as a food source. I thought "5 a day" was a glasses of wine requirement) I was unable to access Mr. Barker's secret code and sign into the blog, so I swore. Today however, using, I swear, the exact same passwords, "I got in". Hurrah - no more swearing.

"No wheels!". Give me wings....
"Prologues" I hear you say and yes, there was one. Now for the purposes of this post, I'm going to pretend that today was yesterday, so here is 'today's' report from the prologue........."Not as muddy as last year, otherwise exactly the same". i.e. rather like 2015's, but a lot less dusty. The cars went round and round, the bikes went round and round, local hero AND 2017 DAKAR WINNER Sam Sunderland won the prologue in front of an adoring home crowd (at least three of his mates were there) Nasser Al Attiyeh did as Nasser always does and won the prologue in the Autos, and Ian and Sheila sauntered round in a sauntery fashion, which is like Primark fashion but MUCH more expensive - because racing cars cost more than racy cardigans. Do Primark even sell racy cardigans? Sexy sweaters? Pullover Provocateurs? Maybe not. But anyway, I divest.

Muddy car, jet wash, generator.
Just add water. 250 litres of water.
A veritable plethora of horsepower and automotive engineering was on hand to support In'she'la including a Patrol, a Raptor, a three tonne truck and a sexy six tonne truck. The Patrol is Ian's, the Raptor is Ian's, the three tonner is Ian's (OK it's Al Thika's) and the sexy six tonner complete with 250 litre water tank, is Tim's Travel Truck, and it rocks. Doubling up as a temporary fire engine, Tim brought his mobile water supply so the Beast could have a wash after the race. So once Ian was clean, Rick then used the jet wash and cleaned the race truck too. Much mud was removed and then we walked in looking like dynamite with our Tiger Feet. Sorry - too much Mud? The Sweet were better anyway.

Georgy Gomshiashvili (who wins today's blog award for the most difficult name to spell correctly first time) who races in the EDC with his Saluki built buggy, was so impressed by the team's car wash facility that he asked if he could bring his along too. For a moment the Newtrix team were hesitant but then Georgy said the magic word - "Beer" - and was immediately welcomed with open arms.

Ian and Sheila finished the prologue in 24th place, making a mockery of their 25th place seeding. Mind you with the rain we've been having lately, most seeds are doing better than expected this season. Tomorrow is another day (no it's not, see the 4th paragraph) and it's off to the desert we go. Tonight (last night) however there will be much quenching of thirsts. Damn it was hot out there (yes(today).

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Last-minute ADDC Panic

I rather glossed over the fire-extinguisher explosion one Day 1 of the Dubai International Baja.  But it's a pretty big deal and is going to cause one heck of a lot of problems for everyone involved.

FEV are one of the very few manufacturers homologated by the FIA to supply the new CO2 powered gas fire extinguishers, which replace the old AFFF (automatic film-forming foam) type.  They are family run British company which has been supplying the motorsports industry for many years., Their local distributor is Gulfsport, who supplied several systems immediately prior to the DIB.  One of the same batch as mine went to buggy-driver Khaled Al Jafla, who I bumped into as I was heading to Gulfsport on Sunday,to report what had happened.  We chatted about the event and wished each other good luck for the ADDC.

Once inside Gulfsport's office, I saw why Khalid had been there.  His extinguisher was sitting on the desk, and had exploded during the event, exactly like mine.  It now turns out that a third unit exploded in Mexico.

In the past week, FEV have stopped production of this system.  They have recalled all the 300-plus units they have supplied worldwide, and their FIA homologation has been cancelled.  Once they get to the bottom of the problem and redesign the system, they will have to re-apply for FIA homologation.

Their situation is about as bad as it can get.  They have just lost their entire installed base of these latest-generation systems, which will obviously be replaced by their competitors, and the damage to their reputation will be hard to repair.  Despite the problems they've caused, I can't help feeling sorry for FEV.

We're lucky, by comparison - a replacement system from SPA will be one of four to be shipped at the end of this week.  It should arrive on Monday, giving us the rest of the week to install it before Friday's ADDC scrutineering.  Given that some competitors were caught out by the FIA's new firex regulations, it's entirely possible that they could be caught out again -  as things stand, if they opted for the FEV system, they will fail ADDC scrutineering.

The Beast is back at its second (or is that first?) home, Nanjgel.  A new front wing is replacing the one that took the brunt of my impact with Mansour's Prado, and a few other jobs are on their list.  A new heavy-duty front halfshaft is coming in from the USA, at a specially discounted price - even though I told them the break was caused by a bent axle tube!  Big thanks to the guys at

A new T-shirt design to commemorate our 10th successive Desert Challenge has been produced - mainly by me, with help from Parvez, the graphic designer at Magic Touch.  Lists are being prepared, stuff is getting organised, and we have the team finalised.  Sadly our long-time engineering guru Richard Bailey can't be with us this year, and will be sorely missed - and not just for his impressive tool collection.  Rick Carless and Jason Lyness will now be joined on the spanners by Phil Cravens, who has been angling to do the ADDC for a while, His experience as support for saloon-car endurance racing, alongside Jason, will be invaluable.  Kate Stedman joins us again from the UK, to help share the housekeeping and logistics load with Sheila, and keep Rick company in the chase car.

10 days to go. So much still to do...

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Big 2017 Update - Dubai International Baja

I have been remiss in not updating the blog for so long.  Life appears to have got in the way, but I shall now try to fill in some of the gaps.

After the 2016 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, we traveled to Freiburg in Germany where I had a cochlear implant surgically, well, implanted.  This was to restore the hearing I have lost in my right ear.  After the operation and recovery I returned for a first tuning of the device, and then headed back to Dubai for a month or so - before heading out to Spain for the summer.

The main work required on the Beast was to repair the back axle, which was cracked and leaking.  We welded it up in the field but that wasn't a permanent solution.  So I bought a pre-loved axle tube from Joy Scrap in Dhaid, took it for sandblasting, and handed it over to Robbie at Saluki for reinforcement.  Then Nanjgel transplanted the innards of the old axle into the new axle tube and we were pretty much sorted.

The first race after the summer break was Round 1 of the 2016-17 EDC series at Lisaili, where I managed 2nd in T1 and 3rd overall.

So far, so good.  Our next outing was in the 4th round of the Emirates Rally Championship, organised by Emirates Motorsport Club.  Only one stage was used, and was supposed to be driven in 5 repetitions.  In fact, the track became so cut up and dangerous that it was halted after 4 rounds, by which time three vehicles had rolled - including us.  We clipped the apex of a left-hander, and the Beast rolled onto its roof - my bad.  Once we had escaped from the car unscathed, it was apparent that there was a lively fire going on under (or rather, above) the hood, where axle oil was dripping onto the hot exhaust manifold.  Rather than go back into a burning vehicle to fetch our own fire bottle, we flagged down the next race car - Fayed's son, Mahmoud - and pinched his extinguisher which successfully put out the fire.

Next stop - Nanjgel.  New wings from Ali Al Shawi, new door from Joy Scrap, lots of hammering and painting from Nanjgel and the Beast emerged in time for the candidate round for a proposed new FIA event, the Dubai International Baja.  This was a cross-country event to replace the old Dubai International Rally, a saloon car event which had been declining in popularity for some time.

The event was based at the Endurance Village stadium, near Bab Al Shams, and was overseen by the FIA to verify its credentials for inclusion in the 2017 Cross-Country World Championship.  It consisted of two repetitions of the same stage, in the Faqaa region used by the EDC.  Halfway round the first stage, we lost 4WD - which would normally be 'game over'.  But we decided to try and finish by lowering our tyre pressure to 10psi and crossing our fingers.  Soon after, we were faced by probably the biggest climb of the day, through a gnarly dune section.  As we approached, we could see one vehicle already stuck - which was Tom Bell's Bowler EXR. This didn't exactly fill me with confidence, but we went for it anyway.  As we blasted through, we found another vehicle stuck, and a sweep team in the process of righting Yahya Bel Hili's Patrol!  Enjoy the moment here...

So we were able to finish the first round, and were actually leading T1 at that point!  But the front axle was clearly bent and we presumed (correctly, as it turned out) that the halfshaft was broken.  Which was a shame, since I'd recently fitted uprated halfshafts, sourced from in the USA.  Anyway, we didn't have any choice but to go back into battle for stage 2 with 2WD.  Unfortunately, lightning doesn't strike twice, and it only took one bad decision to scupper our chances of finishing - we got hopelessly stuck and had to await the sweep team to extract us.

Over the Christmas period I gave the car to Rob  Bryan, who was by now managing 1000 Dunes Garage, for a report.  There were a number of issues which he identified as needing attention, and by January I was repeating the refurb procedure on the front axle (see above!).  Nanjgel also revised the radiator mounting, to provide better resilience, using rubber bobbins on the side mounts.  A complete set of new Accel igniters came from Summit, and - just before the 2017 Dubai International Baja -  a bomb was dropped in our lap.

Last Wednesday - eight days before Baja scrutineering - we were informed that the 2017 FIA T1 regulations mandated a completely new plumbed-in fire extinguisher system.  Oh joy!  On Thursday, we ordered an FEV system from Gulfsport.  On Friday, FEV despatched it from UK.  On Monday we received it, and I spent Tuesday working with Nanjgel to pull out the old system and install the new one.  Wednesday was another full day at Nanjgel, fixing various other jobs and installing additional roll cage padding (another FIA requirement). Finally, the Beast was loaded onto the trailer and we arrived at the rally bivouac, to camp overnight.

Thursday was documentation and scrutineering, which was extremely strict, and required the installation of even more roll cage padding - which thankfully Saluki Motorsport had available - and braided covering for the fuel vent line, which Rick was able to get from ATES in Al Quoz.  By Thursday night we were able to enjoy a well-earned beer with the Beast ready to rock.  But with eight FIA 'priority' professional drivers competing, I was resigned to the fact that a top-10 finish was probably out of the question.

Friday's  schedule was for 91km and 84km desert stages, with a regroup parc ferme (no service) in between.  SS1 went well, the navigation was very critical as there were very short distances between waypoints and frequent sharp direction changes.  We passed two vehicles, and discovered at the end that at least two other vehicles which started ahead of us - Mark Powell's T1.3 Saluki buggy and Tom Bell's EXR - were out. So we had made up at least 4 spots on our 20th place starting position.  After an extremely long wait in the middle of the desert, we finally started SS2, which was a faster section than SS1 - more subkhas and fewer technical dune sections.  Our progress was temporarily slowed when there was a massive BANG behind my seat and the entire cockpit filled with gas - the new FEV fire extinguisher had exploded!  We decided to keep very quiet about this, as the scrutineers would certainly exclude us if they found we were running without a working extinguisher system!

Back at the bivouac after another good run, we had two hours for service, and discovered that we were now 12th overall - pretty good, considering we had been seeded 23rd.

The next day's SS3 was exactly the same route as SS1 and SS2 combined, but with no intermediate stop - so 173km stage.  Once again we had no issues, but towards the end we came up behind and passed Yayha Bil Hili's Patrol, which was clearly sick, and ran to the finish behind Mansour Bil Hili's Prado.  Unfortunately, he managed to stall at the top of a dune, and I clipped his rear quarter panel with my wing - sorry about that!  We crossed the finish in fine style, having had no real issues.  But then the drama began.

First, we couldn't get the compressor to work to air up the tyres.  And with a scant 40 minutes to get back to the bivouac, I decided to do it without worrying about the tyres.  But before we got back to the tarmac, the engine died.  The starter turned but...nothing.  So we flagged down the next race car - Emil Khneisser's Y62 Patrol - and they towed us in!  At service, Jason identified a blown ECU fuse and the Beast started again.  A huge sigh of relief sounded, the car was put back into parc ferme, and another long wait ensued before the ramp finish at 1830hrs.

But just after exiting parc ferme, it died again.  Completely.  No starter,  Nothing. Nada.  By this time we knew we were 11th overall and Emil was 12th, and the ramp was being held in reverse order.  So once again, Emil and Manie came to our rescue and valiantly towed us up and over the finish ramp!  At this point, we discovered that the final stage had been sponsored by Nissan, and that there was a trophy for the first Nissan to finish SS3 - which was us!

Apres moi, le maelstrom!

Emil's Patrol is on the other end of the tow-rope

Nanjgel Garage service crew
In the end, the top six places were, as expected, taken by FIA priority drivers - with Nasser Al-Attiyeh (Hilux) taking the victory from Khaled Al Qassimi (Peugeot).  7th and 8th were buggies (T3) which were always going to be quicker than us in the dunes.  So to achieve 11th overall was a real achievement - only one place shy of our best-ever 10th place ADDC finish.

Thanks to my guiding light, co-driver and life-partner Sheila Hutton, Jason Lyness and Rick Carless on the spanners, Nanjgel Garage for all their hard work, Tim Ansell for the photos  - and last but not least Emil Khneisser for the towing service!

So now we have only 17 days to the start of ADDC 2017.  There is a list of jobs, and it's not getting any shorter.  This will be our 10th consecutive Desert Challenge, and we would like to go out on a high!  Watch this space...

Thursday, April 7, 2016

And so to bed

Phew, Finished
Car no team
No race reports today. No stucks, no dramas, nothing broken, Started 17th for the day, finished 18th, and ended 23rd overall in the race. Well done Sheila & Ian. Huzzah. As I write this, the team are enjoying large orange juices and lemonades at the Gala Awards Dinner at Yas, while The Beast takes a well earned rest in the car park at Yas Marina Circuit.

So Thanks to Kate & Rick for flying in from the UK just so they can have their faces sunburned and sandblasted, go without sleep for days, burn their fingers fixing exhausts and supper, and generally mis-behaving. Thanks too to Richard

"Tool Man" Bailey and Jason "Cut the RED wire" Lyness for their sterling support, fixing things with hammers and multi-meters - whilst having their faces sunburned and sand blasted etc. etc.

Car with team
Thanks to Emil Khneisser for his help with spare parts along the way, and the SAR team for being on hand even though we didn't need them! Also to the Sweep Team for towing us out on Day 2 and of course to the marshals without whom the event would not be possible. Thanks to Miss Poland 2011 for staying away from our part of the bivouac and thus not distracting the boys......and 'get well soon' Steve Blackney - a Dubai based biker who suffered a back injury on Day 2 but who is (gingerly) back on his feet today we're pleased to report.

Commiserations to Tom Bell and Patrick McMurren who endured a tough rally, losing a clutch, a starter motor, two tyres, were reversed into at high speed by a fellow competitor, and spent the night sleeping next to their car waiting for rescue, then suffered a DNF. It gets easier guys....

So another race has been run....who knows what 2017 will bring, and whether The Phantom Blogger will be reporting?

Stay tuned.
So it's good-night from me. And it's good-night from him.