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.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Four four four he's he's he's a a a jolly jolly jolly good good good fellow fellow fellow

An odd title I know but one which celebrates today's finishing time of four hours forty four minutes and forty four seconds. OK the seconds bit may or may not be true but the 4' 44" is. Now stop and think about how hard it is to learn the English language. Four is pronounced F-oar, but Hour is pronounced Ower. And Four has a "U" in it but Forty doesn't  Just like an inspirational poster - "There's no "U" in Forty"  I mean, it's not fower oars and fourty foor minutes, is it? And is minute, one sixtieth of an hour, or is it just something very small. How big is a minute steak, and for (four?) how long should one cook ones minute steak?

This is bent

Ooh don't tempt me...

Richardus Baileyus. A nocturnal creature

These questions, and many others, did not occur to Ian and Sheila today as they traversed mountainous dunes, dashed along vast subkahs, and cut down mighty pines with nothing but a halibut as a weapon. No, they just got stuck in, and decimated the competition. Starting out 30th on the day, they finished 16th on the stage. (16 of course is fower times foor. Or is it fore thymes four? Who nose?). They also broke nothing. Well, very little by their standards. Just a rear support arm (not foooore the first time this week) and two front bump stops. So if your rear arm's not supported (a lot like Manchester City) and your front bump stops are worn (or are they Warn?), what do you do? Yes, you blag them from elsewhere.

Somebody told Rick to take the Tube.
In a message which has only served to confuse the heck out of T-Phablog (and let's face it, THAT takes some doing), I understand that: "Knackered two front bump stops. Fortunately Saluki used stock Nissan rear bump stops at the front so my road car has provided the necessary parts.". So, we've got rear bump stops on the front. I wonder what will happen tomorrow if the rear bumps. Or the front stops. Who knows?

In other news, the fire engine Richard repaired yesterday was used to good effect when the gentlemen from the fire brigade had to hose down Jenny from next door this afternoon. No, I've no idea. Some sort of wet T shirt thing maybe? Was Kate involved? Were Rick and Jason leching? Or were they leaching? What was leaking? What was Richard repairing at the time? Hoonose

So early were Mr. & Mrs. B back at the bivvy wack today that they were home in time for lunch and medals. Well, by about 3pm anyway, which is when Ian rang me and asked him if I was talking to him. I pointed out that if he's answered the four (fore, phwoar, phoore?)phone (fone, faun, fawn?) calls I'd made to him yesterday, I needn't have called Rick (Wick, Wicki, Wixter?) yesterday. So yes, I'm talking to him. Not now obviously because I'm writing this. But earlier.

What a senseless waste of human life.
Oh he was OK? Thank Goodness
Tomorrow is the day after the penultimate day of the event. So the last day then. And the car's in good shape, Ian, Sheila, Kate, Jason, Richard are in good shape. Rick's a shape too, but I said 'prolate' two days ago and according to the 'no repeats for 72 hours rule' I'm not allowed to say it on Wednesdays. Tune in tomorrow.

Wish the Dogs well - tomorrow's D-D-D-Day (Dog's Done Duning Day)

Ta Ta. - Whoops - BIG clue!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Half shafted with no strap on

Our sharp eyed readers may have problems scratching their contact lenses. They might also have noticed in yesterday's update that there was in fact, no update yesterday. Well done. There was a technical reason for this - I went out last night and got back late and in the meantime managed to miss Ian's evening phone call, the one in which he would have told me about Day 2 in the dunes. So there you have it - even Phantom Bloggers have nights off..

Excellent photo stolen from Craig McAteer. Don't tell him.
So this morning I made a call to Newtrix Racing's Technical Director. Some say that the reflections from his head are visible in space. Or that his hand crocheted parachutes are a thing of great beauty - and an even greater insurance risk. We just know he's - "The Rick". The Rick informed me that Day 2 went, not so much from bad to worse, more from broken to buggered. Yesterday's mechanical casualties included a half shaft, two drag links and a suspension restraining strap. For the non technically minded, I shall attempt to explain the function of these items.

A half shaft is like a shaft, but shorter. About 50% shorter. Trouble is, our half shaft suffered a further sub-division and ended up as two 1/4 shafts. And anyone whose ever suffered a quarter shaft will understand how much such a thing would slow you down in the desert. So imagine having two of them hanging off your diff. Exactly.

A Half Shaft. Completely shafted.
Drag links have proven very popular in some of the camper parts of Scotland, where golf, particularly golf involving the wearing of one silk glove and ridiculous clothing (so that's ALL golf then?) is involved. Basically it's a course close to the sea, on which women are not allowed to play, so the men mince around offering to 'play a round in a foursome". All seems rather unseemly to me, but I guess it gets lonely on a cold winter's night in Dundee.

And a restraining strap is an S&M device. (Sadism & Masochism / Suspension and Movement - you pays your money and you takes your choice) One is used to stop your rear axle from dangling too far, whilst the other is. Well it's. Sort of the opposite really. So I hope that's cleared up all those confusing oily bit explanations. Good.

Consequently Mr & Mrs. B only made it around about half of yesterday's route, before calling it a day and taking up stamp collecting ("Have you seen any PCs philately?"). Having driven back to the bivvy with only three half shafts and without a strap on, they retired to the bar and told Rick and Richard to "get on with fixing it you oiks". Which is a bit rude and entirely untrue. So Rick and Richard beavered away, whilst Kate badgered the canteen staff and Jason made sure everything was properly secured with the budgie cords. By 1am their work was complete, so they dragged Ian and Sheila out of the bar, made them some hot chocolate (could happen - I believe in miracles) and everybody had a nap.

This morning they got up, Sheila had a shower, Ian had a shave, and thankfully Rick, Jason, Richard and Kate left early.  Then the Dogs hit the dunes, the pedal hit the metal, there was dust everywhere, much excitement, occasional rude words, more stamps were collected, competitors were hunted down and taunted, water was drunk, there were more rude words, brows were furrowed, Rick was confused, Richard fixed a fire engine, Kate coloured in two more Unicorns, and Jason wondered what the hell he was doing here.

And that ladies and gentlemen, was our famous TV interviewer called Robin, in a kernel. (Our Day in a nut shell.)

 Ian and Sheila will start Day 4 in 30th position.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

All is not lost...

Except for a spare tyre, our tow rope, the ARB tyre inflation hose, $ 12,372 in used Nigerian notes and the rag we use to wipe the dipstick. (But he's on holiday so we don't need it...).

Was it Burt Reynolds who starred in Every which way but loose? I think so. Anyway, it seems that the toolbox on the rear of the car became a little unhinged today (happens to us all in these temperatures, right?) and so its contents ended up, well, a little Reynoldsed. Scattered to the four corners of the Earth. Given that the Earth is a spheroid, albeit marginally prolated, it's difficult to know exactly where those four corners are, which explains why we couldn't find our oily rag, or tyre inflation hose, in the vast expanse of sandpaper we call the desert.

Still never mind, T-Phablog was on hand to dash to his ageing Land Rover in Dubai and remove the ARB inflation hose stored within. Only to be told it wasn't one of those he needed to deliver to the desert 5 hours drive away, but a different ARB inflation hose, a Jose Mourinho. Yes, a Special One.

So he dashed again, driving straight past the offices of the rather wonderful SRG Motorsports whose driver was going to deliver said hose to the desert 5 hours drive away if T-Phablog could just get back there in time, onwards to the ARB store in the less than salubrious International City. His mission? To buy a Dh 200 tyre hose.( Last year they were only Dh 185, but hey, that's inflation for you....) No matter that they closed at 6pm but promised to wait until T-Phab got there at 6.07pm, they had the part!!!!!   Which was surprisingly just like the part T-P could have delivered to SRG 20 minutes earlier.....Hmm. What's wrong with this picture?

Quick phone call. "Hello Ian" "Yes" "I'm looking at this ARB hose and it's like the one I've got with me in my car" "No you have one for a Bushranger compressor" "Yes but I also have an ARB one" "Do you?" "Yes" "Oh right, yes that's the one, please take it to SRG Motorpsorts, you know, the place you drove past 20 minutes ago...... " "So I needn't have driven to ARB"  "Err no". "OK, no problem, I'll just turn round then and drive through the rush hour traffic a second time to the place I passed not so very long ago....."

Thank you Sean Gaugain and the good people of SRG Motorsports for your help. Ian owes you (and me) alcohol...a lot of alcohol

Apart from that we broke an axle (it's alright, so did Guns 'n Roses and they just fixed it) but otherwise it was just a walk in the park. A really deserty park, with lots of sand. And sticky bits. High temperatures, no swings, no ducks, very few trees, no crazy golf, no huts selling ice cream and no scantily clad young office workers slipping off their blouses in the summer months and rubbing sun tan oil into their........ NOW STOP THAT!

Sorry. The UAE Desert Challenge - it's serious stuff. With very little Tropicana. But the drinks are free. Allegedly.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Once upon a mud slide....

This year we have lost many of Planet Earth's greats. Lemmy, David Bowie, Keith Emerson, George Martin, Eric "Winkle" Brown (shame on you if you don't know who he is) and just 48 hours ago, Ronnie Corbett. It's an annus horribilis for sure, but may I just say, that reports last year that the Phantom Blogger had also shuffled off this mortal coil, bereft of life and off to meet his maker, were greatly exaggerated. Lock up your daughters, (whilst I shall do the same), the Blogmeister is BACK!!!

But please note; these days apparently it's no longer fashionable to use ones given name. No, if you're down with the kids you need a stage name, so if it's good enough for J-Lo and P-Diddy, it's good enough for me. Ladies, gentlemen, and those of you who are still on the fence (get off, you'll break it), you shall now refer to me as "T-Phablo". (Not be confused with "That Fat Bloke")

If you're part of my posse (and if you are, you'll be needing a horse and a Stetson) you may refer to me as "T-Phab" (rhymes with prefab) thus marking you out as one of my inner crew, and reminding everybody of cheap post war housing in Britain. Please note, no sprouts.

But enough about me, what news from yonder Prologue breaks? Well, not much really... the bikes went round and round, the cars went round and round, the wheels on the trailer went round and round, the wipers on the car went swish swish swish, the cameras on T-Phablo went click click click and nobody got hurt. Which is good.

So let's talk about Ian and Sheila, except that celebrity couples need 'couple names' so out of respect for their 20+ years in the Gulf we shall now refer to their combined presence as "In'she'la"(meaning "If Sheila lets it happen") So Sheila shouted at Ian and told him to slow down. Ian claimed afterwards he hadn't heard a thing and that his consequent "running of the barriers" (like Pamplona but without the stupid red scarves and, let's be honest, rather gay white trouser suits, accessorised with a camp beret. Seriously, guys of Spain, you want us to take your bull running seriously but then you dress like a limp wristed Village People backing troupe. What's with that?) was a perfectly executed power slide using only the prefabricated (and "we're back") plastic barriers as a city limit of sorts. "You shall not exceed the boundaries - but it's OK to smack them upside the head a little"

And thus, Newtrix raced, Rick went carless, Kate was steadfastly Stedman, Birthday Boy Jason forgot his lyness and Richard....well Richard had his hands on his tool most of the day, as usual.
Now the team are hard at work fettling the car (Rick's latest facebook status update suggests they are doing so in the Y Bar at Yas Marina, which is odd...) whilst Sheila is updating the roadbook and Ian is snoring. So. No change there then.

Good night!


ADDC 2016 - Prologue

OK - so this year we won't bother with the Frankie Howerd references (ooooh, Missus!).  We'll just cut to the chase.
We're back at Al Forsan, where we've competed before on a sort of figure-of-8 track with a bridge and tunnel arrangement.  Unfortunately, due to the rain, it was a bit of a quagmire and very slippery.  So slippery that I was forced to use the plastic barriers at one point, to guide me round a particularly tight turn.  So we have some slight battle damage to the driver's side, nothing to worry about.  Other than that, we kept it clean - in a very dirty way.
Having hosed off the worst of the filth, Sheila managed to take this rather awesome pic of the Beast, as the sun set over Abu Dhabi.

Results are in as follows.  No heroics from Newtrix, but no disgrace either.  Tomorrow we start in earnest.

osNo.NamePen.TimeDiff. prevDiff. 1st
1209PRZYGONSKI J.1:49.0
2211MENZIES B.1:49.0+0.0+0.0
3205HIRVONEN M.1:50.0+1.0+1.0
4206DABROWSKI M.1:50.0+0.0+1.0
5204AL RAJHI Y.1:51.0+1.0+2.0
6201VASILEV V.1:53.0+2.0+4.0
7202AL ATTIYA N.1:53.0+0.0+4.0
8224SAZONOV Y.1:53.0+0.0+4.0
9203SH. AL QASSIMI K.1:55.0+2.0+6.0
10210SCHOTT S.1:56.0+1.0+7.0
11217RUDSKOY A.1:56.0+0.0+7.0
12218FAZEKAS K.1:57.0+1.0+8.0
13225SHAGIROV K.1:58.0+1.0+9.0
14228COFFARO N.1:59.0+1.0+10.0
15244DOMZALA A.1:59.0+0.0+10.0
16223SHAGIROV Y.2:01.0+2.0+12.0
17227CATELLANO F.2:01.0+0.0+12.0
18215SERRADORI M.2:02.0+1.0+13.0
19207KLEINSCHMIDT J.2:05.0+3.0+16.0
20221AL MAQOODI A.2:05.0+0.0+16.0
21242GALIMOV R.2:05.0+0.0+16.0
22208AL HELEI Y.2:06.0+1.0+17.0
23214KHNEISSER E.2:07.0+1.0+18.0
24216COMMAGNAC Y.2:07.0+0.0+18.0
25222BARKER I.2:07.0+0.0+18.0
26254PITULOV D.2:09.0+2.0+20.0
27241ABDULLA A.2:11.0+2.0+22.0
28212AL HELEI M.2:12.0+1.0+23.0
29231ORLANDINI R.2:12.0+0.0+23.0
30262SEAIDAN Y.2:13.0+1.0+24.0
31238AL MANSOORI M.2:17.0+4.0+28.0
32257AL QASHAMI A.2:18.0+1.0+29.0
33230AL MANNAI M.2:19.0+1.0+30.0
34252AL SHANFARI Z.2:20.0+1.0+31.0
35226ABYKAYEV M.2:21.0+1.0+32.0
36256RABAN A.2:21.0+0.0+32.0
37229ROSSO J.2:22.0+1.0+33.0
38234FADEL M.2:23.0+1.0+34.0
39240AL FERAIHI K.2:23.0+0.0+34.0
40219KAZBERUK J.2:24.0+1.0+35.0
41232ABDULLAH S.2:26.0+2.0+37.0
42250NOVAK D.2:26.0+0.0+37.0
43260AL HARQAN M.2:26.0+0.0+37.0
44259JAHMAN J.2:27.0+1.0+38.0
45233MARMOLEJO A.2:29.0+2.0+40.0
46246DOMZALA M.2:29.0+0.0+40.0
47249BELL T.2:29.0+0.0+40.0
48251PIANA M.2:31.0+2.0+42.0
49247ZIEGLER M.2:33.0+2.0+44.0
50235CASELLA V.2:55.0+22.0+1:06.0
51253HAMAGUCHI K.3:10.0+15.0+1:21.0
52245AMOS E.4:10.0+1:00.0+2:21.0
53220AL JAFLA K.8:10.0+4:00.0+6:21.0
54248GOMSHIASHVILI G.8:10.0+0.0+6:21.0