Saturday, April 6, 2013

Cote D'dust

Ladies, gentlemen, and those of you with spectacularly tight racing leathers, like Christmas, the FA Cup and International Left Handed Day (August 13th in case you were wondering), I’m back for my once a year, never to be repeated until next year appearance. Yes, tis I, The Phantom Blogger, custodian of the three holey socks, blogger of words, blagger of parts, bugger all use, and writer of those things which were once unspoken but which are now completely and utterly pixelated before your very eyes. 
Faster than a Ferrari World Roller Coaster

BUT, my miniontastic little munchkins, you may no longer address me as “The PB” for since we last met I have been endowed, some might even say well endowed, with an Honorary Doctorate. Oh yes I have. It’s pointless, intended purely for my own self promotion , and thoroughly undeserved, yet there it is on my wall for all to see. The Phantom Blogger, Honorary Doctor of Blog Scribing. You may simply refer to me as “Dr. B.S.” for short.

My presence can only mean one thing; that it’ll be a week before this blog makes any sense. Oh wait, two things. The second being that Ian and Sheila are away making loud burbly noises in the desert with their big metal box on wheels, alongside lots of other people who feel the need to do the same. Yes,the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2013 is under way.  

This afternoon Ian, Sheila, Richard “It’ll be on my list somewhere” Bailey and Fred “I fancied a week off work” Santiago dragged their weary bodies down to the Prologue in Abu Dhabi. Now in NCAA football they have the Rose Bowl. And cheerleaders; Phantom likes cheerleaders….and in the NFL they have the Super Bowl. And cheerleaders. Phantom really, really likes cheerleaders. But the ADDC has what can best be described as the Dust Bowl. Which is all very well – but there are no cheerleaders. Just dust. Lots of dust. And on top of the dust, a light dusting of dust. And not a perky pair of pom poms in sight. Boo hiss.
Dust. Just dust. It's a must.

Just as you can be sure of overpriced roses on Valentine’s Day, so you can be sure of foul weather and DUST for the DC prologue. Of course you’ll never know that from the photos herewith attached, for such are my Lightroom skills (think Photoshop, only better) that you see only fantastic pictures of our heroic racers, but the strong winds which blew up yesterday morning continued to blow throughout this afternoon, reducing visibility to “three tenths of a little bit”. This does not please anyone who drives down to AUH for 90 minutes only to have their face and more importantly camera gear sandblasted into oblivion. But never mind, I knew it would all be worthwhile when Ian and Sheila saw me on the sidelines, preserving those precious race moments for all time. “Oh you were there were you, we didn’t see you” said Ian as we spoke later on the phone. No, well that would be because I was the only 6’ tall photographer in a fluorescent yellow vest!! But they didn’t see me. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I’m known as “The Phantom”
Nextrix Racing, 2013 stylee!

Ian drove sensibly (imagine that!) to preserve the car and Newtrix finished the prologue on 25th place, exactly halfway through the 49 car field. Now you might argue that 25th is halfway through a 50 car field but I would disagree. You see there are 24 cars ahead of them, and 24 behind them, so they’re halfway. If you have a problem with that, please send me a postcard.  
1.2kms in and Mabbsy's already lost his co-driver!

Other local racers of note include Malcolm Anderson and Patrick McMurren (#242) of Team Dune Raider, who finished the day in 41st (thus making a mockery of the seeding system which had put them way back in 42nd place) Seb Husseini (Quad #139) in 4th, Colin Mercer (Quad #138) 13th, Alan Boyter (Bike #36) 47th and the inimitable Mr. David Mabbs, who, having emptied the UAE of people insane enough to co-drive alongside him, has taken to two wheels and this year is competing on bike #27 (44th in the prologue).

Ian told me this evening that he fears the race car’s clutch is not as healthy as it might be, so first thing tomorrow I’m to try to track down the only other known clutch of its type in the country. Yes, really. Looks like the DC has started! 

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