Friday, April 12, 2013

Tyred and Emotional

The Phantom Blogger has left the building, so I apologise in advance for any outbreaks of sanity which may occur from now onwards.

Have you seen the bull-riders in the rodeos?  Well, that's pretty much the kind of action we were having on Day 5, because any sequence of small bumps was likely to turn the Beast into an uncontrollable Wild Thing.  Having only one working shock on the driver's side of the car clearly didn't agree with it.  Every time I pushed, we got axle-tramp (and no, that's not the name of a Guns 'n' Roses groupie).  Which meant that when we needed it most, we weren't getting the power down like we should.

Not that it stopped me from trying.  On the flatter bits we were flying, and by PC1 we'd already caught up with Malcolm and Patrick in the Range Rover - although the gatch track dust prevented us from getting past.  But just before PC1 we smelt something really, really bad.  Maybe I shouldn't have had the baked beans for breakfast?  Is there something terminally wrong with the Beast?  Sadly, it was the Range Rover, which had cooked its front diff and the transfer box.  That was the last we'd see of them, till they were towed over the finish ramp.

Maybe we pushed a bit too hard on the tracks, because we blew a tyre soon after entering a dune section.  Like a well-oiled machine, we had the wheel changed in a time that would have made McLaren green with envy.  OK, I made that bit up, but we were pretty good.  We'd been dicing with 223, a beautifully built red Pathfinder, for the past couple of days, and seized the moment to overtake at PC2, when they took fractionally too long getting their card stamped.  Then we went into more dunes and lost another tyre, and they got back past us.  Bugger.  So now we have no spare tyres left, which isn't a good feeling.

But by some miracle, person or persons unknown had left a spare wheel lying around at PC3.  In the words of  'Only Fools and Horses': "Where it all comes from is a mystery, like the changing of the seasons and the tides of the sea".  Now, had one of our team left it there it might have been construed as illegal servicing on rally route, but that didn't happen.  It. Just. Didn't.  OK?

Then we had a rather torrid time in some white sand dunes, where the Sentinel alarm went off three times in quick succession to warn us of three different competitors stuck in soft bowls, all of which we managed to avoid.  And so it was that we made the finish, an unspectacular 25th on the day.  That was good enough to push us one place up the overall standings to a 16th place finish - and still no penalties. But even better, we were 2nd in the Gulf behind our friends Mansour Al-Hilei and Ali Mirza in #217, and that means trophies!

Team Newtrix at the finish ramp: Ian, Richard, Fred and Sheila
And so, after showering the Liwa dust off our sweaty bodies, we assembled round the Centro hotel pool for the awards ceremony. The short video edit of ADDC 2013 included Sheila being rude to the annoying cameraman on Day 1, which everyone enjoyed.  Top awards went to two Spaniards, Marc Coma on the bikes and Nani Roma in the 4x4s. But I have to say we got one of the biggest cheers of the evening for our 2nd place in Gulf, which was really nice.

Sheila with Camelia Liparoti, 8th in the Quads

It's over for another year.  Qatar is off the agenda - the job list for the Beast is just too long.  We need to rebuild all the shocks, sort out the shock mounts, rebuld the gearbox, fit a new clutch...Richard is working on the definitive list.  Plus we need new seats, harnesses and helmets for 2014, and the fuel tank needs to be either changed or re-validated for 3 years- which means sending it back to UK.  There are tough decisions ahead.  But for now, we'll bask in the fading limelight of our small victory in the 2013 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.

A few stats for you:

49 cars started.
31 were classified as finishers, i.e. were able to put their cars into parc ferme at the end of Day 5.
25 had finished every day within limit time. 
And only the top 16 finished without penalties of any kind.
NewTrix with Nani Roma, winner of the Autos.


Grumpy Goat said...

Mazel Tov!

Giorgio Borgonovo said...

Hi, sorry to ask for this here, can you please provide me an email address to which I can send free proof of ADDC pictures?

Giorgio Borgonovo

Grumpy Goat said...

Giorgio: have you considered posting them on the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge Facebook page?