Day 28,29,30 – Cardiff(Wales) to London(England)
Well its back to racing and then to the finish at Windsor.
Day 23,24,25,26,27 – Brescia(Italy) to Carmarthen(Wales)
Italy and France stages were cancelled due to exorbitant fees charged to run stages and a lack of entries making it impossible for the rally to cover the costs(mostly due to FIA regulations requiring an ambulance every 5 km I think).
OK, so enough of this sightseeing….I came here to rally, the Mercedes got broken on the last stages and was going back to Wales for repairs. Not without Greg I said!!
Mark Solloway and I drove across Europe towing the damaged Mercedes on the trailer, first day Brescia to Calais, second day and we were back to Marks place at Carmarthen in Wales.
After stripping the Merc and ordering parts I had a tour of the local pubs for lunch over the next few days.
Historic Rally Sport
Day 22 – Rijeka(Croatia) to Brescia(Italy)
Uneventful day trip through the countryside that is bordered by the Italian alps which were topped with snow.
Day 20,21 – Belgrade(Bulgaria) to Rijeka(Croatia)
Some stages today and a trip to the seaside town of Rijeka where we had an extra “rest” day.
We had a lovely lunch by the Adriatic sea in Opatija
Not too much rest as Croatians know how to party!!
Day 19 – Nis(Bulgaria) to Belgrade(Serbia)
More beautiful scenery
The architecture here is so different
Day 18 – Sliven(Bulgaria) to Nis(Serbia)
Yay!! Competition today.
A competitive loop was followed by a service in the main street which is cobblestone. The city mayor addressed an interested crowd and there were some Bulgarian classics in the car park.
Sliven Town Square
The scenery here is just stunning and Bulgaria is very clean.
Across the border and into Serbia was pretty painless again awesome scenery and snow of the alps, then the traffic stopped and the road was closed due to blasting at the roadworks covering the road in debris that had to be cleaned up before cars could pass, 3 hours later we were away
A quick trip back to the border in the mighty Mini which was a 200Km round trip for Greg as one of the crews had left their passports in their luggage and couldn’t get into Serbia. Pretty exciting left hand drive, driving on the right hand side of the road, dark and raining on a winding mountain road, beer required after this drive……..
The Mighty Mini
Day 17 – Istanbul to Sliven
Out of Turkey today, that should be easy…….
6 Hours at the Turkish border, because the paperwork for the parts truck was not in order, then finally onto Bulgaria and on to Sliven. There was however 1 litre of Bourbon for around $12 AUD and a sex shop.
By the time we had unpacked the bags it was getting late and thought we should get food before the kitchen shut. Well we had problems getting beer and gave up on Dinner at the Hotel and visited a great little Pizza shop, awesome food.
Day 16 – Eskisehir to Istanbul
Transport only today as stages were cancelled, went out for a great feed and view of the city. Then went into downtown Istanbul for some excitement, visited a couple of pubs and one that was a pub with “special” benefits (got out of there pretty quick!)
Day 15 – Ankara to Eskisehir
A transport only day due to cancelled stages, we had to manufacture a makeshift tow bar for the truck to enable it to tow the trailer out of Turkey.
Thanks to some fantastic help from the owner of Ufuk Honda (no pun) we were able to find CanKap and Yusef the owner helped us out with some materials and a welder.
Day 14 – Ankara
Today I was thrown into RallySafe and are now the resident “expert”, upgraded the firmware in 4 units, and reset the time for Turkey, all was then well.
Day 13 – Ankara to Bulgaria and back again
As two of the historic cars were trailered to Turkey they got “stuck” at the border as each car needs a separate passport to be attached to to enter the country.
So Grahame, Iwan and I grabbed Marks Tourag and drove 700km to the border, picked up the cars and drove back, fantastic road, but boring as hell!!
Today we decided that everything here is either half finish or half fu$%&d…….
Day 12 – Perth to Turkey
Perth – Doha – Ankara
Not much to report here, but finally some sleep…..
Day 11 – York to Perth
Awesome stages today, with the Bunnings stages from the old Perth ARC event being used.
Trevor and David set some Blistering times with a fastest and 3 2nd’s.
The real highlight of the day however was that the start/service area was the Boddington oval, this was the first time the “Nullabor Eleven” hand played on grass and without cars interrupting play!!
Pat Cole Won the Australian part of the Rally and Trevor and David came in Second.
Well Done Boys!!
There was a charity auction raising money for Frontier services, google them they do some great work in australia with sporting events and support for outback families.
Anyway I though I would get all the service crews to sign the shitimber bat and put it in the auction, it was a much better cause than decorating my shed!!
Well blow me down the bidding started at $100 and finished at $900, what a great result, all the service crews were very proud of our achievement.
Caught up with a couple of school friends Karen and Penny a few beers and then on a plane for Turkey at 11pm
Day 10 – Kalgoorlie to York
Another big day and a big competitive stage of 100Km
All went well today apart from the cricket bat developing a split in the “shitimber” oh well more race tape, thanks Trev.
We stopped in at the Kalgoorlie Super Pit, amazing hole in the ground!!
Kalgoorlie Super Pit
Day 9 – Eucla to Kalgoorlie
Putting in some big days here with 800+km’s a day becoming commonplace.
The cricket continues, oh, and there is some sort of rally apparently as well.
A good service tonight at Des and Kylie’s place with help from more of the Jones Grandchildren, thank you so much guys!!
Service in Kalgoorlie
Off to Scimpys for a beer and some dinner.
On the way back to the Motel we found the Turkish guys Damir and Yaman with the front end of their car jacked up on the side of the road, so I ‘roped’ Jonsey in and we stayed and helped them replace a broken Left hand strut, the team Coconut guys (Gary and Keith) came by and helped us finish the job.
Day 8 – Port Augusta to Eucla
Really into Nullabor territory now, so much of nothing its fantastic.
Of course there was always the good looking Jonesy to improve the scenery
Fantastic panoramic views of the Great Australian Bight and the scenic coastline.
Great Sunset tho….
Sunset on the Nullabor
No more mechanical problems and the team is starting to regain some ground on the other competitors and dropping to last in the Australian John Giddons memorial race.
Cool Service truck, Coconut palms
Day 7 – Port Augusta to Port Augusta
Today was a fantastic day up and down through the Flinders Ranges, there is some awesome mountain formations here that you just don’t see anywhere else in Australia.
Today the Nullabor Test started, the bat performed well and the service crews all had a go, we were playing on the road and using a bucket as the wicket. When a car came we had to pickup the wicket and move to the side of the road, as I was standing there a car slowed down I held the bucket out and bugger me they stopped to through some money in! Well Jonesy stepped in and prevented that explaining how we were on this rally from Sydney to London Blah,Blah,Blah…………..
Day 6 – Barossa to Port Augusta
Went through some beautiful little towns in SA
Waiting for Rally cars to complete stages can sometimes be a bit boring for the serveice crews and I noticed a few guys getting edgy, Logan was OK as he had his iPhone to play music on, but the rest of us were looking for something more…….
I thought I would make some sort of cricket bat and we could belt a fews balls around while we were waiting on the side of the road. I stumbled across a piece of timber, well actually I had to jump a fence and walk halfway across a paddock to find a suitable piece of timber in an abandoned farm house. The timber had dry rot and was covered in sheep shit, but it was all I could find. We named the timber “shitimber” which is probably not quite the same as willow but did the job. After cutting a handle and carefully binding it with race tape we had no ball! Will from the Stu Wilkins team came up with a rag and we covered it in race tape as well – perfect!!
Nullabor test cricket bat
So all we had to do was test it, but alas it would have to wait as the rally cars turned up just then.
Into a big service at Port Augusta and replaced all the rear arms, and change the oils as well as the usual spanner check and clean filters etc. Then off to the hotel for a beer.
Day 5 – Renmark to the Barossa Valley
Another broken link today, but a top one this time, cost us some time in the stage as Trev and David had to nurse the car to the end of the stage.
Outback service area
Jonesy was straight into the pub and found a welder who came and opened his shop (Eden Valley Motors) and was able to make good a twisted piece of metal that was once an upper arm. We quickly fitted the repaired arm (while it was still hot from welding) and the boys were off again.
Late to the next stage which incurred some penalties but finished the day nonetheless.
A fantastic feed at the Novatel Barossa Valley and a beer or two after servicing the car. Today we ordered some new arms to be delivered in the next few days to Port Augusta
Day 4 – Broken Hill to Renmark
As we war driving out of town we found a Metal Fabrication place called Outback Fabrications, Dave is in the process of building a 32 Ford hotrod and was just the type of guy we needed to repair the broken trailing arm. He did a great job and replaced the whole tube with a chrome-moly tube delded in for a reasonable price – Thanks Dave!
Outback radiators and metal fabriction
After that it was off towards Renmark down the border track, some fast stages here with sand dunes added to the mix of road surfaces.
Not much out here but the Renmark Hotel is fantastic, nice rooms right across the road from the Mighty Murray, which is just so picturesque especially at sunset and sunrise.
Renmark at Sunrise
Day 3 – Cobar to Broken Hill
After a terrible night retrieving my blanket from the cockroaches that kept taking it away were off to Broken Hill. Important note, stay only in hotels that rent rooms overnight and not by the hour….
Uneventful morning and an awesome steak sandwich for lunch.
Stage 2 was cancelled due to wet conditions from recent rain.
Stage 3 was a 55km run through private property. The Stilling/Travis Datsun Stanza only completed 8km as we had a significant mechanical failure when the right hand lower trailing arm in the rear suspension broke in two. This was a show stopper as the car is virtually un-drivable without it. Trev walked out of the stage and Rod an I finally got word that they were broken down in the stage. We back tracked to Broken Hill and then into the stage (about 100km in all) to replace the busted arm with our spare. Car going again but too late to get a time and we copped a maximum penalty for the stage.
Old Willyama Hotel
We didn’t stay at this lovely Pub Willyama Motor inn and Hotel but we did eat there, the food and service was just fantastic as were the three lovely ladies that run the pub. It is clean and well kept and I recommend it highly.
We also started the “mud art” on the Hilux today.
Hilux Mud Art
Day 2 – Parkes to Cobar
Earlier start today , as we had a few things to do to the car before breakfast, like make the wheels point in the same direction……
KC and Mary-Anne are back in the race today after the historic rally service guys put there car back together after KC destroyed it.
First service at Utes in the paddock near Condobolin. People here have too much time on their hands methinks.
Utes in the paddock
Today I have started Welsh lessons, but caused a bit of friction when “how you going boy” apparently sounded like “you look like a ladyboy”. I think Gary and I are still friends tho.
Some problems in special stage (SS) 7 saw us drop a lot of time today.
At SS8 we were treated to a ceremonial start with bagpipes.
Car ran faultlessly and the Welsh lessons are progressing well now its time for a beer!
Day 1 – Sydney to Parkes
3 Stages today
10 km at Sunny Corner,Bathurst
21 km at Orange
52 km Backyamma, Parkes
The boys settled in well today, posting fastest stage times in the Australian event and ending 4th outright overall based on unofficial times.
The car ran well and only needed fuel and windscreen clean all day.
At the evening service we gave the car a good checkover and replaced a tie-rod that had been bent in an altercation with a tree stump, it was on the navigators side so we are assuming navigator error.
The service machine
Service vehicle cover around 500 km today, pretty cruisey day for Rod and I really, we missed the run around Mt Panorama, but met the awesome Jones grandchildren which was a buzz!! And Pop Jones has now got the lucky rocks to keep us safe……
Special Stage 3
This year the London to Sydney Marathon is being run in reverse, from Sydney to London.
Here are the maps of the event
Rod Jones from Bathurst and I have the job of servicing for Trevor Stillling and navigator David Travis in the Datsun Stanza sponsored by Coffs Harbour Auto Electrical