Badawi Trail Preview (October 10 – 26 2023)
45 Crews to Head into the Unknown, on the Trail to the Last Oasis
This is one of the last opportunities to get set for that event, and this rally will no doubt provide ample opportunity to test machinery and stamina ahead of that mammoth undertaking. One crew who will be taking that preparation very seriously will be car no 1, the 1914 American LaFrance crewed by Tomas de Vargas Machuca and Ben Cussons. The oldest machine competing, and probably the largest, was last seen taking part in the Sahara Challenge, where there were no inside favours granted for the Chairman of the company.
Indeed, quite the opposite, as the cumbrous machine required constant maintenance, it became an activity that Tomas was involved with until the early hours most mornings. His teammate Ben Cussons wasn’t with him on that trip, and this will be an opportunity for him to experience competing in a car that can be somewhat on the laborious end of the endurance spectrum. As the adventure seeking Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club, he is relishing this desert challenge before the epic Peking to Paris Motor Challenge (18 May- 23 June 2024).
They won’t be the only ones as there are 17 crews in this field in the same position, but don’t be fooled into thinking that this will just be a proving ground for their future adventures, they will all no doubt be looking to do well in this arena. After all, nobody travels halfway around the world without some ambition to be at the sharp end.
To win though, first you must cross the line, and that old adage rings very true in the world of endurance rallying. There are 17 days and many thousands of kilometres to contend with before any names can be etched into trophies, and the road along the way is filled with unknown pitfalls, particularly in the desert when the Wadi’s appear out of nowhere to confound the unwary. Whether a win is on the cards or not these long-distance adventures always become about far more than the competition. This is extreme travelling and the experiences that are shared along the way form a tight bond between the caravan of like-minded souls, all united in the goal of reaching the finish.
When it comes to it, that is the aim of the game for all 45 of the crews entered, each pair wishes to finish. What happens along the way is the unknown and that is where the magic happens. The Badawi Trail to the Last Oasis will no doubt bring plenty of that magic, it is going to be some ride, and all will now be counting the seconds until the start.