Badawï Trail, Syd Stelvio | Day 13 Qsar Al Sarab to Jebel Hafeet – 421 KM
One pairing that will be extremely wary of soft sand and missed turns for the rest of the trip will be Stephen and Kerry Hucklesby, after a spectacular navigational error yesterday left them buried in the sand almost at the top of a dune. The clues were there to not drive where they did, a huge concrete bollard for one and the fact that the road had ended, but despite this Steve still managed to get the Porsche beached well off the road, so far in fact it took multiple trucks and around 11 tow ropes linked together to retrieve the stranded 911. It was a great effort though, and I’m told they’re considering Dakar next year.
At the top of the order is another Porsche, the 911 of Filip Engelen and Ann Gillis who have been flying and have a lead of 5 minutes in the classic category. They had suffered their own catastrophe in the sand earlier in the trip and had been helped by the heroes in car 28. Today, it was they who witnessed other cars stuck in the sand, several of them in fact that they had to avoid, to maintain their momentum. The chivalrous amongst you may have assumed that they would have stopped to help, paying forward the assistance they had received. Well, you would be wrong, with eyes only for victory they kicked sand in the faces of those that they passed and sped onward to their own glory. Karma though is a devious mistress and has a way of balancing the world. Today was no exception, as when they arrived at tonight’s hotel, tired and wanting to get in and find a cold beverage they managed to lock their car keys in their car. For those that they scorned, feel free to feel smug.
Of course, nobody would really have minded that they sailed on past, they have a lead to protect after all and as we are beginning to see, nothing is guaranteed on an event such as this. Tomorrow, we enter Oman in the morning, with just one regularity to contest during the day, but with the added challenge of ascending Jebel Al Akhdar, an ascent that is usually restricted to 4WD vehicles only. For some, this will be something to relish, for others a sleepless night may persist. Until then…