This is it, the last stint, just two more days to go. Put on your cleanest dirty shirt and lace up your dusty boots and have at it. Everything’s creaking by now, cars making noises they really shouldn’t make, some of it is in your head and some of it is real but by hook or by crook you’ve got to make the finish now. Everything is dirty, sand has crept into every crack and crevice possible, and seats and upholstery are stained with the salt and sweat of two weeks of rallying in the heat and the whole bloody mess is glorious. Rallying, endurance rallying, conquering countries, and continents, on roads less travelled, this is the stuff! And then there is a border crossing to bring you back down to earth.
Goodness me, there’s nothing like a border to pull the wind from your sails, but the bureaucracy and process of exit and entry is just part of the journey. Today it was the last part of the process with customs that took the time, a minor inconvenience really. It was trickier to begin with, when the organisation trucks went through, with a few frantic phone calls back and forth to iron out the creases. The whole thing was helped tremendously every time route planner John Spillers phone went off, with his ‘Royal Britannia’ ringtone blaring out across the customs office, did I mention Spiller is a former diplomat?
Border despatched and the day could begin in earnest, with a regularity through the hills on a route also enjoyed by the Dubai Mille Miglia, although scenery wise it wasn’t exactly the Tuscan Hills. Up above and the sky sat heavy with the clouds of an electrical storm, thunder rumbled, and lightening was hitting the peaks of the nearby mountains that the road carved a path through. There was a bit more excitement when a roadworks crew turned up to re-tarmac a section of road right on top of one of the timing points, being manned by one half of our ‘Yorkshire Contingent’ marshal team, Henry Carr. I wonder what the road-workers thought when they found an Englishmen dressed like Bear Grylls stood out in a storm on the very spot where they were intending to put down some fresh blacktop. I daresay it made a difference to shooing away stray Camels.