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Badawï Trail, Syd Stelvio | Day 2 Dead Sea to Amman – 210 KM

Badawï Trail, Syd Stelvio | Day 2 Dead Sea to Amman – 210 KM

“Don’t mention convoys” said Clerk of the Course Guy Woodcock this morning, “I woke up dreaming about them”. Best not to tempt fate though hey Mr. Woodcock, as no sooner had those words been spoken the Police turned up at the hotel car park suggesting we might want their assistance going straight to Amman, as the traffic was bad…

Perhaps they were just winding Guy up, it is one of life’s real pleasures after all, just their way of giving him a friendly slap on the back after yesterday’s shenanigans. Either way as we drove out on the Baptism Road there was certainly no sign of any hold-ups, if they think that the smattering of cars on the road with us this morning qualified as heavy traffic they ought to try driving through Fez or La Paz!

What we did have a lot more of today was built-up areas, as the 200 or so kilometres were punctuated at various points with villages and towns, as the roads pitched up and down the mountains in between groves of Olive and Fig trees. It was all very Acropolis Rally, with plenty of green and the neon blooms of the Paperflowers breaking up the khaki rocks, these were particularly abundant within the Oasis that lined the banks of the Wadi Shueib as the cars headed through the early morning light, to the days only regularity.

This actually took place a few hours into the day after an enjoyable drive up into the mountains to As-Salt and a recharge of coffee to raise the concentration levels before taking on the reg that had been given the title of ‘Labyrinth’. There were opportunities to go wrong as well, as the road rounded the mountain of Magharat Warda, and a few navigators did direct their drivers the wrong way, although we’re still a little early in proceedings to be naming and shaming those that got the directions wrong! There were plenty of other hazards to affect timing as well, with locals sometimes causing holdups, but such is life on the road.

There were a few experiences with members of the public today, some positive and some less so, particularly with one or two groups of over-excited school children. Most though were just delighted to see the cars, and looked on in amazement, with the older cars and noisy Porsches in particular causing a stir. There was traffic to deal with as well, with the towns of Afloun and Kuranjah adding some excitement before lunch, buzzing with Jordanians going about their day as horns sounded and policemen blew their whistles as they directed traffic. There will be plenty of times in the days ahead where we will see precious few people in the wilderness of the desert, so on days like these, it’s nice to take in the flavour of the places our hosts call home, especially those settlements that are off the tourist trail.

The final time control of the day was situated at the Royal Automobile Museum, next to the King Hussein Mosque with its opulent architecture. Here, the cars were welcomed by various dignitaries of the museum and the drivers were treated to some splendid hospitality that included a tour of the Museum’s backrooms, as well as cups of the most potent coffee I have ever tasted, the piquant liquid no doubt perking up those that were perhaps flagging in the day’s heat. This was a real treat and the museum, the first of its kind in this part of the world, provided automobile interest to all tastes and included many rare exhibits.

After a total of two regularities in two days, it feels somewhat foolish to be discussing the competition just yet, but there is a ten-second gap at the top with the first position occupied by Bill Cleyndert and Emily Anderson in Bill’s Sahara-winning Bentley. Second place is currently held by Argentine pairing Jorge Perez Companc + Jose Maria Volta in the gorgeous Chevy Coupe with third belonging to Mike Dreelan and Bob Prybus in the flying Lagonda.

Tomorrow sees a longer day in the saddle again, with 442 kms in the offing, on a route that will end in the incredible Wadi Rum, after the event’s first test and desert driving sections. In fact, there is plenty of competition tomorrow with a regularity as well, so by the time the competitors are safely into the desert camp at Wadi Rum there should be plenty for the timekeepers to get stuck into and perhaps the first early indications of who may have a bit of form.

Until the ‘morro!


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