Badawï Trail, Syd Stelvio | Day 3 Amman to Wadi Rum – 442 KM
A long run along the desert highway followed the regularity, memorable for the moment where the view opened out across the rift valley, with the spectacle distracting from the eyesore of the major roadworks that were happening at that point in the drive. There were no holdups though, and a reward in the form of a coffee stop was in store for everyone’s endeavour over the morning. We had managed an entire morning of competition, with no authority-inflicted complications, but sadly that was about to change. Half of the field made it out of coffee and drove merrily on to the next control, but as other cars began to leave the police made their presence known again. This would be the pattern for the rest of the day, but not before two desert TC sections could take place. The desert driving is what many will have come for and the challenge of threading a progressive path through the sand and rock is something many of the driver’s relish.
It was great fun too, and lengthy, with around 40 kilometres in total to get stuck into. For the most part the crews seemed to be getting to grips with the navigation, but one or two took some wrong turns, such as Garrick Staples and Ralph Boyd in the red Chevy Nova, the American pair heading out of sight before thankfully realising their error and getting back on track. It was hot out there and isn’t the sort of place you want to get lost for long.
By the time the two sand sections were concluded, and the competitors were heading back along the desert highway the police had really got involved, with a few convoys now in force as the cars headed towards Wadi Rum, a place T.E. Lawrence described as ‘vast, echoing and God-like.’ The famous Wadi, with its incredible scenery and rock formations has been used as the backdrop for many a movie masterpiece, including Star Wars. As we crawled into camp under escort no doubt many would rather have been on land speeders, and it wasn’t too much of a stretch to imagine our new uniformed friends dressed head to toe in stormtrooper gear. It was easy to see why George Lucas filmed out here though, the area is simply stunning and as we left the Police at the gates and headed to our respective camps in the back of 4×4 pickups the adventure was back on.
What happens in camp stays in camp, needless to say we all enjoyed ourselves, particularly with the prospect of a strictly alcohol-free week in Saudi Arabia ahead. This will be our new home and see the rally breaking new ground with its adventure in the Kingdom. All we need to do is get across the border, what could possibly go wrong?