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Marilyn Monza, Arctic Midnight Sun 2024 | Day 8

Marilyn Monza, Arctic Midnight Sun 2024 | Day 8

Mo I Rana. Sunrise at 1.43

Meteorologically speaking, day 8 could not have started better (and ended worse...). Our journey south continued leaving Mo I Rana on one of those sunny, crisp days when you even like the E6 that, along the shores of Ranfjorden and parallel to the railway, led the 19 cars present at the morning roll call, first inland and then to higher ground to reach the first regularity, mainly running into the forest, on the left side of the Leksdalsvatnet Lake.

You will quickly notice that two cars are missing from the total if you have a good memory and have done the maths. You'll recall that yesterday the Unstoppable Mottier/Hoff's Car 14 Datsun 240Z put the competition on hold to fix mechanical problems. From undercover investigations we found out that an operation called 'Clutch Connection' had taken place involving a known member of the CCNM (Classic Car Norwegian Mafia) – anonymous informants report that he pretends to be a family man travelling in a white Alfa Romeo with sticker No. 15 – to provide the American 'godfathers' with an open garage in Bode on Sunday morning and replace the damaged part. This in order to enable them to resume their journey in the afternoon and reach the overnight venue in Trondheim, after about eight hours (before dark, so there is time until 11.30 p.m.!) and continue the race tomorrow. It seems, however, that the stubborn Daisy Pyle in Car 8 Lotus Cortina has decided not to restart until she finds the red Volvo in the bushes, the subject of yesterday's SC, in order to match the colour of her Superga shoes to today's outfit; in the meantime, her husband John, who is more of a 'clutch victim' than a fashion victim, has nonetheless managed to drive with wife and car for Trondheim, while waiting for spare parts.

The link section following reg 1, nestled between the mountains and Rossvatnet Lake, was one of the most atmospheric winding roads I have ever driven, past crystal-clear water reflecting snow-capped mountains are reflected, sheer evergreen forests, wooden bridges over small waterfalls, and ups and downs to look out over to see what the next bend holds. The drive must have been so compelling to be done solo, that the crews ended up driving into two fast convoys until the morning coffee break in Trofors. The only ones who did not share in the joy of the ride were the two poor media people, who saw all the crews passing in front of them, without being able to immortalise the cars in all the planned spots, and who drove the rest of the way like actors in the film 'The Sadness'. This is Murphy's Law of photography: if there are photo spots, there are no cars; if there are cars, there are no spots; if there are cars and spots, there is no parking; if there are spots, cars and parking, it's definitely raining...

The landscape reminded me of Scotland and, by a strange coincidence, the river Namsen is famous for salmon fishing. In anticipation of a heated debate between the two countries of origin of the delicious freshwater acrobat, the Norwegian crew of Oslands, on the pretext of having to repair a shock absorber, actually went to make sure that the local raw material was the best.

On the way to the lunch stop, we crossed from Nordland into Trøndelag county, where I thought we would find a characteristic large wooden arch with the decorated names of the two counties framing a road surrounded by greenery. Or at least that was what I had seen on Google Streetview; instead, we found ourselves queuing up on a road riven by roadworks and dotted with phosphorescent and unsightly traffic signs. When you order something online VS when it arrives….

During the tasty HERO complimentary lunch in Moa, my yesterday report has been published on HERO-ERA website and suddenly the god Thor, angered by my words, returned to open the floodgates of heaven to punish the disrespectful motorised infidels. At the sight of the torrential rain, I brought to life the acoustic version of one of Norway's most famous paintings, 'The Scream' by Edvard Munch...

Despite the increasingly slippery surface, the competitors did not hesitate to go full throttle for the two laps with 6 corners of the Grong Karting test. The fastest were the Pusniks in Car 17 (1:3o sec). Close but no cigar, 3 crews: Lejeune / Chavy in Car 7, the Malmgrens in Car 19 and the Engelens in Car 20, all in 1:31 sec. Nineteen-year-old Hannes Malmgren enjoys the experience, even a little sadistically, of spending 14 days with his father, being fully empowered by his role as navigator to boss his father around, demanding immediate execution of the orders given and thus making up for years of obvious filial submission.

The last regularity of the day, on farmland close to Leksdalsvatnet lake, again in the pouring rain, could literally have been called 'Fifty Shades of Grey', and almost committed hara-kiri for the media, who had hoped to make up for the missed opportunity in the morning with a kaleidoscope of colour, but instead found themselves with almost black and white photos.

In the afternoon, another of the Norse deities much feared by motorists appeared: Veiarbeid, the god of roadworks. It seems to have chosen the E6 in the direction of Trondheim to manifest itself in all its power and make the arrival in one of Norway's most photogenic cities even more desirable, with its colourful warehouses, long pedestrian boulevards lined with museums, Europe's northernmost Gothic cathedral, Scandinavia's largest medieval building, Nidaros Domkirke (Trondheim Cathedral), Stiftsgården (140 rooms in Scandinavia's largest wooden palace, now the royal family's residence in the city), Gamle Bybro, which connects the city with Kristiansen Forecourt, and in the background, the comings and goings of fishing boats and circling seagulls that draw the eye to the wooded, green hills that frame the city. I am flattered that you think all this information comes from my own careful research, but I must confess that I did question the ex-boyfriend, skier, healthy bearer of blue eyes and blonde hair (they say 'go local'...).

In terms of the competition, the comeback of the Pusniks in Car 17, which started yesterday, put them back on the podium in third place, behind the Engelens in Car 20 in second place and the Mortons in Car 18, who still lead the overall standings (total penalty 7:02). Team Gästrikland also remained in the lead (total 22:58).

At the end of this long and torturous day, I can only hope that the new acronym I have given to the word Norway will come true: Not Only Rain Weather Against You.


Trondheim. Sunset at 23.22

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