The Badawï Trail to the Last Oasis has reached its final destination, the cosmopolitan city of Dubai, 7500km since the start in Aqaba, Jordan 17 days ago. In that time four countries have been crossed, 23 regularities contested, 10 desert time controls conquered and 1 test driven, as well as a couple of rotations of the Jeddah Corniche Grand Prix circuit. There have been temperatures of 45 degrees, sand, rocks and even thunderstorms to deal with and despite, or perhaps in spite of that, of the 45 cars that began this journey, 43 have made the finish here in Dubai.
It has been a tremendous adventure, one that has had ups and downs for everyone and in the end, there can only be one winner. But before we delve into that particular detail there is the final day of rallying to discuss, as this was no processional finish, but a proper day on the tools, with 400 clicks to churn over on the trip, as well as two regularities and a final desert time control section to finish the competition with a flurry.
The first regularity wasn’t distinguished by great scenery, but there was the classic ‘long-way-around’ a triangle trick to catch out the unwary. It was also completed under grey sky, with rain threatening as we moved away from the first reg and onto the next, the heavens opened and the roads, so unused to such a heavy downpour, had rivers of water running across them, white with the flotsam and jetsam deposited on them. A long climb up Jebel Jais was the scene for the second regularity, and here a Chevy Chase was ensuing, with Tommy Dreelan and George Barrack chasing Jorge Perez Companc up the mountainside, in the battle for first place. Tommy and George needed a miracle to catch the Argentines, but there was always hope with the leading car’s gearbox problems, as it deposited oil behind it making the way to the top slippery for the car in second spot. There would be no breakdown though and no huge error, meaning that the positions of the top three remained the same.
Victory then goes to the Argentine pairing of Jorge Perez Companc and Jose Maria Volta, taking the win by over 6 minutes in the end. The feat is all the more impressive with the crew nursing the gearbox problem with the Chevrolet Master Coupe for the latter stages of the rally and finishing without second and fourth gear. Jorge had this to say, “It was a really difficult rally, Jose did a brilliant job on the navigation. The car was great, but we had a lot of problems with temperature and the gearbox, but we are here, and we cannot believe we have won.”
As mentioned, Tommy Dreelan and George Barrack finished in second, with Tommy’s brother Mike, alongside navigator Bob Pybus taking third place, a job made all the more difficult as they had also suffered almost catastrophic gearbox problems in the Lagonda.