Skip to content

Badawï Trail, Syd Stelvio | Day 3 Amman to Wadi Rum – 442 KM

Badawï Trail, Syd Stelvio | Day 3 Amman to Wadi Rum – 442 KM

‘We are here for your safety’ said the man, dressed head to toe in khaki, with the epaulettes on his shoulder denoting his rank and the crest emblazoned on his chest indicating his status as a paratrooper. Again, he reiterated that he was here to keep us safe, and that we must follow him, and with three of his mates in the car with weapons on show who was I to argue. This was the end of our last proper day in Jordan, and it had been another where we had enjoyed more than enough time with the local law enforcement, and they were determined to be with us until the end, taking all of us straight into our desert camp at Wadi Rum.

Now, I feel I must point out that the attention we had all received wasn’t due to any nefarious shenanigans on our part, chance would be a fine thing! With all of the convoys, there wouldn’t have been time to actually bend the law. No, these gentlemen were genuinely doing what they had been instructed to do, keep us safe, they had just misunderstood the level of protection that we needed.

Still, before we were all placed under the confinement of convoys again, we had managed to get some rallying in and had even been into the desert for the first time. For most of day it felt like we had finally got going, the shackles were off and there was some serious fun to be had.

The day began with a test on the Madaba Circuit, 50 clicks south of Amman. The place was gloriously ramshackle, with a particularly rickety-looking pedestrian bridge over one part of the track, that was so low the LaFrance had only inches to spare, leaving the crew of Tomas and Ben ducking as they passed through. It seemed that the LaFrance had received an upgrade whilst it had spent day two under the mechanics spanner, in the form of power steering, as the heavy beast was negotiating the corners nicely. A closer look though showed that this was purely muscle power, with both Ben and Tomas working the steering wheel together for some extra leverage on the tiller.

Others were getting into a bit of a spin as they took to the track, with Lars Rolner leaning on his Porsche 911 just a little too much and initiating a pirouette just before the aforementioned bridge. No harm done through, and the roaring Porsche was soon back on the pace. A regularity followed the test and took the form of a climb out of the Mujib canyon, after first descending the other side and enjoying incredible views over the Mujib dam. No doubt everyone would have been concentrating hard on the other side, but anyone who did chance a look back would have found it just as, if not more breath taking.

We were still in the infancy of the morning, but there were cars starting to suffer from mechanical problems. The number 4 Bentley of Harold Goddijn + Corinne Vigreux had been struggling with poor running since it began the escape from Amman and was now requiring regular intervention from the Sweep crews to keep it moving. Ultimately it would end up on a trailer, but only after the pair had persisted with it all morning.

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?


We use cookies to give you the best experience of using this website. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies. Please read our Cookie Policy for more information.