American Expedition Vehicles
Thursday, 03 October 2013 13:56

Austrailian Safari - Leg 2

Well, we had good intentions of posting on a daily basis as we went through Safari but the combination of spotty wifi and plain old fatigue put us off. Now for some catch up -

Leg 2 was the first introduction to bull dust, otherwise known as "Stop the car! We must have a flat" Yes, it's that slick. It looks tame enough; dark, soft and the color of an old terra cotta pot. I learned quite quickly to be very alert for changes in the color of the dirt we were driving on. After backing down a little on speed, we began to get the hang of where and when to slow into turns and crests to not lose control. The time we spent in Morocco proved very valuable in recognizing the changes in terrain that required a change in speed. A single km of track would often contain many types of dirt along with the occasional anthill, gutter or dry creek crossing.

The following day was more of the same in the Gascoyne Junction area. Stage 1 was like a preview for the much longer Stage 2, which took over 4 hours to complete. We really became aware of the hazards on the course. One of the autos, a Holden, rolled the day before and there were several competitors who were already out of the race due to mechanical problems. Our strategy of "stay smart, get to the finish" looked like a good one and we just needed to hang tight. Minor issues like a flat between SS1 and SS2 plagued us, leading to a return to the bivouac almost in the dark. We started the stage late but even with the tire change delay, finished in plenty of time and avoided any late penalties.