American Expedition Vehicles
Thursday, 03 October 2013 14:02

Austrailian Safari - Gascoyne River

When we read that in the roadbook for Leg 4 SS1, I admit to panicking a bit. I'd done water crossings but 600 meters worth? We hunted down some of the repeat Safari competitors and learned it was just a river bed so 600m of sand, reminiscent I'm sure of the fesh fesh we found in Morocco. The key would be to keep moving. Or try to jump it maybe?

No such axle breaking fun for us, we just drove across. The rest of the leg was pretty brutal, filled with cautions; single, double and triple. A caution in the roadbook is marked by 1, 2 or 3 exclamation points. As it was explained to us, a single caution, you can take a look and maybe slow a bit. For a double, you want to slow much more. For the rare triples, it's time to crawl. The rest of the leg was spent zooming when possible but mostly slowing down for creeks, gutters, hairpin turns through gates and just general roughness. Tricia was really on top of her game as the instructions came fast and often.

SS2 was much more of a driver's stage with more smooth sweeping sections with fewer instructions and a chance to run up some speed. We got our first sight of emu and a rare sighting of a dingo (no baby in mouth). The biggest excitement of the day was pulling into the bivouac and Dan Cambell-Lloyd saying to us "You didn't blow your engine?". There was a mix up somewhere on the radio and our crew was expecting us to be pulled in by recovery, not wheeling in as usual. Given the number of competitors who had mechanical problems or crashes by that point, we were happy to have that rumor be false.