Sunday, December 11, 2016

Awards and Rewards

Celebrating Everyone! 

 Thank you Syd Stelvio and Gerard Brown 
for your incredible rally reports and amazing photos

 Relaxing at Lorca Museo restaurant

Dropping Fang off for shipping home
Fang gets back in his container, hoping to make it home.

 24 hours later, we are relaxing at home.
Thank You Charlie and T-Zero! 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Syd Stelvio's "Day of Reckoning" Rally Report

There were perhaps few sore heads this morning. Last night's sweeps party being the main cause of this but tomorrow, we fear there will be a few more once the Gala Prize Giving dinner has concluded.

The routebook showed that we were in for a lovely fast run right up the coast today on the famous Pan Americana Sur highway and also that there were only two short tests which could possibly upset the applecart. Joost van Cauwenberge and Chuck Lyford therefore must have been feeling quietly confident as they took the start and chipped out of the carpark.

In the event nobody suffered any problems and some 258 km up the road the finish line outside the Lima Country Club was buzzing. Friends and family who’d travelled to Peru see the crews arrive after their amazing journey were waiting excitedly and, as the cars rolled over the finish line and under the arch the crowd grew exponentially. The cheers, laughter and congratulations rang out so loudly it caused a family of parakeets to move their roost to somewhere a little less rowdy.
Tankards full of well deserved cold beer were handed to all with the victors champagne and a laurel wreath being offered to Chuck and Pam Lyford in the Vintageant category and Joost van Cauwenberge and Christine Landtsheer in the Classics.

For Joost, this win was a sweet one but it was one that we've been expecting for a long time. The only other ERA trophy he's taken home so far however was the Spirit of the Rally Award from the 2015 Road to Mandalay which was given to him for the vast quantities of gin he dispensed every evening throughout event.

After a difficult London - Cape Town in 2012, a bravura performance on the road to Mandalay and a disappointing Peking to Paris run he's finally got the silverware he deserves. Along with his wife Christine, Joost took an early lead in his Porsche 911, held onto it in a cool calm and gentlemanly way and was understandably delighted with his win. This was the first time he’d visited South America and he said ‘the event has been great one both in terms of the route and the competition’.

Chuck and Pam Lyford on the other hand are no strangers to the podium in this neck of the woods having taken the win in the Vintage Cape Horn Rally in 2013 way down in snowy Ushuaia. Today, they and their monkey and their remarkable Chevy, Fang to his friends, did the double. Chuck said that he knew he'd do well here as soon as he packed his lucky chequered shirt, the one he won with last time. By way of a victory speech he then led the assembled throng in a rousing three cheers for the organisers.
The True Grit trophy was awarded to Ed and Janet Howle who have nursed their old Beetle, Stewball, through thick and thin - uphill and down dale for almost a month. They were popular winners.

Anton Gonnissen gave a moving and reflective speech about the special world that is the Rally World, one which supports and looks after its members whatever they're going through and one that we’re all privileged to belong to.

He was then asked to present the Spirit of the Rally award, to his wife Inge, for coming back to Rally World after the events of the Road to Mandalay, and for making us all so happy.

At the end of an emotional and an amusing evening, the ERA Rally Director, Fred Gallagher said that ‘the second foray into South America for the ERA had indeed been a great one. The landscapes we've driven through and the way that the Rally has unfolded had been amazing. The competition has been amazing and the competitors have been brilliant. Well done to Joost, Christine, Chuck and Pam and we very much look forward to seeing them again very soon. The next iteration of the Rally of the Incas, is already being planned for 2019’.

It certainly has been an epic rally and a quick interrogation of Montana, our little Gamin friend on the dashboard, reveals some impressive numbers to back this up. We achieved a maximum altitude of almost 4,600 m and plunged to a minimum altitude of - 53 m. We managed a total ascent of 66,311 m alongside a total descent of 62,940 m while temperatures ranged from 41°c right down to 5 °c.

The bar in the Lima Country Club was a pretty well stocked one this afternoon with ice filled Pisco liqueurs proving popular with thirsty crews. By tonight the shelves were looking a little lighter and we fully expect them to need a total resupply by tomorrow morning.
Syd Stelvio

Monkey Sleeps

Friday, December 9, 2016

Victory! And Happy Birthday Pam!

And that's a wrap -  Car 40 wins by 4 mins 47 secs, in 176:28:37!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

On top of the world

A drive that will be impossible to top...... In fact a drive " on top of the world" was how I will reflect on it. Our day was a transfer day, with no time limits or regularities so we started out on a 650 K drive from Cusco to the city of Nazca near the coast.  We expected some more high altitude passes as we headed west bound headed towards the coast. My mind thinking more down hill.... Wow, were we surprised ! Our first climb was up a mountain road that turned left and then right what seemed like a thousand times. After a half hour, still no summit in sight, while passing through 13,000 feet. It was over an hour before we finally reached the summit at 14,300 ft. about the same as Mt. Rainier.  And then we started down, constantly twisting and turning with heavy braking.  Soon, far off in the distance, a higher pass loomed. Unbelievable ! Due to the extreme and erratic winding roads, it was over two hours before we reached the next summit. That repeated itself four times that day will all four summits over 4,000 meters. In distance, it was the same as driving from Seattle to Butte, Montana, except the average straight stretch before a hard turn was about the length of a football field. On the forth summit, it began raining and then snowing.... The drive was from heaven over a smooth road and, what seemed like a million turns. Twelve hours later, we arrived at our hotel TOTALLY exhausted. My arms now resemble those of Popeye the sailor man. 
Winding route (top) and Altitude Profile (bottom)
 Fang Tracker over part of the route-see more here

Fang Tracker Street Views-see more here

 photos by David Garrett                            
 Hotel Paracas

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Monday, December 5, 2016

Train To Machu Pichu

Hiram Bingham never took a train ride like this. Picture a bright blue shiny brass white tablecloth and flowers train coach peopled with a high strung crowd of rallyers  primed with champagne and pisco sours heading to one of the seven wonders of the world. Add a glass enclosed bar car with a live band, magnificent scenery, a raging river and  high altitude. Eat and drink the morning thru cappuccinos, croissants and a three course brunch with wine, then board a bus for the climb to Machu Picchu. 
Steps, lots of steps in the hot sun. Wait for it. Pow! The world famous view. Chuck and I slipped away from our guide to wander alone, reliving our last magical visit here. That time, with shaman guides, we spent a full moon night here in Quechua rituals, leaving only after sunrise.
High tea at the Sanctuary, back on the bus/train and with our table mates, first into the bar car. Strike up the band! The girls, then the guys, managed to convert three feet of open space into a sing along and "Think You Can Dance" frenzy.
The staff managed to herd us back to our tables for a five course dinner..with wine! Fun not over yet. Huge thunderstorms, sheets of lightning. We turned off our table lambs to better enjoy the show. When Chuck decided to unscrew a wall bulb the fuse blew and our car was plunged into darkness! We cheered. Soon fixed, we dined abundantly serenaded by strolling pan pipers. 
The arrival train station lost power so we boarded our hotel bound buses by flashlight, full, slightly Inebriated, dead tired and delighted. A truly glorious party among the Inca gods.
Inca Rally Train Ride Full Feature Movie! 

Back to Cusco/ Bar car before dinner:

Re-visit the train ride with it's Movie trailer here: