to Sydney Marathon
5th June - 4th July 2004
Day 1 - London to St Malo
IN MAXIMUM ATTACK MODE
Kiwi champ Smokin Joe McAndrew blitzed the
field over the first two forest stages of the London-Sydney
Marathon cruising into Portsmouth to catch the overnight ferry
to France with a comfortable 22 second lead.
Sixty-one entries from a dozen countries
were flagged off today on the 30-day 15,000 km epic adventure
that will take them half way across the world.
Englishman Simon Glover claimed second place
in his classic Mk1 Ford Escort just one second ahead of five
times British Champion Jimmy McRae in his Toyota Corolla.
Competitors in this epic long distance rally
are divided into two categories - classics up to 1977 and
modern showroom cars up to 2-litres – no turbos and no 4wds.
Interestingly the top ten leader board
at close of play today shows five classics and five of the
modern Group N showroom cars proving that combining classics
with moderns provides a level playing field.
The real battle over the next few days will
be between Graham Lorimer's South African built 3-car team
of modern Toyota Corollas and Joe McAndrew's 3-car team of
Honda Integras out of New Zealand.
The two forest stages took their toll on
machinery. Aussie Keith Callinan in his mighty V8-engined
Holden Monaro came out of the second stage in fifth place
cruising to a halt with a damaged rear axle. American Chip
Johns in his Ford Falcon blew a clutch and fellow American
Paul Shaver in his Honda Acura had a small fire in his transmission
tunnel that ruined his fuel line and electrics. All three
made it to the ferry and will be in action again tomorrow.
While the front runners were in hard charge
mode others were being a little more circumspect easing themselves
gently into what will become a 30-day battle or skill and
Aussie veteran Brian Hilton in his Toyota
Corolla in a modest 21st place said, "My last big event was
in 1985, I've been out of the saddle for a while so I'll dust
the rust off slowly and pick up the pace in a few days time."
Richard Martin Hurst in his classic V8 Capri
Perana sitting quietly in 9th place said, "Good to be in the
top ten but it's far too early to start going hard. You don't
win 30-day events in the first week. This is all about pace
and holding something back for the big push in the final week
across the outback."
Competitors are now
out of the forests and for next few days as they head towards
the French Alpes and the Italian border they will be on tight
tricky tarmac stages. more...
out daily reports:
June to 4th July 2004 day by day